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.


Martin Carthy: “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey”

2 October 2016

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 October 2015

Here’s another video of the Crosley Cruiser record player. This is the single version of “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey” from 1976.

Martin Carthy: Vocals, guitar
Tony Cox: Synthesiser

Trad/Arr. Carthy

7″ single
b/w
Palaces of Gold

Released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records STOP 7002

Also on the album “Crown Of Horn
First released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records 12TS300


#MC50 : Comparing Topic’s ‘Martin Carthy’ 50th anniversary re-issue with the Fontana original

19 April 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 19 April 2015

Topic Records issued their 50th anniversary edition of Martin Carthy’s debut album in a limited edition of 750 copies as one of their 2015 Record Store Day releases.

I thought it would be interesting to compare this edition with my original 1965 Fontana records copy (mine is the mono edition) so what follows are a series of compare and contrast photographs of the 1965 and 2015 editions.

Front Cover

The immediately obvious difference with the 2015 edition is the removal of the Fontana logo from the top right corner which has been handled very well compared with previous re-issues which either cropped the entire section of the cover (the 1970s vinyl re-issue) or blocked out the logo in black (the CD re-issue). This works so much better. Otherwise the cover is a faithful reproduction of the original although the new edition has a slightly more prominent blue hue whereas the original tended towards green in places (I accept that this could be due to the age of my copy). On closer inspection the image on the new edition is reproduced a little darker with higher contrast and saturation but slightly lower image definition and the text in the top right appears to have been re-set.

Back Cover

Again, this is a faithful reproduction of the original but with some slight alterations. The MARTIN CARTHY text has been re-set in a different (but similar) font. The track listing and main sleeve notes on the new edition appear to be the same font as the original but have again been re-set so there are a few discreet changes in layout and text placement. The necessary addition of the Topic logo, copyright notices and barcode are slightly less discreet changes. The main difference between the two editions is in the manufacturing method – the original 1965 mono edition features the then-standard ‘foldback’ sleeve with paper label pasted on top whereas the new edition is ‘fully-laminated’ (some later ’60s Fontana editions were also ‘fully laminated’ so arguably this is a ‘faithful’ reproduction but it obviously differs from my early copy).

Inner Sleeve, label and spine

The 1965 edition only included a plain (blank) inner sleeve but the new edition has an attractive picture inner sleeve that reproduces a Karl Dallas review of Martin’s first two albums (no date given) and a transcript of his classic arrangement of Scarborough Fair. The labels are completely different by necessity and it’s nice to see one of Martin’s albums featuring the now-classic blue and silver Topic label design. Finally, the title and catalogue number on the spine differs from the original.


#MC50 : 50th Anniversary Record Store Day release

5 April 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 5 April 2015

Topic Records are to release a limited-edition version of Martin Carthy’s debut album for UK Record Store Day. The edition will carry the catalogue number 12TS2015 and will be limited to 750 copies with audio remastered for 180g audiophile vinyl that has been pressed at Optimal in Germany. It will be available initially in-store only at participating record shops on Saturday 18 April but it’s likely that Topic will make any remaining copies available via their website in the following weeks, as they have with their previous RSD releases.

Previous Topic RSD releases have reproduced the original sleeve notes, artwork and production techniques (foldback sleeves, etc). So far I’ve been unable to determine if that is the case here although Topic have released this cover image showing that they have finally made a decent job of dealing with the old Fontana logo that appeared in the top-right corner of the original release. I’ll post more details once I get my hands on a copy.

MC50 Cover1

View Martin Carthy in DISCOGRAPHY

View list of #MC50 posts in Come Sing It Plain…


Vote for Martin & Eliza in the BBC Folk Awards

8 February 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 8 February 2015

folk awards 2015

Martin and Eliza’s 2014 album The Moral of the Elephant has been nominated in the Best Album category in the 2015 BBC Folk Awards.

Surprisingly, there are no nominations for Best Duo or Best Traditional Track but the Best Album category is decided by a public vote so you can add your support by clicking here or on the image above and voting before midnight on 13 February (UK time).

If you haven’t heard the album you can find out more from the Topic records EPK below…

The full list of nominees can be found here.


#MC50 – ‘Martin Carthy’ at 50: “Scarborough Fair”

1 January 2015

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 1 January 2015

csip502015 marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Carthy’s debut solo album, the imaginatively-titled Martin Carthy. It’s probably fair to say that it was one of the most influential folk albums of the 1960s and in terms of repertoire it had an enormous impact on the British folk scene for many years.

Scarborough Fair may well be the best known song on the album, not least because of the subsequent controversy surrounding Paul Simon’s ‘borrowing’ of Carthy’s arrangement. Perhaps for this reason it has been largely absent from his repertoire since the mid-60s whereas several other songs from his debut album have regularly re-appeared in his live sets.

It hasn’t been entirely absent however, and in the 1990s he was persuaded to record the song with Wood Wilson Carthy and also dueted on a version with Bert Jansch (under the title ‘The Elfin Knight‘). More recently he’s recorded two versions for BBC radio and within the last month a new recording appeared over the closing credits of the BBC TV drama ‘Remember Me‘.

As part of a new project #MC50 I’m creating a new YouTube video every month during 2015. Each video will includes rare, unique or unreleased tracks from Martin’s career – radio sessions, live tracks, TV recordings. January’s offering features Martin’s new recording of Scarborough Fair with some stills from the BBC show. Here is:


Martin & Eliza win fRoots Critics Poll vote

6 December 2014

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 6 December 2014

froots logo

Martin and Eliza Carthy’s album “The Moral Of The Elephant” was announced as the winner of the 2014 fRoots Critics Poll album of the year on Friday.

fRoots editor Ian Anderson made the discussed the awards and announced the winners on the BBC Radio 3 “World on 3” show which you can hear for the next four weeks here.

LINK: “The Moral of the Elephant” in DISCOGRAPHIES
LINK: Recording “The Moral of the Elephant”
LINK: Photo Gallery from Martin & Eliza’s 2014 tour

 


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