The mysteries of Taiwanese LPs

 Graham McDonald

A recent acquisition in the recorded sound section of NFSA included a curious copy of a Seekers LP from the late 1960s. Come the Day (Columbia SCXM.6093) reached number seven on the album charts in Australia, and included Georgy Girl, a number one hit, which stayed on the charts for 33 weeks in 1967.

The copy that arrived here is a Taiwanese release, on the First Record label, and definitely aroused our interest. Taiwanese releases of popular LPs from the 1960s and 1970s are fairly common, often made from translucent coloured vinyl (though this one is made from the standard black plastic). We have not been able to work out if they are authorised releases or pirated for the Chinese and tourist markets. The covers are usually washed out photographic reproductions, simply printed on paper and covered inside and out with a thin plastic sleeve, rather than the heavier card outer cover and separate inner sleeve of Australian or American pressings.

What really aroused our curiosity was the matrix number. This is a combination of letters and numbers scratched into the master disc from which the metal pressing stampers are made, to actually press the record from a blob of soft, hot vinyl. These were used by the record pressing plant to identify the master disc and have nothing to do with the label or catalogue number of the finished record. Interestingly, the matrix number of this Taiwanese pressing is the same as the Australian release, and we have been trying to work out an explanation for this. It could be that this was an authorised release on First Records, although there is no acknowledgement of Columbia Records that is obvious, and it was pressed from a master supplied by Columbia. Alternatively a new pirate master was made from an existing vinyl disc, which would include the original matrix number.

One of the charming aspects of the disc is the inclusion of the words of both Georgy Girl and Yesterday on the back cover, wonderfully mis-translated. The first two lines of Georgy Girl are:

"Hey there Georgy girl swinging down the street so fauncy green
Nobody you meet foweven see the lone livess there In side you"

We would be delighted if anybody out there can shed some light on the story of Taiwanese records of this period.