Donald Byrd “The Cat Walk” (1961)

Selected Track: “Say You’re Mine” >


Donald Byrd (tp) Pepper Adams (bs) Duke Pearson (p) Laymon Jackson (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 2, 1961


Breaking all my rules again. Its not an original Blue Note pressing, only a West Coast reissue by Liberty/ United Artists, but a great record and will be replaced when I can find an affordable original. Its got a corner cut-out (how cheapskate can you get?) and a few clicks (perfectionists turn away) which I forgive, as its a great track on which Pepper Adams excels and everybody gets into the groove.

This is a terrific album due not least to the contribution of Duke Pearson on piano, whose broad musical canvas and melodic flow fits perfectly against Byrd’s muted trumpet, while Pepper fulfils the role of the absent tenor sax with the upper register of his baritone, and provides contrast to Byrds burnished trumpet lines.

These black/ light blue labels are pretty good sonically and preferrable to the solid blue label United Artists pressings. Like many United Artists reissues this bears the RVG STEREO inscription in the runout, indicating source the original stampers –  by now a little worn.

The postman has brought some interesting finds, more of which later.

10 thoughts on “Donald Byrd “The Cat Walk” (1961)

  1. I Have a Wayne Shorter Ju Ju in this pressing sounds good to me. I do have this Donald Byrd The Cat Walk in a 66 or 67 Liberty press sound flawless. I won’t stop looking til I get the original my liberty press will do.

  2. Nice album. I have a mono with New Yourk labels and it sounds extremely dynamic. The music just jumps out and grab you – it’s almost scary 😉

  3. Reissues, nothing against them, ’cause I, too, have a few in my collection. I just don’t understand why they had to change that iconic label for it. I mean, if you’re going to reissue those beauties in their original cover (even the address on the back cover is totally Blue Note), then why would you change the look of the label?! It’s especially puzzling, since today’s reissues all use facsimiles of the original Blue Note labels in order to make ’em look as ‘genuine’ as possible… Anyway, superb album that I, you guessed it, have on CD.

    • Battle of East vs West Coast is my guess why the brief label change to Black/light blue. As best I understand, United Artists picked up Liberty Records Inc in 1970, and it became simply a division of the United Artists Music and Record Group Inc, using “Liberty Records” as a “brand” (hence the continued little black logo on the back of United Artists reissues. – Record sellers insist on calling them “Liberty” long after Liberty Records Inc was gone).
      I reckon the management out in LA thought they would “modernise” the logo – sort of thing internal rival corporates tend to do – ditched the classic label, printing their own new labels and pressing vinyl locally. The marketing-savvy East Coast UA management sensibly kept the classic Blue Note label, inserting the “Blue Note Records – a Division of United Artists Inc” into it, and I think made some fresh masters (no RVG)
      In 1973 it all went over to the All-Blue Label and the Black/light Blue disappeared/ and the pressings took a turn for the worse using old and worn out RVG stampers.

      This could of course be complete rubbish. We need “Cohen II, The Reissues”

      • That would be fun. But it’s going to be hell to write it. All these different labels, pressings, covers, mono and/or stereo, Liberty, United Artists, Japanese reissues… I guess were looking at a book as thick as the London Yellow Pages 😀

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