Blue Note Records – The United Artists Years 1970-79

Last Updated: March 31, 2022,

LJC United Artists Blue Note Cheat Sheet



Around 1968 the ailing Liberty Records – including its Blue Note recordings catalogue – was bought by a San Francisco-based diversified financial conglomerate, Transamerica Corporation. Amongst its other entertainment industry holdings, Transamerica also owned United Artists, which fatefully for Liberty Blue Note staff,  had its own record division.

Liberty UA Inc

Initially United Artists and Liberty were run  as separate businesses. United Artists Records continued to issue its own recordings, and Liberty UA Inc. was formed in May 1969 as the new face of Liberty Records and its Blue Note catalogue. A new black/ light blue Liberty UA label was introduced , for both new titles and reissues. For mostBlue Note re-issues, original Van Gelder stereo masters were employed, and the audio quality is excellent, prized by collectors on a budget and in the know.


However with both record labels struggling financially, in February 1971, Transamerica  consolidated its Liberty Records assets under United Artists management,  with “United Artists Records Inc” in command of a Blue Note Records Division. For Liberty execs, a bummer.

No freedom for Liberty: United Artists vies for control

Between 1971 and 1973 there was increasing evidence of  turmoil within the merged Liberty and United Artists management, which anyone who has lived through corporate mergers will be familiar with. We’ll do it my way.  No, my way. Back in 1966 Liberty had moved management to New York to run its new acquisition, Blue Note. Now power had shifted back to L.A., along with it, a new roster of  recording artists producing soul jazz funk. West Coast executives took contol.

Collector Nightmare: Classic White and Blue Label – Black Text

Around 1971, and probably overlapping with the initial UA/Liberty black and light blue label, the classic white and blue Blue Note design with the legend “Blue Note Records – A Division of Liberty Records Inc” label was reborn as “A Division of United Artists Records, Inc.”,

Here a marketing push with Division of United Artists labels, a UA inner sleeve I have never seen before (seen here with 1502 Miles Davis), a blue sticker “Blue Note Hits A New Note”, and a special $2.99 price ticket. Mostly those picture below were a batch of factory sealed records from one seller, so what was within remains unknown, but the Davis is clearly a classic Division of United Artists label and that unique inner says “Blue Note Hits A New Note”, also found on a 1976 UA sampler.

Blue Note Liberty Inner New unitd artists

United Artists continuing the BST catalogue numbering series but briefly with black text for all album details. Why Black text?  The album details were printed at a different time and place onto “blank” Blue Note stock labels, hence no text colour-matching.  One of these labels offers a (p) 1972 date, fixing the approximate date of manufacture.

The type-setting is very likely by Hollywood’s Bert-Co, whose Linotype line-casting machines were loaded with font cartridges of the Linotype Spartan family. A distinguishing feature of Spartan was that, despite being a sans serif font, the number 1 in “SIDE 1” has a horizontal left top serif (but none on the base). As in the Liberty years, Bert-Co would always compose the record’s side all in capitals: “SIDE”. Other differences in typesetting layout appear idiosyncratic machine operator choices.


The battle for supremacy, however, was far from over. In late 1972 it was decided to abandon  the long-running Blue Note catalogue numbering system BLP/BST at 4435, and replaced it with a new catalogue numbering series underlining United Artists west coast identity, BN-LA, for all new releases (reissues retaining their original Blue Note catalogue number) . Commencing at BN-LA 006, BN-LA begins to appear on the white and blue Division of United Artists, Inc. label.

The black text however soon disappeared, and thereafter the album detail was printed in the same blue ink colour as the rest of the label i.e. all printed at one and the same time. The significance of label print is that it localises the pressing plant. With geographically distributed manufacture came distributed printing, and different printers had different font supplies for typesetting, so we enter a world of telltale pointers of origin. The one sign of quality that matters more than any other is the presence of VAN GELDER in the runout -source metal, Van Gelder master.


blue-black-note-120x120With its own new BN-LA  number allocation system under its control, United Artists Records  dispensed with the  forty-year old white and blue classic Blue Note label, stamp out the last vestiges of the Liberty era. Commencing in 1972 around BN LA040 United Artists Records Inc. introduce a radically different label:  all-blue label with a black b/ note symbol, which was to endure for the next eight years.

In the second hand record market, blue label reissues are low value. Sellers say they don’t have time to listen to them, and they are not “Insanely Rare!”or “Original!”. As a result they can be a very satisfactory purchase.

However, even as late as 1973 we find this example BN-LA047 Donald Byrd’s big hit Black Byrd in both old and new Blue Note liveries: a Division of United Artists classic White and Blue label, and the new all-blue black b label, all bearing the copyright date as (p) 1973. (Note: copyright dates are only loosely linked with year of manufacture)


(Note: Enthusiasts uploading pictures to Discogs , colour is affected by the lighting conditions in which the picture was taken and may not reflect true colour.)

The VAN GELDER stamp appears intermittently on reissues on the blue label, as original Van Gelder masters were brought back into service, with mixed results. When Transamerica acquired Liberty Records, along with the Blue Note Catalogue it also acquired in the process the two pressing plants purchased  by Liberty – Research Craft, L.A. (in 1965) and All Disc, Roselle Park N.J. (in 1966). Their combined manufacturing capacity now served United Artists Records Inc. but was probably supplemented by other plants, and there is  little consistency and variable quality in pressings over this period.

United Artists Music and Records Group (est. 1975)

More restructuring  of United Artists led to the creation in 1975 of the  United Artists Music and Records Group , subsuming the previous  United Artists Records Inc.-  the shorter name found on all blue label releases between 1972 and 1974, and the longer group name on all releases from 1975 on. The Music and Records Group remained the official corporate identity for the Blue Note label from 1975 through to the sale to EMI in 1979. Name changes mean little to music consumers, they mean everything to company executives in changing company structures.


Division of United Artists Blue Note  Replica Series – mono reissues

(Updated December 12, 2016 – now complete series)

 Between 1972 and 1975  the Blue Note Records division of United Artists reissued the cream of the Blue Note BLP 1500 series and many gems from the early BLP 4000 series, in mono. This was completely unprecedented. Stereo had, for over a decade, been the format of choice, and domestic ownership of stereo phonograms near universal. If anything, the vogue was to reissue earlier mono recording in stereo through electronic reprocessing. New titles were all being released only in stereo, audiophiles hardly existed, and the nostalgia/retro industry was still to come, thirty years ahead. The Cuscuna/Ruppli Blue Note Discography omits their existence.

Van Gelder mono masters still existed for these titles, yet UA opted instead to have their own  in-house engineers remaster them, presumably from original tapes now housed in Los Angeles, or copy tapes, no one knows for sure. There is evidence that original tapes were used for some United Artists commercial reissues (below tape signed to UA “Repackage” September 1973)

1595 tape stereo.


A couple of UA engineers wtched their initials in their masters, Eck and NB, others are etched merely UA, or nothing.

Graced with the classic Blue Note white/blue label – updated with “Blue Note Records – A Division of United Artists, Inc.” thirty four titles have been identified in this UA mono series, facsimile front and back covers exactly like the mono Blue Note original, and the audio quality is very good, though the few I have been able to A:B against originals suggests they are lesser.

A complete labelography of the series is shown below, winnowed from internet sources. The choice of titles points to a guiding mind whose tastes are revealed: no soul jazz, purely classic bop, stopping before modal post-bop. There are some inconsistencies which come to light when you create what are termed in info-graphic design “small multiples” – everything held constant and rendered comparable, which reveals the small differences. A handful of the earliest titles carry a ©1975 reference on the label, suggesting they were manufactured at another time to the others. Most have artists credits after the track listing, some do not.

(Towards the end of the series, 4027 Music From The Connection is found with mono labels but a stereo 84027 cover, sloppy manufacturing improvisation).




Why a mono reissue series?

Who were these mono reissues aimed at? In the early ’70s, “mono” had no traction, it was “old”, the only market for “authentic” classic mono pressings was probably Japan, but these are found almost entirely in the US. Possibly they were a vanity project by someone high up at United Artists, attempting to revive the classic Blue Note brand, but discontinued in the face of commercial reality.   Whatever the reason, they are a highly affordable alternative to especially expensive Blue Note originals. The most desirable titles like those by Jutta Hipp  are current auctioning at three figures.

Replica Blue Note Series: stereo reissue series – a big mistake

Much like the mono reissue series, UA attempted a similar stereo series of early classic titles, original facsimile covers, remastered by UA engineers, but some fake stereo,  many unsuccessful transfers from Van Gelder two track tapes, some spectacularly (the BST 81542 Sonny  Rollins is particularly horrid, using metal from an unsuccesful stereo transfer by Liberty), absolutely to be avoided. Always read the label!


More details of the Division of United Artists historic reissues moved  to The Gallery:

Label chaos – the blue label/ white b

Alongside the blue label/black b appeared the white b variation, used interchangeably, in some cases for reissues, the double album “two-fer” series but also new releases, with no obvious logic. Commonly found towards the end of the Blue Note United Artists years, 1975-8. There are many examples of the all-blue label which carry a (p) 1973 but whose catalogue number sequence and the UAMRG designation date them several years later. It seems likely that the new United Artists Records Inc organisation filed copyright  in bulk on a large volume of recordings on its formation in 1973 (hence (p) 1973), some of which were not manufactured until a few years later, by which time the new UAMRG Inc. label (1975 or later) was in place.


Record Labels tangle with Record Clubs

United Artists Records business woes were deepened by a long-running dispute with the Record Club of America, described as the most acrimonious legal dispute ever seen outside of a divorce court. In the Sixties, Record clubs had become a major distribution channel for many record labels, Columbia and RCA even launching their own, however in the process they became entangled with the  business model of the mail-order Record Club,  which involved discounting practices, free record sign-up incentives, postal returns, sales tax and royalty headaches, and fulfilment nightmares. Whilst some of the proprietary clubs  like Columbia pressed own-label editions for the club, United Artists  supplied ordinary pressings, as available in record stores.

RCOA adThe four million members of the Record Club of America were a particular headache. For a $5 joining fee, members of RCOA received free records for signing up  and heavily discounted records thereafter, including from the catalogue of United Artists. The label received smaller payment for free records chosen, and onerous fulfilment demands fell on UA’s record manufacturing subsidiary All Disc Records. When All Disc failed to fulfil orders in a timely way, RCOA turned to the courts to rule on its right to manufacture its own records from master tapes, in effect demanding UA hand over Van Gelder’s tapes ( bless ’em, UA rightly refused!)

 RcoA legal pubnThe lawyers took until 1981 to conclude transfer of assets into EMI-owned Capitol Record Industries, now new owners of the Blue Note catalogue, but the long-running dispute with Record Club of America continued well into the late eighties, as RCOA emerged from the ashes of bankruptcy with yet more legal claims against United Artists and many other labels too. Two attorneys seemingly  built their entire careers on suing record companies, all the way to The Supreme Court. (Apparently, it’s the American way)

Michael Cuscuna opens up the Blue Note vaults: the two-fers

BN LA456-H2 1075Notable amidst this sea of variable quality reissues and a handful of new releases, the Blue Note vaults  at this time yielded up many previously undiscovered original recordings from the Blue Note years, including sessions by Andrew Hill, Booker Ervin, Sam Rivers and many other gems discovered by Michael Cuscuna.

Around 1975, United Artists released these for the first time, in light brown gatefold package double album “two-fer” series.  The series adopted a variant of the UA blue label, using a white b encircled by “THE BLUE NOTE RE-ISSUE SERIES”, a misnomer, as all the tracks have never previously been issued. The sound quality on some of these two-fers is bright fresh and exciting (Van Gelder recordings), whilst a minority are somewhat lacklustre. Booker Ervin’s Back From The Gig is a stellar recording, essential.


In parallel to the previously unreleased material two-fers, an Artist Twofer compilation series was released, a double album of each main artist like Hubbard (BN-LA356-H2) and Rollins (BN-LA401-H2),  album co-ordinator George Butler, with multicoloured “litho print” cover design. These are samplers of previously issued material, remastered by UA engineers for the sampler, and are fairly poor sound quality, categorically not recommended.

UA artist two-fer series

Below found on an obscure Japanese collector site featuring samplers, a never-before seen two-fer Reissue Series sampler, with a “Blue Note Hits a New Note” sticker  seen on some earlier “Division of United Artists” label releases. The sticker use here on 1976 release  is an unexplained anachronism, several years into UMARG branding.


Despite his encyclopaedic Blue Note knowledge, there has never been any indication Cuscuna understood the mechanics of quality vinyl mastering and pressing. He listened to original Blue Note tapes – why would he?

By this stage few if any new recordings or new jazz artists appeared on the United Artist label, and the best Blue Note  pressings emerged on the Japanese market, manufactured in Japan by  King Record Company, Tokyo, including a number of  Japan-only releases of Blue Note recordings.

The last gasp –  1979, the LT series, and Liberty/United Records Inc

Seemingly invented  for these 1979 issues from the Blue Note vaults, another corporate identity was created – “LIBERTY/ UNITED RECORDS INC”. Note: this is not Liberty UA Inc., nor United Artists Records Inc, nor United Artists Music and Records Group Inc. Never was an organisation more wrongly named “United”. If United is the wrong word, Division must be the right one.

In addition to the LT Series, it seems other back catalogue titles were reissued in 1979 (label contributed by Paddy M, below)


The LT series unearthed amazing recordings then already 15 years lost in the Blue Note vaults. Despite their interesting material, the sonics of the LT series are somewhat variable, many of them are really excellent, pure sparkling unissued Van Gelder recordings as fresh as any released material (Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd) but sometimes disappointing – some of the Mobley material (three albums) are a let down, and the Jimmy Smiths, and there are some non-Blue Note recordings that are not as strong (Art Pepper, Omega). But they are very inexpensive, undervalued, and the material from mid sixties is mostly terrific, just never made it to Blue Notes crowded release schedule, and Alfred Lion’s  fear of over-saturating the market for certain artists that were selling well anyway.

United Artists: Audio Quality


“One person who has a website says the quality of these recordings isn’t very good.”   

(I wonder who they could be referring to?)

Next:  Blue Note  classic reissue series 

Postscript (December 27, 2013}

More about font colour!


Goldmine Jazz Price Guide (online extract)

Division of United Artists with black print are a known item (last line) though new to me. Below LJC contributor Phil exhibits the “black-font” Division  of United Artists, which further research suggests was a short-lived variation around 1971-2, which went on to be replaced with blue font, before the label was “retired” in 1973 and replaced by the all-blue United Artists Records Inc. label.


Picture courtesy of Phil L

(My thanks to Bob Djukic, DG Mono and Phil T for their invaluable input and fiendish tenacity)


52 thoughts on “Blue Note Records – The United Artists Years 1970-79

  1. hi LJC and jazz fans around the world, do the white B labels have different pressing plants, like those east and west coast liberty pressings? lets say a title with white b label has van gelder stampings, does it mean all identical releases will have van gelder stamps? and just to add, i guess sound quality will not be good if lets say it was first originally released as a new york label for example. happy holidays 🙂


  2. I don’t think Kenny Burrell’s Blue Lights vol. 1 was part of the UA mono series. If you look closely, in your third photos with UA mono series labels that is actually a Liberty label for BLP 1596.


  3. Good morning and once again I am directed to LJC when I have BN related question ! Do you know of a list of reissue titles, both for unissued and single artist releases ? I am referring to the Cuscuna mid 70’s reissues in cream jackets, and the later single vol LT series. Thank you.


  4. I have a UA pressing of Black Byrd released in the original year of 1973. But the label was SW 95111. Any opinion on the sound and why the number was different than other bluenote label?


    • BN-LA047-F Black Byrd Very odd pressing history. Recorded in Hollywood, pressed around 1973 at several different plants, including Columbia/Terre Haute, Capitol/Jacksonville where the odd SW catalogue number appears, and probably Researchcraft LA. Typical of nationally distributed manufacture. Quite possible, even likely, it was remastered from copy tape by local engineers at each location. Labels were also printed locally, typesetting and even label designs differ. Somewhere In this potentially chaotic process, I am guessing the original BN LA catalogue number was lost. Byrd post ’70 not my thing so no idea how any of these sound.


  5. It seems mismatched labels continued into the United artists era. I found a miles davis 81501 with a division of liberty records on one side and division of united artists on the other. I’ve never seen this combination of labels before.


  6. Just found an oddity – Blue Train on UA label with black B on CREAM background. Argentina 1976 alternative cover. Also has EMI label in top upper corner on the cover, everything in Spanish including track titles on the record itself. Not sure what to make out of it but the copy was very clean so I bought it. Could not find it in Discogs either.


  7. I think I just found another piece to the United Artists puzzle. Check this out:

    I’m certain that this is a “Division of United Artists Records Inc.” classic label mono reissue. Even if these were mastered and manufactured in the US, this auction makes a strong case that at least some of these were intended for the Japanese market. I always wondered why this reissue program was so dedicated to reissuing these albums in mono, especially when some of the later albums were only recorded to two-track tape, perhaps because the Japanese were much much interested in mono. I’ve never seen this sticker before, very interesting!


    • Nice find Rich! The Roman numerals on the back correspond to the year 1975 which is the year printed on some of these classic UA labels (like example 8 above).


    • Pity Euclid is selling it “sealed”, I hate that lucky dip thing.

      It confirms UA were selling into the Japanese market in the ’70s. The timing is a little more opaque, as date of copyright assertion is not date of manufacture. UA did block copyright application to a large amount of their catalogue in ©1973, and again in ©1975. Those 10″ 5000 ©1975 series could have been released any time, possibly long after 1975.

      The back cover boilerplate refers to UAMARG, which was the entity created by corporate reorganisation of UA in 1975, which is also found on some of those Div UA monos (the ones without artist listing) The bulk of that series (with artist listing on the label) are product of the earlier corporate identity, United Artists Inc., a few years earlier

      Taking everything together it strengthens the case that Div UA mono were intended for export to Japan, before they later settled for licensing and local manufacture by King Records.

      Something went wrong – the stock of mono pressings remained marooned in the US. Good result for us!


  8. The corporate nomenclature changeover from United Artists Records, Inc. to United Artists Music And Records Group, Inc., would have occurred in or around October 1974. The first 45’s on UA with phonographic copyright assigned to the new entity would have come out in that month, while the last new 45’s crediting phonographic copyright to the earlier concern were from the prior month. Even so, it was a matter of a few months – up to about February 1975 or so – before UAMARG was mentioned in the rim print of releases from UA and other subsidiaries – including Blue Note. And it wasn’t just BN collectors of varying degrees who were suffering in this period; Al Teller, who was president of UA Records from 1974 to 1978, later looked on his run as being subjected to “the worst of corporate nonsense” emanating from then-parent Transamerica.


  9. Just picked up Let Freedom Ring on UN but it appears to be a variant not listed here. The label is blue with a white ‘b’ but rather than the BN numbering the catalogue number is BST-84106.
    The Van Gelder Stereo stamps are present in the deadwax. Hence it appears to have been made with an old Rudy stereo stamper. Have not listened as yet. Presumably this is same as an early blue and black variant but just has a white ‘b’.


    • It bears the United Artists Music and Records Group text around the edge of the label – needs a proper clean but the sonics are outstanding – as you might expect with a record made with a Van Gelder stamper. Will email shot.


  10. Also, I have stumbled upon the answer as to who was the enigmatic “EcK” on UA-cut lacquers of the 1970’s – and in all places, a page of a Ferrante & Teicher release:
    The culprit was a chap named Ralph Eck, whose credits in mastering also included Maxine Nightingale’s early 1976 hit “Right Back Where We Started From.” Whatever other credits that could be cobbled together could be found at:
    I also saw, not on Blue Note but on other Liberty/UA labels, a ‘CH’ scribed on the deadwax of a 45; that very likely was Christina Hersch, another UA engineer. That only leaves ‘NB’ as the main question mark.


  11. I have some answer as to those 1971-73 Blue Note labels with black print (seen in and ): The label fonts give away the printer of those center labels as Progressive Label and Litho Co. of Brooklyn, NY, which handled the bulk of such typesetting for UA and sublabels as pressed by the All Disc plant. It apparently was the only printer to use black print, given how Bert-Co Press and another, unknown West Coast printer kept on keepin’ on with the blue print for the label copy. (This is the same Progressive firm, B.T.W., that handled Riverside LP’s from the late 1950’s until around the time Bill Grauer died in 1963.)


  12. Just picked up Sonny’s Crib on UA Blue Note in stereo, without 1975 on the label, but some trepidation after reading the post on this website concerning fake stereo editions.
    But I have to say that the sound quality and vinyl engineering are superb in a similar vein to the stereo UA Somethin Else. Okay it’s RVG’s primitive stereo, but to me, on my stuff, it sounds very nice indeed.


    • I also have a couple of non RVG UA blue notes myself (namely, BST 81589 and BST 4001) both belonging to the experimental stereo period when Van Gelder was recording both on full track and two track, I believe. They both sound really, really crispy and full of life, very balanced. The stereo positioning corresponds to original Van Gelder’s and so it seems to me that there wasn’t to much “fuss around” with the original master tape but since Van Gelder didn’t even bother to master the two track tapes(original release only in mono) I guess someone had to do it. So, to summarize, I think that the risk here goes more to the “fake stereo” remasters than to those sessions belonging to the period when RVG started to run two track on his recording studio thus originating a original Stereo master tape…


  13. “One person who has a website says the quality of these recordings isn’t very good.”

    You’re famous!

    “Close up, there is little consistency in the runout markings. Etched in a couple of different hands, sometimes the occasional varying initials – an “NB” and a “Eck” -, the odd “UA” attribution, the work of several individuals working their own way, smacks of a laid back LA sound engineer lifestyle.”

    Great line…spot on.

    This was such a good read–the usual from the ol’ LJC. After all this talk about these UAs, they’re starting to pique my interest. I wanna hear more of these early monos that Bob thinks were made for the Japanese market. I would also love to see a list of them if it exists.


      • In1975 United Artists Music And Records Group Inc.Los Angeles California 90028 released most of the 5000 Blue Notes in 10″ format with the original covers(not glossy)in mono.In the run-out is scratchet : UA. BN 5023(as an example)1 and2 and letters “EcK”.Sorry I can’t send pictures.I am not sure the whole serie was reissued,but most of it were.I sold most of them when Ifound the original,but I still have 9.They sound pretty good and look nice.(no deep grooves!)


        • PS
          If you are interested in buying records I can recommand our Ebay sales (together with Edo Essed) under “rodekool1”.We ran recently into a huge collection of ca. 10000 jazzrecords.We are not professionels and only do it for fun.


  14. last but not least: musician, title, xcept for 331/3 stereo long playing and adress all typos are BLACK instead of blue! no, no eggnogg tonight, i swear!


  15. huh, found another BN oddity… wish i could submit it to you before indulging
    looks like an early “division of united artists” with names of musicians, “modern” stereo long playinf but without any number under the side1-side 2… and with RVG in dw… how about that?


    • Division of United Artists label but pressed with metalwork from an RVG master? Amazing. Are you sure its not the eggnog ? Instead of re-mastering from the original tapes, which is what I think the UA engineers did with this series, someone “found” an original mother/ or stamper. Always possible that in this one case they couldn’t find the tapes for whatever reason. Certainly possible. The RVG metalwork was still in existence somewhere. Certainly a mystery.


      • i actualy haven’t seen the RVG stamp, but it’s called for by the eb-seller-at his very own risks… and i just found another lp by the same artist with similar specs (division of united artists;black lettering, no number under the sides, musicians, etc- definitely a different label than any of yours displayed… a fake?
        the plot thickens…


        • well, first specimen arrived : ANDREW HILL- judgment. same black printed label as shown above. stamp is actually VAN GELDER and not RVG… xcept for the catalog number engraved, no ECK or NB but what looks like “66” on both sides
          vinyl is quite heavy, same as say a blue note records inc – new york usa (mono)
          more tomorrow with listening session…


      • Following the “Listening to on vinyl” thread over at the SHTV forums, I often saw people post their blue label, white/black note Blue Notes sporting VAN GELDER stamps. So there must be quite a few out there. I have one myself: Herbie Hancock’s “The Prisoner” on a blue label with black note and VAN GELDER in deadwax. Sounds great.



        • Hi, Cristian, I have eight “solid blue label with black/ or white note” with VAN GELDER stamp myself – that is quite common. I am referring to “Division of United Artists” classic blue and white label (1970-3). These include reissues of very rare 1500 series Blue Note titles and were all re-mastered by UA house engineers, or so I thought. I have fifteen, none of which have a Van Gelder or RVG etching, and some have initials of other engineers ie EcK, but all have label text printed in blue – this one is printed with black text, which is the oddity.


  16. hi,trying to get my grips on these BN specs… if i understood well, blue label black notew+musicians names and liberty/los angeles california are worth the affordable$, right?
    thanks for your help


    • Hi Phil
      Of the six different labels in the United Artists Years , 1. “Classic” Division of United Artists (1970-73) and 3. L.A. Blue/Black offer the best quality.

      No 2 the Blue/black Note is highly variable – more often disappointing than not but there are a few aces there.

      The remaining 4, 5 and 6 and generally a disappointment. Always exceptions but that’s my experience with those I have owned


      • hi Tony
        thanks for your feedback
        yeah, i re-read you BN entries and learned better… i’ll pass on these copies And wish for greater ones


      • I’m another novice and confused Blue Note fan on a budget.

        Could you please number the main article label images referencing the numbers you have used here? I am unsure which are labels 1 – 6.


  17. ECK (or EcK) was definitely a mastering engineer at United Artists’ (ex-Liberty pre-’71) recording studios (ditto for NB). While the mastering engineers’ style may not be all that distinctive, the appearance of the lacquers is: Very narrow lead-out groove spacing, around 8 pitch, with 16 pitch lead-in; plus constant pitch lpi spacing on the record itself, with the first three turns about 2/3 or so of the amount of the rest of the track. As far as sound quality goes, the audio of anything emanating from UA’s studios (Blue Note or not) seemed somewhat compressed, and in some cases the stereo somewhat narrow. May’ve worked fine for, say, the latest Electric Light Orchestra release, but a disaster for Blue Note audiophiles for the reasons given in this article.


  18. More data for these UA mysteries – I just picked up Freddie Redd/Jackie McLean, music from The Connection. Jacket is what seems to be an original stereo jacket – only there’s no address on the back, and the image on the cover seems to be slightly lesser quality than that of my Blue Note originals (not has heave of cardboard either possibly). The LPS has etchings and Division of UA labels for the MONO pressing. Listened to it briefly through headphones at the shop and I don’t recall Jackie being remanded to one channel or the other, so my guess is that it is in fact mono. What I heard sounded good…powerful. Very interesting mix and match aesthetic they had with these.


    • great, I’ll check the mailbox. I have run into a crap pressing on Div UA: Rollins Vol 1 (BNST 1542) – really rubbish, so it looks like its not a 100% reliable source for “good stuff” Every now and then there is a dog..


  19. Thanks for your interesting section of Blue Note Division of United Artists. I like the sound of these reissues too and they are more in my budget. I’ve found another strange thing but you certainly have the answer.
    I have an Horace Silver “Further Exploration” with the white blue Label a Division of United Artists. The strange thing is P.1975 in the label. The Cover is Stereo, The Label seems Mono but the run-out is handwritten BST 81589. No RVG. I find the sound not so nice as other white blue United Artists, but better than blue Label.
    Does it mean there are white Blue label made after 1973?
    I try to send photos.


    • Hi Stefano. I dub you Eagle Eye, Chief Scout, welcome.
      It is not impossible that a classic Blue/White Div of UA label founds its way into circulation later than 1973, though as best I know the solid blue label/black note became the “normal” label for UA Blue Note reissues. As always, there are exceptions, which don’t fit the pattern, for reasons that will probably never be known. It is unusual in itself for dates to appear on labels around this time on American pressings. It is out of character

      So far I have found these early DiV of UA only on the top titles, and Silvers Further Exploration fits that bill. It must have been a highly selective reissue programme. Later on they reissued more or less everything in the Blue Note catalogue. The absence of the RVG stamp is the most intriguing feature of these pressings, as they must have been independently mastered.

      If the sound is not as good as other Div of UA, there are many possible explanations particular to your copy, for example, being last off an over-used stamper. Who knows.

      If you are able to make a photo as best you can – a jpg at 1600px wide is my standard format, but I can work with anything, I’d be very interested and include it in the blog. Label, and runout if you are able. Cover front and back would be a bonus for small clues. Email as attachment to andrewsouthlondon at hotmail dot co dot uk.

      Anyone else out there got and “Division of United Artists” pressings, mail me.


      • yes, LJC, I have one blue/white UA pressing, the same one you have a pic of, Swing, Swang, Swinging. That record just explodes out of the speakers, probably the best sounding BN I have! I would be interested in a list of those BN that issued on that particular label/time period. Also, how does Swing, Swang, Swinging rate in terms of recorded quality vis-a-vis other issues, like Idle Moments, etc. thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s