Friday, 31 March 2017

Bootlegs of the Month - March 2107

Already we pass into the second-quarter of the year. It seems to have been a relatively quiet time so far on the bootleg front. At least that had been my initial thoughts but on checking last year's notes I had accumulated a similar amount of boots, by the beginning of April.

This year, so far twelve are worthy of a place in the best bootlegs of 2017. I had mentioned the New Order stash tapes in 2016's document. Thanks to the cyclical nature of available downloads, a further four New Order titles were gratefully added to my collection, including the previously deleted 'Perth' tape - surprisingly hearing it again, it did not sound such a train-wreck performance as I had recalled.

Of the four, 'Live at Central London Polytechnic,' 6th December 1985, is undoubtedly the best. It consists of both the soundcheck - note those Joy Division classics - followed by the complete gig.

Earlier in the month I had acquired a few more BBC radio sessions. Of those, the band I am including here, Felt, surprisingly never recorded a session for the famous late BBC Radio DJ John Peel. He did play them albeit infrequently but the band strangely never captured his imagination. If you enjoy the crystaline guitar sound of 80's indie, then I guarantee these three BBC radio sessions will be on repeat play.

Finally we have a lossless rip of one of the rarest releases by the Verve, Voyager 1 released on vinyl in 1993. 

FELT - BBC sessions (1984-86)

01. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne
02. Roman Litter
03. Vasco Da Gama
04. Crystal Ball
Janice Long BBC Radio One session #1 - 30th September 1984

05. Caspian Sea
06. The Day The Rain Came Down
07. I Didn't Mean To Hurt You
08. Ballad Of The Band
Janice Long BBC Radio One session #2 - 12th February 1986

09. When The Dawn Starts Creeping In
10. Rain Of Crystal Spires
11. All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead
12. Sapphire Mansions
Andy Kershaw BBC Radio One session - 11th September 1986

No lineage was supplied but these are from the FM master recordings.


Central London Polytechnic, London
December 6, 1985

01 Atmosphere (instrumental)
02 Atmosphere
03 She's Lost Control (breakdown)
04 She's Lost Control
05 As It Is When It Was (breakdown)
06 As It Is When It Was
07 Bizarre Love Triangle (breakdown)
08 Bizarre Love Triangle
09 Love Will Tear Us Apart (instrumental)

10 Atmosphere
11 Dreams Never End
12 Procession
13 Sunrise
14 Lonesome Tonight
15 Weirdo
16 586
17 The Perfect Kiss
18 Face Up
19 Age Of Consent

The soundcheck tracks are from a different source than the gig tracks (EQ and tonal qualities differ)

This gig is ranked by many New Order fans to be in their top ten gigs of all time, and in fact many consider this to be by far the best of the 1985 soundboards.
There are three sources: This (the best), the second is heavily noise reduced and encoded and finally a portion of the show was made available in the mid-to-late 1980's on a vinyl LP titled "More Than Despair".

Source: ATR-STASH mixer (?)
Lineage: SBD (ATR-STASH tape) > ??? > FLAC via Sam (lammah) > SoundForge (pitch correction, glitch removal, missing bits patching, levels, remove old SBEs) > > CD Wave (re-tracksplitting) > FLAC > you

THE VERVE - Voyager 1 (1993)
Live in London & New York, 1992

This album was compiled from live recordings in London and New York City during 1992. Only 1,000 vinyl copies were pressed in clear blue vinyl. Of these, 300 were damaged during transportation from the UK to the USA. This ensured its status as an extremely rare collectors item.
There are some black vinyl pressings but it is unknown how many of these are in existence, as you can imagine there are also many bootleg copies now circulating.

The release has acquired a mythical semi-official bootleg status and has been catalogued as partly unofficial! and also described as an official 'bootleg'.

'dockellisrecords' has this to say about the album:

"Out of the blue, my shop was offered this 'Verve - Voyager 1' live LP. Turns out it was a promotional tool made to look like a bootleg. We were told there were 1000 pressed up. First I ordered 25 copies. Sold out immediately. Then another 25 copies. Same thing. We sold 100 copies in about 4 months and then they were gone. About six months later I got a call from someone at Caroline Records letting me know 173 copies were found in a warehouse in LA. I know some were ruined by heat. I asked if I took them all, could they give me a better deal, they did and I scooped up the remaining stock. We eventually sold them all, meaning out of whatever the original pressing on blue vinyl that were not destroyed, we sold nearly 275 of them. Easily the best selling record ever at my shop. There are a lot of these in the Detroit area."

'dockellis' has given the best description of what this release actually is - a promotional record made to look like a bootleg and used to promote the band on their debut US tour.

The covers were created by Brian Cannon, the founder of 'Microdot' who also produced some of the best early Verve, Suede and Oasis artwork.

Note that Wiki states four of the tracks appear on other Verve albums or EP's. This is misleading and incorrect, the songs do appear on other Verve releases, but as their studio versions and not these live tracks. One of the tracks, 'South Pacific' was released on an official CD compilation "Volume Seven" in 1993.

A reviewer declared:

"The Verve were really only at this peak in the early '90s because their music, at its height, didn't seem to be humanly possible, but just for a brief moment they existed outside the realm of the rock genre."

01. Slide Away
02. Gravity Grave
03. One Way To Go
04. South Pacific
05. Already There
06. She's A Superstar

Lineage: From a vinyl rip of the original release

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bootleg of the Month - February 2017

BROADCAST - BBC Radio & TV Sessions

01 The Note
02 Untitled
03 Forget Every Time
04 The World Backwards

05 Come On Let's Go
06 Look Outside
07 The Book Lovers
08 Lights Out

09 Long Was The Year
10 Echo's Answer
11 Where Youth & Laughter Go I Am Not Welcome

12 Until Then (cuts in)
13 Come On Let's Go
14 Look Outside
15 Papercuts

16 Come On Let's Go
17 Unchanging Window

tracks 1-4 John Peel session #1 BBC FM Radio 1 broadcast - 6 October 1996
               (recorded at Maida Vale 4 studio in London on 15 September 1996)
tracks 5-8 Steve Lamacq session BBC FM Radio 1 - March 1997
tracks 9-11 John Peel session #2 BBC FM Radio 1 - 9 February 2000
               (recorded at Maida Vale 3 studio in London on 23 January 2000)
tracks 12-15 The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London BBC FM Radio 1 - 20 June 1998
tracks 16-17 Later with Jools Holland, BBC2 TV broadcast - 20 May 2000

Lineage: CDR received in trade > Soundforge WAV > dBpoweramp Music Converter FLAC

 Around the year 2000, several albums showcased electronic music, the most well known and controversial of these was Radiohead's album 'Kid A'. It continuously cropped up on critics lists because it defined the dread, alienation, anxiety, and malaise of the digital era in the new millenium. Another album also spoke of these same themes, the band was called Broadcast and their debut album was titled ‘The Noise Made By People’. Unlike Radiohead, Broadcast were subtler, more rhythmic, and worked in a less obscure medium. Coming some four years after the group's initial single release, the debut has attained a striking classical timelessness. It has a delicate balance between the electronic experimentation and the crystalline elegance of film scores (especially the swinging basslines and jazzy percussion of the '60s). Floating above this is the ethereal vocals of siren Trish Keenan.

This set is an excellent introduction with six radio session performances from their debut. Influences from Portishead are apparent but this music has a softer and warmer edge to it.

These three BBC Radio One sessions were culled from broadcasts between 1996 and 2000. The bonus tracks were taken from a live appearance for the John Peel curated Meltdown Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London 1998. Four of the eight tracks performed live are included here. The two final tracks were taken from a BBC2 television appearance, Later with Jools... these are in slightly inferior audio. The inclusion of the third John Peel session from 2003 would have made this set more comprehensive. At present a lossless version does not circulate. Despite that, this is still one of the best Broadcast bootlegs available. I also rate highly their Black session and the VPRO performance in Amsterdam, both from the year 2000.

John Peel session #3
(mp3 320kbps)

01. Pendulum
02. Colour Me In
03. Minim
04. Sixty Forty

Recorded 24 July 2003 - Maida Vale Studio 4, London, England
Broadcast 19 August 2003 - John Peel show, BBC Radio 1 FM 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

BOOTLEGS of the Month - January 2017

Prior to downloading this show, the best sounding complete live Mescaleros set I had heard was the famous Benefit Concert (Firefighters) at Acton Town Hall in London, from November 2002. In fact it originally featured as the second post on the blog in 2011. It was then removed with some others, during a restructuring of those that had been officially released during the blog's lifetime. It's now available as a digital download from Hellcat Records and also on a limited Record Day vinyl release.

The following show was discovered over the Christmas/New Year holiday break and has been selected as one of the best bootlegs of the month. January is often a quiet time and this year was no exception. The best bootlegs for each month (assuming there are any) will be subsequently posted throughout the year.

Joe Strummer, former frontman of the Clash, took to the road with his band the Mescaleros, for promotional work and live dates to publicise the release of their second album 'Global A Go-Go'. The album was released by Hellcat Records/Epitaph on July 24, 2001.

After a set of in-store appearances and a one-off show in Los Angeles on August 4, the Mescaleros returned to North America in October 2001 for a limited set of shows. The North American tour was followed quickly by a short five-date UK tour, during November 2001. I was fortunate to be present for one of those shows. It was the second time I had seen the Mescaleros and when Joe took to the stage, he strode on wearing a suit, earning immense cheers and surprise at his attire. The set list was similar to this earlier show from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington on October 17, 2001.

Where this live recording has been previously posted, the lack of source details must surely have caused many to overlook it, believing it to be an audience recording. It is either a soundboard or FM recording and has an excellent mix. I have seen it noted as an FM broadcast on old trader's lists and some compression is noticeable on the louder uptempo numbers. Limited quality recordings are available from this tour and for those reasons I recommend it to any Clash fan.

The radio interview is a bonus track and was broadcast by the BBC earlier in the year on May 24, 2001. Joe can be heard discussing Bob Dylan's 60th birthday, along with Stevie Wonder and a rather snobbish BBC presenter, who allows Joe to sing brief snatches of 'Blowin' In The Wind' and 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'

Interviews with ex members of the band mention they had misgivings over the quantity of Clash songs included in the set lists of this tour. Here there are only three Strummer/Jones compositions. The new Mescaleros album has eight of its eleven songs performed live. Most of the 'Clash' songs were actually covers of some of Joe's favourite reggae tunes.

Key Arena, Seattle, WA.
October 17, 2001

Soundboard / FM
Lineage:  Trade > CDR > EAC > WAV > Traders Little Helper > FLAC

01. Cool 'N' Out 
02. Global-a-Go-Go 
03. Rudy Can't Fail 
04. Bhindi Bhagee 
05. Armagideon Time (Willi Williams) 
06. Shaktar Donetsk 
07. Mega Bottle Ride 
08. Tony Adams 
09. Police And Thieves (Junior Murvin/Lee Perry)
10. Mondo Bongo 
11. Johnny Appleseed 
12. Bummed Out City

01. Police On My Back (Eddy Grant) 
02. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff) 
03. Pressure Drop (Toots Hibberts) 
04. I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis)
05. Bankrobber 
06. Yalla Yalla
07. A Message To You Rudy (Dandy Livingstone)
08. London's Burning 
09. Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones) 
10. Radio Interview

                                  released by Hellcat Records/Epitaph on July 24, 2001


PiL - Commercial Zone Limited Edition
(PiL Records Inc. XYZ-007)

Vinyl, LP, Album, Unofficial Release, Limited Edition (Second pressing)
Released: USA 1984

A1 Mad Max (4:15)
A2 Love Song (4:29)
A3 Young Brits (3:43)
A4 Bad Night (3:24)

B1 The Slab (3:36)
B2 Lou Reed Part I (3:59)
B3 Lou Reed Part II (Where Are You?) (2:52)
B4 Blue Water (3:34)
B5 Miller High Life (2:44)

Recorded At - Park South Studios, Manhattan, NYC
Produced by Bob Miller & Keith Levene

Second pressing in black sleeve, retitled "Commercial Zone - Limited Edition."
On this version of "Commercial Zone" the order of the tracks on side A was changed, the song "Solitaire" was been retitled "Young Brits," and the version of "Bad Night" is slightly shorter than on the first pressing of the album. Also, "Lou Reed Part II" has been subtitled "(Where Are You?)"

Lineage: Ripped from a vinyl album released on PiL Records Inc. (XYZ 007) in 1984.

In May 1981 PIL moved from London to New York City,  their American record contract with Warner Brothers expired in October 1981 and was not renewed. In January 1982 the British music press reported that PIL had tried to record a new album in New York with producers Adam Kidron and Ken Lockie, but split instead - this was promptly denied by the band in a press release the following week.

In May 1982 drummer Martin Atkins rejoined the band and PIL started recording their new studio album for Virgin Records at Park South Studios in Manhattan, with sound engineer Bob Miller co-producing. On 29 August 1982 new bassist Pete Jones joined the band in the studio, the new line-up played its debut concert four weeks later (28 September 1982 in New York City). During the summer and autumn of 1982 the band planned to form their own record label (Public Enterprise Productions) and license its releases to Stiff Records USA for the American market, but these plans never materialized.

In early November 1982 PIL announced the imminent release of a new single "Blue Water" and a six-track mini album You Are Now Entering A Commercial Zone on their new label. This did not happen, instead the band continued recording at Park South Studios for a full-length album.

By May 1983 a new track "This Is Not A Love Song" was earmarked as a new single for Virgin Records, but PIL broke up when first Pete Jones and then Keith Levene left the band.

Keith Levene, guitarist and song writer recalls of the time “By 1983 we’d had some success and it was time to position PiL in a more mainstream yet ambiguous arena. This was an area I referred to as the Commercial Zone.” “So I went into the studio on 57th Street in Manhattan  and began writing and composing the music for the album bearing that title,”

The efforts of Levene’s labour on the first Commercial Zone demonstrate his range as a composer. Take for instance the orchestral and serene “The Slab” or the contrast of the bluesy guitar-driven Lou Reed Part I and II. Unfortunately, however, before Commercial Zone was completed, creative differences over the project resulted in Levene’s declining to continue with PiL. "It was the last thing I wanted but I had no choice really. To have stayed would have meant compromising the integrity of the project which is something I could never do,” he explains.

The remaining members, John Lydon and drummer Martin Atkins hired session musicians to fulfill touring commitments and carried on under the PIL name. The single "This Is Not A Love Song" (with "Blue Water" as a 12" single b-side), both from the Park South sessions, was released by Virgin Records in September 1983 and went to no.5 in the UK single charts.

In summer 1983, in PIL's absence, Keith Levene took the unfinished album tapes and did his own mix. He then flew over to London and presented them to Richard Branson as the finished new PIL album for Virgin Records, but John Lydon decided to completely abandon the tapes and re-record the whole album from scratch with session musicians. This new version of Commercial Zone became This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get in 1984.

Levene decided to put the album out himself on the American market and founded the label PIL Records Inc. for this one-off release. The first limited pressing was released in November 1983 and was heavily imported to the UK and European market. A second pressing (with the track listing changed around and a shorter mix of "Bad Night") followed in August 1984 in an edition of 30,000 copies, to compete directly with the official re-recorded album This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get.  Virgin Records promptly took legal actions and stopped the distribution and any further re-pressings of Commercial Zone.

Viewed by many as the last true PIL album, Commercial Zone was reviewed by Melody Maker upon release:

"THIS is not a bootleg, this is the real alternative to that other record, a private view of the Public Image, a strictly import-only insight into the way they were. This record sets the record straight from the Keith Levene point of view, a collection of original PiL ephemera which puts the tin lid on Levene's involvement in the band up to the acrimonious parting of the ways last summer. Five of the eight tracks on This Is What You Want... appear here in embryonic form, accompanied by one or two Levene works and a couple of apparently unreleased Lydon/Atkins/Levene efforts.

Of the exclusives, Bad Night (no relation to Bad Life) is the most intriguing item, Levene owning up to his Velvet's influence and Lydon wailing in a particularly discordant, yet peculiarly appealing manner. And doubtless the faithful will make the sacred pilgrimage to the local disc relic of PiL history, featuring as it does an authentic sounding Public Image, the last of the real McCoy before the advent of the last cynical studio bound release.

The Slab is a moody instrumental worthy of Irmin Schmidt which surfaced on This Is What You Want as Order Of Death. Mad Max evolved into Bad Life, and Lou Reed Part 2 became Where Are You - all different enough in execution to warrant a listen if only out of curiosity. Commercial Zone is not such a bitter PiL to swallow - perhaps this is what you want? (Andy Hurt - Melody Maker, August 1984)

                          The official release appeared in July 1984 on Virgin records V 2309
So now you know the story behind the album and are wondering, what are the real differences between the two versions? Here's my opinion:

01. Bad Life (aka Mad Max)
Compared to 'Mad Max' this is evidently more finished but it reminds me of those needless remixed versions you would get on a 12-inch single. The more minimalist Levene version is best
02. This Is Not A Love Song (aka Love Song)
Add in horns and vocal overdubs, and it makes for a too busy mix. A great song with a superb bass line, the rhythm section at times is reminiscent of Frankie Goes To Hollywood! The remix is good but the horns really detract from the song.
03. Solitaire (aka Young Brits)
A more funky disco version, a reviewer wrote 'Death Disco' without the Death.
04. Tie Me To The Length Of That 
05. The Pardon
06. Where Are You? (aka Lou Reed Part II (Where Are You))

On Commercial Zone it's as close as PIL came in the 80's to the jagged dissonant sound they had in 1978-79. Here the guitar is vanquished and replaced by keyboards with additional vocals, the sharp edges and spooky feel of the original is lost, overdubbed into excessive 80's oblivion.
07. 1981
08. The Order Of Death (aka The Slab)

The original was a perfect example of less is more. This remake has additional repetitive vocals and keyboards with the drums more upfront. Still a decent tune but Levene's version is superior.