Rarities: ‘Byker Hill’ South Korean mini LP replica CD

7 May 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 7 May 2017

Byker Korea 06

Mini album CDs are scaled-down reproductions of albums that were originally issued as 12” LPs and are perhaps most popular in Japan. Packaging reproduces that of the original vinyl LP rather than any later CD reissues and will often include any inserts or inner sleeves that may not be included in the standard CD.  A paper insert with additional information in both English and Japanese may also be included and an ‘obi strip’ – a small strip of paper or card wrapped around the cover – is a standard feature.

This is an August 2015 release of Martin’s 1967 Byker Hill album from Media Arte Records and rather than being from Japan this was issued in South Korea. It’s something I picked up around a year ago but have been reluctant to post here as I wasn’t sure if it was a legitimate release or one of the many available pirate/bootleg issues. I was recently reassured by David Suff of Topic Records that this was indeed a legitimate issue so I’m happy to post some detailed pictures here.

As you’ll see, reproduction of the original Topic LP sleeve and label are of a high quality and while the mastering on some Japanese albums gives a notoriously ‘brittle’ sound, the sound quality here is at least as good as the standard issue Topic CD of the same album.

There are now a number of Japanese mini album CDs of Martin’s solo and duo albums available – just last week a pirate version of his first album was released – but this is the only issue I can confirm as a legitimately licenced product. As it’s also the only one I actually own I can’t vouch for the quality of any other releases in terms of the overall packaging or sound quality so I guess a general ‘buyer beware’ warning should go along with any of these items. And of course, it goes without saying that neither Martin nor Topic Records (or any of the other relevant artists or labels) will receive the necessary royalties from pirate releases.

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#MC50 : 2004 Kershaw Session

3 April 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 3 April 2015

Here’s April’s #MC50 YouTube video featuring tracks from Martin’s 2004 session for the BBC Andy Kershaw Show. #MC50 features rare and unreleased tracks from Martin’s career in a series of videos celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin’s debut album.

The original show also included an extended interview with Martin and you can hear the complete session here:


 

#MC50 : ‘Nothing Rhymed’ with Jools Holland

2 March 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 March 2015

The third of my #MC50 YouTube videos, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin’s debut album, is a unique recording from 2011 featuring Martin singing his version of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Nothing Rhymed with Jools Holland and his orchestra. This one-off recording comes from a 2011 edition of Jools’ BBC radio 2 show:

The original show also included an extended interview with Martin that you can listen to here:


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