Selection: Creepin’ In (Silver)
Kenny Dorham (trumpet) Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone) Horace Silver (piano) Doug Watkins (bass) Art Blakey (drums) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, November 13, 1954 and February 6, 1955
Young Mobley! Hesitant, not yet swaggering, but meaty tone, an early flowering of what was to come, fully two years before the mythic Blue Note 1568 Hank Mobley. Kenny Dorham, double or triple-tonguing, “running trumpet” lines weaving through the charts. Blakey ever-present. I think this is a Jazz Messengers album, not a Horace Silver album. Secretly, strictly entre-nous, I think of it as a Hank Mobley album. There , I have said it. When you think of the price premium commanded by BN 1560 and BN 1568, BN 1518 is a hidden gem. Mobley!
Vinyl: BLP 1518, 47W63rd INC and ®, mono, deep groove
Released initially in 1956 on the Lexington label, here a third pressing with 47 West 63rd label with “Inc” and ®, and deep groove both sides, likely manufacture 1961-2. Hand-etched RVG initials and “9M” indicate original Van Gelder metalwork, so sounds like an original, if not actually the original.
About the cover. Umm, it is one of the worst condition in my Blue Note collection. Dog-eared corners, storage water stains. Seam splits are bearable, sellotape repairs less so. However it is an old-stock cover from inventory, as the address is pre-incorporation, Blue Note Records (no INC). This implies there was at least one earlier second pressing, before incorporation, and after Lexington, using this batch of covers.
The other interesting thing is the absence of the large catalogue number top right on the liner notes, simply “HIGH FIDELITY”. Early days in the 1500 series, the later regular format had not yet been established.
One step up from “no cover” is the cover you don’t display in polite company. Sometimes the sad condition of the cover belies the quality of the music within. The cover generated a considerable price discount, especially when you consider the line up. It is scarcity, and condition quality of scarce vintage that drives price and collector frenzy. Records are rarely priced on the quality of the music within – that is too much a personal distinction.
I am not knocking it, I have the pleasure of a small number of scarce vintage originals. But I have a more measured view. I’ll sacrifice the cover to get original quality vintage vinyl.
These early 1500 series Blue Notes have enormous price disparity, between “originals” and second or later pressings. This is not an original press, it is a second or later pressing, using original derived stampers. Would I like an original? You bet. Do I lose sleep over the cover or vinyl? Not really. I have a few original Blue Note vinyl housed in Liberty jackets, or Japanese jackets. Would I go for an original vinyl? Probably not. I put this on the turntable and Mobley has me smiling instantly, I marvel at Dorham’s fleet running trumpet lines. I don’t believe it would sound much different on a vinyl a few years older, but expensive to find out.
I love this configuration of the Jazz Messengers – Dorham – Mobley – Silver, supported by Watkins and Mr Blakey, on real Blue Note vinyl , if not a first. I think, sound comes first.
Any one out there has copies of this great record with different vinyl trimmings, tell us about it.
Mattyman’s HS “autographed” cover:
Genuine Horace Silver signature, as printed on the back cover of The Cape Verdean Blues, below
Problem is, anyone with a copy of The Cape Verdean Blues has a specimen signature to work from, and an incentive, because they know they can make it look like it is genuine. Or it could be genuine. The dot over the “i” is offset in the same manner in the saluation, and the capital “S” identical in Sincerely and in Silver. Where and when was it signed? It is written with a fountain pen and ink. In recent decades most people carry a ball point pen not a fountain pen, especially going to a concert. Would you hand Horace a fountain pen at a gig? The “Sincerely” replicates the capital “S” exactly as in Silver: is it trying too hard?
And (spit) no INC or R labels.
Nice label shots, Mattyman.