Candid Records

Jazz record label established in New York in1961 by Archie Bleyer, founder of a big Fifties jazz and pop label Cadence. In it’s short life the Candid label achieved legendary status thanks to jazz critic Nat Hentoff, who as Candid’s  A&R/producer, created a unique catalogue of artists of the early 1960’s New York jazz scene including Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin among others.

Hentoff also worked with designer and photographer Frank Gauna to create many memorable album covers (selection at BirkaJazz).

Candid came to a premature end in 1961. Andy Williams Mr BarnabyBleyer eventually sold the parent company Cadence catalogue in 1964  to singer Andy Williams, who set up Barnaby Records to manage it. This included the Candid catalogue and reissues on Barnaby Records are not uncommon on the second hand shelves. Mr Barnaby  (pictured) was Andy Williams dog. Who sang better is for debate.

At the end of the ’70s Candid recordings were reissued by a US company GRT Corp. Janus Records  then again in the 1980’s by a German enterprise Phonoco, and  Alan Bates’ London-based company, Black Lion Productions. None of these re-issues show any trace of original metalware, and were remastered locally, source unknown, and the quality is a bit hit and miss. The best quality is the individual artist collections by Michael Cuscuna’s Mosaic label, under titles like The Complete Candid Recordings of Cecil Taylor/ Charles Mingus etc which are most likely all from the  original tapes.

1. US original pressing

1.1 Promo – white label

Candid promo

1.2 Commercial release

Deep groove, uncharacteristically light vinyl for early 60’s New York, around 130 gram.


Very busy runout: matrix code, catalogue number, “C L R” – Claude Rie, who cut the laquers for Candid –  below, initials etched on Cadence Records, NY. Initials “DT”, probably  ‘Dulcet Tone Corp.’, a New York based lacquer manufacturer and plating company, known for having provided the lacquers for Fine Recording Studios. (Hat Tip – kaptainkopter – (what, no twirlybirds?) Other Candid in my possession bear identical hallmarks.



Because  the Candid catalogue has been extensively reissued and the originals are unusually light for 1960s NY pressings, the characteristics of the run-out and deep groove uniquely help identify original pressings from later re-issues. I have seen British, German and Japanese reissues. Originals are rare and valuable.

2. Candid Black Lion Reissue UK 1985 (American Jazz Classics series) 124gm

No deep groove, edition copyright dated 1985 Phonoco


Self evident it bears no relation to the original. A faint catalogue number is all that identifies the vinyl. Record jacket liner notes are a straight copy of the original, nothing to indicate it is a reissue. Inexpensive. Audio quality comparison with original – unfavourable.

3.Candid reissue Victor Japan


Common feature in Japanese pressings is a count of the number of tracks, in this case, 3. No indication year pressed, probably again 1980’s. .

4. Barnaby Records Candid reissues (1970-2)

Barnaby Records, founded 1970 by singer Andy Williams who named it after his beloved dog Mr Barnaby. Barnaby/Candid titles look like 80’s reissues but are a lot closer to vintage than you might expect.


In the example above, Mingus Candid Recordings, matrix codes 31034 2A and 2C confirm these are re-mastered and not repressing from Candid masters, vinyl weight a meagre 109gm. Audio quality just about acceptable, they deserved better, but you can’t fault the music, and hardly expensive at around the $20 mark .

Special bonus, Lock’em Up from Mingus The Candid Recordings (Barnaby KZ 31034)

Recorded November 20-21 1960, with Booker Ervin (ts) Paul Bley (p)


Really nice lively pressing and stereo, which is rare and impossible to find in the 1960 originals, though they do exist. Significantly superior to the 1985 Phonoco reissues, which irritatingly use the original Candid catalogue number eg CS 9004 making it harder to tell if they are original or reissue (Barnaby distinguish their own releases as shown, here is 9 BR 5020 )


Unusual artwork, not seen another like it.


Now twice removed, Candid CBS Barnaby, a European reissue manufactured and distributed by CBS, pressed in Holland, bearing the German GEMA royalties collection agency name.. No indication on the label of its origins but Barnaby Records credited on the cover. “Air” appears on CJM 8006 The World of Cecil Taylor (recorded 1960) others among the recordings acquired by Barnaby



In one shape or form, the unique 1960-1 Candid catalogue manages to continue to be available.



29 thoughts on “Candid

    • No idea because I am not wanting to buy just to find out. However Jazzman is a mixed bag.

      With the Tubby Hayes boxset, the source was original Decca tapes, indistinguishable from my original on the turntable. However Jazzman’s Spiritual Jazz series and the Prestige collection for example, simply digital transfers, sterile, dead. Question is how likely is Jazzman access to original Candid tapes?

      I have some original Candid and I have to say they are not the greatest recordings (Nola Penthouse studios as I recall ) though the music content is extraordinary. I have some Mosaic Complete Candid, and they do not sparkle either.


  1. I’ve asked this question in the LJC forum but there’s no harm in widening the net here…

    I’ve been looking at the labels for some Candid mono releases and I’ve found an odd detail that somebody here might be able to help with:

    I’m looking at the typical yellow orange and red labels with DG. Let’s use Booker Ervin – That’s It! as a case study example.

    The catalogue number is printed on the right-hand side of the label – i.e. CJM 0814 in this case. Immediately below that, another number appears but there seem to be two variants:

    a). TM 8574 (on Side A) / TM 8575 (on Side B).
    b). M9OP-4619 (on Side A) / M9OP-4620 (on Side B).

    I’ve got two theories:

    1).These variants represent two pressings (first and second).
    2). Candid used two different pressing plants at the same time making the two variants simultaneous first pressings.

    I should add that I’ve seen photos of white label versions of both the above variants on Instagram.

    Can anybody shed any light or provide additional information?


    • Those numbers would typically be the matrix number which indicates the catalog number of the tape used to cut the record. Is the typesetting the same on both labels? The “M9OP-4619” looks like the numeric style of RCA. My best guess would be your second option, that Candid used two different pressing plants concurrently.


      • PS – Probably not a first/second pressing situation due to the fact Candid was founded in late 1960 and closed it’s doors by the end of 1961.


        • Yes, I forgot to mention that. The original Candid was only in business for about 8-12 months so I agree with your assessment that it was probably not long enough for second pressings.


      • Inspired suggestion, Aaron! Yes, that looks like the answer and it led me to this information on Discogs from sometime LJC commenter “WB”:

        where he (she?) breaks down the meaning of the first four characters of RCA tape catalogue numbers (see the 1955-62 section). The pattern certainly fits.

        1). First character denotes year. In our example M = 1961 which is right for Candid’s period of existence.
        2). Second character denotes label. In our example 9 = Custom – Lacquer furnished to RCA which also matches and tells us Candid supplied the lacquer rather than RCA doing their own mastering (so copies pressed by RCA should have the same sonic mix as the ones with the “TM” lettering).
        3). Third character denotes category. In our example O = phonograph which seems like a bit of a catch-all category to me. I’m slightly surprised that J (= R&B – Jazz) wasn’t used.
        4). The fourth character denotes size, speed and groove. In our example P = 12″ – 33⅓ RPM – Fine (Mono) which is clearly correct.

        All of which supports the second hypothesis that Candid used two pressing plants simultaneously – one of them being an RCA plant. This opens up conjecture about which RCA plant. My guess (no evidence to hand at this stage) is that it was most likely to have been the Hollywood plant to serve the West Coast market and Candid used some other plant local to them in New York to serve the East Coast market and those copies of the records have the “TM” lettering. I’m tempted to think that “TM” is Candid’s own in-house terminology and simply stands for Tape Mono (equivalent stereo pressings bear “TS” lettering). Now I’m off to see if I can find an example of an RCA pressed stereo label that, if all the above is correct, would have lettering that starts M9OY.


  2. Wow thanks for the info. Any info on reissues from pure pleasure records? I have a very good sounding Clark Terry Color Changes… The Label,is a match for the original except no deep groove. Meaty vinyl,180-200.


  3. Hello, I have what seems to be an old copy of Abby Lincoln’s Straight Ahead.
    It has a white label, though.
    I don’t see any Japanese writing or anything else to suggest it’s a foreign reissue.
    Can anybody offer me any additional info?
    Unfortunately i haven’t had a chance to listen yet.
    The guys at Audible Illusions are taking forever to finish
    my preamp! 🙂


  4. I have a 1985 reissue that sounds very good. It was pressed in Italy by Base Record, Bologna. I don’t have a first pressing to compare it with but this record is mint and has better sound than most of my American re-pressings.


  5. Hi, I have a very similar copy of the Mingus presents Mingus to you, except there is no deep groove and there is a machine stamped MR in a circle in the deadwax (the M and R are joined together) and a four digit number preceded by a delta. This seems to indicate Monarch Records in LA pressed my copy, the rest of the deadwax markings are the same ‘CLR’, DT machine stamped on side one but hand written on side Two. Same matix and cat numers as your copy.

    Looks like candid used different plants for east and west coast pressings with small variations making first pressings a little harder to identify. I guess the east coast plants would get the masters first making making those first by a matter of days.


    • I’ve not seen a West Coast pressed Candid as you describe. What I’m trying to create here is a reference source for everything jazz on “original” vinyl. A picture would be welcome if you are able to shoot – jpeg 1000px or higher – including any runout detail you can manage.


    • I have this variant as well. Runout is identical to LJCs above including the crossed out 7452, but with the added MR stamp Dave describes and no deep groove. Pressing weight is higher too at 165 grams. The label also adds “Charles Mingus Quartet” above the musician’s names. I agree that this is probably a West Coast pressing, using the metal parts after the East Coast copies were pressed.

      I tried to take some photos but I can’t get the runout to show in the photos. I can send what I have if it’s of benefit, but it looks like Dave already sent a photo and maybe his show the runout.


  6. Joe, happy to share this passion with you. I cannot tell you my excitement to find a Cecil Taylor album in the shops two years after his well received 1958 Contemporary album, which I played all the time. The fantastic duets (What Love) between Dolphy and Mingis on 8005 and a full text version of “the Original Fables of Faubus”, which Columbia did not dare to issue (deemed too provoking).
    Regarding the Barnaby issues: I had them, pressed and marketed by US Columbia and also in Dutch CBS pressings. Audio quality O.K., but they don’t convey the magic of Candid (neither the labels, nor the art work of the covers). That’s why I was happy to find these German ones (and some Japanesse too). I have the Mosaic boxes “the complete Candid recordings of Cecil Taylor and Buell Neidlinger”; ditto for Mingus. If you don’t have the Mosaic boxes, try Barnaby. They are not bad.


  7. I thank LJC for highlighting this innovative label, some titles of which, by the way, were banned at the time in RSA ( Max Roach’s “We insist -Freedom now suite”).
    The Mingus albums on Candid are amongst his best, and what about the Booker albums (Ervin, Little)? Just great.
    Deutsche Austrophon G.m.b.H., in 1988 and 1989, issued hitherto unissued Candid material: maintaining the original catalogue serial numbers (stereo 9028 – Ray Crawford and 9033 – Candid Dolphy). Labels similar to original Candid design, but German GEMA mark and the 33 flash common to German LP’s. Producer Alan Bates. Sleeve design Malcolm Walker, picture of Dolphy by Valerie Wilmer. German issue of the Black Lion production?


    • You’re right on Rudolf. Some of my favorite records. “That’s It!” by Booker Ervin is terrific, as is Richard Williams, “New Horn In Town.” It may be a trite song now, but his version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is just glorious. Even more than Blue Note, Candid is my top I-get-a-little-too-excited-when-I-find-them-in-a-record-store label.


    • Rudolf – any thoughts on the ’70s Barnaby reissues? They don’t look much to me, but I see the Mingus records for only a few bucks now and again, and I always wondered whether they were worth a flyer, as the originals are hard to come by. Thanks!


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