THE DECCA TAPES
Company: Circuit Records
Matrix Number: LK 4438-A / LK 4438-B
Release Date: September 1979
1. LIKE DREAMERS DO 2:29
2. MONEY (THAT'S WHAT I WANT) 2:18
3. TILL THERE WAS YOU 2:53
4. THE SHEIK OF ARABY 1:34
5. TO KNOW HER IS TO LOVE HER 2:25
6. TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY BABY 2:17
7. MEMPHIS TENNESSEE 2:12
8. SURE TO FALL (IN LOVE WITH YOU) 2:55
9. HELLO LITTLE GIRL 1:35
10. THREE COOL CATS 2:17
11. CRYING, WAITING, HOPING 1:56
12. LOVE OF THE LOVED 1:47
13. count-in SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN 1:48
14. BESAME MUCHO 2:33
15. SEARCHIN' 2:54
sound quality: EX-mono
source: 1 to 15: Decca Studios, January 1, 1962; audition tape
A true must for all collectors of the time, this LP includes all the tracks recorded during the Decca audition session. These were originally distributed as by the late Joe Pope as a series of 7" singles by DECCAGONE, copied as 7" singles by PYE Records. Ten of these songs had already been released on LP in July 1978 on the LP THE DECCAGONE SESSIONS by Smilin' Ears, together with a few other tracks. THE DECCA TAPES album has been the only way to get hold of all the 15 songs played at the famous Decca audition, despite many more or less official releases, until the 1991 release of the Yellow Dog SILVER BEATLES CD.
Not surprisingly, in consideration of its importance, there exist various repressings, counterfeits and copies of this record.
1. September 1979 (photo under the title). The first version was distributed in a white cover with an apparently rubber-stamped title printed on a sticker. The record was a blue-toned picture disc featuring photos of the four Beatles back in 1962 (of course, with Pete Best), with title and track listing written along the border, but with sides reversed: the track listing indicated on side A is that of side B, and the track listing written on the border of side B is that of side A.
2. September 1979. The vast majority of the copies were distributed in a transparent sleeve with the sticker on the plastic sleeve. A further batch of records was sepia-toned, and at least some of the copies of this version did not have the sticker.
3. Late 1979-early 1980. THE DECCA TAPES was immediately repressed from the same plates on black vinyl, printed cover with a b/w photo of the Beatles in 1962, with red BEATLES on top and THE DECCA TAPES printed title simulating a rubber stamp. The back cover notes of this version feature a humorous and partly fictitious Decca tapes' history by one "Grid Leek''. This cover became a true classic for the Decca session tracks and it is still used nowadays for the recent records derived from the CD version. The label was red, with correct sides, and had the indication of Circuit Records added to the title and track listing. A further pressing had green labels.
4. Second half of 1980-1981. Further releases had the blue POD labels. This version was either distributed in a blank cover with the sticker, in some cases with a further true rubber stamp added, or used the jacket of the Circuit Records. Copies with plain white labels with the Circuit Records jacket released between 1982 and 1985 may exist as well, but they are impossible to be differentiated from those distributed in 1986.
1985-1986. At least 1702 copies were pressed between March 21, 1985 and September 6, 1986, as indicated on the sleeve of the stampers. The original stampers were in bad conditions in March 1985, as remarked by a technician at the pressing plant. It is probable that new stampers were cut at the time, since these metal parts appear to be still in good conditions nowadays, more than 35 years after their last use in September 1986.
Most of these copies were in colored vinyl, with the colored TMOQ labels, the last one being probably purple, as suggested by the label stuck on the stampers' sleeve. These were part of the Box Top series, with a colored jacket, titled DECCA TAPES, with a true photo (often the same 1962 photo of the Circuit Record jacket); copies in black wax with blank labels or with Annuit Coeptis labels exist as well. The latter version was distributed in the Circuit Records jacket. A batch of records was made at the plant with pressing ring at 12 mm from the spindle hole, that was occasionally used by the company. These records were released with plain white labels in the usual Circuit Records jacket.
Copies of the BoxTop version were used for the boxes FROM THE VAULTS (first photo here below) and THE TMOQ COLLECTION (second photo here below). These boxes will have their own entries.
INTEREST. An historical bootleg. It was pressed in a high number of copies, so it is still rather common in the market. Also the original picture disc versions are not particularly scarce, excepting that with the sticker on the white jacket and the one with the true rubber stamp with the POD label (***/**). The least interesting versions are those in black vinyl with white blank label (*).
COUNTERFEITS RELEASED IN THE EIGHTIES
THE JAPANESE BLACK DISK COUNTERFEIT.
THE DECCA TAPES was counterfeited in 1980 by the Japanese Black Disk on matrix ZAP 1047 A 11I + / G ZAP 1047 B 11I +, black and white printed cover, lacking the fake rubber stamp, black label with track listing titled FIFTEEN-TRACK GAP.
INTEREST. Probably an important record for the japanese market at the time, it is now only useful for completists. *
THE EUROPEAN STRAWBERRY RECORDS COUNTERFEIT
This company pressed a counterfeit of the Circuit Records version in 1985, on green vinyl, from matrix LK 4438 RR A / LK 4438 RR B, its sound quality is lower and it is mastered way too fast. The label was derived from the Circuit Records label, on black background.
INTEREST. Nothing special here, and not even included in the Strawberry Records series. Only valuable for collectors of colored vinyl beatlegs. *
COPIES AND OTHER VERSIONS
THE DECCA TAPES PICTURE DISC
This knock-off of the Circuit Record appeared in 1980, and it featured two photos of the Beatles in bathing suits, with title and track listing written along the border, as in the original Circuit picture disc. It was pressed from matrix DECCAGONE SIDE 1 / DECCAGONE SIDE 2.
A repressing of this version was released in black vinyl, in a plain white jacket. The labels were plain red-brownish / plain white.
The DECCAGONE SIDE 1 / DECCAGONE SIDE 2 stampers were used also for a 2-LP set, including also a knock off of BROADCASTS. This version has a label from a legit record saying "Big Bands of the 30's", with Side B used for both sides. The copy of BROADCASTS had a similar label, this one with Side A used for both sides, in this case with "Big Bands of the 40's". (We acknowledge J.S. for this information).
INTEREST. A version mainly addressed to collectors of picture discs (**). It is still quite common in the market. The copies in black vinyl are totally worthless (*).
THE VERZYL VERSION.
The East Coast company who released in the second half of the eighties copies of several bootlegs in a limited edition in multicolored vinyl distributed also a copy of THE DECCA TAPES. We could not examine this extremely rare edition, pressed in a very low numer of copies. Its matrix is unknown, but it is likely that this is again a copy of the DECCAGONE SIDE 1 / DECCAGONE SIDE 2 stampers, as suggested by the identical narrow dead wax.
INTEREST. Musically and historically worthless, this extremely rare record is sought after by completists and specialized collectors of the "Verzyl" series. ****
FAKE CIRCUIT RECORDS
This record was released in 1985. It has a different printed cover, the label is white with titles on side A and has a picture of the Beatles on side B. The matrix number is LK-4438-1-A / LK-4438-1-B.
INTEREST. Useless record. *
Joe Pope, in late 1979 or early 1980, combined all his 7" singles and produced an LP, distributed in a plain white jacket. The disc had an orange label with track listing and the title THE DECCAGONES. The songs are arranged in a sequence different from that of the Circuit Records. Its matrix is CX369A PTS / CX369B PTS and it has the best sound quality, also superior to the Circuit records.
INTEREST. This is a particularly rare and interesting record, of extremely high collectible value, also by virtue of the fact that it was made by the original producer of the DECCAGONE singles. It is also the best-sounding (for the time) version. ****
In this web site we do not examine the recent vinyl releases, since they are generally derived from CD and do not contain anything original. However, we make an exception for THE DECCA TAPES, since they are distributed with a reproduction of the classic Circuit Records jacket and have the same track listing.
These records were distributed starting from early 2013, and had various versions. The first one included a CD and was released as DOXY RECORDS, with the logo printed on bottom left of the back cover. The printed matrix number is 106864E1I / 106864E2L
The subsequent pressings were distributed as DOL Records, with the logo printed on bottom left or right of the back cover, and had various variations, released since 2016 in 180 grams vinyl: folder-type jacket, picture disc, fully transparent disc or transparent disc with a red area around the spindle hole. The picture disc and the transparent discs had a special jacket, open in the front and with the front photo printed on the inner part, so that the vinyl is visible and the photo can be seen in the back in the case of the transparent vinyls.
INTEREST. Excellent sound quality, useful for vinyl collectors, but obviously these releases do not add anything to the Beatles bootleg discography. For this reason we do not rate them.