Note: this is a Division of United Artists cover, not the original Blue Note cover
Selection: Oscalypso (Pettiford) Blue Note 47 West 63rd, RVG mastered
Curtis Fuller (trb) Hank Mobley (ts) Bobby Timmons (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Taylor (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, June 16, 1957
“Curtis has buckets and buckets and tons of soul. He has wonderful natural qualities and is bound to mature into a very important voice.”
Fuller, longer. And it’s not just a Fuller album, it’s a Mobley album! And as a bonus you have Bobby Timmons on piano. Trebles all round!
We will do the obligatory comparethepressing comparison. For anyone who still wants proof about the gap between originals and reissues, here is a rip of the Division of United Artists remastering and pressing dated from 1970-3. I actually thought this was a brilliant pressing at the time, but then I had never heard the original for comparison:
Oscalypso: Division of United Artists reissue early Seventies, not Van Gelder
I deliberately don’t alter the USB tt settings between rips, to get the nearest like for like comparison. The reissue is outed as much quieter – these 47 West 63rd originals are so feisty! – but even if you pump up the volume, the spark is missing. I don’t know why but the explanation is secondary to the experience.
I thought it would also be interesting to contrast the original composer’s conception – Oscar Pettiford’s own recording of his composition Oscalypso for Bethlehem in 1955, to compare what Fuller and Mobley made of it in their cover of the composition two years later.
Selection: Oscalypso (Oscar Pettiford Vol 2, Bethlehem – Brookmeyer, Gryce, Byrd, et al 1955, Decca pressing for London Records)
Love the tune, love them both, but so different. Pettiford compositions have extraordinary force – Bohemia After Dark is another classic.
BLP 1567 original 1957 Blue Note vinyl pressing – 47 West 63rd labels no Inc or R, deep groove, RVG and ear.
Francis Wolff’s great photos include the shot that made it to the cover, illustrating how Reid Miles interpreted it. Neither Fuller not Mobley appear to be smoking so suspicion falls on Wolff adding it for dramatic effect Reid’s choice of font for the title in red is quite startling. I am certain the laminated original cover is a true beauty.
Note this is the back of a Division of United Artists reissue, a copy of the original but without the Blue Note address.
Source: A sorry tale.
BLP 1567 The Opener was the subject of a previous post back in September 2011, based on my Division of United Artists reissue from the early Seventies. At the time I noted there was an original copy of 1567 on the wall of a west London record shop, for many hundreds of pounds which I eyed enviously but at several multiples of my house limit, I concluded it was never going to be mine. But a sequence of events has unfolded in the intervening two years, which has lead to an wholly unexpected outcome.
In an act of extraordinary selfishness, a thief lifted the original cover from the wall of the record shop, along with a couple of others, and made off with it, leaving the record store with a very desirable vinyl but without its’ vintage cover, for all practical purposes, worth a fraction of its true value. The cover on its own is not worth anything financially to the thief, merely a passing decorative amusement.
Worse, by separating vinyl from cover, the thief reduced the world’s supply of a very rare artefact by one. It is like killing one of the few surviving creatures of a rare species. Original Blue Notes in the 1500 series are rare as hens teeth, and in tip top condition, rarer still. The Opener catalogue number is easy to remember as it was immediately followed by Hank Mobley’s 1568, the most valuable Blue Note of all time, due to the very small pressing runs at that time. This was a crime against the record collecting community, who are deprived of the opportunity to own a copy of BLP 1567. Even when a collector takes one out of circulation, it may eventually go back into circulation, but not this – the vinyl and cover have been fatally separated.
In an act of selfless generosity on the part of the shop manager Mr T, last week I was given an opportunity to adopt the vinyl and give it a good home.
It likes being played but what it really wants is to be reunited with its cover. All stealing is wrong but this is more wrong. If you know of anyone with an original cover of Curtis Fuller’s The Opener on their wall (and no vinyl), please, spit in their face, they deserve nothing less.
I offer a small reward for its recovery, but I am not optimistic.