In part 3 of this series, we’ll examine some forgeries of a couple different labels namely, Blue Cafe and Shout To The Top. No lengthy introduction this time around; we’ll get right to it!
Generally, I’d rather not spend too much time discussing CDR labels as the main focus of this site is silver pressings, however being that genuine Pro-CDR new releases are priced nearly the same as many new silver releases, it’s worth a look.
Here, we have an example from the Blue Cafe Pro-CDR label, Pink Floyd “Columbia Sonicwave” (Blue Cafe -47AB) and it’s South American forgery:
So, this is the “real deal” Blue Cafe release – crisp coloured, matte 1 sided insert and tray card (also 1-sided), and a CDR disc with a white face whose printing is consistent with the fonts/colours of the rest of the packaging. The disc face also has the “Compact Disc Recordable” logo printed on it. These are the general traits of all the Blue Cafe discs I’ve seen.
Now, here’s a pic of a forged copy from South America:
I didn’t bother with pics of the packaging, as basically they are scans of genuine Blue Cafe, albeit a bit dull, fuzzy, and the pixels are more apparent; they are also one-sided of course. Would be pretty hard to tell from a small jpeg online for sure.
The disc itself, on the other hand is TOTALLY different: silver face, black printing, and it lists the song titles (which the Blue Cafe’s never do). More details include the fact it doesn’t say Blue Cafe at all, rather it says “Pickwick Music” and perhaps even more cheeky is the fact that though this is clearly a CDR, it has the “Compact Disc Digital Audio” logo – no indication at all that it isn’t a silver disc!
I know there are several Blue Cafe titles that have been forged by this so-called “Pickwick Music” including, but not limited to: “Run Like Hopes” (Blue Cafe-16AB), “One World Away” (Blue Cafe-20AB), “Slip Into The Pool” (Blue Cafe-49AB), and “The Time Is Over The Song Is Gone” (Blue Cafe-62AB), just to name a few I know for sure.
Sonically, these appear to be exact copies of the Blue Cafe discs, but I’ll take some time to do a more thorough comparison in the future.
Additionally, there are some CDR forgeries of other Blue Cafe titles originating from the UK – they also have silver disc faces and look nothing like the genuine Blue Cafe Pro-CDR’s described above. The same forger also has made copies of Ayanami releases as well as several others. I’ll try to gather more information on these and update this post.
Now, moving on, let’s take a look at the Shout To The Top release “Jersey Not Mother” (STTP 132/133) and one of it’s forgeries:
As you could probably surmise, the genuine STTP insert and tray card is slightly more crisp compared to the forged version, but what’s interesting about this “Pink Gem” version is that they left everything intact as far as the packaging with the following exceptions: the catalog numbers have been removed from the spine and the bottom right corner of the back of the tray card has a “Pink Gem” logo instead of the STTP insignia. The one other difference in the packaging is that the STTP insert is 1 panel with print on the front and the back, while the “Pink Gem” is 2 panel creased, with the gatefold blank. All classic giveaways if you are actually holding the CD in hand….but not so easy to see in a small jpeg.
The discs however tell a very different story; the STTP has a blue face and silver underside, whereas the Pink Gem sports a silver face with very little information printed on it. The Pink Gem also has the CDR trademarks of a black printed matrix on the internal clear center circle, and the green-tinted underside.
Here’s the interesting part: there is a claim that Pink Gem have remastered their “releases” and there IS in fact a difference sonically, however slight; from what I can tell it’s simply a normalization process as the recording is louder (and so is the tape hiss), but I haven’t found any additional editing, eq work, or speed correction on these.
I say “these” because there are literally hundreds of different titles that have been appropriated (literally the titles and artwork) by Pink Gem from older Highland, STTP, Great Dane (etc.) silver releases!
We’re talking about all the old chestnuts: “Best Of Tour ’72,” “Cruel But Fair,” “Who Was Trained Not To Spit On The Fan,” “The Man And The Journey,” “Wallpower,” “Animal Instincts,” – really the list is endless it seems.
That being said, they don’t SOUND that bad, but I’m pretty sure that many are sourced from the original CD’s or shn/flac files in the best cases, and mp3’s in the worst cases. It’s kind of hit or miss with this line of fake releases, and since they took the step of indicating “Pink Gem” on the outer packaging, I’ll refrain from hammering them…but just make sure you’re getting what you pay for – especially if you’re thinking it’s the original silver, and secondly don’t pay an outrageous amount for a CDR copy mmmmkay?
Update: Since I’m going through and updating my other editorials, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to include another example of an STTP original along with it’s forgery.
Here we have the genuine Zirkus Krone release (STTP 210/211) followed by another Pink Gem copy:
This is a typical example of a genuine STTP release with the logo printed at the top of the discs, and as with many Japanese releases the discs themselves often exhibit two different colour schemes.
Also of note is that the artist name is typically not included in the printing of the discs, just the title of the release.
Here’s the aforementioned Pink Gem copy of this one (I’ve omitted the front cover as it’s identical for all intents and purposes). Note the Pink Gem logo once again replacing the STTP design in the bottom corner (a courtesy perhaps?), and how the disc example does have the band name along with setlist – totally different colour scheme aside:
Again, my apologies for the lo-res pics in some cases, I will replace them with higher quality photos when possible.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for those fakes as well as Part 4 of this series coming soon!
Plomerus, July 5th, 2008
Update 2: More examples of fake Blue Cafe items, all CDRs on the Argentinean “Pickwick Label”: