John Coltrane Soultrane (1958) Esquire


johncoltrane-soultrane-cover LJC-1600

Track Selection 1 Russian Lullaby

.  .  .

Track selection 2: I Want to Talk About You ( Billy Eckstein)

.  .  .

This Esquire is one the best pressings I have ever  heard, however a small scuff around a minute in makes around a half-dozen brief clicks; a small price to pay.


John Coltrane , tenor sax; Red Garland, piano;Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylor, drums; recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, February 7, 1958


Yet another upgrade, which becomes a more frequent event when you have already built a core collection of records. Previously posted as the UK 1968  Transatlantic reissue. This post is the UK Esquire 1958 pressing – the European Prestige “original”. Soultrane is taken from sessions which also contributed to Coltrane’s Lush Life, late 1950’s Coltrane sheets of sound in the making, my favourite time, before the period of introspection and self-expression revered by many Coltranists.

I chanced to be in a London store  jazz department recently. In conversation with the manager and another customer I passed the comment I wasn’t very keen on Coltrane’s later work. Oh dear.  You said what? Ground swallow me up, the man who passed wind in front of the Pope! You don’t like Coltranes greatest work? Err well I quite like it, that is, quite a lot, err, yes I do, only not as much as..err..! This conversation is not going to go anywhere I want to be. Some things are better not said, but just to prove I am not alone – a comment on another blog:

“…I like very much the way John play music before his Impulse years; surely is a matter of taste, but when he enter in such “spiritual” style, it is boring for me.”   Jose Juan

Vinyl: Esquire 32-089 UK release of Prestige 7142 (below)

An autographed copy of the US release of Soultrane recently fetched $600. I bet no-one asked for a discount because of “writing on the cover”

An upgrade from my previous late 60’s UK Transatlantic copy. On previous experience the Esquire originals sound a lot better than later reissues.The Esquire has a  Ralph Steadman steam train cartoon alternative cover which is pretty ghastly, only about 100 years adrift in his idea of a train in 1958, not made up for by “JC” on the tender. But we were not alone. Perhaps Sven from Sveden or his mates have a Metronome cover variation?

Here (right) is the French Barclay Prestige release. A different cover but at least one with serious musical intent.

I hate to say it but the French is to my eye the best of the covers. No twee pun on trains, though that may be because, as usual, the trains in France were en greve – on strike – a too common everyday French word.

RVG presence in the run-out of the US and European releases.


Collectors Corner

Source:  eBay                                                                                                               Seller Description                                                                                                        “The front laminated cover is in very good condition with some rubbing on the edges and some ring wear and minor lifting of the laminate. The rear non laminated cover is in excellent condition with a little laminate lifting one the bottom flip back, but without any writing. The flip backs are completely intact. The spine has a little rubbing in a few areas.

The inner sleeve is in very good condition with a cut through on one side.   Side 1 label is in excellent condition with possibly one or two spindle marks. Side 2 label is in excellent condition with possibly one or two spindle marks.

Visually, Side 1 has two surface marks on Track Two which produces a short segment of crackles and pops, but these only last for a few seconds each. The rest of this side plays in at least excellent condition with no loud pops, crackles or distortion, Visually, Side 2 has no surface marks and this side plays in at least excellent condition with no loud pops, crackles or distortion.

The record has been listened to via headphones to achieve an accurate grade.”


Well I had to read it all, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t. The words “too much information” come to mind, but really, it is to be commended. Compare that with “Sounds great!” which I read on a description today. I’ll decide whether it sounds great or not. Just tell me about the condition.

The surface marks on track two do sound briefly, about eight revs was my impression. However the rest of the record is remarkably clean and in EX condition. The single scuff must have put off the high-end buyers, as it was won for a very frugal sum, considering I have chased and lost this at four to five times that previously. Condition is everything.

Not a few auctions in Popsike claim the record is “RARE”. Well Popsike lists no less than 290 auctions of this record, more than I have seen previously for any record I have ever looked at apart from Kind of Blue. It is BLOODY COMMON, not RARE!.


Postscript  April 7, 2014

Esmond Edwards: mystery in black and white

LJC reader Alan has discovered a variation in the original Prestige  cover of PRLP 7142 Soultrane, where the designer credit on the front cover appears in white text and black text.


Popsike confirms the cover variation exists, however among the hundreds of copies shown, the black text outnumbers the white text version by at least  ten to one, possibly more, so the white text is more “rare”.

Esmond-Edwards-in-black-and-white-PopsikeDottorJazz has shared pictures of his original pressing, for the good doctor is a true First Pressing Fundamentalist and swears on a stack of mint Mobley 1568’s that his is the original, which has the black text cover credit.

Soultrane-dottorjazz-coverAnd the labels, 1st issue on Bergenfield. Note the Abbey Mfg inner pressing ring on Side 2.

PRLP7142-Soultrane-Labels-DottorJazz-1800It seems the black text has it, but we can not rule out

6 thoughts on “John Coltrane Soultrane (1958) Esquire

  1. LJC
    Regarding your comment about not caring as much for Coletrane’s later work: Back in 1963, I went to a jazz festival which had Coletrane as the final performer. He led off with an endless, and poorly-played “My Favorite Things”. Most people, myself included, did not stick around to hear anything else.
    Several years later, I found a copy of “The Best Of Coletrane”, Containing “My Favorite Things”. I use it to show people what he could sound like at his worst.

  2. Back cover has got liner notes in english. I think they reprinted the original liner notes and did not change the layout, Even has got the ” For free cataloguesend to prestige records Inc., 203 SO. Washington Ave ……. ” in the right bottom corner. Only difference is the typical european folding of the cover and a very very small hint “Printed in Denmark” in the left bottom corner of the sleeve. Sound quality in my opinion is superb has got PRLP… etched and RVG printed in the dead wax.

  3. That is one of the worst covers I have ever seen on any record, let alone in the jazz idiom. Still, nice press of some nice musics.

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