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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George "Porky" Peckham and the maker's mark

I walked by this place in the West End today. It's still a lovely building despite that vile white and blue sign somebody has jammed into the facade in order to declare their tenancy. I knew it as the workshop of George "Porky" Peckham, who was the mastering engineer trusted by the music business to get as much of the signal of their recordings from the tapes to the grooves of the stamper from which the records - particularly the singles - were manufactured. When I was working for Beserkley in 1976 I went there a few times to get singles mastered. When he was finished he would ask you if you wanted a message in the area between the run-out grooves and the label. I can't remember what the records were or what I asked for. If he was particularly proud of his work he'd sign off as "a Porky prime cut" or something similar. I've been told that the map artists of the Ordnance Survey do something similar, concealing their signatures in the contour lines in order to declare their authorship and to guard against forgery.

7 comments:

LF Barfe said...

I've heard that if Peckham didn't like a record he'd mastered, he'd sign it 'Blair's', to make everyone think it had been done by Chris Blair at Abbey Road. Any love for the recently-deceased 'Boppin' Bob' Jones? His signature seems to figure heavily in my collection as does the MB of Mike Brown at Pye and later CTS/Lansdowne.

office pest said...

'a Porky Prime Cut' - I remember finding these messages and wondering who he was. Now you've told me, thanks.

Here's a picture by nigelkemp off of flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21620148@N03/2735529823

I also remember a Cure single with "The Crawley Sound" scratched in next to the matrix number as well. I expect there were loads of messages over the years. Nice to know somebody's hands made the difference between good and great though isn't it.

smfifteen said...

Regarding the forgery of maps, I've heard that the compliers of the A-Z do something similar. Apparently, they deliberately mis-spell a few street or place names in each edition so as to catch out plagiarisers.

Paul McDonald said...

The Smiths used to have some great messages cut into the run out groove of their singles. Yet another great thing to miss about vinyl..

andymooseman said...

I remember seeing "a Porky Prime Cut" many times. I often wondered why it was there & now i know. Thanks for the info.
As a side thought. I used to love some of the things written into the vinyl of the old Stiff Records 45's.
I think i might have to dig them all out again.

matthew said...

Same with phone directories - fake names to catch out illegal copyright breaches.

Long after David's time, but the brief Leeds scene of bands from around Harold Street, Headingley in the late 80s - Pale Saints, Edsel Auctioneer etc - all had "Voice of the Harold" written into the run out groove of the vinyl.

iMADEtheBBC said...

I remember the run-out groove for the Genesis single "I Know what I like"

'porky knows what he likes...'

and a message on the b-side which I can't quite remember...


anyone ?