US Riverside label

The LJC Definitive Visual Reference Guide to the Riverside Records Jazz Label

(Comprehensively updated June 2014)

Catalog_Riverside-1956-1957rRiverside recordings – crucial performances of Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans Trio, Cannonball Adderley and a host of others – were released in the US on both the Riverside label and Grauer’s alternative, Jazzland label. The Riverside catalog of jazz is a rich heritage: “Records For The Discriminating Listener”.

RIVERSIDE LABEL HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

Between the foundation of the Riverside label in 1953 and its disappearance into the Fantasy Records conglomerate in 1972, these labels trace the evolution of the Riverside catalogue, enabling you to pinpoint the original status of any pressing.

Riverside-Label-Overview-2

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!

Monk’s masterpiece, RLP 242 Monk’s Music, which includes the intensely moving straight rendition of “Abide With Me” ( what I want played as they shuffle me off!) is found on almost every label variation, though I couldn’t find a large blue/silver without “INC” but I’m sure it’s out there. Plus there are countless European pressings, Japanese, modern audiophile, that’s why you should always read the label. Very few sellers understand the significance of label size and presence of the “INC”, and seem to think “deep groove = original!”.

RLP-12-242-ALWAYS-READ-THE-LABEL-1800--LJC

Here follows the LJC Comprehensive Visual Reference Guide to Riverside pressing identification, which is illustrated with  real-world pictures every step of the way. You don’t have to take my word for anything, see for yourself. I have almost none of these US Riversides myself, my copies are almost entirely Interdisk UK pressings,  so all the pictures here are scraped off the net, but selected with an informed eye, and retouched by LJC. The quality of label-pictures on the internet ranges from bad to worse, with the occasional gem, so not every release is covered, but particular attention is paid to labelography at changeover points. The variation in the shade of blue is of no significance: blue is highly affected by yellow tungsten room lighting which pulls blue towards cyan, and by incorrect exposure. Riverside are mostly the same colour blue in real life, just not in photographs.

Enjoy, and remember, always read the label (and that cover address)

RIVERSIDE COVER ADDRESS

Three addresses are found at the foot of the back cover, shown chronologically below.

Riverside-Addresses-3-1000-LJC

If the cover is an “original” matching the record, it should match as regards the presence or absence of “INC” after “Bill Grauer Productions” and the address match the catalogue number as indicated. Print-runs of covers may or may not have matched pressing runs of vinyl so they may not match exactly, for other reasons.

The 235 West address later was set in one long horizontal line

Riverside-address-one-line

1. RIVERSIDE (1955-6) WHITE LABEL RLP 12-201 to 242

The first early US Riverside RLP 12-200 series label:  white label/ pastel grey logo box and twin reels; deep groove; mono:

RLP-12-201-final-dott-jazz-1000

Photo courtesy of Dottor Jazz

 At some point the pastel grey changes to a pastel blue. LJC reader Diego had the good fortune to acquire this lovely example recently, and was kind enough to share it. Great record, Monk solo is an opportunity to hear the orchestra in his head, wonderful.

Riverside-white-US-first-label-Diego-1000

Photo courtesy of Diego

All the samples found on the net shown below differ slightly (series incomplete, some not found) , even allowing for variation in the photographer’s white balance. There are indications the grey variation is the early catalogue numbers and pastel blue the later in the series. Any record  RLP 201 – 242 on blue/ silver label is a second or later pressing.

(click to view full screen)

RIVERSIDE-12-SERIES-201-242WHITE-LABEL-1800-LJC

First Pressing checklist

White label: catalog numbers RLP 12-201 to 242 inclusive
Label logo: two colour variants of twin reels-mic-logo
1) white label/pastel grey logo: 12-201 to 217
2) white label /light blue logo: 12-218 to 242
 Deep Groove: always present
Bill Grauer Productions “Inc”: never found, on either cover or label
Cover address, two variants:
1) 418 West 49: 12-201 to 228

  2) 553 West 51: 12-229 to 242

2. BLUE/SILVER TEXT TWIN REELS & MIC LABEL (1957-64)

Probably the main cause of Riverside confusion is the fact that the “familiar” and long-running blue label/ silver text “twin reels and mic” label is not quite as “familiar” as people think. It comes in two sizes – 92mm and 100mm – a difference that is not immediately obvious unless you are aware of it and know what to look for. Different size labels were used over a number of years, hence a later re-press will often be found on the “wrong” size label in use at that later date.

One variation, referred to as the “large label” is 100 mm diameter (100mm is the “normal” size of all other record labels) ,the other variation a smaller size label (92mm diameter). The two sizes are illustrated in  below, to comparable scale. For ease of recognition, on the small label the deep groove cuts through the mic, and on the 100mm “large” label the pressing die mark is below the mic .

10cm-rule-RIVERSIDE-LITTLE-and-LARGE-FINAL-LJC-1800px

Why the small diameter label? The purpose of the reduced size of label is unclear but may well relate to the Research Craft patent-protected raised vinyl profile design (conically  elevated “gruve-guard”) which supposedly protects grooves when records were  stacked in an autochanger..

To establish the provenance of a Riverside record, it is necessary to have regard to the catalogue number, which label variation was current on its initial release, the size of the label in front of you, and the presence or otherwise of the abbreviation “INC” after the name Bill Grauer Productions at the foot of the label.

Chronologically, three variations of the blue/silver twin-reels and mic label can be identified as first pressings, as follows:

First variation:  RLP 243 – 271 (1957-58)  large 100mm blue/silver, no INC;

Second variation: RLP 272 – 333 (1958-60) small 92mm blue/silver, no INC;

Third variation: RLP 344 – 476 (1960-64) large 100mm blue/silver, with “INC” (excluding RLP 339 which is an anomalous second variation)

.

First variation:  RLP 12-243 – 271: large 100mm diameter blue/ silver label,

Always deep groove, which cuts below the microphone in the twin reels logo (instead of through its lower half in the small label) . The label extends fully to the trail-off groove. No “INC” after BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS. The presence or absence of “INC”  is the only difference between  the first and third  variation of the blue/silver label.

RLP-12-246--Large-Blue-illustration

Large-Blue-12-243---271-1800-LJC

Note the serif italic “proper” font (upper and lower case) for the record title, distinguished from the sans-serif capitals for artist and track detail. It doesn’t appear on every title – label printing (and pressing) probably divided between east and west coast plants, different printers made different decisions in type-setting.

Second variation:  RLP 272 – 333: small 92mm diameter blue/silver label  (1958-60)

Note the 4mm strip of exposed vinyl land in the label area, between the edge of the small label and the trail-off groove area; also the deep groove cuts through the lower half of the microphone logo instead of below. ( I hereby put a curse on Ebay sellers who do not include a clear photo of the label!)

RLP 12-272 small label

Illustrated, the blue/silver small  92mm diameter label, RLP 272 to 333 inclusive, and to be a first pressing any record in this series must be small 92mm  label, no “INC” and Deep Groove, as found in these samples. Thus far, no overlap has been noted at the cut-off point in Riverside label changes.

Small-Blue-12--272---333-LJC-1800

Third variation  RLP 334 to 476:  large 100mm diameter blue/silver label with “INC”

Effectively the same as the first variation apart from the incorporation “INC”

RLP 12-338A Large Blue with INC

The return of the large 100mm blue silver label in 1960 is marked by the appearance for the first time of “INC” as “Bill Grauer Productions Inc”, following the incorporation of the company. It is found on first releases from  RLP 12-334 and higher.The presence of “INC” on a blue/ silver label of any title RLP 201 – 334 indicates a later reissue.

RIVERSIDE-334-476-INC-1800-LJC-SMALL-MULTIPLES

RLP 339 anomaly

There is one anomaly in the “+INC” 334-476 series, RLP 12-339. Whilst the “INC” suffix is well established in production, RLP 339 surfaces in various forms with and without INC:

RLP-12-338-339-anomaly-340

RLP 339:  a window on the world of vinyl manufacture. The differences in fonts and typesetting illustrates disparate manufacturing plants  printing labels locally, using different pressing dies at different times.

Beyond this point records are variously deep groove or non-deep groove, according to the pressing plant responsible and the dies in use at that time. The deep groove pressing die was largely phased out of use in the very early ’60s

3. Riverside Pressing Plants

Riverside would appear to have followed the majors in using pressing plants located closer to markets in order to cut distribution costs. Pressing plants appear to have mastered locally from copy tape  (run-out etchings and groove width settings differ between issues), with a result that theoretically they may sound different, though that difference would be unlikely something anyone was aware of at the time.

Example: two copies of RLP 226, one pressed by Research Craft L.A. on the west coast, the other by Abbey Manufacturing N.J. for the east coast. The labels are both 92mm small, the recording is the same, yet the groove cutting and trail-off area are completely different sizes, indicating mastering with different local lathe cutting settings.

riverside-us-ny-ab-LA-researchcraft-1800-LJC

4. RIVERSIDE STEREO
RLP 12-9383

Commencing in 1959, as rival labels also began experimenting with stereo,  Riverside began to issue stereo editions, starting by reissuing earlier recordings from the RLP 12-200 series, the first being RLP 242 Monk’s Music issued in stereo as S 1102.

The 1100 series was only a selection of the RLP 12-200 catalogue of titles, and around RLP 12-330, in 1960, the stereo catalogue number switches to the 9300 series, which then mimics the RLP number with an added “9” prefix i.e. RLP 330 = RLP 9330. There are a few overlaps at the start, following which the parallel numbering system is maintained through to the end of series RLP 499 which is RLP 9499 Cannonball Adderley Sextet Live in Belgium. More genever!

Black label twin reels/mic 100mm (large) and 92mm diameter (small) 

10cm-rule-riverside-black-stereo-little-and-large-LJC1800px

For new releases, the black stereo label appears to follow the rules set out for the blue/silver equivalent, given that many titles were released in both formats at around the same time. Here you see the second blue/ silver variation, the small 92 mm label, paired with its twin stereo release, also small 92 mm label.

RLP--12-242-and-1102-stereo-small-label-sisde-by-side

Another example, this time the third variation on the blue/silver label  – large 100mm diameter,  each with INC, a matching pair.

RLP-12-305---9305-side-by-side

Note that in the course of the 12-200 series, somewhere around RLP 440 (in 1963)  the “RLP” catalogue naming convention adapts to the presence of both mono and stereo editions , with new titles issued as either RM XXX (Riverside Mono) or RS 9XXX  (Riverside Stereo). RM however appears on a few earlier titles, the RLP designation remains persistent and in use for reissues, and even appears on the early  stereo  editions. There is probably an explanation, though I am not sure signifies anything of importance.

Stereo Quality

Stereo was seen as the next big thing – and Riverside’s unique proposition was a response to “hard panning” – the phantom speaker.

Riverside-Stereo-phantom-speaker---RLP-1136-Stereo-Liner

The production quality of Riverside’s early stereo engineering is similar to early stereo with many other labels – generally quite primitive with characteristic hard panning left right and centre, quite unlike the silky smooth soundstage achieved by Contemporary (Roy du Nann) and Columbia (Fred Plaut). The main exceptions are Bill Evans Trio and Thelonious Monk solo piano, which positively demand  listening in stereo. For the rest, it is more a matter of personal preference.

Fortunately, Riverside did not go the road of pseudo (fake) stereo through channel delays,  high and low pass filters and addition of reverb, as will be found on some labels. None to my knowledge are electronically rechanneled for stereo, (but as always with the internet, someone will go the extra mile to prove me wrong. Hey LJC, you’re wrong there…They like to do it)

5. Late flowering (1965-6) Riverside’s Plain Label

In the run up to the sale of Riverside to Orpheum Productions, a new label appears, with a simple text design, without the twin reels & mic traditional logo. It is possible that there were legal issues over the ownership of the logo and these were a “dress rehearsal” for Orpheum.The choice of a narrow serif font for the company name is odd. (Odd design choices can often be traced to one of two sources – the lawyers, or someone’s girlfriend fancies themselves as a “graphic designer”)

RLP-9433-DParks-Riverside-1965-6-plain-label-1000

Only a few titles appear with this livery, all are stereo, and the label printers type-setting choices between upper and lower case for artist and title appear arbitrary, no discipline or house style.

RIVERSIDE-1965-6-plain-blue-label

6.Riverside – Orpheum Productions  (1966-8)  

Riverside’s catalogue was sold to an investment group in 1966, who proceeded to reissue many important titles, and some new releases, abandoning the twin reels &mic logo and replacing it with a simple text design and the legend “Orpheum Productions” The mono editions adopted the “RM” catalogue designation, and stereo as “RS” and reissues are identified by their original Riverside catalogue number.

6.1 Orpheum Stereo – Blue green , white font

6.2 Blue Green, Silver font. Note the mono catalog number RM on the label but “stereo” in deadwax , “9M” or more likely intended to be “RM” (as per the label)  at 2 o’clock; initials “PC”.

RIVERSIDE-ORPHEUM-STEREO-DARK-TURQUIOSE-1000

6.3 Orpheum Stereo – Blue

Just when you have the Blue-Green figured, along comes a traditional Riverside blue from Orpheum.

US-RIVERSIDE-ORPHEUM-STEREO-BLUE-800

Orpheum pressings are sonically very close to original Riverside pressings, probably taken from the same acquired masters and possibly even same pressing plant. A brief flowering of quality not to be overlooked, much as the Blue Note Liberty/ NY pressings.

riverside red photo 1000

(Photo courtesy of Gordon)

More Orpheum madness, black label, also courtesy of Gordon. Whilst in record labels black was often used to signify stereo editions, there seems no logic for the colour selection here. Perhaps how the designer was feeling that day?

Riverside-Black-label-Gordon-Todd-FullSizeRender-LJC

7 ABC RIVERSIDE

Riverside’s catalogue was leased by the giant ABC Records, owners of the Impulse imprint, before everything was sold on to Fantasy in the early ’70s.

 Black / Orange ring mono US (1968-72) “Distributed by ABC Records Inc”

(photo courtesy of Cristian)

ABC/ RIVERSIDE – Stereo – Black/Orange Ring =- Bell Sound pressing

Russel sextet Riverside stereo s1 1000 LJC

Pressing by Bell Sound, NYC  (engineer “sf” – Sam Feldman)

Riverside-Bell-Sound-stamp

Note the “new” Riverside logo italic script style “R” – mostly these are poor quality reissues from here on, though some are quite accepable. Changing times and nose-diving pressing quality tears the heart out of subsequent Riverside releases. At this point I believe CD offers a more satisfactory listening experience, if you are unable to source an earlier twin reels/mic white or blue label copy.

RIVERSIDE US and GB  PATENT ETCHINGs

“Research Craft”‘s US and GB patent stamp (above) explained

“These GB/US patents found on some US Riverside pressings were held by one Allan R.Ellsworth. Ellsworth was President of a Los Angeles pressing plant Research Craft Co. It is likely that Research Craft pressed LP’s showing these patent claims”

The Patent: “When the record is used in an automatic record changer or the like wherein the records are stacked one on the other, there is danger of damaging the sound groove areas when relative motion between the records occurs Furthermore, there may be a danger in injuring the record through contact with a turntable.

It is accordingly one object of this invention to provide an improved form of phonograph record to reduce the hazard of damage to the sound groove area For this purpose, use is made of a phonograph record having a sound groove area of reduced thickness, as compared with other portions of the record In this manner, the delicate area of the record is out of contact with surfaces with which the record may contact, reducing the hazard of damage to the sound groove area.”

In summary, reduced record thickness in the groove area combines with “frusto-conical shape” tapering in the run-off area and label area to create a more flexible record with lower cost. Great! Bye bye Deep Groove!

Descriptive Labelography From JazzCollector, Riverside buff, Michel :

“beginning around 240-241-242 : “white label era” : labels are white with clear blue lettering. Some flat edges.

From 242 to around 270-280 (probable overlappings) : “large blue label era” : the original labels are LARGE blue, the deep groove is not always pronounced. Some of them bear a Pat Pending US and GB for export purposes (after that Fontana pressed directly in England)
.

From 280 to around 330-335 (probable overlappings): “small blue label era”: the original labels are SMALL.

From 330-335 to the end: “new style large blue label era” : back to the LARGE label, BUT, with a more pronounced and squared deep groove.

On some titles, during the end of this period, deep groove COEXISTS with no deep groove. Means that different stampers where used at the same time. 
Anyway, when “large blue labels era” titles were later reissued, they have the small label : those reissue are often taken as original, and they are not. And you can also find “small label era” titles, reissued later with new style large labels DG or not. Cover has often a thinner spine.”

8. MODERN RIVERSIDE  1972+

Into the hands of Fantasy Records, Berkley, California, who later introduced the OJC reissue programme – Original Jazz Classics.

RS 9439 Modern Fantasy

White label and grey logo twin reels and mic, reborne. Here follows the featherweight OJC reissues, all the way through to Analogue Productions “Audiophile” issues.

Summary for Audiophiles

I would direct any audiophile back to vintage Riverside pressings. Bill Grauer was a businessman, not an audiophile. Riverside US pressings can be ropey, prone to surface noise even when the vinyl looks clean. It is not an “audiophile-grade” label in the same way as Blue Note, Prestige, Contemporary and Impulse. Early stereo is best avoided, with a preference for mono, and Fantasy/OJC not recommended.

The music on Riverside is historically and musically important (Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, many other), but manufacturing fell hostage to cost-avoiding practices. In those days, perhaps nobody knew. Now, we do.

No bias here, but ’60s UK/European Interdisk Riverside releases, pressed initially by Decca, then later by Philips, can be a more satisfactory alternative to US pressings. Riverside and its fellow label Jazzland are one of the few cases where  original US pressings are not preferable.

Next: Riverside UK/European Labels

165 thoughts on “US Riverside label

  1. unsolved question about address: I bought 12-290 today, Benny Golson the other side of BG, blue, small, no INC on label, everything correct but: on cover 236 West 46th Street. it’s the second time I found this address instead of 235 West. any thought?

  2. Hi I’d like to point out what I think is a typo- on the section where you describe the three phases of the blue label you write that the second phase ends w #333. Then you write the third phase begins with 344. I think you prolly meant to write “334” otherwise there are ten titles missing!
    Also a huge thank you for the info in this article. No one I speak to knows this stuff still!

  3. Hello all. I recently bought Johnny Griffin’s ‘Way Out!’ album, RLP 12-274. The record’s label is a large 100mm diameter blue/ silver label, with ‘Bill Grauer Productions’ at the bottom, followed by ‘New York City’. Yet, the album cover has ‘Bill Grauer Productions, Inc.’ with a 553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.’ address. The album was released in 1958 but the album and the actual record contradicts itself. Naturally the pictorial guide above doesn’t include this title. Any ideas, insight would be welcomed!

    • Large blue label with no “INC” after ‘Bill Grauer Productions’ at the bottom? Dottorjazz is correct, the small blue label started at 12-272 but I have seen some anomalies around the crossover points between Riverside label designs, left over labels maybe? Can you post a picture?

    • jazzdrummer1
      I can’t offer any insight, just another contradicting example: Bill Evans At the Village Vanguard. What prompted me to investigate was a drill-through the cover…and the record itself right through the 100mm deep-groove label. Common on 45″s but LP’s? Anyway I noticed for the first time that while the cover read alternately RLP 376 or just 376 the catalog number on the label was RM 376, way before RM was used on RM 440. Very little info can be found regarding Riverside matrix numbers. To further confuse things this LP has 12-376 A-1 and 12-376 B1 in the runout. “INC” is present on the labels as does the jacket. The research on this page is remarkable if not exhaustive, and yet I still have no idea on which pressing I have.
      Were you able to learn more about your Johnny Griffin?

      • A Riverside album with an earlier printed RLP cover slick with a later RM labeled record inside is not unheard of. By the time Sunday At The Village Vanguard (376) was released, “INC” on the cover and label had been is use for awhile.

        • Thanks Aaron. The article says that even though the RM designation began at 440 or thereabouts, it did appear on earlier releases, Huh? I believe jazzdrummer1 and I will never find definitive answers. Also, no way to ask this without showing my ignorance, but you referred to the cover slick. My copy has a textured jacket. I always thought a slickie meant just that, a slick cover. Am I wrong?

      • The joys of record collecting. I looked online at other copies of ‘originals’, and interestingly, they all had the normal label on the vinyl itself. I haven’t been able to find a copy online that matches mine. Someone had mentioned that mine may be one of the first copies due to this ‘defect’. I need to make a more dedicated post on it, maybe somebody can eventually help. Your album sounds pretty mysterious too. Do you know what country it was pressed in?

        • It was pressed in the U.S. It really sounds like “anything goes” was Riverside’s creed. I hope you find an answer. It seems as if there are just too many possibilities to explain your conundrum. I’ll never look at a Riverside record the same, anymore.
          I have more confidence (competence?) in determining the vintage of my Blue Note and Prestige pressings.
          Post again if you get the answer to yours.

  4. I recently ran across three “jukebox EPs” on Riverside, collecting three tunes from Monk’s “…at the Blackhawk” LP, and I can find absolutely nothing about them online. The discs are 33 RPM, but cut to the 7-inch 45 RPM size standard. Generic Mercury 45 RPM sleeves. Matrix numbers are 2005, 2008, and 2009. I’ve even got the jukebox strips/labels for each disc! For what it’s worth, they all feature the black/silver Riverside label. Are you aware of these? Can you shed any light on what I have? I’d post a photo if I could.

    • Whoops — meant to add that the tunes featured on my three discs are “Worry Later,” “Round Midnight,” and “Let’s call This.” Thanks!

    • Compact-33 Little LPs (Juke Box EPs)
      I knew nothing about them previously but a little search tells me they first appeared around 1962 and were developed for the Seeburg Juke Box. Seeburg signed many labels including several with a jazz focus – ABC-Paramount, Impulse, and Jazzland/Riverside. These Juke box Little LPs continued in production until around 1969.

      The full story is found on bsn-pubs:
      http://www.bsnpubs.com/stereoproject/llps.html

      • Thanks so much for that info and link. It allowed me to fill in a few data gaps and find more information on the 45cat page, which suggests that what I’ve got is actually from the first era of the “33 single,” when Riverside issued a number of their jazz LPs in multi-single format at 33 RPM. 1961. Big flop. I guess mine were purchased/resold at some point by a jukebox distributor, which accounts for the juke tags. Anyhow, many thanks again, and happy listening! Would you have any interest in photos of these discs for your archives? Seems like a type of Riverside label your encyclopedia is lacking. http://www.45cat.com/record/2009

  5. I have found another cover address variation: w 51st with inc. the cover is laminated and for #279. The disk is a small label, grooved press. This follows dottorjazz’ 6/17/14 post. Now i need to go back and check my others to see where inc. starts on covers. Let me know if you need a photo.

    • I have copies of 201, 209, 223, 269, 286 and 305 that have jackets with the “51st with inc.” address. The labels for these are a pretty even mix of the 1st blue label with no “INC” and the second, small blue label.

      • 201,209,223 with 51st +inc jacket = probably later manufacture

        269, 286, 305 with 51st +inc jacket I can’t explain unless

        • there was a transitional period, where 51st address jacket appears both with and without inc.

        • two (or more) print/packaging suppliers, one of which was using a different boilerplate from an earlier time

        • or, I’ve completely lost it. Answers on a postcard.

        • Correct, 201, 209 & 223 are later, pre-1960 blue label pressings.

          The others are original as far as I can tell:
          269 has the 1st blue label w/ no “INC”
          286 & 305 have the small blue label (w/ no “INC”)

          If you still need a picture I can send one over.

  6. “Fortunately, Riverside did not go the road of pseudo (fake) stereo through channel delays, high and low pass filters and addition of reverb, as will be found on some labels. None to my knowledge are electronically rechanneled for stereo”

    I have a ’71 Polydor KK Japanese press of Brilliant Corners that is fake stereo. Ugh.

    • Didn’t know they sent a tape of the fake stereo Brilliant Corners overseas but without listening one would have no idea as I’ve been told the tape box was marked as “stereo” with a stereo catalog number. Brilliant Corners is the only fake stereo Riverside I’m aware of.

    • 31 Interdisc UK Riversides, a mixture of Philips and Decca pressings, and all but one are mono. The one and only stereo is true stereo. I have 11 US Stereo Riversides, and they are all genuine stereo, some horrible hard panning. A handful of Japanese Riversides, all vintage Victor pressings, the stereos are all genuine.

      I know only what I have, and I have yet to come across a fake stereo, but I understand Brilliant Corners is an exception.

      Steve Hoffman: “Note that “Corners” was issued in FAKE stereo in the 1960’s. It always throws the tape vault guys because it was assigned a legit “1100” series number just like “Monk’s Music”. However, no stereo or binaural exists and no stereo recording was attempted of this great album”

      • Sorry, I am just not sure how to add picture of the label here. I have a Japanese Riverside of Waltz for Debby, Full House and Moon Beans – all blue label, silver logo, stereo, with deep groove. Glossy cover. “made and sold by FONTANA RECORDS under rights from INTERDISC S. A” on back of cover. I am curious to know what year these pressings may be, and how Riverside and Fontana were related. Thanks!

        • You can email me a picture as a simple file attachment (to the address given under “CONTACT LJC” in the banner) and I can post it up here so everyone can see. The alternative is to upload it to a location on the Internet and include the url in your comment here on LJC.

          Japanese Riverside were pressed as far as I know by Victor Japan. Never seen them produce a deep groove record – those kind of pressing dies never existed in 70s or 80s Japan.

          Riverside US recordings were licensed for release in Europe through Interdisc – the S.A. is société anonyme – (like Ltd or Inc). In the UK the Interdisc licensing was with Decca initially, then moved to Philips. Philips owned the Fontana record label.

          To get the recordings licensed for release in Japan, looks like the was a deal through Philips/Fontana rather than the US direct. That’s as much as I know.

  7. I just noticed this strange label on a closed auction for Bill Evans Explorations. It’s a blue reel & mic label with four silver lines on the right side (odd but I’ve seen it before) but the stranger things are:

    1) “Monophonic” on the top of the label (US copies never designated this)
    2) The title in a thin serif front (like the first blue label)
    3) Lacking the “INC” after “Bill Grauer Productions” on the bottom (like the first two blue labels)
    4) Really strange stamped label profile shape.

    Anyone have any ideas about this label? I have doubts is a US pressing.

    • Oddly enough, someone recently sent me a picture of the same Evan’s title, with the same label. The Riverside label design with the horizontal bars is not  a normal Riverside design.  “Monophonic” – There was a time everything was mono, so it was never mentioned. It only became relevant after Stereo was introduced. The lack of “INC.” points to pre-incorporation ’50s. I have seen that “deep groove” central pressing die groove only on British Joy Records. Beyond that I am at a loss.

      I have seen a lot of anomalies over the years – like records produced only for distribution to American forces stationed in Europe for their radio stations, overseas editions, just anomalies, you never know why it is how it is. The fact it is so unusual, never before seen, itself tells you it has a story. But I have no idea what it is.

      The etchings would may be tell us more

  8. Hello,

    Could you help me, please? I’m looking for a track listing for an LP called ‘Early And Rare’ on Riverside.

    Thank you,

    David Wilcox

    • Here you are:

      RLP 12 134 – Early And Rare: Classic Jazz Collectors Items – Fats Waller, Ma Rainey, Jelly Roll Morton, Jefferson &
      Scott Joplin [1960] Honky Tonk Train Blues – Meade Lux Lewis/Wringin’ And Twistin’ – Ma Rainey/Mojo Blues –
      Tommy Ladnier/More Motion – Cripple Clarence Lofton/Mr. Conductor Man – Big Bill Broonzy/Maple Leaf Rag –
      Scott Joplin/King Porter Stomp – Jelly Roll Morton/Trixie Blues – Fats Waller/Jack O’ Diamond Blues – Blind Lemon
      Jefferson/Screenin’ The Blues – Ike Rodgers/Everybody’s Doin’ The Charleston Now – Joe Smith & Trixie
      Smith/Trenches – Turner Parrish

      Source: http://www.bsnpubs.com/new/riverside.pdf

      • P.S. – The source I usually rely on is jazzdisco.org. It offers personnel and recording dates, but in this particular case is incomplete (only five tracks listed).

  9. The white label must have been used until later than 1956 since the album “The sound of sonny” for instance, is from 1957, if I’m not mistaken. This is probably a period of transition where you can find first pressings both with white labels and blue ones with no “inc” and small sized deep groove.

  10. I have a Louis Armstrong “Plays The Blues” 10″ 33 1/3 with address on the back of 125 LaSalle Street for Bill Grauer Productions. Any idea if it’s collectable? (RLP1001)

  11. The other part, those Riverside albums between Grauer’s death and the sale to Orpheum, besides being pressed by MGM with their deadwax ‘blocky sideways S’, had their labels typeset by a New York City printer, Pace Press, Inc., which had a relationship to the MGM film studio dating to the 1930’s when they printed those free newsletters that were distributed to Loew’s theatres across the country to those who saw the latest MGM films. That plain ‘RIVERSIDE’ on such labels may’ve been from Pace’s type library. Their printing labels for MGM began with the startup of the record label in early 1947, and lasted a year past the closure of the label’s Bloomfield, NJ plant and transitioning of their East Coast pressings to Keel Mfg. Corp. in Hauppague, NY.

  12. I have just found a LP by Bill Evans – Everybody Digs Bill Evans Riverside 12-291 White / blue label produced in England by Interdisc Recording first published 1960 could you offer me any info on this release as can only find blue/silver label copy’s on internet

    • Riverside European releases licensed through Interdisk used the white label up to RLP 350. In the US the change from Riverside white to blue label occurred much earlier in the catalogue.

      https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/6-riverside/riverside-uk-europe/

      Should have a stamped Decca matrix?

      It is quite common for overseas licensed releases to continue to use older label designs, if the licensee has artwork for the older label but not yet updated with new corporate design. Saw an example of Columbia recently from Canada that was similarly way out of sync.

      Enjoy the Evans. US Riverside pressings were not always strong. Riverside is one of the few labels where I prefer the European issues – Decca and Philips – to the US originals.

  13. Thank you for this! Very informative!

    Please help though!

    I recently found A Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vangaurd RLP 376. On first sight it appears to be a first press, (blue mic logo) but it does not have the weight of an original deep groove. It looks identical to the 3rd picture of 12-339 posted in this article (-DG and +INC). So my question, is this record still OG just pressed at a lame plant that didn’t press DG? Pretty bummed on this, hopefully you have good news!

    • Released late 1961 (Recorded June ’61) – the non-DG with the “sixpence” centre die, I was reliably informed by Bob Dj, is the signature of a Capitol plant. We know Riverside used a variety of plants (Researchcraft, Abbey, others, for geographical distribution) , DG dies were being phased out around 1961, (the first non-DG Blue Notes appeared in 1961) At that point in time, seems it could be one of the “original” release but a geographical variation

      Vinyl weights for my US Riversides average 150 grams, range between 140 and 160 grams.. My copy of the adjacent title 377 is 140 grams. Is it significantly different?

      • Wow thank you for this information. I did weigh the record and all though my scale may not be very accurate it appears to weight around 115g. Very light flimsy pressing. Like I said in my previous post, everything else leads me to believe it is a first press… It is hard to identify the exact pressing because other than the info you have given me, there has never been another like it that has sold to my knowledge. I can send pictures and matrix numbers if that is any help. Thank you!

        • Hi, wow 115gr is very light and flimsy, nearly off the scale, and I too would question it. The only records I have in that territory are Fantasy-derived OJC (one at 95 grams would you believe?) Send me any pictures, lets see what the matrix tells us.

          • I know my scale is not 100% accurate, it is not digital, however I have many DG records and it is significantly lighter. I pulled out some of my OJC/Fantasy and it is almost comparable. I sent quite a few photos over email to you. Hopefully we can get this figured out! Is bootleg in question?

            • I know my scale is not 100% accurate, it is not digital, however I have many DG records and it is significantly lighter. I pulled out some of my OJC/Fantasy and it is almost comparable. I sent quite a few photos over email to you. Hopefully we can get this figured out! Is bootleg in question?

            • Hi Kolbie, thanks for the pix

              The label itself and the back cover don’t suggest anything unusual. The etchings in the runout do give us a few clues.

              The SS engraving is the mark of MGM Records Mfg plant in Bloomfield NJ

              The RI indicates a contract pressing or mastering for Riverside. I’ve seen it a couple of times before, but only on later Orpheum pressings as I recall.

              The matrix codes have a numerical suffixes : A-1 and B-5 With the A side, that conventionally means the engineer doing the mastering scrubbed his first attempt and had a second go with the A side, hence A-1 As for the B side, at face value it took them a lot of attempts to get a satisfactory job, never seen a number high as 5 before. If it doesn’t mean that, I don’t know what the heck it means

              I don’t think this is bootleg territory, I think it is a legit pressing for Riverside, or at least pressed with legit metalware, and whilst 115 grams is very light it is not out of the question. My copy of Bill Evans Interplay RM445 dates from 1962 and is only 120 grams, which is close.
              Vinyl Weights have a normal distribution, and you do occasionally see outliers. More than that I can’t really say.

              Curious if anyone can add any further insights.

              • Wow you nailed it. There is a lot to be learned on this site.

                Just curious, would this hold its value as an original press? or does the fact that it is not DG drop its value significantly? It is still a very enjoyable listen.

                Thanks again, I went to multiple record stores, and you have been the only person who has been able to help.

                • With some LPs released between 1956 and 1961, the deep groove is an absolute requirement to prove original status. Copies without deep groove are second or subsequent presssings manufactured at a later date.

                  However around 1961( the time of this Riverside original release) newer dies which left a simple single step mark, not deep groove, began to replace the older dies, and within a few years the deep groove disappeared altogether

                  Some pressing plants had long used pressing dies of a different character, such as the Capitol “sixpence” impression. I don’t claim to be an authority on US plants, that is what I have picked up from other collectors and sellers in passing.

                  There is a lot of collector sentiment attached to the deep groove and it is difficult to persuade a collector that it is an original if it doesn’t have a deep groove when they think it should. Twenty highest value auctions of 376 on Popsike, most reference Deep Groove, but these caught my eye:

                  “. Label is the original Mic & Reel blue/silver. Note DG more like a ridge on both sides as some were deeper than others” ($400+)

                  “Large BGP label with silver lettering and reel to reel logo, not deep groove.” ($370)

                  I think RLP 376 was pressed at several different plants across the US and it is possible one of them was using non-DG dies. However proving would require much more research, something you might want to do for yourself.

                  UPDATE: What at first I thought was Sterling Sound, the SS stamp, I’ve discovered is in fact the “block S” – some call it an anvil shape – signature of the MGM Record Mfg plant in Bloomfield New Jersey. It’s a characteristic of pressings from that plant that they have a 1¼” diameter ring around the label area approx. ½” from the edge of the spindle hole. That’s why there is no deep groove. The plant closed in 1971, which confirms that your pressing must be ’60s vintage.

  14. Great Article, very informative. Might have scans of some of the missing early white label riversides if interested?

  15. Hoping someone could help me out here. I have two (what I believe to be) early stereo pressings of Wes Montgomery’s “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery”. One copy has deep groove with “Bill Grauer Productions” (no inc) on the bottom; the other has no deep groove with “Bill Grauer Productions Inc.” at the bottom. Another difference i see in the labels and this was not addressed in the text above, is at the bottom of the outline of the deep groove press, underneath the musician’s lineup, it lists the catalog number as (RLP 12-1169 A/B); whereas the non deep groove press lists the catalog number as (RLP 1169 A/B), no “12” prefix. What is the difference?? Is one a reissue possibly??? Neither are 180 gm vinyl. Please help!! Thanks in advance!!

    • Also, forgot to mention, the cover that came with the deep groove lp had the stereo at the top of the front backed in blue and the lp without the deep groove came with a cover where the stereo was backed in white at the top.

      • Good question, not sure of the answer. Around 1960 Riverside dropped the “12” designation of its catalogue numbering sequence, RLP 12 339 being the last 12, RLP 340 continuing without thereafter. However reissues of earlier titles however retained the 12 designation, and possibly the answer, as RLP 1169 is in fact a later reissue of RLP 12 320. May be some confusion at the printers how to number it.

        Riverside US 50’s /’60s vinyl weighs an average of 150 grams (my sample of 15 titles) ranging from 140 – 160 grams, has never been a heavyweight label.

        • Thanks for your response. One other fact that may be an indicator, the deep groove pressing has in the dead wax “RLP 12-1169 A/B” and then in another location it has “16 I”. The non deep groove pressing has in dead wax “RLP 12-1169 A/B2”, the 2 after the A/B being smaller then the rest of the lettering/numbers. I thought it was odd that they would have such a designation after the A/B. Any thoughts??

    • Hi Scott,
      The one with the blue banner on top, DG and no “INC” on the label (should be the small variety) is the original. The other is a letter pressing. Great record btw!

  16. I have a copy of Brilliant Corners. I only have the disk, no jacket, and am having trouble pinning down the date of its issue. The label has the vintage look of the light blue Riverside logo and the light blue reels at the top. Under the box is Bill Grauer Productions in all light blue caps, followed on next link by New York City in smaller black caps. The Record number is RLP 12-226, not the RS of later re-issues. There is no deep groove. The record looks unplayed and the label is immaculate, so i can’t imagine it is from very early. Can anybody help me pinpoint the date of the re-issue?

  17. I was wondering if anyone could help me ID a sealed “Cannonball Adderley Quintet Plus” LP – front cover doesn’t say stereo and at the bottom strip is has 388 in a box followed by riverside. the spine says 388 but here’s the strange part: on the back cover on the top right side in bold black print is RLP 388 and on the top left side in the same print is RS 9388… without opening the record is there anyway to tell if it’s mono or stereo and what year it may have been released???
    thanks!
    -alan

  18. I bought a Zoot Sims Quintet album at a garage sale last weekend. It’s a blue label: RLP 12-228 — Bill Grauer Productions, New York City — Long Playing, Microgrove. On the back of the album reads: RLP 12-228 on the top left corner and on the top right corner Riverside, (underneath that) High Fidelity, (and underneath that) there is a small square; Produced by Bill Grauer Productions, Inc. 235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y. I cant seem to pinpoint based on what you presented above of what pressing the album is. Any input on this album would help. Thanks. 🙂

    • The first pressing of 12-228 has the white label.
      The second is a blue label with no “INC” after Bill Grauer Productions.
      The third is a small blue label with no “INC” after Bill Grauer Productions.
      The fourth a blue label with “INC” after Bill Grauer Productions.

  19. experts’ help needed: I’ve come across the first 300 mono numbers, 12-201 to 499 evaluating some thousands records.
    aside from a few numbers here and there I couldn’t examine, I’ve got no problem until 418.
    questions arise from 419 to 477: deep groove: yes or no?
    I could find:
    dg: 18
    no dg: 16
    dg OR no dg: 17
    unknown: 7
    while all other features match, address, INC, way to write credits, only deep groove escapes yet.
    it’s clear I could’t examine ALL issues so that some I found dg may exist also without.
    what I would like to understand is if it’s possible to establish which is the real first.
    if the answer won’t come outa here, it will be forever lost in the wind.
    let me write this again: there’s NO other site in the Web able to provide such a wonderful amount of info for every passionate collector.
    thanks again Andrew: here I’m at home.

    • I speculate the answer is since Riverside used more than one pressing plant (a west coast plant & an east coast plant) concurrently, some pressings of the same vintage have a DG and some don’t. Neither is first as they were simultaneously made.

  20. Hello, hello. I just picked up two Monk titles on Riverside, Brilliant Corners and Thelonious Himself, and in the process of trying to figure out just what I was buying, I read up on the Riverside label thing to a much greater extent than I ever have before.

    I have an example of something that might refute the claim here that originals from the blue/silver label eras 1 and 2 above all have deep grooves.

    Today I was looking at two copies of Thelonious Himself:

    1. Large blue/silver label with no INC (type 1 above), no deep groove, no INC on back of jacket
    2. Large blue/silver label with INC (type 2 above), “firm” deep groove, INC on jacket

    Additionally, the printing on the back of the jackets was very different, with the back of the record 1 jacket looking much more like the typical early Riverside font/layout scheme. (Also, record 1 had the US/GB patent info in the dead wax but record 2 did not.)

    Record 2 was three times as expensive as record 1, according to the seller, because of the deep groove (and the condition of the jackets), but I think he was mistaken about the vintage of each copy. If it wasn’t for the absence of INC on the record 1 label and jacket, I would have thought it was a later press because of the lack of the deep groove (I am aware that neither record 1 nor 2 is an original press but regardless). What’s more, it appears that a couple people have claimed that there are small blue/silver labels (type 2) with no deep groove. Anyway, I took record 1 for a third of the price and I think I got away with a second pressing instead of a third or fourth.

    So my hypothesis is that the presence or absence of a deep groove does not help to indicate the vintage of a particular blue/silver label copy of a Riverside LP. Thoughts?

    (PS – If it’s of any consolation, the Brilliant Corners copy I just got has all the same indicators as the Thelonious Himself LP but with the “shallow” deep groove.)

    • I got into Riverside last spring and, with a little big help from my friends, I tried to have the light on, as I was in the dark yet.
      RLP 12-226, Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners:
      white /blue label, deep groove, no INC, 418 West 49 address.
      RLP 12-235, Thelonious Monk Himself:
      white/blue label, deep groove, no INC, 553 West 51 address.
      these are the original first pressing.
      for later pressings Riverside combined different features, very difficult to understand: dg or not dg, blue small or large, INC or not. different addresses, from 418 to 553 to 235 West 46.
      I have an extended list from 12-201 to 499 (mono only, as usual, sorry), still incomplete, which I’ll be going to update (when?). I still miss 60/400 numbers.

    • I wouldn’t be too concerned about a deep groove on repressings. Since Riverside became incorporated in 1960 the “INC” on the label is a good rough indicator of when it was made. I had a copy of Clark Terry ‘Serenade To A Bus Seat’ RLP 12-237 on the small blue label (which never had “INC”) but without a deep groove. I would have thought that if it was a small label, it would have to have a deep groove. I sent a picture to Andrew of this Research Craft pressing to use if it would help but since Riverside used a couple different pressing plants concurrently it can be confusing trying to figure which is more original.

  21. I recently bought a stereo copy of Bill Evans, Waltz For Debbie, blue/silver w/reels on top, non deep groove, and it has Bill Graeur Productions Inc. blanked out, or more accurately silvered out on the bottom of the label. I was wondering whether this was merely an oddity or a possible boot copy.

  22. in order to help on white Riverside here the complete list:
    RLP 12-201 Thelonious Monk Plays The Music Of Duke Ellington
    RLP 12-202 Joe Sullivan – New Solos By An Old Master
    RLP 12-203 Get Happy With The Randy Weston Trio
    RLP 12-204 The Mundell Lowe Quartet
    RLP 12-205 Tony Parenti’s Ragtime Band And Ragpickers Trio – Ragtime!
    RLP 12-206 The Voice Of Marty Bell – The Quartet Of Don Elliott
    RLP 12-207 George Lewis – Jazz In The Classic New Orleans Tradition
    RLP 12-208 Guitar Moods By Mundell Lowe
    RLP 12-209 Thelonious Monk – The Unique
    RLP 12-210 Gene Mayl – Dixieland In Hi-Fi
    RLP 12-211 Wild Bill Davison – Sweet And Hot
    RLP 12-212 Ralph Sutton – Piano Solos In The Classic Jazz Tradition
    RLP 12-213 Bob Helm – San Francisco Style
    RLP 12-214 Randy Weston Trio Plus Cecil Payne – With These Hands…
    RLP 12-215 Conrad Janis – Dixieland Jam Session
    RLP 12-216 Sidney Bechet/Albert Nicholas – Creole Reeds
    RLP 12-217 Paul Barbarin/Sharkey Bonano – New Orleans Contrasts
    RLP 12-218 Don Elliott/Rusty Dedrick – New Counterpoint For Six Valves
    RLP 12-219 Mundell Lowe And His Orchestra – New Music Of Alec Wilder
    RLP 12-220 The Bob Corwin Quartet Featuring The Trumpet Of Don Elliott
    RLP 12-221 Matthew Gee All-Stars – Jazz By Gee!
    RLP 12-222 Presenting Ernie Henry
    RLP 12-223 Bill Evans – New Jazz Conceptions
    RLP 12-224 Kenny Drew Trio
    RLP 12-225 Trigger Alpert – Trigger Happy!
    RLP 12-226 Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners
    RLP 12-227 Randy Weston – Trio And Solo
    RLP 12-228 Zoot Sims – Zoot!
    RLP 12-229 Gigi Gryce And The Jazz Lab Quintet
    RLP 12-230 George Lewis – Jazz At Vespers
    RLP 12-231 Carl Halen – Gin Bottle Jazz
    RLP 12-232 Randy Weston Trio With Cecil Payne – Jazz A La Bohemia
    RLP 12-233 Coleman Hawkins – The Hawk Flies High
    RLP 12-234 Herbie Mann – Sultry Serenade
    RLP 12-235 Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Himself
    RLP 12-236 Kenny Drew – This Is New
    RLP 12-237 Clark Terry – Serenade To A Bus Seat
    RLP 12-238 Mundell Lowe – A Grand Night For Swinging
    RLP 12-239 Kenny Dorham – Jazz Contrasts
    RLP 12-240 Bobby Jaspar With George Wallington, Idrees Sulieman
    RLP 12-241 Sonny Rollins – The Sound Of Sonny
    RLP 12-242 Thelonious Monk – Monk’s Music
    (from Jazz discography).
    c’mon collectors, help!

  23. some research on what I thought to be a unique color variation for white Riverside showed this:
    1) I’ve 12-204, Mundell Lowe, same white/pastel grey label (didn’t even remember to have this one)
    2) I have found 12-201, 12-204, 12-208, 12-209, 12-214 with this “first” variant of label.
    3) unable to find missing numbers in this first series, mostly Dixieland.
    5) I don’t know if this series exists with the second (?) white-blue label.
    4) from 12-218 on I found white-blue label only.
    My theory: for the first numbers, 12-201 to 12-214 (sure), maybe to 12-217, the original label was the one shown on top of this blog, white/pastel grey, then turned white/blue OR, unlikely, the first series was white-blue then (when?) reprinted in white/pastel grey.
    anyway we have one step completed: white Riverside goes 12-201-12-242.
    is that enough for whites?
    no: cover address
    on first numbers is 418West49 then 553West51
    which is the last white Riverside with the first address? or the first with the second?
    not to forget there’s a third address, 235West46, but later.
    then:
    INC: I’ve got some blue with INC on cover only, not label (remember Jackie McLean BN 4013? INC on cover, not on label).
    questions: first number with INC? and how was the corresponding label?
    first number with INC on cover AND label?
    this time, welcome into Riverside’s hell!
    it seems quite obvious these are questions for/from a First edition fundamentalist as I am.
    hope (sure) not to be the only one.
    always glad to share info with LJC’s friends.

  24. damn Riverside! think I’ve read (and collected) all Michel-Rudolf wrote on the subject since 2009 but don’t feel good yet. I would like that here on LJC, our gurus could trace the RIGHT path. White, large blue, small blue, large blue, addresses, INC on label and/or covers, etchings. I would feel better with all these knowledges before I die.
    sure that all great collectors reading and writing on LJC could share their precious info to enlighten all Riverside knots.
    a small sample: my 12-201, unique among all, has a white/greyish label, not the classic white/blue.
    I would underline how this site is becoming the reference for collectors
    the only thing I miss is that all infos ’bout labels are scattered here and there: Andrew, you need a secretary to gather all in the right place.

    • Yes Dott, sir, I always follow doctor’s orders. I will set about bringing some structure to what has grown piecemeal. Funnily it is more of a challenge because Riverside is much less well documented than Blue Note. Impulse I think has now more structure, but Riverside is a bit of a mess. Won’t be instant but I am on the case.

      • I’m uncertain where my newly discovered “Know What I mean?” Cannonball/Bill (RLP 9433) Riverside label fits in with your examples. Still in shrink, the sticker on the cover puts the purchase price at $1.57. The label is all blue, and at first blush appears to be the Orpheum example shown in your column. Looking further, however, the “Riverside” is much skinnier–script-ish, not block; the bottom of the label is “Bill Grauer Productions Inc., not Orpheum” I would just assume it to be a random reissue, but the sound quality is stellar, the $1.57 price tells me its older–very interested in anyone’s knowledge of that price equating to a year, and there are not photos of this label in your column. Help? (Glad to send over a photo if it would benefit your column’s breadth.)

        • Daryl: Riverside ended in much turmoil, with strange, almost plain non DG labels, blue or turquoise, Riverside or Orpheum. The names Riverside and Orpheum on the labels, resp. the sleeves were not always corresponding.
          The sales price of $ 1.57 hints at a record sold at that price in the late sixties. I have seen many of those in Manhattan in 1969. But it says nothing on its date of issue. However I would guess your mongrel to be issued around 1964.
          Dottore should be patient and hoping that Michel pops up to create order in the Riverside mess. Michel is the absolute specialist. He learned me a lot. And thanks to LJC I got to know about authentic French black mono Riverside labels.

        • Mail me a label shot or two if you can. (address in the Contact LJC page) square on, as close up as you can manage, leave in the run-out for clues about pressing, 1,000 pixel or higher resolution.

          • Sent over the high-quality pix of cover, label, and groove run-off numbers earlier today. Let me know if you need more. History be damned (or ignored), it’s a great sounding record.

      • Greetings ~ I realize these are older postings. However, I have a sealed copy of John Benson Brooks’ Alabama Concerto. Selection number is on upper rear right corner as RLP 276. The address is W. 46th St. There is an ‘Inc’ after productions. I cannot find any information to inform me what pressing this might be. Any information you might provide would be GREATLY appreciated!

  25. One important aspect of the circa 1958 small LP labels has to do with which printing company turned them out – the Kaltman Press division of Queens Litho in Long Island City, NY, which supplied such labels to both the Abbey and Research Craft plants. The technical (Imperial measurement) term for the diameter of such center labels is 3.625″ – 3⅝” if going by fractions rather than decimal points. (Kaltman/Queens also printed the white-label solo Monk LP label as supplied by Diego at the very top of this article; I have an LP on that very early design – a Research Craft pressing, B.T.W. – of Land of Milk and Honey by Israeli folk singers Hillel & Aviva.) The Imperial measurement for what is designated 100mm is 4″. That larger size was on that solo Monk LP with the white label, as well as on the center labels printed after the “Inc.” was added to the corporate name of Bill Grauer Productions. By that time, Riverside shifted their label typesetting and printing from Kaltman/Queens to Brooklyn-based Progressive Label Co. This printer handled all Riverside and Jazzland LP’s at least up to Grauer’s 1963 death and the passing on of label ownership to Orpheum Productions (though Progressive did still handle label typesetting for the 45’s they put out in the Orpheum era).

    Incidentally, that ABC-distributed Riverside LP mastered at Bell Sound (they were only a recording and mastering studio, not a pressing plant) with what was classified as a “cf” signature was in fact “sf” – for Sam Feldman, who later in his career cut lacquers for Atlantic Records.

    • I doubt with 5 hours left and already a fair amount of interest in the item you could get the seller to send you a picture of the deadwax, but as mentioned on this thread already if it’s got the US / GB patents on it it was pressed at Research Craft without the deep groove. That could still make it a first pressing though maybe with a little less ‘collector appeal’ (read- better for you since it’d still sound pretty good I would think)! Just my two cents on this….

    • The original mono Moon Beams is not DG and the small label (which ended at catalog number 12-333) does not have “INC.” after “Bill Grauer Productions”. Hope this helps!

    • Thanks Bob/Aaron. I wasn’t going to bid on this one anyway as I’m sure it will be too rich for my blood, but I’m always looking to learn more about different pressings.

      Aaron. You write that the original Moon Beams isn’t DG, but I do see some that have sold are. Are you saying these aren’t first pressings

      • Not at all, they were just pressed at different plants, like the DG/non-DG black label Giant Steps. Most likely one is an east coast plant and the other west coast.

        • The Research Craft stamps are still mindbogling to me – yes, it makes sense that they were perhaps just pressed at the same time but elsewhere – however I have a white label deep groove Sound of Sonny with the Research Craft stamp. I don’t believe Riverside was known to reuse labels, so even during the “white label era” they would have pressing on both costs, and therefore wouldn’t my LP be just as much a “first pressing” as someone else’s East coast copy?

          • Gentlemen, I am at present overhauling the Riverside Guide, work in progress. DottorJazz has sent me and I have placed in pole position the original US white/pastel grey label. The good doctor raised a very pertinent challenge: do I want to host the definitive Reference Guide to record labels? When I started out, my aim was more modest, I used only what I owned, and could document to my own graphical standards. Then people sent me more than good enough quality to expand the coverage. Made sense. Further, there is enough material on the net of “good enough” quality (not always good, but with retouching, good enough). I think it’s time to be more ambitious. LJC the “go to” site for label info – High Definition visual standard. Daryl’s pix will fall into place as the overhaul progresses. First up, the definitive guide to US white label Riverside. Any thought observations advice comments welcome.

            • Nicely done! One correction I will point out is that 12-243 was first released on the large blue label with no “INC” which predated the small blue label. The small blue label started around 12-272. If you need a picture of the large blue label with no “INC” I can send one over.

              • Send! I welcome crowd-sourcing! I am never going to come across these US samples in the course of ordinary collecting, and what’s up on the internet is often badly photographed and badly tagged. Anything that would help is welcomed.

            • When I have a little more time, probably in a week or so, I’d be happy to send any information I have about all my Riversides. I can send photos as long as my iPhone photos would be “good enough”. Please remind me what information you want at this time – deadwax markings, weight, etc?

  26. hi riversiders
    currently after an album with a choice between mono/orange label or stereo/black, both VG++ with a 25/50€ ratio for the mono. as you seem quite critical of the vinylquality, is the cheapest a safest bet?

    • I have only two Riverside black/stereo, not a lot to go on, but both disappointing – the early stereo mix lacks finesse and the pressing is “dirty” – more noises than there should be looking at the surface. US Riverside are a mixed bag. Unless there are other compelling considerations (Bill Evans Trio Stereo! Monk solo Stereo!) I would not pay a premium for them.

      • Hopeful the Riverside stereo DG copy of “Brilliant Corners” I won recently is of decent enough quality. I surely couldn’t afford a mono original it turns out..I’ve been reasonably satisfied with my Japanese Victor Riversides too for now, at least until upgrades are possible. Not in a rush though…

        • Hi Bob,
          Hate to be the bearer of bad news but “Brilliant Corners” was recorded in mono only, the “stereo” version is re-channeled fake stereo. Keep an eye out for a blue label copy as they use the same stampers as the original white label.

          • Aaron, that’s ok. I’ll just hope for the best and maybe it won’t sound all that horrific, nothing else I can do about it….

          • Do you or anyone have any feedback on exactly how bad the stereo version sounds? Just curious since I won the auction (haven’t paid for it yet) and haven’t listened to it yet to know how bad or how good it is….wondering if I just deal w/ ramifications of canceling the Ebay transaction…..

            • Can’t comment about Riverside’s ability with “fake stereo” as I haven’t heard one, but as regards fake stereo in general I have yet heard one that is tolerable. I was listening to one the other day, and it was effectively mono with a significant amount of the top end missing. In trying to fake stereo they usually screw up what’s there in the first place.

              • Ah well, I guess you win some you lose some. I’ll hope for the worst to set the bar low and that way maybe there’s a chance I could be surprised and it won’t be dreadful, who knows. Thanks for the input though at any rate.

              • I have never seen an obvious fake stereo Riverside album, with the mention “re*channeled for stereo” or something similar. They all just read stereo.
                But I am puzzled by the existence of a stereo version of Brilliant Corners (1174). The first Monk in stereo was 1102 (=12-242). The earliest regular session to appear in stereo was 12-229 (Jazz Lab) = 1110. So 1174 is something of an anomaly, leading to believe that it may well be fake.
                Btw: I had Pepper Adams in stereo at the 5 Spot (1104 = 12-265) The stereo version lacks one title which is on the monaural version, ditto for 1105 (12-239) Jazz Contrasts. Also one title missing on the stereo version. In both cases I got rid of the stereo versions. I don’t remember which titles were missing.

  27. LJC

    just found a riverside white label 201 will get you some pictures of the label and jacket soon

    I grabbed it even though its marked as VG –

    anxious to listen tonight

  28. Thanks your info was really helpful – I have just started looking at/for “originals” of this label and Jazzland. And today I just got a sealed Monk plays Ellington – from the cover it was obvious that it wouldn’t be a first label – it is a blue DG, 100mm BG inc. label which I guess is still pretty early. The vinyl looks pretty poor though. Alas I can’t play it yet as my amp is away for a couple of weeks. Also I didn’t realise that in the 50’s some US original stampers were used in the UK – looking at other genres it seems that sometimes copies sent “abroad” get additional info scribed on them.

    The difference in pressing of the same record is a whole insanity ballgame that alas I wholly subscribe to – it is essential as is record cleaning – BTW have you ever been to the better records site – some people have dosh!

  29. I think that Michel meant to say that the white label area ends at 12-242. Thereafter first pressings come in the large blue label version with the US/GB patents in the dead wax.
    I have had three different versions of 241: a white, a small blue and a big blue. The big blue was a manifest third label. Like the 12-226 shown by LJC, it appears they went immediately from the white labels to small blue labels for second pressings. In terms of audio quality, all the small blue label pressings are always of the highest quality, never a bad surprise.

    • P.S.: Michel being the uncontested specialist on the US Riverside labels, I wonder what his views are on my theory that authentic second pressings of both the first pressing white/blue and the big blue labels (with the patent marks), are the small type DG blue labels.

      • Hi Rudolf,
        Not Michel here but I have to disprove your theory as I have a copy of 242 (first released on the white label) with the first large, no “INC”, blue label. One Riverside anomaly that surprised me is a copy of 237 on the small blue label with no deep groove, I’m not sure how this one fits into the scheme of things.

        • Hi Aaron, this is most interesting. So my theory is wrong, even if, maybe, in specific cases, they jumped immediately from the white label to the small blue one.
          I never saw another version of 237 than the big white label. A small label without DG looks like an anomamy.

          • Hi Aaron / Rudolf, I posted about this before when I was curious about a record I purchased. Namely, “Mulligan Meets Monk.” Well that record is the small blue Riverside label with no deep groove. As discussed in the piece above and the comments directly below, this album I own (smaller label no DG) is a Research Craft pressing; it has the US / GBP patent codes in the dead wax and is still an early pressing but from the West Coast Research Craft plant instead of the usual pressing plant. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here or this doesn’t help connect the dots. It’s interesting that in all my ‘EBay hunting’ these days I’ve never come across a blue w/ white font Riverside that isn’t DG which is interesting to me….

  30. I have “Mulligan Meets Monk” on the Riverside blue label. Careful examination shows there to be the US / GB patent in the dead wax so would assume its not an original. I was trying to read up more on Research Craft but wasn’t sure…how much later after the original deep groove would these have been pressed? The record actually sounded pretty good to me but I don’t have the most high tech setup either…just a Rega P2 copy (NAD) w/ Goldenring Elektra cartridge. Serves my purposes as a novice collector for now though. Thanks for any input here anyone can provide!

    • According to my sometimes reliable Goldmine, RLP 12-247 first release should be white label/ blue print Riverside in 1957; soon after (1958 ?) it appeared on blue label/twin reels & mic. and stereo later in 1959.
      I don’t claim deep knowledge but its my understanding that some labels moved pressing to the West Coast, or split pressing between East, West and Indiana plants, for logistical reasons.
      Research Craft was a West Coast plant. My US Blue Riversides indicate a variety of matrix etching styles, suggesting Riverside used a variety of plants. Your Research Craft may not be a more recent pressing, but merely a West Coast pressed copy as opposed to another plant location. Anyone knows better, please chip in.
      As to what it sounds like, there is nothing inherently bad about Research Craft, no reason why it shouldn’t sound great. Its vinyl and your system should give it a fair shake.

    • Bob/LJC: the Riverside white labels ended at 12-242. The follow-up original blue labels were big and in the dead wax had these funny U.S./ G.B. patent numbers. The original sleeve had no pictures in front, just black and white with coloured text.

      • Yes, thank you both. The copy I have sounds great but just learning as much as I can about these things. As a novice jazz collector about one year in, I enjoy seeing just ‘how deep the rabbit hole goes’ with respect to all there is to learn!

        • Just acquired a Research Craft pressing of Ernie Henry Seven Standards and a Blues. Seems to be a rare and desireable record and it sounds nice on my system – maybe not as weighty as some of my jazz records but Henry sounds as sweetly acidic as I expected. It has labels WITHOUT the INC next to BGP, deep groove, and the etching of the catalog number looks like my other Riversides, so my money is on them simultaneously pressing on the west coast purely for export or whatever. I passed on a similar copy of Freedom Suite, one of my favorite records (I have the Jazzland version, “Shadow Waltz” because of the Research Craft stamping in the dead wax. I kind of wish I had bought it…even just for comparison sake.

      • Thank you so much for that. I have been trying to figure out if the picture-less sleeve was the original as it had the Contemporary Series and Reeves emblem on the front. I just scored one of these at a steal and I was hoping this was indeed the original.

  31. I was visiting my sister for her commencement today and was able to pop into a record store, albeit briefly. Found what seemed like an original press of an album by Red Garland on Jazzland called “Solar”. I ended up passing on it because I had a bad feeli about it – mainly a capital “S” in the dead wax that was stamped in a very angular font – it reminded me a little of the font that the Solid State label uses on their album covers. Anyway it just didn’t reassure me, even with a lot of hand etched material alongside it. Anyone know what this symbol is?

    • Have a look at this site, maintained by a Polish collector, which has a labour of love collection of runout engravings, see anything that jogs the memory.

      http://fipres.com/21,.html

      It’s under the tab labelled “Guide” – site sometimes reluctant to come up.

      I have four US Jazzland and they each have a completely different style handwritten matrix, no consistency, and if I’m honest, not very good sounding pressings either.. Suggests to me job routinely contracted out, maybe on price.

      I believe Jazzland disappeared around the time Orpheum took over the failed Riverside around 1966. Its a label where you buy for the music, and just hope the pressing is acceptable.

      • The thing is, that some very good releases are not available on vinyl from other sources. So there’s no other way than buying the original pressings. Anyways, lots of them are absolutely great, music wise.

      • The Jazzland imprint was still is use after 1966 as I have a few titles with the “Orpheum Productions” rim print on the bottom. The music can be be great but I definitely agree about the sketchy pressings and the use of seemingly random mastering engineers.

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