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First Record

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Also appears as "First" only.
First Record (第一唱片) is a label of questionable legality from Taiwan, catering to soldiers (mostly from the US) stationed there. They also did sell to locals. Some sources claim the records were legal in that country, but this is still a controversial point of view. The releases are mostly copies from US or Japanese releases, often with altered colors, and include a wide array of styles.

Pressed in Taiwan to cash in on the 35,000 or so GI's that were stationed there between the 1950s and 1970s. The albums were usually pressed in batches of about 500, with no two batches looking or sounding the same (ie different covers, vinyl colors). Covers were usually recycled, meaning art for a totally different album was on the reverse side of the paper (covers were thin paper wrapped in cellophane). For context, Taiwan was the pirate capital of SEA (followed closely by Thailand and the Philippines). In Taiwan circa 1970 there were reportedly over 45 (modern equipped) pressing plants churning out 200,000 pirate albums per month (that's just the number pressed for export to other parts of SEA!), up from 150,000 per month back in 1963. Pirate pressings outsold legit pressings 5 to 1. They were sold openly in legit record stores alongside equivalent legit pressings...usually for 1/5 or 1/4 of the price of the legit copy (in 1970 a pirate LP cost around US$0.70 whereas a legit Singaporean EMI pressing of the same album cost around US$3.50).*
*Source= Billboard article 3/14/1970.

The release year can often be determined from a number on the labels. The date format is: YY.MM.DD. Add 1911 to the year number for the release year. Sometimes the day is not listed but the same rules apply. If these numbers are not present, the release date should always be left blank unless stated on the front cover, etc.

So how did pirates get hold of the master tapes?

The pirate would buy a copy of the album and record it onto tape and this would serve as the "master tape". Up until the late 1960s the sleeves and labels were printed in Taiwan, but afterwards most were printed in the Philippines.

Parent Label:第一唱片廠有限公司
Sublabels:First (8), Hong Kong First Record Company
Contact Info:

*Obsolete*
:
No. 9, Xinyi West Street
Sanchong District
241 NEW TAIPEI CITY
TAIWAN R.O.C.
Google address:
三重市信義西街九號

License #'s (Circa 1965-1966)
Publishing: 0130
Manufacturing: 1527
Company: 3442

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  • Chapp33.3's avatar
    Chapp33.3
    What is a "straight disc dub" as noted above? Many pressing I have seen include US pressing plant run-outs. Were impressions made from a vinyl LP?