Saturday, November 10, 2018


I decided to slip this 'un into the mix because frankly, I have been rather busy/lazy this week and didn't have time to prepare a PROPER run-down of recs and such that I have been listening to coupled with my opinions regarding various musical/social/political/bowel movement-related wonderments. What I did peck out was spotty, comparatively blase (at least next to what you usually will find here!) and definitely needs a tune-up of sorts. However, I had these reviews of relatively old (and some new) vinyl boots on hand and like better you read these writeups than suffer through a half assed summary of just how great I feel with all of this beyond words music being pumped into my system and how beautiful it is living in a world filled with old records, comics, fanzines and other expressions of total suburban slob wonderment that you just can't find anymore. You know that rap already even though I just love throwing it in your faces every time I have the opportunity.

So just settle back and recall those halcyon days when these bootleg albums were nothing but softly-whispered rumors floating about the high school gym when you shoulda been doin' those fart-inducing leg squats. Think back to those catalogs emanating from various mid-South enclaves and those weirdo record shops that seemed to have more than their share of those white sleeves with insert covered platters that seemed kinda chance-y, but for the most part you seemed to do well with what you purchased to the point where even fortysome-plus years late these records still stand as a proud testimonial to your youthful buying prowess as they collect dust in what remains of your vinyl collection!

Sheesh, it would figure that right at the time of my massive Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers mania inna mid-seventies most of their bootleg offerings would either have been long out of print or a good five or so years away from being pressed up. Sure didn't help me out any at the time, although the Zappa/Beefheart CONFIDENTIAL album on Wizardo and the NO COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL twofa did show up in the local bins and were thusly snatched up by guess who! Dunno exactly when TMOQ slapped this double consisting of two early-seventies vintage Zappa boots together, but from the labels I would gather that it was the early-eighties and although my Zappa pressure was certainly tamed by that period in time (Terry Bozzio can do that to you) I think that if I were to have picked this 'un up at some flea market at the time it woulda made for one of those nice late-night spins when the music seems to take on a different sort of somber tone than it does in daylight, which I gotta say does certainly fits in with my bean brain of mine.

AT THE OLYMPIC purports to be the first appearance of what the insert calls "the Hot Rats band". Dunno if you could really say that about this CHUNGA'S REVENGE-period show, but the sound is great for an audience tape and the performance is pretty tasty especially for the post original Mothers of Invention era which many rock wags tend to poo poo. Flo and Eddie are on here somewhere but are washed out while for the most part Zappa plays his guitar and does a lotta old themes re-mashed with Ian Underwood holding up a good portion of the recording with those multi-instrumental talents that kinda made me wish he had a Bizarre/Reprise release of his own!

The highlight for me is the presence of Sugarcane Harris who really puts a lotta oomph into the proceedings with his violin, and thankfully he performs that all-time classic "Directly From My Heart To You" which really stymied me when I first heard it on WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH. I mean, the idea of Zappa recording a Little Richard song seemed so alien to me back when I first picked that platter up, naive kid I was and most certainly shall remain! Of course as the years rolled by and my mind firmed up it seemed a natural thing for him to have done, but when yer fifteen man, was that the weirdest!

The 200 MOTELS album is not the soundtrack to the feature and frankly why Zappa cared to title this performance with the El Lay Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta such is confusing (he does mutter something at the beginning of the piece which is hardly audible though might explain the sitchy-ashion a tad bit). Still if you like those Zappa orchestral faves and various Mothers themes of yore you'll diggidy-dig this one which sounds just like the closing theme from THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER at one point then gets into such faves as "Oh No" and a few UNCLE MEAT variations which might bring back some late-sixties memories for you old time fans.

It can even be moving then all of a sudden a tad kitschy, so once again Zappa keeps you guessing as to what just might be coming next if you dare to go there. Surprised these haven't been repressed or Cee-Dee-ified since because even with the audience quality this would sound great on your pop's old 1959 stereo player! That is, if he'll ever let you back into his den after what you did to the speakers after playing Blue Cheer on it back 1968 way!
And from Zappa why not head out towards that Zappa "acolyte" so-to-speak (perhaps thee only Zappa "'acolyte' so-to-speak"!) who made it even bigger than ol' stinkeroo himself---none other'n Alice Cooper! And what a boffo package this one is what with the full-color cover and the pink and pale green discs that turn up inside---quality all around! Not only that but BACK IN THE USA (with a title like that I'm sure the bootleggers had a good sense of where Alice was comin' from what with the massive influence of the Detroit rockers from the MC5 on down on their entire makeup!) is a hi-quality recording taken mostly from the 1971 KILLER tour which, along with a buncha hot MUSCLE OF LOVE outtakes and a fair quality though rockin' live version of "A Hard Day's Night" with Flo and Eddie, make this one of those bootlegs that really got starved rock 'n roll fans like myself all hot and bothered during the dullsville eighties. Can't lose with a set like this which you must admit topped even what the majors of the time (mid-late eighties) were able to toss out at an audience that surely wanted more than the usual gruel. When compared to, say, those mid-eighties Velvet Underground collections on Verve something like BACK IN THE USA only goes to show you that when it comes to exhumations and proper packaging the bootleg labels beat the legit ones all hollow! Imagine what any eighties-era bootleg label coulda done with those Velvets recordings...certainly not stick 'em in those ugly sleeves and get David Fricke to write the liner notes (not that he doesn't spout pearls o' wisdom once in awhile but that guy is so omnipresent I wish someone else'd get a chance to pop off once in awhile) that's for sure!
Speaking of the VU, I had passed on these Velvet Underground LEGENDARY GUITAR AMP TAPES releases on the "Tummy Tapes" label considering how this 3/15/69 recording with Lou Reed's amp placed WAY UP FRONT was (deservedly) circulating in various forms o'er the years and like, I must have had at least three different versions of 'em on tape or disque already! However this third volume capturing Reed's eruptive playing on "Heroin" and "Sister Ray" was just too tasty to pass up on vinyl even for a guy like me who coulda plunked down the money it took to pay for this on some other item of value. But dedicated fan that I am I just couldn't resist this particular slice of late-sixties apocalyptic pleasure and y'know what???

It's every big as adventurous/avant garde/exhilarating and all of the best thesaurus words you can dare find even a good thirtysome years after this 'un escaped onto the tape trading market. The sound on "Heroin" is mighty fine in itself but when the band segues into "Sister Ray" it all comes home, with Reed's guitar playing showing its Metal Machine Glory proving once and for all that slick lines and fast playing don't necessarily make a rock group good. It's NOISE all the way which is why a band that could play (like the Velvets) or "couldn't" (like say, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks) ran rings around all those high-falutin' "artists" you heard on the radio who could play scales up and down the neck of their guitars but could never ooze an ounce of down and dirty grit from their entire existence. I can get into that churning crank that Reed lets go with towards the end forever...if I ever make it "up there" I hope I get to hear this for all eternity. If I make it down there you know it's gonna be nothing but J. Neo Marvin.
Here's a strangitie that I like if only for the effort that went into making this. It's a (now get this!) live performance of David Bowie's LOW album titled what else but LOW LIVE, and it's got a really pro color cover mimicking the original and this opaque greyish vinyl to give it that real up-grade quality that bootleg fans really went for.  I would rate the effort as being a well-crafted package given the big-time job that went into producing the thang but unfortunately this 2002 performance was taken from an audience recording and the sound is surprisingly bad considering how by the early 'OO's technology had made your average clandestine recording sound almost professional. Too much audience woo-wooings going on here and you have to strain to hear some of the instruments especially during the "avant garde" second side. Fortunately I managed to get a few high stool-era fun feelings outta it so perhaps the exorbitant amt. of moolah I put into buying this wasn't TOTALLY lost after all.
One thing I've discovered throughout this life o' mine is that a whole lotta these records bearing the name Jimi Hendrix on 'em, especially those that were released after his deep sixing, are sure chance-y affairs to put it mildly. Sheesh, I wonder how many bedroom jams of his were recorded by the neighbor next door only to get pressed up and touted as being some "unique" and "innovative" effort that was obviously dug up to capitalize on the guitarist's unexpected gagathon!

Well, this double set of-so-craftily credited to "James Marshall" as if that was gonna throw the authorities off the trail is sorta like that, and not. Mostly just outtakes, these tracks range from fairly good to boring but you might like 'em even if you, like me, tended to think of Jimi as being one of those older kids kinda musical acts that seemed a little too hippoid in light of other acts that spoke to your suburban slob mentality a whole lot more.

The recordings with John McLaughlin and Larry Young aren't as passionate as I would have liked 'em to be, but some of the guitar attacks do bring out a few latent hard rock growls that appeal more to my Detroit underground rock side than they do the whole mudfest felchathon scene so in vogue at the time. Sound quality is about what's to be expected, but thankfully it only exacerbates the proper way rock 'n roll and perhaps all music should be heard---in a primal and feral fashion that needs no visuals or extra stimuli for you to appreciate in your own untamed, mammal sort of way.

I could say that LADYLAND IN FLAMES was one of them boots meant for the Hendrix completest and Hendrix completest only, but for once in my life I'd be wrong. Even the more casual Hendrix lover can get more'n a few things outta this double-set and if you are one, this might be worth the effort to search out here on the "you can get anything ya heart desires" internet an' I do mean it!
I believe this one, or at least some of it, has been issued legitimately but fergit that jive because if you can get it on a bootleg record it's all the better for everyone involved! And what a bootleg it is!!!! Here are none other than Australian pride AC/DC recorded live at the beginning of their long 'n sainted career, and judging from the tracks on this set (taken from a New Year's Eve gig on the last day of '74 as well as a few tracks from the following year fillin' the thing out) these guys were cooking even HOTTER than they were once they finally hit the big time playing in front of an arena fulla teenagers puking reds all over each other. The sound is good, and packaging fantastic in that eighties bootleg we gotta fool people into thinking this is legitimate sorta way, and best of all these guys don't come off as heavy metal imbeciles one bit and prove just what kind of high energy purveyors they could be once they got their nuts down to it.

This really is punk rock in the old CREEM/DENIM DELINQUENT fashion long before that term seemed to get co-opted outta existence, and as far as all out performances go this 'un proves that maybe AC/DC, had they never gotten the big break oh so needed with outta nowhere rock groups, would be remembered fondly in the same underground rock way that Coloured Balls and Radio Birdman are lo these many years later. Next trip to the record shop (wherever one may be) try to snatch this one up, or at least get hold of 74 BREAKOUT and DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP and get an earfulla what hard rock used to mean before the eighties and rock videos negated everything good the seventies stood for.
An' that's it for least until I can find another cache of these once-forbidden items to write about in my usual triumphalist way. Until then, be sure to scour your local outta-the-way record shop for more of these wild wonders and most of all---DON'T BLAB TO THE COPS WHERE THE PLACE IS, AT LEAST UNTIL I CLEAR THE BINS OUT AT WHICH POINT WHO CARES!!!!

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

Always enjoy your surveys of vintage bootleg LP's. Unfortunately, I've had to sell off a number of mine over the years (and my Beatles ones were stolen, as regular BTC readers know from the piece "Vic And His Beatles Room" which you can find on this blog if you missed it). If someone offered me $25 for one back in the 90's and I needed a new water heater or new tires on the car, it was hard to turn it down. Besides, my favorite boots eventually became part of my DNA, I played them so many times and memorized every note (or buzz or hum, if we're talking about audience recordings).

I was unfamiliar with J. Neo Marvin, so I looked him up. He's certainly not BTC material, and I hope I never hear him again, but really, is there anyone out there as bad as Sting? He should always get that "what would be playing in Hell" crown, and for the deepest levels of Hell, it should be Sting's hip-hop collaborations and that horrible "Ten Summoner's Tales" album. Once many years ago, on a freezing Winter's day, I was in some doctor's waiting room where that album was playing, and rather than having to hear any more of it, I literally went outside in the freezing cold and waited for my appointment out on the street, shivering, as it was less suffering than having to hear that crap.