Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lionheart - Japan First Issue Cassette

The first issue Japanese cassette release of Lionheart features the same album artwork as the UK release, but with the addition of some bold text, photos and background colour. As you may have noticed already, which I've probably neglected to mention on other posts, these cassette inserts are pretty unique with their double spines.

The inner portion of the insert is pretty boring by comparison, and most of them are pretty much like this - a basic listing of the tracks on one side and a listing for different releases printed on the other side.

The cassette shell for Lionheart has JAPAN stamped directly into it on the first side only. The early cassette shells and sticker labels are pretty much identical on all early album releases. I really can't say if this changes at all on the later releases as I pretty much stopped collecting them after Hounds of Love. By that point the inserts were looking more and more like any other common release you could find in any country - and the appeal for them was lost on me.

This release also comes with a double-sided English lyric sheet. It's a really long strip of folded paper, which I had to scan and chop into sections, otherwise you wouldn't be able to read any of it. As I've pointed out in other releases, the paper is very thin, similar to newsprint paper.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Suspended In Gaffa - Australia 7" Promo Single

Australian promo only release of Suspended In Gaffa was issued in a generic company sleeve. This is a slightly different version of the company sleeve from the one typically used for most general releases in Australia. Instead of the large EMI logo centred around the cut out hole on the front, a smaller version is placed in the upper left-hand corner. There's also a slightly darker red ring around the outer portion of the logo, even though it's impossible to see here. The back of the sleeve has no cut out hole, but an extra large EMI logo is featured.

The labels are promo stamped in large red letters, and interestingly enough, Ne T'enfuis Pas has a misspelling on the second side.

Despite the fact that this is one of the less interesting promos out there, it also tends to be a pricey one when it does show up.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

4 Sucessos - Brazil 7" Single (4 Track EP)

This is the first in a series of two Brazilian produced Various Artists EPs to feature a song by Kate. A second Various Artists EP was later issued, as were two additional EPs which were marketed exclusively as Kate releases. All 4 EPs can be found on this site.

As with the case with the other releases, this one also comes in a thicker card sleeve. The record labels are also pretty identical to the UK issued ones from that time.

Unfortunately, the labels on this particular copy are in pretty rough shape; they suffer from discolouration, fading and even bleed issues from the paper glue. I had a lot of difficulty taking half decent scans, particularly with the B side. Sometimes older paper labels can prove to be problematic in very specific ways. It doesn't often happen, but I have seen a few examples of this throughout my life. A culmination of different factors can be involved in this happening: defective paper, glue not properly cured, environmental conditions or simply age.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wuthering Heights - Sweden 7" Single

This one comes in a thicker card sleeve similar to the original UK release. The front artwork, minus the catalogue number, is identical to the UK release.

The back of the picture sleeve is completely different to all other releases. It's nothing overly spectacular, but if you like collecting variants, then this is an interesting one to get.

The paper labels on the 7" are practically identical to the UK ones at the time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Whole Story - Japan CD Release: First Issue 1986

It was by this point that Japanese CD albums really lost their visual appeal to me simply because there was little to no difference between them and other releases. That was always a huge selling feature to me in the beginning. However, I continued to buy them simply because the sound quality has always been far superior.

This one does come with an Obi-Strip, but it's packed away somewhere with the rest of them. From what I can remember, and this is just off the top of my head, it's a white strip with a mix of blue and black Japanese text on it.

Apart from the catalogue number on the front cover, and a tiny bit of Japanese text on the back page, the booklet is pretty much identical to most other releases.

The inlay insert has the same picture on all releases, but there are some differences between them. As far as I know, the original release is the only one to have a barcode printed on it. Most of the reissues dispense with the horizontal black stripes, and others have black vertical stripes along both spine areas.

A separate two page, double-sided insert is also included. The first side is a biography on Kate, and the other side has the English and Japanese printed lyrics for The Whole Story. I had to scan this in sections and piece it back together. Unfortunately, my patching job is kind of awful in some places. Sorry!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Before The Dawn: UK First Issue Triple CD Release

I wanted to properly absorb everything fully about this release before creating a post for it.

I did buy the 4LP box set version as well, which you can see in my first photo here, but I won't be opening that one up. Sorry! This post will be for the CD set only. Everything has been fully scanned for this post. I did break some things up into smaller sections, so that they would show up a little better.

When an audio release was first announced for BTD, admittedly I had some concerns that the final product would be a hack job similar to the Hammersmith '79 video. Needless to say, I was more than surprised to learn we would be getting the entire show, with the inclusion of Never Be Mine, which didn't even make it into the final setlist.

A hell of a lot of time and work went into producing the absolute best sound quality on these CDs and it shows. The end result is superb, leaving the overall sound breathtakingly fresh and sharp. So if you bought a certain bootleg that's been floating around for sale online, or been listening to home-made recorded MP3s, they really don't compare at all - so get out there and buy this release if you haven't already.

One thing that's abundantly clear throughout each CD is the virtual removal (or significant minimizing) of the audience during each song. This was a very smart decision to make, and the results are stunning as it leaves you more focused on the performance. If you didn't attend any of the shows, the CDs offer you a chance to hear just how strong Kate's voice still sounds in a live setting. Never Be Mine, which was only a rehearsal, has been flawlessly inserted into the first CD with audience cheers at the start and end of it. It's pretty impressive how well it fits considering it was never part of the show.

While the art design on this set is stunning, the choice in packaging leaves a lot to be desired. Once again, everything is horribly presented in my least favourite packaging in the world - the dreaded digipak. While the absence of the horrible CD pockets is appreciated, this redesign is actually no better. Removing and replacing the CDs can be pretty difficult. I've even experienced major difficulty with this myself, and I've also heard about several instances where one of the CDs (usually the third one) has literally snapped on people when trying to remove it from its backing - so I would advise extra care. If you're like me and many other people who despise digipak packaging, I would suggest storing the CDs in separate CD cases for ease of access. Storing the CDs separately will also cut down on the wear of the CD packaging; something that this type of flimsy structure is easily prone to.

I also would have liked to have seen something a little different on the CD designs, especially as the artwork is exactly the same on the inlay. It would have been a great opportunity to incorporate some of the fish designs or other things themed around each section - but since this is such a minor thing I'm not going to moan over it

The booklet is absolutely gorgeous. Even though many of the photos already appear in the tour programme or online, there are also new ones included.

The space dust on these pages appear courtesy of SPACE.