Last updated: June 17, 2017
Head to Head “Double Cross” Special Post
Something a little different by way of an experiment – mono and stereo go head to head in the classic “Which is best, chocolate or vanilla?” contest. The brilliant Monk record Criss Cross, considered by some his best work in a studio environment, certainly by me.
Charlie Rouse (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) John Ore (b) Frankie Dunlop (d) recorded NYC, November 6, 1962
All Music Review by Lindsay Planer: “Hackensack” — a frenetic original composition — opens the disc by demonstrating the bandleader’s strength in a quartet environment. The solid rhythmic support of the trio unfetters Monk into unleashing endless cascades of percussive inflections and intoxicating chord progressions. The title cut also reflects the ability of the four musicians to maintain melodic intricacies that are at times so exigent it seems cruel that Monk would have expected a musician of any caliber to pull them off.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too, but he said it better. On to the contest. A double take of a cover which is already a mirrored double take: you are ahead of me it’s Double Crossing Time.
First up, here is what the original mono pressing white label promo (first run off the stampers) Columbia CL2038
Track Selection: Hackensack – US original, white label
Vinyl: CL 2038 mono radio station promo – white label (photos above updated)
Note: Stamper codes 1E/ 1F. Side 2 only, there is a faint but definitive “T” stamp, characteristic of Terre Haute and a five-bar gate stamper numbering sequence
As with Kind of Blue (1959) this promo was pulled off a cutting out of the expected sequence A B C etc. KOB promos were pressed out of cutting sequence in early 1959 (the Side 2 track listing error present, corrected soon after commercial release), not later
The Kind of Blue precedent suggests not that promos were distributed long after the first commercial release (to re-energise sales) , but that promos were pressed with whatever cutting came to hand, as supplied to whichever plant manufactured them. A-B-C sequence applied to commercial release manufacture, possibly, but not necessarily to promo manufacture, which used Columbia’s multiple-supplied cuttings arbitrarily.
Second up, here is the same track Hackensack issued in Stereo for UK release by CBS (cover right) SBPG 62173 (CS 8838)
Track Selection: Hackensack – Stereo – CBS UK
That’s for you to decide. What do you think? Mono or Stereo, Columbia Promo white label, or CBS release for those cheeky cock-er-neys that gave America Mary Poppins and Dr House, the Brits? (btw you can keep them both. We don’t want them back)
In the event of a tie, we have the customary tie breaker: which has the better rear cover photo of Monk?. Is it:
1. the original on the left, or is it
2. the original on the left.
Monk wears his trademark pork-pie hat on the left, a Vladimir Illyich Lenin workers flat cap on the right. Cue Workers Playtime. I though they had doctored the same picture but Sothebys have just rung in to confirm they are different photographs.
Oh oh. Email just in from the Campaign Against People Smoking on the Back of Record Covers, on the dangers of tertiary cigarette smoke.
UPDATE June 17, 2017: Columbia two-eye label stereo
Symetrical 1C/1C stampers, and hand etched on Side One “SM” (presumably Santa Maria, Calif) and the start of a five-bar gate, presumably stamper numbering. If, at this time, cuttings for the commercial release were despatched to all three Columbia plants, and there is some evidence that in some but not all cases they were issued 1A – Pitman, NJ, 1B – Terre Haute, Ind, and 1C – Santa Maria, Calif (evidence from a Bob Dylan title) The logic of distributed manufacture close to markets suggests 1A 1B and 1C are equally 1st pressings according to the provenance of the originating metal-ware, since the multiple cuttings of Columbia recordings were all produced at the same time, merely manufactured at different locations close to markets.
Speaking Columbian a little more fluently every time.