Reissue vs Repackaging–is there a difference?

Thanks to Crown Records fan Ken Ellzey for unearthing yet another Bihari label, the extremely plain Bright Orange. Should we be surprised to unearth yet another Bihari reissue/repackaging label? Maybe more will come to light, buried behind the thrift stores of America.

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Nothing new here. Jules first recorded his Big Band & Others series back in the early days of Crown with Maxwell Davis leading former big band musicians. Jules just added the names Charlie Barnet, Stan Kenton, Duke, Count & Others to trick folks when in fact none of the band leaders appear on the LPs. But then Jules goes much further this concept, reissuing the same LPs multiple times on multiple labels, the last of which may in fact be Bright Orange. As Ken points out in his email to us, this Big Band Bright Orange LP is part of a series.  Again nothing new here as Jules repackaged the Big Bands previously on Crown in a series titled “Exciting Sounds of the Name Bands” in which he reissued the same old cuts but in a different order.

Maybe the Bright Orange is just a repackaging of Exciting Sounds – we’d have to compare the vinyl label scratch notations to be sure.  But does it matter?  There’s even a big band release on Crown titled: “Charlie Barnet presents a tribute to Harry James.”  Wow, how’s many layers of repacking can you have in one LP?

So back to Bright Orange. How do we even know this was released by Jules in his lifetime? The Normandie  Ave address is on the back.  Frank Evans wrote the liner notes, a name that appears on early Crown LPs along with John Marlo (before Crown did away with liner notes to opt for the cheaper generic LP back of release listings).  So the evidence points to Big Orange being a Jules B release though maybe the parties who purchased the label & factory in liquidation just tossed off a few late releases to use up the cardboard and vinyl that left hanging around.

Finally, to answer our initial question: Is there a difference between reissuing & repackaging? In our mind, reissuing means you reissue the same LP with perhaps a different color label but basically cover art and vinyl recording remain the same, like different editions of the same book. Jules did this many times, especially in the early days. Repackaging to us means tricking the audience by reissuing the same LP on a different label, with different cover art, sometimes rearranging the cuts, sometimes using the same vinyl LP stamper.  Jules was the master of this chicanery which he honed to perfection with his seminal blues recordings of artists such as BB King who has the same LPs issued on Modern, Crown, United, United Superior & Kent.

As we are fans of Jules & his labels, let’s end on a positive note by pointing out that Jules left generations of vinyl scavengers lots of cheap LPs on which to uncover some amazing (and not so amazing) old recordings!

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