Are You Experienced and Axis. Bold As Love .......................................... The "fake" Track Records issues from circa 1980 - 1981.
* Note that with Polydor releases some stamper detail is expressed as:
V = an upside down triangle in all stamped matrix detail for the Track Records and Polydor Records pressings while V is expressed as such.
% = a diamond
^ = a triangle
The following is garnered from a number of e mails dating back to 2008. Credit goes to Steve Elphick for his invaluable help and keeping of records! I never intended to do such a detailed overview of these releases but it has become painfully obvious that the lack of detail accessible to the general public is leading to some outrageous and overly inflated asking prices for what is nothing more than a re – issue LP with a “fake” Track Records label! The continued claim of a stereo Track Records Are You Experienced is totally false. I have also extended this review to take in Axis. Bold As Love. Though this is also clearly a later [and fake] Track Records issue as can be seen from the missing mono text from the inner gatefold. These records continue to be promoted for sale as both rare and original Track Records. Both claims are far from the truth.
Track Records ceased trading as a company in 1978 so any issue of any record with this label after this date is clearly not a Track Records issue regardless of who is utilising the label design, in these instances that’s Polydor. For those unsure, Polydor was the parent company of Track Records and it with the demise of Track Records GmbH was added to the Track Records label as Polydor Hamburg Germany took over the licencing from Track Records.
Both of these records, AYE and ABAL, were issued [probably] late 1980 and both had a gold stamp on the rear of the cover claiming that they were “promotional copies”. These [re-issued] albums also exist without that gold stamp and were most likely made available in early 1981. It does seem odd that the gold stamped issues appear to be more common and therefore [possibly] more easily available. There is a claim that a variant exists to the ABAL. The difference being the cover, one a gatefold and one a single sleeve. The latter is unconfirmed to me. It is claimed this single sleeve variant has a black back cover with a smaller display of the gatefold inner across the top half and a track listing across the bottom. The only ABAL I have encountered that sounds like this is the 1983 stereo Polydor SPELP 3. There is certainly no gold stamp on this copy.
So the detail:
Are You Experienced Track Records / Polydor Germany STEREO 613001
This appears in the Polydor AYE sleeve which clearly has JIMI HENDRIX printed across the top front, in white. This is not on the original Track Records release. The rear omits the track listing on this release while the track listing can be found on all other [known] Polydor issues, the missing listing replicate the original Track records rear cover. The record label itself clearly has text that indicates a German Polydor pressing, “POLDOR INT GMBH” which is not found on Track Records labels. Why would it? Track Records was a UK label after all but see reference note above about licencing.
The all telling matrix detail found in the dead wax for this pressing:
Side A: 2343073 A//1 V 420 11 12 06
Side B: 2343073 B//1 V 420 12 31 04
Coincidently, it is worth highlighting that these dead wax stampers mirror the one found in the so called 2fer set. That set was a double LP made up of AYE and ABAL. It should be noted that this release was from Polydor! The original mono Track AYE meanwhile has the following dead wax stamper marks:
B: 612001B [A SCRATCHED OUT] V1
We should also be aware of the fact that the fake Track Records issue has an all matt sleeve. Other pointers to be aware of; Be aware of vinyl weight, text / font which remain key points. The very thin vinyl is not what was used in 1967.
The content of the grooves is the same as the Backtrack 10 LP, the Mono [cover] / Mono [label] pressing.
Axis. Bold As Love Track / Polydor Germany Stereo 613003
In essence the detail from AYE can be applied here, thinner vinyl, text / font issues, added text to label. The content of the grooves for this “fake” Track Records issue is as for Backtrack 11, again I cannot confirm this. The clearly visible missing text from the inner bottom right hand corner is also a bit of a giveaway. Whereas the original states both Mono and Stereo with issue numbers this later pressing simply states Stereo along with the stereo reference number.
Likewise as with the AYE pressing we have a duplication of the dead wax detail from the 2fer release.
Side A: 2343074 A// 1V 420 1 4 (Note. The copy in review here has a very feint ‘2’ between the 1 and 4)
Side B: 2343074 B// 1V 1 22 9
The original stereo Track records pressing has:
A: 613003 A V 1
B: 613003 B V 1
There is one sure fire way to identify these LP’s from the original Track Records pressings from just a quick look. These re-issues feature the word STEREO clearly printed in full on the labels. We know that the original pressings came with the ST and 33 in two interlocking circles.
Now, if you are lucky enough to have bought these new or been luckier still to have got these second hand with the original paper inner sleeves you should find the following printed on them ……….
MADE IN WESTERN GERMANY
This in English as is the London address of the copyright notice.
I think we all get confused by the nature of the detail. Some detail indicates a German pressing while other lend a slant towards a British pressing. Polydor could have easily had these done in either country but that debate does not lessen the sheer weight of argument that these are really fake Track Record pressing.
As for “rare”? Really, these pressings are readily available all over the internet. As a guide to price for either of them in 2015, I’d say if you can find them in mint condition then expect to pay a real premium for no other reason than the condition. Otherwise any item less than mint could possibly command an asking price of £40, less so as the condition of the album and cover deteriorates. Rare is something in low numbers and so by the very nature infrequently appears. From experience 99% of records touted as rare are not and patience will be rewarded.
This Melody Maker advert, from February 1968, shows that even after a period of nine months AYE had had no stereo release on Track Records yet it clearly shows ABAL having been made available on that label in both formats.