Greetings once again one and all!
It’s been a couple months since the last edition of this series, and while in the process of updating my previous articles it dawned on me that no exposition of this ilk would be complete without including the often plagiarized Highland label, so I figured I should include a couple examples here as well as some key identifiers on your quest for pure factory silver acquisition!
Several times a week without fail I’ve seen forgeries of the Highland Pink Floyd release Beset By Creatures Of The Deep (HL194) turning up on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $12.98 – a steal, right? Wrong. That should be the first indication that something is awry; no genuine Highland release is going to be sold for even 3 times that price these days, not least of which an early, completely out-of-print title like this one.
This particular version originates in the midwest of the USA and along with a handful of other Floyd titles (Live At Winterland, Welcome To Chicago, On The Turning Away, Intersteller Fillmore etc.) is a CDR copy made available by the same seller at the same prices.
Let’s take a look at some visual evidence here…first, the genuine Highland pressing, circa 1998:
As per usual, forgive the lo-res shots – I’ll sort out some proper hi-res versions when I have the chance, but in the meantime let’s check out the “standard” Highland features…
First of all, I should point out that ALL versions of this disc have the same cover, so that’s no indication at all. Most also feature the same pic on the back as well, but the Highland original has some distinguishing features – some of which ALL Highland titles have in common such as the familiar label logo (which is unfortunately rather blurred in the above pic, rear insert, lower right corner), printed tray card, 2-sided inserts.
The disc itself is very much in the early Highland tradition; silver disc with the release title at the top, solid printed circle around the disc’s central hole, catalog number to the right. Numerous early Highland titles utilize this format (I’ll include extra examples towards the end of this editorial).
Let’s now examine a couple forgeries of this well known title (and again, I’m omitting the front cover as it’s identical in all cases):
Example 1 :
Lots of differences with the rear insert of this copy from Relixer: completely different fonts (though similar format), the catalog number of Relixer RX-318, a bar code (!) 757563303602, a “stretched” Compact Disc logo, and an incomplete date “09 May 196″…wow!
Notice the disc has the band name, along with the date/venue, and the setlist, basic printing and no graphics other than the Compact Disc logo.
The insert has a completely different picture on the inside and is a blank gatefold, while the tray card is one-sided…all typical of a forgery.
This appears to be an earlier copy as the tray card has all the same characteristics sans the barcode and Relixer catalog number, which leads me to believe Relixer used this one as their template.
The disc itself is clearly different from both the Highland original and the Relixer pressing, being a rather nice multi-coloured print job.
As this is another one I’ve borrowed from a fellow collector, I cannot be sure of the insert or anything else, but it’s not the Highland pressing, that’s for sure.
The quandry is: the version currently popping up on eBay is a 3rd version that I don’t have an example of at this time, so when in doubt refer to the pics of the Highland original for now!
Here’s another classic Highland title The Amazing Pudding (HL208/209):
Ugh, some of these pics really are shite, but I promise I’ll fix them ASAP!
Anyway, virtually every version of this item has the same front cover, and this genuine Highland disc, though an evolution from the earliest titles, is in line with the label’s traditional format.
Here are a couple examples of fakes of this item:
Example 1 (from our old friends Pink Gem):
Usual Pink Gem approach here (as seen in Pt.3 of this series); Pink Gem logo added to the tray card, faux barcode in this instance, blank insert gatefold, artist/venue/setlist printed on a silver disc face.
What’s a bit different here compared to the Highland is how the insert and tray card are white instead of black, and instead of a picture of the band on the insert, it’s a reproduction of the setlist.
Example 2 (label unknown):
The packaging and insert of this one are exact copies of the Highland pressing, but the discs are totally different; in addition to all of the information from the Highland disc, these (both disc 1 and 2 are the same format) say GEMA which leads me to believe they are of German origin. Note the mispelling of “The Embrio” and “Pink Floyd Archives” emblazoned across the top.
As far as the content of all versions of both Beset By Creatures Of The Deep and The Amazing Pudding, it appears they are copies of the originals and offer nothing different whatsoever – except perhaps lower quality sound due to being 2nd or 3rd generation copies…which certainly isn’t a good thing considering these earlier releases typically weren’t speed corrected or carefully mastered ala Sirene, Sigma, etc.
Before I wrap up this edition of exposure, I thought I’d leave you with a couple higher resolution examples of Highland CD’s for reference purposes, especially since the higher catalog numbers feature a different format.
First, here’s another older title that is consistent with the printing format of that era of the label, Breast Milky (HL174/175):
Finally, a later Highland title Break Down Co-Ordinator (HL582/583) that is demonstrative of the higher catalog numbers, which feature a solid “bar” across the face of the disc, but the same information typical of earlier releases:
So with that we’ll end the latest installment and I certainly hope all of these entries will help to guide the aspiring collector to the “real deal” and avoid getting suckered into shelling out absurd amounts of cash for forged items that are usually lower-quality and perhaps not as valuable in the long run (unless all you care about is content, then fair enough – but remember CDR’s are indeed prone to damage and/or corruption, so nothing beats genuine factory-pressed silver in that regard!).
I realize the scope of my articles has revolved around Floyd primarily, but keep in mind all of the labels in question also have countless titles from Genesis, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, etc. and if anyone wants to step up to the plate on the Zeppelin or Dylan or any other front, by all means!
Cheers for now!
Plomerus, July 6th, 2008
Update: More examples of fake Highland releases – all from the Argentinean “Pickwick Label” (and all CDRs):