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Topic: Entry data revision
One of several excellent obscurities on Canadian CBS, the increasingly popular Riverson may be headed towards the $500+ zones where label-mates like It's All Meat reside. However, few collectors outside Canada seem to be aware that there are in fact two different pressings of this LP, despite its rarity. The pressings are easy to tell apart, as the earliest one comes with the old CBS '360' label, while the second variant has the red label with circular yellow lettering that CBS used in the '70s (not sure how this label design is usually referenced).
Both discs were pressed at the same plant and reportedly display no aural differences, but the issue is still significant as most known copies have a pressing defect; a 'stick' or repeat skip on the track "Take Me" which closes side 1. The defect has been described as 'fixable', for those with steady hands and the needed cojones.
When I first posted about this I assumed that the second pressing, does not have this defect, since a few known copies of this run (yellow/red label), including my own, play with no notable problems at all. It seemed a reasonable theory that the repeat skip defect only affected the first pressing and was corrected for the second pressing, during which time CBS also switched label designs.
A neat theory--a little too neat, in fact, for the ever enigmatic domain of vinyl records. A German collector got in touch and pointed out that he knew of a second pressing with the repeat skip defect, which sort of ruins my theory. Things got increasingly confusing when we compared matrix numbers and found that the first and second pressing were manufactured from the same stamper; the dead wax notations are identical. I checked with a couple of other proud Riverson owners, and they confirmed that the dead wax data was the same (side A): 'ES-90136A-1A', and on opposite side 'C2-G' and some tiny squiggles.
In a nutshell, both pressings (with completely different label designs) were manufactured from the same stamper, yet some copies have the pressing flaw on S1T6, and some do not. It appears that all copies with the 360 label have the flaw, while some (but definitely not all) copies with the yellow/red label have the flaw. I see no reasonably simple explanation for this, theories are invited. It's not quite as mysterious as the Madrigal madness (see old post), but close.
Regardless of the stamper mystery, the collector faces an interesting dilemma--the first pressing has the usual cachet of being the 'original' run, but has a rather troubling defect, which some copies of the less attractive second run lacks. So which one do you want? To complicate things further, it seems that the playability of the defective track differs between turntables, probably due to tonearm weight. As mentioned above, the Riverson pressings are otherwise identical, both are Unipak gatefolds.
On a related note, both Perth County Conspiracy's CBS debut and the Roger Rodier LP exist in two different versions, like Riverson, but PCC is the only one of the three where the basic pressings differ. The earliest PCC run from 1970 comes in a regular gatefold (later replaced by Unipak), is pressed on better vinyl than the 2nd press and includes a booklet which the c1972 reprint lacks (I think). In the case of Rodier it is simply a case of two different pressings, with neither defects or booklets to complicate matters. I hope.