The Dave Brubeck Quartet ‎– Dave Brubeck At Storyville: 1954

Columbia ‎– CL590
Vinyl, LP, Album, Mono



There is an interesting and almost comical history to this release, which can be found in more detail in; “SHOTS OF JAZZ – the Recordings and Life of Dave Brubeck”. However for this detail we will highlight the main facts and that help identify this very rare LP. Its an oddity because its a small official release, of USA hybrid product into the UK market before the actual licensed release by Phillips later that year.

COLUMBIA US had the rights and issued all of Brubeck’s work of the period, on a scarlet label with three logos. However this is an ALL RED (dark red) Label and silver wiring and no logos, used to our knowledge only for this UK based release. Its so sought after by Jazz lovers because very few were pressed in early 1962 and so all the pressings are "not worn copies" and so close the original which was struck from the master plate (for use in the UK - to avoid tax issues on imports). Estimates vary - however only a very few thousands were made, as Phillips took over the official release later that year.

Its quite an involved history but interesting and all in the aforementioned book. To summarise a long story; In the early part of 1962 - COLUMBIA UK were wanting to promote the upcoming European tour by Brubeck. Unfortunately the Phillips deal would not be ready in time for that summer and so they needed to get Storyville out and in Europe and the UK especially.

Because of the rise of popularity and interest, they conceived the idea of marketing bthe existing record from the USA here. Two things were in the way of that; first printing unions and rules on printed materials and second the issues of paying tax on imported US records. Many “old” US recordings of the period will have a TAX stamp on them if they are from the US. So to get around this the COLUMBIA execs had a new pressing created from the USA master, hence the excellent sound of the COLUMBIA UK releases. By making pressings from a new master, they could add the labels they had from US recordings and it would all be fine.

However, fate intervened with the printing being required by law to be undertaken in the UK. Printing was highly unionised and so a US company could not ask a UK company working for other UK companies to print for them. This meant COLUMBIA required a printer to print a small run, specially for them. They found Sidnals & Sons of Canterbury, Kent a small family firm and amenable to the work – however totally without experience of printing LP covers !

The copies were duly sent over and the LP’s printed, all was to plan until the COLUMBIA execs looked at the covers, to their horror Sidnals had printed the covers on extra think cardboard. Perhaps worse than this the covers were matt (not glossy as the vogue was) and also had the US print stamps. The edits for the covers changing from US to UK copyrighting not being done,. All this resulted in a panic.

About then the Jazz brigade wanted to see the costly LP’s with shiny covers, as many LPs from then were printed matt backed and more costly Shiny fronts. Legend has it that Sidnals Son (the son in the family name) came up with a rescue plan (he could see profits vanishing). They would print up shiny flat sheets, and then stick these over the incorrect covers and the in one stroke of genius have shiny cover and the right backs, rather than pulp thousands of covers, The extra thick card, they couldn’t do anything about.

So that’s what happened, the amended covers to Storyville were printed up for UK release and then stuck over the USA based printed copies of the album covers. If you see the pictures, you can see this “square” glossy cover stuck onto the matt thick card cover set.

Clearly all this showed the reason why companies didn’t tend to try and do what COLUMBIA did and bring out rushed, quick releases and usually licensed into new markets through providers well known. However it does mean we are left with an odd highbred and rare LP, of great sound quality. Nobody knows how many were sold, but I have not seen another and I know many Jazz lovers look for this in collections all around. The fact that a “RED LABEL” UK Columbia release will be of superb sound (if not damaged) is clear, because of the small run. This meant the metal to take the impressions from wasn’t work down and this means any LP pressed would be a well defined “cut”. This all means to LP lovers superior sound quality, which is why collectors like first pressings anyway.

The pictures show one of these in my collection and there is a list below to help identify this release over others. Anyone liking Dave Brubeck and after a good copy of Storyville, on old vinyl with superior quality and a collectable record, would be well served to try and hunt a copy out for themselves.

Ways to identify the RED LABEL UK Columbia release from early 62:
1. The card is extremely thick for the sleeve, unlike any card you would see anywhere else. Its double thickness in each sheet.
2. The label is ALL RED and silver, no logos. As per the pictures. It also says PRINTED IN USA (on the label) and the X unbreakable and the x "LP" 32827 on right of label.
3. No printers marks on the cover at all anywhere (extremely unusual) – printers like to advertise !
4. The cover is glossy and has been “stuck on” over the top of the sleeve cover proper. The sleeve is matt printed and the cover is gloss.
5. The stuck on cover can be seen in ,my closer pictures supplied and you can see they literally stuck a large square on top of every sleeve – madness and unheard off ! Showing the inexperienced nature of the printers used.
6. No import or tax pressings on the label for typical USA imported records, this was not an import and so wasn’t stamped.

Martrix on my copy as follows:

All this means that this variant is a nice one to collect and has the best sound you will find for Storyville. Its also an interesting oddity in the history of companies and LP’s as it tells such ain interesting story about the business of music.