Sunday, August 7, 2016

101 Strings CDs on Alshire: variations in early pressings

Same disc, different cover

I previously posted a discography of 101 Strings CDs on Alshire Records, but that discography doesn't tell the whole story. The earliest 101 Strings CDs were pressed and repressed over the years with different covers and other variations. If you collect these CDs, here are some things to look out for:

Made in Japan/Made in USA

Alshire's early 101 Strings CDs were manufactured in Japan. Later, Alshire started manufacturing all of its CDs in the United States, so when these early titles were repressed, the discs said "Made in U.S.A." instead of "Made in Japan." I haven't figured out yet when Alshire stopped manufacturing in Japan. 

Sometimes the discs were identical except for the "Made in Japan" or "Made in U.S.A." statements: 

ALCD 19 with "Made in U.S.A."
ALCD 19 with "Made in Japan"

Other times, although the discs were otherwise identical, the compact disc logo changed with the "Made in Wherever" statement:

ALCD 3 with different compact disc logos

Note: Discrepancies sometimes occurred between the discs and packaging. These discrepancies weren't variations from pressing to pressing—they were mistakes. For example, the ALCD 3 disc, pictured above, gives the title as Best of the '101 Strings', but the covers and tray cards for both pressings say The Best of the Best of 101 Strings. Also, the covers and tray cards for both pressings give the catalog number as ALCD 3, but the discs for both pressings say ALSCD-3. Alshire had trouble maintaining consistency with its catalog numbers. The catalog number that is printed on many of the Alshire discs includes a hyphen, even though the covers and tray cards do not include the hyphen. The Alshire catalog didn't include hyphens in the catalog numbers, so I omitted the hyphens when I wrote the discography.

With barcode/without barcode

Many of the early 101 Strings CDs were issued without barcodes on the tray card. When these titles were repressed, barcodes were added.

Sometimes the tray cards were identical except for the absence or presence of the barcode. In these cases, the front cover remained the same: 

ALCD 23 with and without barcode; both versions had "Made in U.S.A." discs

Other times the design changed when the barcode was added. In these cases, the cover art also changed. 

ALCD 3 with first- and second-edition tray cards
ALCD 10 with first- and second-edition tray cards

Cover changes

Alshire sometimes changed the covers of the 101 Strings CDs. Later pressings might have a completely different cover from the early pressings, even though the disc and tray card remain mostly the same. 
ALCD 3 with first- and second-edition covers

ALCD 10 with first- and second-edition covers

Eventually, I'll update the discography to show the variations that occurred within each catalog number. It's possible that examples exist in which three or more variations occurred for a single catalog number. For example, there could be a version that was made in Japan, an identical version that was made in the US, and then an updated made-in-the-US version that had different cover art, but I haven't found anything like that yet. So far, two variations per title appears to be the maximum.