Saturday, November 02, 2013


I guess it's time for yet another long-overdue "bootleg braggadocio," a post where I get to blab on about all of my recent bootleg acquisitions of platters (no "Cee-Dees") that I got and you don't, at which point I give a good "nyah nyah" considering how much I like to one up all of you readers out there! All kidding ass-side, here's a bunch of illicit vinyl offerings, both old and even recent, which I'm sure you and your significant other (at least if human) would want to know all about. So if Bill Shute can create the "Virtual Thrift Shop" then here be the "Virtual Outta The Way Record Shop" with alla them cutout, import and bootleg bins just begging for you to romp through 'em in a bold attempt for you to determine how you're gonna spend that $2.85 in your pocket!

If you were a high energy rock 'n roll maniac on the sixties/seventies cusp, wouldn't you have thought the mere concept of an MC5 bootleg to have been the wildest idea to come down the pike since Shake-A-Puddin'? I know that quite a few people felt so, or at least that's the idea I get after having read an issue of Alan Betrock's pre-NEW YORK ROCKER fanzine JAMZ where a news item mentioning that an MC5 bootleg with the rare pre-Elektra single sides, a few live tracks and even some stuff from the album was in the works thus oozing palpitating pangs of puerile pandemonium from more than a number of their readers! Unfortunately, along with the rumored Velvet Underground and Thirteenth Floor Elevators (on Rubber Dubber even!) bootlegs of the day no MC5 boots ever did make it out alive during the group's lifetime, though with all of the rabble rousing surrounding 'em and international acclaim the group was receiving even before releasing an album you kinda got the idea that some "enterprising" soul woulda dug out his tape recorder, captured a few hours of the Five at their prime and rushed it all off to the nearest pressing plant in order to help further the revolution, and make a few bucks while they were at it!

Dunno if that bootleg'd come off anything like this MC5 weirditie complete with a snap of the group taken at the Ann Arbor Fairgrounds on the cover and a news report from the German SOUNDS magazine on the back, but I do get the sneakin' suspicion that it would. Dunno when this was recorded, but it does sound as if it were taken from one of the group's '68 gigs which is fine enough for me considering just what would happen to the band after they read Lester Bangs' duff review in STONE and decided to depart from their avant rock roots, seemingly in abject shame.

Whatever, since I never heard this particular gig before I really cherished listening to it, even with the lousy sound quality, truncated "I Put a Spell on You" and abysmal glitch the ends side two that any normal bootlegger woulda neatly edited! Even with the obvious (and oblivious) errors the Five shine through, and if you can forget the ripoffisms involved this 'un does make for a must have. Especially with that never before released song on side one (title escapes me, but I'm sure I heard it before!) that reminds me of just what this band had to offer before official career moves and back stabbing got in the way of stardom (translationBUSINESS AS USUAL!).
This one's an old fanabla of a favorite that I bought back '76 way then sold when the cash flow was gettin' low, then bought again in the early nineties only to discover that the 1977-vintage WAX FLAGS double set was enclosed within instead of the actual artifact! But now that's all been corrected, so once again I get to hear this Flo and Eddie-period Mothers of Invention double set (actually a budget twofer of the by-then out-of-print SAFE MUFFINS and POOT FACE BOOGIE albums) and all I gotta say is, boy do the memories of my high stool Frank Zappa emulation come rushin' back faster'n blackheads to my ever-porous nose! Both platters feature the group during their rather productive 200 MOTELS days back when it seemed as if Zappa was releasing an album every other month, and fortunately the team of Howard Kaylan and Marc Volman pretty much hold the show together for those of you who just can't take that much of Zappa's watered-down post-Lenny Bruce hipsterisms!

If your tastes tend to lean more towards FILLMORE EAST than JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM LA (which I thought was perhaps a bit too overwrought with "Billy the Mountain" and all that satirical googly moogly) you'll probably enjoy this more'n even I did! Loads of familiar toonz, some interesting re-makes of old Mothers standbys, and the instrumental track of "Dog Breath" plus alternate version "My Guitar" (along with "Lightning Rod Man" which ain't even the Mothers!) pad the thing out in typical sneaky bootleg fashion. Of course I love it.
I've never been whatcha'd call an Aerosmith fan, and for a good many years must admit that I never felt strongly one way or another about 'em. By the eighties I gotta say that I hated the group and not only because a good portion of their followers were a buncha lowclass jeters who took pride in running down dogs and getting equally lowclass female pimplefarms knocked up and everyone'd feel sorry for 'em 'stead of kick 'em outta the house for bringing shame upon the place (these were the sensitive eighties, y'know)...I hated 'em because they lacked a whole lotta the bop 'n drive that I like in my music, and considering how bopless and driveless music was making a big comeback at the time you could say that these Aerosmith guys were like the poster boys for the whole mode of musical jive that would eventually become known as "classic rock". And to think that more than a few naive nabobs out there were actually duped into thinking that Aerosmith were part and parcel to the entire Alice Cooper hard rock tradition and the group that was poised to take up the slack where the New York Dolls had failed back in the best/worst of times mid-seventies!

But I've been under the spell of reading too many BACK DOOR MANs and DENIM DELINQUENTs as of late, so I figured why not splurge on a copy of this popular Aerosmith boot which I guess captured the band at their mid-seventies height before the heroin did a pretty good job makin' 'em sound even more ragged than Johnny Thunders on a lost weekend (see LIVE BOOTLEG for more information). And hey, I gotta admit that LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL is rather good, if only for capturing what this group could have done live in the mid-seventies when they were rocketing their way up into the hard rock stratosphere and their nervous systems weren't quite shot yet. Sound on this Korneyfone release is surprisingly good if kinda audience distorto at times, and the performance is straightforward 'stead of phoned in as I'm sure it was within a few years of megastardom. I can't say that I like it a whole heap, but after hearing some of the atrocities committed in the name of heavy metal since those days Steve Tyler and company might as well be the Dolls for all I care! 
If you told me a good three decades back that I'd even think of buying a Grateful Dead bootleg (let alone one of their reg'lar album) I probably would have called you a fan of the SS record label. So yeah, I do find it surprising that I have actually picked up a few Dead boots o'er the years, even though they're mostly items that consist of the group's early trackage recorded at a time when even the more "eclectic" of rock fans (y'know, the ones who discovered it only after the Beatles made it respectable) knew that "Louie Louie" was a boss number giving all of the pseudo-intellectual reasons for believing so. This recently-obtained double platter (on the "Bewitching Music" label) entitled FRESHLY DEAD IN LA & SF fits into my typical Dead bootleg buying patterns as it it mostly contains the early version of the band just before the bad acid got to their brains and the "spokesmen for a generation" tag they were forever saddled with was but a few years off. Don't let the snaps of the early-seventies Dead on the cover deter you...this is the mid-sixties Dead recorded long before they started believing in all of their press releases!

Quality's mostly good (unless you count the numerous chopped off inna middle numbers as well as primitive splices) and I really can't complain about the performance especially when Pig Pen's organ is cranking out those great patented mid-sixties garage band chords that must've seemed like an embarrassment only a few years later. Even Jerry Garcia's leads don't sound as morbidly cosmic as they would after you took that swig from the bottle passed your way. Overall a good set from that magical year of 1966 which proved that even though the Dead couldn't play a really rockin' number even if you poured hot lead up their asses they really did have some "moments" as many a person used to say way back inna seventies.

A few obviously later-on numbers show up proving just how much into a rut the Dead had gotten into by the time the late-sixties approached, and for some not-so-surprising reason a great portion of side four is taken up by various Jorma Kaukonen solo acoustic tracks done up live, in case you're interested in continuing the acid experience after the Dead material has been exhausted and there's still fifteen minutes of record to fill up.

Here's another one from the Silver Age of Rock Bootlegs (roughly 1978 until 1989---talkin' about the days when these things began comin' out in high-quality sleeves with a sound and style that gave the legit product a run for the teenage money), a double set of BBC session material recorded by none other than those psychedelic fruitcakes themselves Pink Floyd. If you're looking for a vinyl set featuring the post-Barrett/pre-megastardom Floyd this one is just what the Doc Rock ordered, and besides that the sound (and perhaps even performance!) is so hot that it puts the legit material to shame!

I kinda get the feeling that someone snuck into the BBC vaults and lifted the tapes, that's how good this one sounds. And although the post-Barrett version of the group slowly lost its energy and ideas to the point where everyone in the act (as well as their fans) were "comfortably numb," I must admit that I don't find the Gilmour-helmed act as nauseating as they could have gotten. Sure you deserve a special medal for being able to sit through "Echoes" without crying for mama, but I will admit that I found the "Atom Heart Mother" suite kinda interesting even though people like myself aren't supposed to "like" it...sheesh, I'm starting to sound like Jymn Parrett in the pages of DENIM DELINQUENT when he kept apologizing for saying how much he enjoyed not only DARK SIDE OF THE MOON but a bootleg taken from the Floyd tour as well! No need to apoligize Jymn...the only thing you do need to apologize for is not keeping your website up to date with fresh reviews, pix and rock 'n roll energy! C'mon Jymn...write something hot and write it NOW!!!
If I had to list the top forty bootleg albums of all time, the Velvet Underground's SWEET SISTER RAY would definitely be up there on the list. In fact if I hadda list the top ten bootlegs of all time SSR would definitely be up there amid the likes of METALLIC KO and other definite must-have worthies in both your and my collections. Come to think of it, if I hadda list thee ultimate bootleg album of all time this 'un just might make the #1 spot because hey, it is like, that essential.

Sure SWEET SISTER RAY's been booted and rebooted for ages with nary a legit release in sight, but it's sure nice seeing that double-platter set available on vinyl again. And for those who are keeping score one album being issued in solid black and the other in see-through red. 's gotta new cover too, and although that excuse ain't exactly something that's gonna make you run out and plunk down some of your hard-begged the fact that you don't have to wear down your now-valuable original just might. And frankly, I think this take sounds better, perhaps being mastered from original tapes or at the hands of some studio whiz who can take monochromatic-sounding music and beef it up with all of the vim and vigor it takes turning your standard flatzy runaway sixteen-year-old into the top-notch exotic dancer now wowin' 'em on the sleazier side of town.

Of course the entire 1968 "Sweet Sister Ray" appears spread out on two sides, and that's definitely a wowzer in itself especially by the time side two hits and Lou Reed and company are doing things with their guitars the krauts could have only dreamed of. Platter two features two rather powerful versions of Doug Yule-period "Sister Ray," one being the take recorded direct off Reed's amp at the Boston Tea Party where enough atonal guitar screech is given off to give Les Rallizes Denudes a run for the money! If you remember Lou Reed's interview for the LA FREE PRESS where he talked about all of the takes and versions of "Sister Ray" from "Sweet Sister Ray" to "Sweet Rock 'n Roll" and "Sister Ray Part Two" and how it would tale a good day or so to perform it all, with the interviewer suggesting that maybe they should release a limited edition set just for us manic fans, consider this a down payment. And now that Reed is kaput and not standing in the way of the flood of classic Velvets recordings we all need asap perhaps the day we finally get to hear all of those hidden gems is at hand
And in closing, it seems as if a whole load of Can material is being made available as of late both legally and not, but since this is an article on bootlegs and I've covered the official material awhile back we'll concentrate of the illegal deal. Most of the ones like DAI DOKO E have been obtained via downloads and whatnot for awhile now, and although I thought that HORRORTRIP IN THE PAPERHOUSE (Blue Sea Records, Italy) was to have contained all-new gunch it turns out that it too is familiar material packaged up in a new sleeve. The FM broadcast from whence these track were taken has been floating around for years, but if you'd like to hear a particularly potent Can show during what many would consider their height look no further. Another offering entitled CAN YOU seemed more enticing since it promised never-before-heard-outside-the-studio trackage, and although a glance at the song credits revealed that the tracks pretty much came from the less-exciting (and sometimes downright dull) post-Damo Suzuki era group I must say I enjoyed it, even the more dance-oriented tracks where weren't as bad as some of that drek coming out of England around 1983. Not the first place I'd start if I were checking these guys out for the first time (I made that mistake by buying LIMITED EDITION when I shoulda picked up MONSTER MOVIE), but the cherry on top of the sundae or the nipple on top of the boob, whichever you prefer.

No comments: