'The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death'

The 1967 Riverboat release:

The second Riverboat sleeve, circa 1970:

The final Riverboat sleeve, circa 1972:

The 1973 Takoma re-issue:

The 1980 Chrysalis re-issue:

Prior to the commercial release of this album, Riverboat pressed a limited edition of fifty numbered copies. These simply came in a plain white sleeve. Copy #1 was sent out as a promotional copy, and here is the card that accompanied it:

Riverboat's 1966 sleeve names the company as 'Riverboat Records', shows their address as 12 Noyes Place, Boston, Mass 02113, and quotes a price of $5.00. The second marks the company's relocation to Cambridge around 1970; the rear paste-over now shows the address as 141 Columbia Street, Cambridge, Mass 02139 and the price remains at $5.00; the front of the sleeve is unaltered. Incidentally, the remaining stock with the Boston address were cleared as cut-outs, which is why they are sometimes found with a corner missing. The final sleeve names the company as 'Riverboat Enterprises', uses a different steamboat logo, and abandons the $5.00 price. Takoma inherited the bulk of these on acquiring the 'Transfiguration' rights in 1973 and continued to use them for some time before bringing in their own variant (dated as 1973 above, but probably not actually in use until 1975). Here are enlargements of the two Riverboat logos:

The original Riverboat graphic:

The later Riverboat graphic (circa 1972):

An unusual back cover for the first Takoma sleeve is shown above, with no credits. The one here has subsequently been signed by John. I do not know how many were printed like this.

Use of the Chrysalis era sleeve carried over to the Allegiance release, and I have not yet seen an Allegiance sleeve

Original 1965 booklet, back page:

Second edition, 1970, back page:

It is interesting to see from the card that accompanied the pre-release edition of 'Transfiguration' that although the subsequent sleeve was not yet ready, the booklet was (I'm presuming that they didn't come with hand-written ones). Early booklets appear to have been printed 'in-house' and are much more attractive than later ones, using an ivory coloured paper and a less harsh black ink. Later booklets are on whiter, and finally white paper, with hard black lettering, suggesting fairly cheap lithography. The printing quality of the later booklets is variable, and some have unwanted black ink stripes across the pages (like those from misfiring photocopiers).

I have posted pictures of the backs of the booklets because this is where one is able to determine definitively whether a booklet is an early one; in the bottom right-hand corner are the printer's details:

12 Noyes Place was of course the address of Riverboat Enterprises at that point. Following the move to Cambridge, the printing credit was removed. These later booklets were printed in very considerable quantities, and Takoma inherited sufficient to be able to use them until the end. Even then there was a significant quantity remaining, and Fantasy were happy to post them out to owners of the CD. This very generous supply of booklets means that many early Riverboat records have subsequently acquired booklets that date from later. I can say with considerable certainty that all those first albums that show Noyes Place as the Riverboat address have the Gringo Press credit on the back of the booklet; this means that comparisons of paper colour are thankfully unnecessary given that paper tends to discolour with age anyway.

The Early Sessions

A plea for help! I am seeking information on Fahey's Takoma album 'The Early Sessions'. If you own or have ever owned a copy of this rare record, please could you email me via the link on the right. Many thanks.