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Mysteries of “Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago”
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Research started by examining other titles in the similar period
It was lucky for me, that I already had collected a number of albums whose catalogue numbers were very close to this album (MG-20449 mono, and SR-60134 stereo). Examining such titles let me realise several insights.
First of all, I surmised the release date of “Quintet In Chicago” album as Spring 1959, since the recording session was made on February 3rd, 1959.
Most Mercury releases in 1959 was based on monaural LPs, although Mercury already started releasing some stereo LPs in 1958. By glancing at numerical listing of Mercury MG-20400 series, you may find there is NO systematic relationship between monaural numbers and stereo numbers. This fact reinforce the inference that monaural edition still was a standard release for Mercury Record Corporation at the time - it is highly probable that Mercury periodically released stereo editions of past mono titles, until all recording sessions became stereo-ready. (it was in the very late 1960 or early 1961, when Mercury started to use systematic relationship between stereo/mono numbers - MG-20600 mono / SR-60600 stereo and later titles). Another interesting fact is that, most (1st pressings of) 1959 releases didn't have any statements about equivalent stereo/mono releases on the back cover. Please take a look at below photos.
LEFT: top-right corner of the back cover of MG-20447， “At The Cinema! / Buddy Collette & His Swinging Shepherds”
RIGHT: top-right corner of the back cover of SR-60144 “The Voice Is Rich / Buddy Rich & His Orchestra”
Equivalent releases are SR-60132 and MG-20461 respectively.
Take a look at the next photo - this is from the back cover of my own SR-60134. You can see there is a mention of equivalent mono issue MG-20449... What does this mean? Is my copy just a late pressing? Or were MG-20449 and SR-60134 firstly released later than 1959? Are there any MG-20449 copies without a mention of equivalent stereo SR-60134, or any SR-60134 copies without a mention of equivalent mono MG-20449, on the back cover?
top-right corner of the back cover of SR-60134 “Quintet In Chicago”.
You can see there is “ALSO AVAILABLE ON REGULAR LONG PLAYING MG 20449” printed,
which is an equivalent mono issue of SR-60134.
Another fact in question can also be found on the back side of the cover. As you can see below, there is a mention of Cannonball's other titles, Mercury SR-60208 / MG-20531 and Mercury SR-60207 / MG-20530. But actually these are 2nd issues (in 1960) of EmArcy SR-80018 / MG-36135 and EmArcy SR-80017 / MG-36146 respectively. This strongly suggests that my copy of SR-60134 was printed in 1960 or later.
Are there any copies whose back cover mentions EmArcy 1st issues of “Sharpshooters” and “Jump For Joy” ? If so, are they the real 1st pressings?
bottom-right on the back cover of my SR-60134.
There is an ad of 2nd issues of “Cannonball's Sharpshooters” and “Jump For Joy”.
By the way, the year 1959 was a bit confusing period for Mercury: Mercury started releasing stereo LPs in 1958, including the fabulous Living Presence series. In the very first year, all stereo titles were pressed at RCA Victor Indianapolis plant (famous for high-quality pressings). But in 1959, probably due to unexpectedly huge amounts of pressings, pressing of Mercury's Jazz and Popular stereo LPs moved from Indy plant to another plant (probably Richmond). It is also highly probable that sometimes Mercury temporally used a certain plant or another on several circumstances.
Another confusion was natural extinction of famous subsidiary EmArcy label. In 1958, EmArcy's producer Bob Shad left Mercury, and Jack Tracy took over the producer's sheet. EmArcy label also started to release stereo LPs, but probably due to some business matters, the brand “Mercury” was used even for the EmArcy releases. Then the necessity of “EmArcy” label gradually disappeard - Jazz releases continued on Mercury label, and EmArcy label itself ceased its releases in 1959.
All Cannonball Adderley's LPs prior to “Quintet In Chicago” were released by EmArcy label. But “Quintet In Chicago”, which was suitable for EmArcy releases, was after all issued by Mercury. The reason can be found in such a historical evidence.
Now let's talk about label designs which were common in that era. The very early stereo titles had large Mercury oval logo printed on the label (left type). Within an year, the oval logo was changed to smaller type (right type). The below example, SR-60109 (equivalent mono issue was MG-20437) “Music For A Private Eye / Ralph Marterie And His Marlboro Men” was recorded in April 1959. So we can conclude that large Mercury oval logo might be used for stereo issues until the middle 1959. The most recent large oval copy I have is SR-60123 (Nov. 18, 2004: I confirmed there exists SR-60126 with this large oval logo, although I didn't buy the copy). It is a very delicate question whether the very early pressings of SR-60134 “Quintet In Chicago” had large oval logo.
LEFT: Side-A label of SR-60109. It has large Mercury oval logo, used in very early stereo era (1958-1959).
RIGHT: Side-A label of SR-60112. It has middle Mercury oval logo instead, used in 1959 and on.
As for monaural issues, there were two label designs common in the era. Most copies had “LONG PLAYING MICROGROOVE” type, and some others had large Mercury oval logo. By inspecting various copies I already have, I can conclude these two types co-existed in the same period.
LEFT: Side-A label of MG-20441. “Long Playing Microgroove” which is fairly common in the period.
RIGHT: Side-A label of MG-20429. It has large Mercury oval logo like earliest stereo label.