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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: DBdust on March 27, 2017, 07:51:18 PM

Title: RJ test pressing
Post by: DBdust on March 27, 2017, 07:51:18 PM
Hello fellow blues-obsessives, 1st time poster!  I just watched a Robert Johnson test pressing for Travelling Riverside Blues 'only' go for $1700 on eBay.   A few of my friends all predicted 10k and upward (based on nothing but speculation).  Still, I am shocked where it landed.  I guess if I have a question it would be: for an artist as coveted and as scarce as RJ, would issued label sides be more valuable than a test pressing?  What else could explain the relative low price?   A good condition Blind Willie McTell went for 2500 recently, so again, is the market that mercurial?   
Title: Re: RJ test pressing
Post by: DBdust on March 27, 2017, 07:57:41 PM
Ok, replying to my own post -
Hope that isn't a faux pas - but someone I know posited that it was not an original label issued TP but one made from original plates in the 1960s.  If true - order is restored - that kind of explains it....
Title: Re: RJ test pressing
Post by: Pontius2000 on March 28, 2017, 12:09:42 PM
Yeah, you probably answered your own question there. If it were an original test pressing, it would've been more than $1700. But another thing is that it's already a known song. If a pressing had come out of a previously unknown song- and there may well have been more that weren't released since a lot of unused shellac was scrapped during the Depressiin- it would probably be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not over a million.
Title: Re: RJ test pressing
Post by: oddenda on March 28, 2017, 05:49:48 PM
My aging memory recalls that that particular side was reissued on a French(?) CD and then others since. Something is tickling the back of said aging memory that it had been the property of the sainted Alan Lomax at one point. Any conformation hereabouts?

pbl
Title: Re: RJ test pressing
Post by: Gilgamesh on March 29, 2017, 06:26:45 PM
Hello fellow blues-obsessives, 1st time poster!  I just watched a Robert Johnson test pressing for Travelling Riverside Blues 'only' go for $1700 on eBay.   A few of my friends all predicted 10k and upward (based on nothing but speculation).  Still, I am shocked where it landed.  I guess if I have a question it would be: for an artist as coveted and as scarce as RJ, would issued label sides be more valuable than a test pressing?  What else could explain the relative low price?   A good condition Blind Willie McTell went for 2500 recently, so again, is the market that mercurial?

There are two distinctly different types of Vocation/Okeh/Columbia "test pressings" -- the original ones from the period (which are exceedingly rare), and 1960s and later vinyl ones which Bob Avakian clandestinely sold to the collector market. As far as I know, all Robert Johnson "test pressings" are of the later type, including the $1700 eBay one. The sole exception to this, I believe, is the Alan Lomax copy of "Traveling Riverside Blues" alternate take, which presumably was given to him by John Hammond in the 1940s. Despite being the same title, the eBay copy is *not* the Lomax one. I don't know where that is now.

Nearly all "test pressings" of 1930s era of Columbia owned labels that show up for auction are these 1960s and later vinyl ones. Authentic period test pressings actually have printed "Test Pressing" labels and are pressed on a heavy type of shellac.
Title: Re: RJ test pressing
Post by: Gilgamesh on March 29, 2017, 06:32:11 PM
This page shows what an authentic 1937 Vocalion test pressing looks like

http://wired-for-sound.blogspot.com/2009/11/range-riders-on-vocalion-test.html
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