Last updated: August 21, 2021
1. White label twin reels & mic logo, under license to UK Interdisc, pressed by Decca
The white label runs through to around RLP 351 (1961), with pressing by the superb Decca plant, New Malden, London.
Around the late ’50’s and early ’60s, there is evidence that Decca pressed some of these Interdisk titles with original US metal. LJC reader Ankur from California noted the same hand-etched matrix code on a US pressing matching a UK Interdisk pressing of RLP 12-311. The US release was manufactured in the closing months of 1959, the UK release some months after but in tandem.
Decca had an established precedent in pressing from US metal with its Esquire pressings of Prestige recordings around the same time.
No doubt in my mind Riverside shipped US metal to Decca to press the UK Interdisc edition. This may be for selected titles only( between RLP 300 and 370,) as the Interdisc edition of 12-315 is clearly remastered by Decca, with the familiar Decca drilled or stamped matrix codes A2 / B1.
UK Decca pressing plant, New Malden, machine-stamp legend A2/B1
2. White label twin reels & mic, hand-etched matrix, Decca pressing.
Hand-etched usually very faint, another example of Decca pressing with US original metal stampers. Note both the UK remastered and US metal UK pressings have identical “pudding basin” pressing die rings – evidence of common source of manufacture.
3. UK Jazzland, Interdisc, 1961 Decca pressing
The distictive pudding basin pressing ring again.
4. Blue label, silver text twin reels & mic ; UK release, Philips Dutch pressing (670)
in 1961, Interdisc switched manufacture of these Riverside recordings from Decca to Philips, who remastered from copy tape, and no further signs of original US metal.
Philips legend found usually between the 10 and 2 clock position, (670 = Holland)
Philips pressings are generally 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 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 & mic– mono – 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.
European 3rd Party Pressing?
Reader Dino sent me this interesting “Riverside” label pressing. According to the back cover, it is an Interdisk licensed pressing, with a UK manufactured cover, no matrix information (so not a Philips pressing) and the labels look like local typesetting. Riverside did not use the term “Monophonic” on labels (just mono), and at the time of issue, RLP 362 had Bill Grauer Productions with INC. They are apparently 92mm “small labels” – see the exposed band of vinyl land next to the run-out groove – which were used briefly in the US earlier history of Riverside. Side 2 has been cut badly off centre.
My guess is that the label is a copy of a Riverside label from an earlier time, hence the square container lines and small size, probably still “vintage” 1960s. The white stripe on both sides below the Side number looks like an effort to cover up a rights agency attribution, perhaps SIAE (Italy). An interesting oddity.
Update – since come to light that Interdisc used Italy to press copies for distribution to countries other than UK/France/Holland, who pressed their own. This looks likely one of them.