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”.