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Never Before Seen Argo Label

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  • Never Before Seen Argo Label

    Was looking through the record vaults and pulled out this outstanding Argo LP. (The organ here will provide a stiff test for your subwoofers.) Turned out had 3 copies and one record had Decca instead of Argo on the record label. New one on me. Turns out the Decca/Argo is interestingly a Holland pressing.

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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor,

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  • #2
    Oh Larry....
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    • #3
      Some of those Dutch pressings, especially if they were mastered by Decca, can sound really good.


      • astrotoy
        astrotoy commented
        Editing a comment
        I have some really nice dutch pressed Argo recordings (and some really nice dutch pressed Decca recordings). I also have some really butchered Holland pressings - mastered by the dutch which have eviscerated the recordings. So Jack's comment is right on - taking care that a UK mastered recording may be a necessary, but not sufficient requirement.

    • #4
      Mr. Edward Lewis, who bought Decca Records around 1930 and took it to its heights, died in January 1980. Just before his death Decca Records, in deep financial difficultly, was sold to Polygram (Philips and DGG). Included were the Argo and L'Oiseau Lyre labels. To cut costs Polygram closed the famous Decca pressing plant at New Malden and moved pressing to Baarn, Holland - with the records pressed there having the distinctive raised narrow ring *sometimes called the Dutch rim" around the edge of the label. Normally they would say Made in Holland. However, in that transition period, some records were still being pressed in England (see the lower green Argo label). I haven't seen a Decca label with the ZRG Argo catalogue number before, but it looks like an early mistake. That album, according to my data base was first released in April 1979, before the buyout, so the lower green label is the earlier pressing. My British pressing of the record has 3Y and 1Y codes in the dead wax and I would guess Myles' British Argo has a similar code, while the Holland code should be later. My friend John Dunkerley did the engineering for the recording which was done in 1977 up in Cambridge at St. John's. He had told me that when they first sent lacquers over to Holland for the first pressings, they were very disappointed in the results - John said "Where did the bass go". They complained and the Dutch improved the pressings. Not sure whether Myles Decca ZRG record suffers from this problem, since it looks to be pretty early.

      The Argo ZRG series (the equivalent to the Decca SXL full priced series), continued to ZRG948. Many of the later Argos were reissues of earlier recordings. According to my data base the last original Argo analogue recording was ZRG944 Marisa Robles Harp Chopin recorded in February 1981 and released on a Dutch pressing in March of 1982, well after Decca had started releasing digital recordings - so there was some signficant overlap.

      There are a few Argos (as there were Deccas) that had earlier catalogue numbers but were released later, so they only had Dutch pressings. The opposite is true also with a few later numbers having their earliest pressings at New Malden and later pressings in Holland. To add to the confusion, similar to Myles discovery of the Decca label, I have four Argo records which all have dutch rims, but are labelled Made in Britain. They are all in the early ZRG900 series.

      Finally there are several recordings on Decca that were released first in the US (it did happen fairly frequently) but in this case the US release was a British pressing and the later UK release was a Dutch pressing. The well known Mahler Symphony 3 with Mehta was one such case.

      More than you wanted to know.

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      • #5
        Sounds interesting.. might pick one up if they’re cheap.
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