Saydisc updates and additions
When the Virgin Discography was published, there were very few real unknowns and only a handful of unaccounted for catalogue numbers. One very gratifying thing is that not much has changed! So it looks as though my research in the twenty-five years prior to publication paid off!
So, only a few bits to add here so far - hopefully details about the missing promotional releases and Nigerian-only Front Line LPs will appear one day.
Virgin V 2000 sequence
- V 2103 - NO RELEASE. It has now been confirmed that this catalogue number was originally assigned to Planet Mars Dub by The Icebreakers with The Diamonds, which was, instead, issued on the Front Line label as FL 1010. Front Line copies have “V-2103-A1” and “V-2103-B1” etched and crossed out in the run-outs. Tracks are dub versions of those on V 2102 with (mostly) suitably altered titles.
Camembert Electrique confusions (VC 502; C 1505; C 1520)
Nothing conclusive has turned up on the reason for two near enough simultaneous issues on different catalogue numbers, nor for a subsequent release on yet another number, but the lack of evidence as it is (where I did a lot of hedging of bets in the discography) seems to point to VC 502 being intended for the UK market only (at 59p), whilst C 1505 was geared directly at the export market (at the higher price of £1.49). By the look of things, both may have been deleted at the same time, probably C 1505 by mistake - after all, if you say that you're deleting a title, then you're deleting a title, aren't you?
The final version on C 1520 was issued (£1.99 this time) at almost exactly the point at which Gong ceased to be signed to Virgin - it doesn't do not to exploit back catalogue when you lose an act, does it? My guess is that it was simply reissued on the next Caroline number with no-one remembering that it had already had a Caroline release.
If anyone out there knows for sure, then please let on!
Front Line FL 1000 series
- FL 1010 - THE ICEBREAKERS WITH THE DIAMONDS: Planet Mars Dub. This was originally planned for release on the Virgin label proper - run-out grooves have “V-2103-A1” and “V-2103-B1” etched and crossed out. Tracks here are dub versions of those on Planet Earth by The Diamonds (V 2102) with (mostly) suitably altered titles, e.g. Just Can’t Figure Out becomes Finger Out. It is possible that this was originally to have been given away with V 2102.
- FL 1023 - U ROY: Jah Son of Africa. Nigerian-pressed copies include the Caroline 'moon-face' export logo on the rear of the sleeve along with the red Front Line fist logo. Sleeve design is very different to the UK issue.
- FL 1028 - I ROY: Ten Commandments. There is now some doubt as to whether this was issued in the UK by Front Line in 1978. Several websites list this album on this catalogue number and one purports to show an image of the sleeve, only with no view of catalogue number details, whilst the image shows the 1980 Front Line large picture label/coloured vinyl issue in die-cut sleeve on the ONLY 1 catalogue number. Perhaps this was an album licensed by Virgin for pressing via the Front Line imprint in Nigeria only and subsequently issued as ONLY 1 on Front Line two years later. Although out of scope of the discography, being a 1980 release, the ONLY 1 issue, although pressed in the UK, was intended only for export by the look of things. The rear sleeve includes the Caroline 'moon-face' export logo and most copies viewed are sealed for export with Union Jack logos and 'Specially imported from Great Britain' printed on the PVC packaging - that or the copies are in countries other than the UK!
- FL 1029 - TAPPER ZUKIE: In Dub. There is now some doubt as to whether this was issued in the UK by Front Line. For a start, copies are that scarce that not one has appeared during five years of research. Of course, it is possible that all copies on this catalogue number were sent to Nigeria, which would account for the lack of available copies in the UK. Perhaps this was an album licensed by Virgin for pressing via the Front Line imprint in Nigeria only?
- FL 1045 - THE MIGHTY DIAMONDS: Deeper Roots (Back At The Channel). Although various sources list this as having been released on this catalogue number it is starting to look as though this catalogue number was assigned to the album but that only the FLD 6001 2-LP was issued in the UK (it was issued as a single album in the US as VIFL 1045 by Virgin International - US copies on Virgin International credit the title as “Back To The Channel” ). The curiosity is that both this issue and the FLD 6001 issue seem to have been very close together, which starts to make one wonder. Let's see if a FL 1045 UK copy crops up any time in the near future.
- FL 1046 - NO RELEASE. This was most likely originally assigned to the dub album issued with FLD 6001 or, perhaps, to I-Roy’s The General, which was also issued with free dub LP as FLD 6002.