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UK - 2 releases
Vinyl album: AMLH 64304 (A&M UK, July 1971). Gatefold with front and back featuring 2 different white silhouettes of eerie "witchwood" tree on grey background. UK copies had understated design with "Strawbs" in same lettering as album title. Inside, a tapestry depicting "The Vision of Saint Jerome" with lyrics and track details alongside.
As with Antiques and Curios and the earlier albums, there was an initial UK brown label release which was replaced by a later new standard A&M label design with additional trade mark information about the A&M trade mark. Grave New World was the first album released on this latter format in early 1972, so I'm guessing that the switch to new label format happened in the latter half pof 1971 after the first release of Witchwood in July. Quite hard to find, accordingly.
Front and back cover
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Inside left (lyrics) and right (St Jerome)
Labels - second release
And here's one that somehow missed out on the dark red overprinting cycle which added the band's name and album title - the Strawbs "white" album, maybe?
I got this silver label copy from someone else, with autographs collected in more recent years (note date in DC's signature) from all band members except Rick Wakeman.
UK silver label reissues
Not certain which is the older reissue here.
US promo release
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M US, July 1971).None of the promotional copies I have have the broad orange "Strawbs" header across the top of the front cover, which was used for all release copies. The sleeve is the same as the UK sleeve, except the US SP4304 number appears top right of cover (like the Canadian reissue below), the US address is featured bottom right of the lyrics and the back has the track list on the trunk of the tree.
There are THREE different labels - white US promo labels, each matching one of the full releases below - and there's a nice black and white company inner sleeve.
There are three known variants of promo label, each matching a brown release label below. No idea which came first, so they are arbitrarily named "Variant 1" etc.
Company inner sleeve, front and back
US full release
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M US, July 1971).All three US release copies I have had a dirty great brown banner across the top of the design with "Strawbs" in big white letters, which rather spoilt the effect of the Witchwood "tree" design, but would have been easier to spot in a record rack! There may have been a first printing of the sleeve which matched the promo release above ie like the UK cover with minimal changes.
There are three known variants of brown label, each matching a promo label above. No idea which came first, so they are arbitrarily named "Variant 1" etc.
Variant 3 Inner sleeve
This version has been spotted online with this inner company sleeve.
US silver label reissue
Probably from late 1973/early 1974 - The Carpenters Singles 1969-1973 is the most recent release, coming out in Jan 1974.
Canadian promo release
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M Canada 1971). Strong card gatefold cover, back cover has track listing on the trunk of the "witchwood". Inner spread same as US copy, with black panel and white text overprinting, "Manufactured and distributed in Canada by A&M Records Canada Ltd."
My copy came with a nice colour company inner sleeve, featuring A&M albums - one side of which shows on the easy-listening, latin early roots of the label - lots of Herb Alpert, Bacharach, Sergio Mendes - and the other side has a smattering of rock/prog/country acts, showing the way the label would develop as the seventies went on - Procol Harum, Blodwyn Pig, Burrito Brothers, Joe Cocker.
Canadian brown label release
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M Canada 1971). Gatefold cover. The Canadian sleeve matched the UK sleeve, with the Canadian release number in place of its UK counterpart, top right front sleeve. The inner spread is pretty much as per the UK release, with A&M's Canadian address (120 Milner Ave, Agincourt ON) overprinted, and some text blocked out under the St Jerome picture credit - it's blocked out on the South African release also. On the Japanese 1987 vinyl reissue, that's exactly where A&M's US address appears (1416 North La Brea, Hollywood), so it's very likely this used the US artwork and blocked out that material. The back cover has the track listing with timings.
Canadian silver label reissues
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M Canadian reissue, probably 1973 or 1974). The re-issue copy I have has a silver A&M label, light blue inner sleeve with 1973 albums featured such as Carpenters: Now And Then, Carpenters: Greatest Hits 1969-1973, and Carole King: Fantasy. There also appears to be a variant, possibly repressed as sales grew with slightly different typography and layout. If I had to guess, I'd guess that the variant was slightly later.
The packaging is as per the earlier Canadian release above..
later Canadian reissue silver label
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M Canadian silver label reissue). Outer is same as previous reissue, but NB now featuring Warden Street address. They've cleanned up the inner. My copy came with a stylish A&M inner sleeve.
even later Canadian reissue, silver label
Vinyl album: SP 4304 (A&M Canadian silver label reissue). On this reissue, on the back cover, they've added the A&M Canada address underneath the tracks/timings. The address has also been overprinted on top of the incoimpletely erased US address.
Vinyl album: SLPS 1531 (Sonet, Denmark, 1971). Different sleeve as UK version: St Jerome in a panel inside a dark red border with title in black at the top, Sonet logo etc. at top right, and the band name reversed out in white at the bottom in the distinctive Witchwood lettering. Very stylish. The back cover is the left hand side of the UK inner sleeve, with the lyrics and performer credits, but in black type on a light cream background. Bottom right same Sonet details as on front. Normal orange Sonet label, comes in clear plastic inner.
Front and back cover
Vinyl album: A&M SLAM 64304 (A&M, Italy, 1971??).Brown label first release. Cover matches UK cover except for "Distribuzione Dischi Records S.P.A." details on inner spread. Not certain, though quite likely that this was releasaed in 1971.
Vinyl album: A&M SLAM 64304 (A&M, Italy). Silver label reissue. Cover matches UK cover except for "Distribuzione Dischi Records S.P.A." details on inner spread.
What I thought was the Australian release is in fact the South African release. Anyone got an Australian copy?
New Zealand brown label release
Vinyl album: A&M SAMLZ 934437 (sleeve) SAML 934437 (labels) (A&M, New Zealand). Similar to UK/US sleeve - except with a textured parchment-like finish. The back cover has a track listing like the US/Canadian copies, with the distribution details below that. Top right of back cover, the NZ catalogue number (with a Z). Bottom right of back cover, "Printed by Times Commercial Printers". On the spine: "SAMLZ 934437 --- From The Witchwood --- The Strawbs".
The album title and "Strawbs" lettering on the front cover is in a rather bright telephone box red. But, inside, a big surprise: Jerome is there on the right, but on the left it's plain white with only the credits, no lyrics. Labels are standard brown NZ, but note that the labels have a slighhtly different catalogue number (no Z).
(Was the cover printing a mistake? or were the two catalogue numbers mono and stereo variants ? - but I can't find any other references to SAMLZ numbers on records which might have had both... a mystery.)
Front and back cover detail
New Zealand silver label reissue
Vinyl album: SAMLZ 934437 (sleeve) L 34437 (labels) (A&M, New Zealand, 1979?). Re-issue silver label copy. The outer sleeveis identical to the earlier release. However, the labels have a different style catalogue number to that listed on the sleeve.
Based on the typography, which is the same as a release of Squeeze's Cool For Cats, I'm guessing this was a 1979 reissue.
South African release
Vinyl album: A&M AMLH 64304) (A&M, South Africa). Gatefold sleeve: the South African sleeve was modelled on the US sleeve with the broad orange banner across the top. Unlike the UK sleeve the album number appeared below the grey A&M logo on the front cover. Otherwise inside pretty similar, Text below the lyrics credits RPM Pty as the distributor, and the US address is Scrappy inside spread, as per US, but with US address obscured (badly). Back cover also lists tracks like the Canadian release and has an "Interpak" logo at the very bottom centre of the back cover. The label dates the release as 1973. Brown labels.
Japanese promo release with bespoke sleeve
Vinyl album: AML 117 (A&M/King Records, Japan, 1971). Finally tracked downa white label promo for this. Labels nearly same as full release except for being white: "Stereo 33 1/3 RPM" is at the top rather than beiing on the right hand side.
The cover however was a real surprise. A thick white card sleeve with a textured finish, with a pasted paper panel on each side. The panels are a vague cloud scene in blue, and the album details have been handwritten in English (not overprinted: the back panel has encountered some water and the ink has smeared slightly at the top right of the back cover).
The seller was very positive that the sleeve was done by King Records (employee?) as he found it in pile of promo records of old King Records. I'm guessing that maybe the record was ready before the fairly ornate sleeve shown below was finished, and they wanted to get a few promos out ASAP. As each one was seemingly hand-printed, each one would be unique.
Be interested to know if anyone has seen a white label promo in the normal cover - seller reports that he has seen one with nornal brown labels but stamped as Promo - in fact my copy below also has a stamp, same as on the promo labels at top left.
Vinyl album: AML 117 (A&M/King Records, Japan, 1971). Front cover is St Jerome with a grey border, title and artist text reversed out in white (not terribly readable). Japanese cat number at top right. Back has St Jerome again, on a sort of Renaissance roller blind, with track details below. Labels are A&M/King brown, with a stamp which indicates it was used for promo purposes (appears printed on the white label promo).
Inside is unusual - a 4pp booklet has been glued to the middle of the inner spread:
Front & back covers
Inside front cover, booklet p1
Inside spread (booklet pp 2 & 3)
Booklet p4, inside back cover
The rear of the Obi has adverts for other albums: judging by the catalogue numbers, some of these are:
AML 96 - Carole King: Tapestry
AML 92 - Carpenters: Carpenters
GP201 - Burt Bacharach (Jap only compilation)
GP206 - Carpenters: Golden Prize (Jap compilation)
THL 3 - most likely Moody Blues: A Question Of Balance. (on their own Threshold label)
Vinyl album: AMP 2007 (A&M/Alfa Records, Japan, 1979/1980?). Single sleeve. Front cover is St Jerome, as original Japanese issue, Japanese cat number at top right (together with US number). Back has St Jerome again, on a sort of Renaissance roller blind, with track details below. At the bottom, US address, with "Made in Japan/ALFA Records Inc." A red Obi comes with this release. Labels are A&M silver.
Timing of this release is uncertain. Antiques and Curios was reissued in 1980 with catalogue number AMP 4030, but at the time of the first reissue in 1977, the catalogue number was GXG 1029. I'm guessing that somewhere between 1977 and the 1980 Antiques reissues, they changed catalogue number. (There are other AMP-xxxx releases on Discogs, but they don't help much. AMP 2017 was a reissue of Arthur Lee's Vindicator, also by Alfa Records. Other catalogue numbers appear to be prior to 1977, but it's not clear whether they were also Alfa.
Korean (?) release
Vinyl album: no label identified, cat no: 23. Front cover is clearly copied from the Japanese release, St Jerome with a grey border, title and artist text reversed out in white (not terribly readable). Back has St Jerome again, on a sort of Renaissance roller blind, with track details below. Label is not terribly informative either, with a bare track listing. There's a one-sided grey insert, and a weird plastic inner protective sleeve, into which a printed sheet with Korean (?) lettering appears to have been sealed.
Front and back cover
Insert and inner sleeve
Japanese "Pony Express" Japanese reissue, 1987
Vinyl album: A&M/Pony Canyon (1987, cat no: C19Y4009). In 1987, the first Strawbs CDs emerged: Antiques, Witchwood and Grave New World - I saw them in the much-missed Tower Records store in Piccadilly one night, but didn't buy them there and then despite the cost: whenI went back a week later they had gone and it was a while till I got hold of them.
This it seems is a parallel vinyl re-issue as the OBI quotes the CD label number, and raises the possibility that vinyl copies of the other two may or may also exist. Nice US style sleve with the broad orance header. The title is printed in strong black instead of deep red as per the UK sleeve. The back is the same as the Australian sleeve above with the track listiong in the tree trunk.
Inside, the sleeve includes the US A&M address (blocked out in other foreign versions) and the lyrics are printed in black, not white as most other releases. There is a 2-sided inner with some track listing and sleeve notes in Japanese. The disc labels are black, a style used on later US and Canadian reissues.
Front cover, Obi
Inside lyrics page
CASSETTE & 8-TRACK
Cass: ZCAM 64304 (A&M, 1971). Produced by Precision Tapes, most likely a different track running order.
UK cassette reissue
Cass: CAM 64304 (A&M). Reissued by A&M, most likely with the correct running order.
Outer, front and back
As with cassette releases Precision Tapes, who produced tape products for A&M in those days, messed around with the track order. With 8-tracks, apparently, there was an audible changover between each set of 2 tracks, so the running order was revised as follows, even splitting some tracks in two: must have been a horrible listening experience ....
Flight (part 1)
Flight (part 2)
Shepherd [sic] Song
I'll Carry On Beside You
Glimpse Of Heaven
In Amongst The Roses (part 1)
In Amongst The Roses
The Hangman And The Papist
UK 8-track reissue (A&M, 1973 or later) (*)
In 1973, A&M took over producing its own cassettes and 8-tracks. Listed in 1973 catalogue. Not known what the track listing was. Anyone have one of these?
Pony Canyon CD release, 1987
CD: D32Y3578 (A&M Japan/Canyon Records, 1987). Outer sleeve matches the US issue. Two inserts - a biog in Japanese with the lyrics in English, re-typeset and a second which reproduces the lyrics as set out in the vinyl album. No Saint Jerome, though - shame.
Front cover, Obi
First insert, pp1 & 2
First insert, pp3 & 4
Second insert and CD body
Universal CD release, 1998
CD: 540 938-2 (A&M, 1998, REMASTERED WITH BONUS TRACK) Cover of insert matches UK version, Saint Jerome on inside front, track details (but no lyrics) on inside rear. Four pages of new sleeve notes by Dave Cousins and John Tobler.
A&M 1998 CD releases (Antiques, Witchwood, GNW, BATS, Hero, Ghosts)
These Universal releases have manufacturing details printed in the clear plastic centre on the silver side (ie bottom) of the CD. The first releases were made in Germany by PMDC. They seem to have been re-pressed later by other companies - EDC and Universal M&L and these are coming up on Discogs as different releases, but I'm not going to start scanning CD bottoms on Strawbsweb! No other changes as far as I can see in packaging.
Booklet - front (p1) and back (p8)
Booklet - pages 2&3
Booklet - pages 4&5
Booklet - pages 6 & 7
Progressive Line bootleg CD release 2001
CD: PL 516 (Progressive Line, 2001) 1 bonus track). Similar approach to other Progressive Line bootlegs. 4 page booklet - front outer cover modelled on US "orange top" release. Inside, lyrics. The inner tray uses the front cover design to good effect.
Booklet, outer and inner
Tray outer and inner
Russian bootleg CD release, no date
CD: AN99-065 (Ars Nova, no date) with 2 bonus tracks) Reported as an "unofficial" release, based on the Universal remaster - cheeky enough to keep Universal coipyright information on they tray back. 4pp booklet, the outer part reproducing the St. Jerome picture (folded to be the front cover) and the usual front cover (with a subtle "RICK WAKEMAN" flash at bottom right. Inner is blank, but note that the Ars Nova Ghosts bootleg inner has info about From The Witchwood instead - oops.
Booklet pp1 (front) & 4 (back)
Japanese "facsimile" card cover CD release, 2003
This is a Universal Japan CD release. The main release is got up to look like the UK album, but there is a bonus empty sleeve (see below) which reproduces the original 1971 Japanese release of the album, the first of many on the A&M/King label.
Front and back cover, Obi
Insert and CD
"Japanese release facsimile" card cover, 2003
The sleeve includes a facsimile of the booklet in the original, with a custom Obi, bearing the label "not for sale" on the back. Likely therefore to have been a promo-only item.
Vox Humana CD release, ????
Front and back cover
Booklet - p1
Booklet - pages 2 & 3
Booklet - pages 4 & 5
Booklet - pages 6 & 7
CD and CD sleeve
Universal Japan HMCD reissue (2018)
CD: UICY-78836 (Universal, Japan, 2018) Facsimile reissue including Japanese booklet, based firmly on UK vinyl release. Obi mimics original Japanese release.
CD and Obi