Riverside UK / Europe

1. White label twin reels & mic logo,  UK, Interdisc,  Decca pressing

The white label runs through to around RLP 350 (1961) with pressing by the superb DECCA plant (New Malden), or another unbranded subcontractor where the matrix is hand-written. These are all smokin’ pressings.

UK Decca pressing plant, New Malden, machine-stamp legend A2/B1

2. White label twin reels & mic, hand-etched matrix, unknown  pressing plant

Hand-etched usually very faint and difficlt to read

3. UK Jazzland, Interdisc,  1961 Decca pressing


4. Blue label, silver text twin reels & mic ;  UK  release, Philips Dutch pressing (670)

Philips legend found usually between the 10 and 2 clock position, (670 = Holland)

After RLP 350 (1961), UK Riverside shifted all its pressing to Philips, on the Twin Reels / Blue label, though anomalies exist, with the occasional Decca-pressed Blue Label – probably due to a difference between catalogue allocation and actual pressing date.

The main differences between Philips pressings is whether they originate from the UK or Dutch plant. About a half of my blue label Philips pressings bear the UK country code 420, the other half the Dutch country code 670, with no obvious pattern by date or artists to explain why the pressing country differs.

Based on listening to my 30 or so Riverside releases, UK Decca pressings are among the best I have ever heard, followed by the UK Philips, which are acceptable, followed by the Dutch Philips which tend to sound disappointing and lack the immediacy achieved by Decca or the UK Philips (may depend on title) .The Dutch pressings tend to be lower volume than many others and turning up the volume by 15% can restore the punch. However it does not look as though anyone has a choice. Capacity reasons determined what was done where and you get what you get. Record companies did not recognise differences in pressing quality, though they are self-evident to the fastidious listener with revealing equipment. At least they all sound magnificent compared to what followed.

5. Riverside Polydor: bold serif “R” logo , black/orange ring

Polydor should not be proud of what followed. Feeble characterless pressings that bears little resemblance to the great music underneath. This stuff emerged from the giant production plants geared to churning out millions of pop records, on wafer-thin wobble-board vinyl. They were not alone. Atlantic and CBS were all heading in the same downward direction, losing the battle.

6. Black label twin reels & micmono – France


Unusual – first European vintage Riverside I have seen – mono, despite Riverside house colour for stereo being black. Two matrix numbers, local job code, and original source matrix code, neither the catalogue number.


16 thoughts on “Riverside UK / Europe

  1. Here the Riverside ABC Polydor are described as bad quality and better avoided, with the label example of Bill Evans’ Moon Beams.

    However, on the review of the same album here: https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/bill-evans-bill-evans/
    It is described as “usual Riverside quality”.

    I am based in the UK and for my budget the only Bill Evans Trio records I can afford (and find in the UK) are these ABC pressings and the US OJC from the 80s/90s.

    Reading this page makes me want to go for the OJC, usually cheaper…

  2. Hi there, I hope you might be able to advise me?
    I have of UK original pressing of Portrait in Jazz, vinyl in VG+/Near mint condition (some wear to the cover). Would you have any idea what a fair price would be for me to expect to sell it for? Any guidance would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Sentiment is on the side of the original US release, which is favoured by the majority of collectors, who are unsurprisingly in the US. In an open auction I would expect a UK issue in top condition to fetch somewhere between £100 and £150, most likely from a UK collector. The auction water is muddied by import duties, postage, Ebay commission, and the dark art of salesmanship (“Insanely rare!™” “Impossible to find in this condition!” etc)

  3. Hi guys, I bought a bill Evans Portrait in jazz Lp but I can’t understand which press it is and the value it could have. The serial is 1162
    Can you help me? And the label is white and blue.

  4. Oh no! My copy of Cannonball Adderley’s ‘Nippon Soul’ turned out to be a Dutch Philips pressing after consulting your label research (DP sounds like a lesser known gangster from Atlantic City or somewhere, eh!). Didn’t stop me writing about it though. Caveat emptor and I hope for better luck and greater judgement next time. Thanks for your hard work.

  5. I have a European issue of TATE-A-TATE by Buddy Tate with Clark Terry [SVLP-2014].This is a
    Prestige/Swingville recording, but the label says Riverside in the blue Philips mic and two reels
    design. Is this a one-off or were other records in the series mis-labelled in this way?

    There is no country code in the vinyl, but there are some ‘v’ marks. The sleeve is a straight copy
    of the US issue, but with reference to INTERDISC and the Haycock Press at the foot of the
    reverse side.

    Turning down Memory Lane, I bought the record for 17/6 in a Harlequin record shop in Oxford
    Street on Saturday 28 November 1966, before going on to the JATP concerts at the RFH.

    Happy Days!

    • Thanks for the reminiscences!.

      I still remember mid-’60’s going into HMV in Oxford Street on a Saturday morning, listening to Hendrix and Cream in the vinyl listening booths, and leaving without buying, my pocket money wouldn’t cover it!

  6. I just scored a white label test press in white flip back sleeve of Monk’s Music today, with the hand scrawled matrices in the run out grooves. I thought this might be the place to check this, but as it is not mentioned, I can throw some extra light on these. There is a dishing to the centre of the labels to both sides, and I am familiar with these from my Pye oldies of the same era. Pye were the first people to make a stereo lp for general release (1957 Mindru Katz in the Emperor concerto, if you were wondering), and their vinyl recipe is usually hard, and they play well even when looking battered. As you mention, the sound is a delight to this, played on an Ortofon Mono cart through a valve phono, loving the contrast between Coltrane and Webster here.

  7. Hallo from Crouch End Mr LJC!
    First of all a big thank you for your assiduous research all set out in copy of clarity and wit, and never overlong, and the excellent pictures.

    Today bought Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane, JLP 46 on Jazzland, but the label says Riverside, blue, and the code is JLP 46 2L2 //420 [V V] T (the ‘vv’s are slightly raised from the line). Mono with with the mic and twin reels.Doesn’t say ‘Microgroove’.

    Cost me a tenner. Any idea the date?

    Very best wishes,

    • Hi, what you appear to have is a UK Riverside Interdisk release, pressed in the UK (“420”) by Philips.

      They possibly didn’t have the right label template for Jazzland at the time (though I have seen them on UK pressings) They used Riverside blue twin reels and mic, and retained the JLP catalogue number. Jazzland and Riverside are from the same stable, so its not really material from the rights point of view.

      The original recording is I believe 1961 (my US copy) – when that UK one was released, possibly same or following year, hard to say for sure as Coltrane’s star was in the ascendant at the time, and further pressings may have been made.

      You did well on the price, my US copy cost considerably more.

      • Thanks.
        Also got Ed Thigpen – Out of The Storm. Had never heard of him – I’m a total non-connoisseur neophyte – which I got because it seemed in good condition, plus Herbie Hancock on piano. 1966. This one I really like. I don’t have the usual vocabulary but basically it’s quite funky, but not funk, reminds me of Jimmy Smith (of whom I have heard only “Best of~”). Quiet atmospheric drum parts (remind me of I don’t know, Brazilian stuff), the Mexican number, and piano and drums seem to be the centrepiece though of course Herbie’s tender caresses sweeten every melody… Howzat for a first ever review? OK I’ll get my coat.

        You may be interested in the shop, on Tottenham Lane opposite Hornsey Police Station (I hesitate to tell, lest local readers empty the jazz boxes (there are 3) too fast. Please, no buying!) Opened couple of months ago and David the owner clearly has both good contacts, enjoys the music a lot himself, and I beleive reasonably priced. Open Friday Saturday and Sundays. The chaotic catologuing (or, lack of it) does have the benefit of throwing up some interesting LPs you might not usually consider – at least if you have eclectic taste.

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