“Help me Rhonda, help, help me Rhonda …”
During the past year, I’ve happened to stumble across UK pressings from two quintessential California pop groups of the 1960s – The Beach Boys -“Summer Days (And Summer Nights)!” and The Mamas and the Papas – “Hits of Gold.”
Now, normally you want to collect pressings of albums from the country where the groups originated because back in the 60s especially dubs of the master tapes would be sent over to other countries making them a generation or two removed from the master tape which tended to make them sound flatter with less bass, etc.
BUT seeing as how I’ve said before on this blog that I suffer from Collectoritis (my own loving term) I just couldn’t resist picking these two albums up because I LOVE British pressings from the 1960s.
I have a friend named Pauline who grew up in the UK (Hi Pauliney!) and I’ve told her many times that the Brits knew how to make records and these two pressings are no exception!
First off British albums from the 1960s just look better! They are covered with clarifoil lamination on the front covers making them very shiny and pretty much resistant to finger prints.
Also, British covers have a flipback style back sleeve which, unlike US covers at the time, made for a bit sturdier cover.
US records were made with back cover artwork folded over cardboard and then the front art was pasted over that leaving the folds covered up on the front.
UK covers were folded over to the back leaving three parts of the cover flipped over the cardboard and since they are covered in clarifoil lamination they leave these three big folds over the back – thus flipback sleeves.
Just a novelty here in the States but pretty damn sturdy and just plan fun – to collectors like me anyway.
The Beach Boys pressing, despite looking like it was used in a football match (UK meaning which is soccer in the States) and covered in dirt sounded excellent!!!
Once cleaned up, it was surprisingly very quiet and retained all the fidelity of a US pressing. Probably better as UK pressings were made a bit better than the US counterparts and tend to survive abuse better.
Two of my favorites songs from the album, “Let Him Run Wild” and “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, really did sound terrific. Mmm, I might have to track down an original US pressing as well to compare.
The Mamas and Papas sounded good too but because it crammed 16 songs (8 to a side) it sounded a bit more muffled than US copies of the songs I’ve heard but really not too bad. It has a nice track selection which at the time it was released was a good deal.
Well, there you have a mini sermon on UK records from the 60s and if you’re still with me take a glance below to see what I’m talking about.
Until the next blog wave rides up, catch some rays and hang ten. (Yikes, I couldn’t resist!)