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Doctor Bob

Syl Johnson 'Is It because I'm Black' LP

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I've just seen an original copy of the Syl Johnson iconic 'Is It Because I'm Black' LP

on multi-colored Twinight advertised on the 'gogs' for £1,466 (in NM).

Am I missing something here, is that right? I thought around £250-300

Also my orig issue has Red & Black Twinight labels, which was first - the multi-colored or the red & black labels?

Any help on this would be great

Many thanks

BJ

 

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Hi Bob

that's only the inflated advertised price from a chancer in Italy hoping someone is gullible enough to fall for it - all his records are stupidly overpriced. Donald Byrd 'Places & Spaces' for £230 anyone? average selling price - £11. J,R. Bailey single for £36? average selling price less than a fiver. 

It also has the makings of a scam, get some feedback then hit someone with a big sale and the record never arrives. Either way he's a tw*t.

cheers Paul

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Hi Bob

that's only the inflated advertised price from a chancer in Italy hoping someone is gullible enough to fall for it - all his records are stupidly overpriced. Donald Byrd 'Places & Spaces' for £230 anyone? average selling price - £11. J,R. Bailey single for £36? average selling price less than a fiver. 

It also has the makings of a scam, get some feedback then hit someone with a big sale and the record never arrives. Either way he's a tw*t.

cheers Paul

Thanks Paul

Do you know the answer to the second part of my posting, which came first the multi-colored Twinight labels or the Red & Black?

Any help would be great

Thanks again

Bob J

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If the album releases follow the 45 releases, the red label would have been first then the multi-colored Twinight label.

I would almost swear the multi colored Twinight label wasn't used until 1970, possibly even later.

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Many thanks for the label color answers. I always thought that the red label 'Is It Because I'm Black' LP

was the 1st press, but couldn't be 100% sure as there's no release date on labels or sleeve although it's generally known to

be 1970. The 45 release of the title came out in Oct 69 as a red, and blue grey. so yes all good.

I knew I'd get the answer on here.

Cheers

Bob J

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Yes indeed, those two contemporary releases are from different pressing plants.

561643e04af6a_Capture_dcran_2015-10-08__561644139b4a9_Capture_dcran_2015-10-08__

Since the then "new" red design was already running for 3 previous releases and none of those share this label variation, we can suppose that the demand exploded unexpectedly for this instant hit 'is it because I'm black' and the other pressing plant still had those "old" labels. So they could have rushed the re-release with those "old" labels they still carried to satisfy ASAP the demand.

As for the albums, the story is most likely not similar. The LP was apparently first released somewhere in 1970 on the red design. And released a second time on the "sun-rise" design (not the blue and grey then) !!! For the 45s this design was only introduced by mid 1971. So... rather as a re-release than contemporary one would believe.

56164a7235699_Capture_dcran_2015-10-08__

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Ah.. 2 seperate pressing plant, the plot thickens. Thanks Tiscapital. That makes sense, I knew that the single was a 
a pivitol point in Syl Johnson's career and sold well. Here's my red LP scan. 

SJohnsonBlackLP.A.jpg

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The red label 45 of "Is It Because…" was pressed at ARP in MIchigan. The Blue/Tan copies at MidWest in Illinois. The latter plant was owned by Chess.

It's often problematic to state which release was 'first' because in reality many titles were often pressed on different label stock at different plants simultaneously. As noted above this title was a strong seller and would have been in print for months in various forms. The are MidWest copies on the red logo too.

As far as the album goes it's similarly unhelpful to talk in terms of a 'first press' just from a label artwork point of view. This would have been pressed in multiple locations, all using distinct artwork. That is true for the huge companies like Columbia, Capitol and RCA, so a small/medium independent like Twinight would have little guarantee of uniformity across its releases. The main priority was to get them out there while they were still selling.

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The red label 45 of "Is It Because…" was pressed at ARP in MIchigan. The Blue/Tan copies at MidWest in Illinois. The latter plant was owned by Chess.

It's often problematic to state which release was 'first' because in reality many titles were often pressed on different label stock at different plants simultaneously. As noted above this title was a strong seller and would have been in print for months in various forms. The are MidWest copies on the red logo too.

As far as the album goes it's similarly unhelpful to talk in terms of a 'first press' just from a label artwork point of view. This would have been pressed in multiple locations, all using distinct artwork. That is true for the huge companies like Columbia, Capitol and RCA, so a small/medium independent like Twinight would have little guarantee of uniformity across its releases. The main priority was to get them out there while they were still selling.

Thanks Garethx

I can assure you I wasn't being 'unhelpful' in my post, just curious as to why the different label artwork. Re the LP I've only ever seen the red and and black design

so when the multicolored came up for sale on the gogs, it prompted me to ask the questions. As an avid follower and collector of this music since the 60s I'm also curious to want to know how the label evolved that's all. I don't see it as a problem at all. Just saying...

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Sorry, Bob. Unhelpful was the wrong choice of word, I meant no slight. Your topic raises a perfectly legitimate query.

I should have stated that it's difficult to pin down a first press just by looking at the label artwork. Mastering sequences would be the definitive way, but would still be tough for an indie album. With majors there are general rules with master sequencing so it's easier to pin down where and when in a manufacturing run any particular record was made.

I don't have an original of this any more so I'm guessing the album was mastered at one of the bigger studios in Chicago, either Universal or Columbia and then the masters sent off around the states to have the metal parts made and eventually pressed at any number of factories. Each stage of the process would add information in the run-out grooves: first the mastering studio and engineer, then the metal part makers, then the pressing plant. 

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Thanks Gareth

I know the USA can be a minefield when it comes to the indie / little label releases. For my sins I  tend to dig deep for facts and figuires, always have done

since being blessed with meeting and interviewing my black music heroes through my radio work with Kiss FM and BBC Radio London.

I sometimes think my curiosity gets the better of me now and again. But like you and the majority who post on here we're in this for the Soul, so all good

my friend....all good

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