Bootleg book

12-20-10

Bootleg book

I have been reading a book about the supposed ‘history’ of rock & roll bootleg LP’s.  Interesting for me to note that it seemed to be based in L.A. – I actually recognized several of the early titles:  “Get Back” by The Beatles on Lemon Records, The Rolling Stones “Liver Than You’ll Ever Be”, Bob Dylan “The Great White Wonder” etc.  And then the Rubber Dubber titles, Jimi Hendrix “Live at The Los Angeles Forum” etc.  Rubber stamped covers.

I remember all that stuff!  You could buy bootlegs at Licorice Pizza or go up to Hollywood and find ‘em at Lewin’s Record Paradise on Hollywood Blvd.  Slightly later on, I remember stores spring up that ONLY had bootleg LP’s for sale!  But, of course, they didn’t last long…

At the time, I went for The Beatles and the Stones – I did not bother with the first Bob Dylan bootlegs – I did that a bit later (“John Birch Society Blues”).  Sure, the sound quality wasn’t top drawer, but…at the time, the bootleggers beat the record company to a live Stones album…and there was a whole set of Beatles’ songs that were floating about without a home – we’re talking 1969 – 1971 here, folks.

Much later on, I could find things like Frank Zappa bootleg LP’s.  Hah!  Printed covers from Europe!  Material I hadn’t heard etc.  It got weirder in the 80’s, when material not previously heard began surfacing on The Beatles, Bob Dylan etc.  I think I even found a bootleg LP by The Fixx!

The amusing conclusion to this sordid tale is that I started going to Japan in 1994.  I shall never forget the heady rush of illegality I sensed, as I first walked into “Airs” in Nishi-Shinjuku.  Holy cow! A whole store set up in Tokyo that had nothing but pirate videos and CD’s!  And weird stuff, too – progressive rock!

So, I guess ultimately, I prefer a bootleg CD to a bootleg LP.  At times, the sound quality can be comparable, but…some of the bootleg LP pressing were definitely ‘funky’; as CD’s are not touched, per se – no worries there.  And all the bootleg VHS tapes?  Gee, I never saw The Fugs on stage before!

Mr. Contradiction: I would be mightily unhappy if there was ever a bootleg LP or CD of my music!  Well, I would probably enjoy an LP of it, as I know how much work is involved.  But a bootleg CD?  Been there, done that…I have found people selling bootleg CD-R’s of my LP’s.  Grrr…they owe me $15~!

Still the ‘Bootleg book’ is fascinating reading.  I recommend it to anyone who has a curiosity about the “other record industry”.

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5 Responses to Bootleg book

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    I was never too much into bootlegs, if only because bands I was passionate about weren’t popular enough to get ‘legged! In fact, I came to really resent “record shows” in the mid-90s because they seemed to be nothing but bootleg CDs and VHS tapes! All manner of “classic rock” artists predominated this “genre” and they meant less than nothing to me. REAMS of Bruuuuce, U2, Floyd, Metallica and other wastes of space took up untold square feet of space at increasingly worthless “record shows.” I resented how they sucked up floor space from actual music I might want to buy since they cost dealers a LOT less than any legitimate product. The predominance of bootleg goods is what turned me off of record shows for a good decade or so, there! When the RIAA started cracking down in the late 90s I thought “Great… to hell with them!”

    The only boots I ever bought were a series of Euro Roxy Music boots from a catalog one dealer I dealt with sent in the early 90s. Now this was a group I’d be interested in hearing boots of since I had every legit release and wanted more! Nice to hear those amazing Peel Sessions pre-debut with Davy O’List! No, make that pretty astounding to hear! My fave take of “If There Is Something” is the 12+ minute Peel version by far – and that’s my favorite track from the debut album! Since the dealer didn’t usually deal in boots, there was a money-back guarantee which was nice, but all of the 7-10 Roxy titles I bought were worth the effort. I have two Ultravox boot LPs. “Systems” is [I think] a Swedish radio show from the “Ha! Ha! Ha!” tour with John Foxx and it’s pretty hot stuff. Mono, but excellent quality. “Terminals” is a lousy quality boot of a live “Rage In Eden” show.

    I also have a hot, soundboard quality Simple Minds 2xLP of a “Sons + Fascination” show on 3/4 sides; the 4th being a nth gen. 1st LP tour show dub, notable for containing “Here Comes The Fool” many years before a legit recording of said track surfaced in the band’s “Silver Box.” Extremely righteous stuff, there, at least the “Sons” material! That’s about it for boots in my collection, off the top of my head.

  2. Brian Ware says:

    Seems like I remember buying a bootleg or two in my youth. The Infinite Mushroom, our “head” shop in Orlando, at one point was selling records. I know I had a Rubber Dubber Stones and CSN&Y LP. This would be really early 70s. I also bought what was at the time one of the first collections of Beatles alternate takes.

    I’ve never bought any CD boots, but certainly have digitized many of my own collections, including promo radio concerts as well as cassettes recorded off the air back in the day. I did a whole set of Split Enz live titles which still include early Judd era songs like “Lawdy”, “Five Minute Wonder” and “Prophecy”which have never turned up anywhere else.

    • postpunkmonk says:

      @Brian Ware – Digitizing your own recordings is not bootlegging by a long shot! It’s a boot if someone’s charging money for it. Say, I just remembered that I had a CD boot of “Heaven’s Eyes,” by Arcadia. Those fine 12″ remixes? Didn’t you buy that as well as me?

  3. ronkanefiles says:

    I have some odd bootleg LP’s & CD’s, mostly stuff found inexpensively in Tokyo or Europe, 20+ years ago. When bootleg LP’s were new (early 70’s) I got a few, but only kept a few of them. I never regarded any of them as valuable. Interesting what has now turned up on legit issue CD’s vs. what was on bootleg LP’s. One day, I’ll have to figure out what bootleg material I have found and kept…

  4. Brian Ware says:

    “Heaven’s Eyes” – yep, I did buy that one for both of us, but I can’t remember where I bought it!! Probably some Goldmine ad….

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