Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Pretty self-explanatory
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Stuart Gardner
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Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Stuart Gardner » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:46 am

Suppose - and this is purely hypothetical, of course - suppose someone (let's call him Steven Gibson) wanted to start building a good Elvis Costello bootleg collection. Maybe he's finally zeroing in on his goal of being a (sort of) completist of legitimate releases, but he's never explored the world of bootlegs.

Let's say he's been looking over the boots on http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/Bootlegs and making notes, and his mouth is watering, but he hardly knows where to begin or how to get started.

Maybe he's one of those middle aged types who's always asking young people for help with his computer and iPhone (like maybe an iPhone X that he just got for his 58th birthday), and he knows how to download files, and how to manage files and folders, but anything more technical than that makes him sleepy.

If such an unlikely character asked, what would you say are the core "must have" boots that a Costello lover should start with? What general advice or suggestions would you offer? And where could a guy like that learn the basics of things like torrents and file conversion without bothering his niece, Jennifer?

stricttime81
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby stricttime81 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:21 pm

This one is my favorite, and a great representation of the Costello/Nieve tours. I think it was a Canadian radio broadcast so the sound is fantastic.

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... Road_Again
AKA: Mike the Lawyer

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Stuart Gardner
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Stuart Gardner » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:58 am

stricttime81, many thanks!
What a superb set list he delivered that night. Soundboard quality, too!
Very much appreciated.

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verbal gymnastics
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby verbal gymnastics » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:03 pm

Stuart

These kind of things are so subjective!

What types of show do you like?

Attractions/Impostors/Solo/Confederates/Brodsky/Sugarcanes/with Steve etc etc...
why don’t you get some pride?

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Man out of Time
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Man out of Time » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:55 am

Your question is a very good one and has prompted me to think about what “bootleg” recordings I own, and which ones I value. What is a “bootleg” is these days an interesting question. Before digital recording and the advent of online file sharing, the question was easier to answer. My first “bootleg” was a vinyl LP copy of the promo recording “Live at the El Mocambo”. It came in a conventional LP sleeve and was largely indistinguishable from the “official” very limited release.

My second bootleg was a mix of studio demos and live recording – “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong” - a double LP available on vinyl. The double LP combines early radio sessions with live concert recordings – the EC Wiki categorises this as a “Compilation Bootleg”.

It may be helpful if we consider what constitutes a Bootleg. I have produced a suggested taxonomy in the attached diagram. Essentially I suggest that bootlegs divide between “live recordings” with an audience usually present, and “studio recordings” which allow more production of the sound and effects that would not be possible live (e.g. EC singing backing vocals for himself). Within these two categories, there are further subcategories. These are not exhaustive and there are some recordings that combine categories.

Bootleg types.jpg
Bootleg types.jpg (43.38 KiB) Viewed 2815 times


For instance, the recent BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes programme was a studio recording in front of a live audience. The (edited) broadcast recording was available online, as were the full versions of some songs that only appeared in part in the broadcast. So this is both a studio recording and to some extent a “live” recording. However, there also exists an audience recording of the studio recording, which includes material that was never broadcast or available online. That recording therefore is simultaneously an audience recording and a live recording and a studio recording.

Depending on what you like, you may want to focus on different types of recording. You might think that “bootlegs” of official releases hold little value, but given Elvis’ extracurricular activity the two volumes of “Plugging The Gaps” released on Doberman records pulled together material that is otherwise spread across multiple recorded albums. These may be less important in the days of i-tunes, but back in the day, they were essential.

Amongst the “live recordings” there are many more live recordings than there are “bootlegs”. Most live recordings exist only on the peer to peer file sharing websites where money alone cannot buy you content. Quality control is dependent on the users. Artwork and track listings are limited.
Back in the early days of Costello-L, there were so-called CD trees which was an early form of file sharing. List members would pool audience recordings of live shows to produce a compilation (usually related to a particular tour). These would then be shared through a tree which had branches and a process for “seeding” which meant the work and cost was shared between members. Nowadays file sharing websites and apps such as “Dropbox” mean that physical copies of recordings need not circulate.

There are still collectors out there who take the trouble to put together compilation albums of recordings – “Unwanted Numbers” is a good example, pulling together live versions of unreleased songs and songs written for other artists. For those who like physical copies (rather than FLAC files on a hard drive or saved in the Cloud), there are fans out there who spend time creating artwork for live recordings that have never been for sale commercially, and that {because they are available at no cost through file sharing), never should be.

Finally, it is worth noting that since bootlegs can include TV broadcast material, and audience recordings can include video recordings, there are bootleg Videos as well as audio recordings. For instance, “Four Eyes, One Vision” brought together 17 UK TV appearances from the 1980s. More recently there are multiple clips of EC live performances on YouTube.

As for my personal recommendations, if you like “King Of America” the accompanying “King Of Americana” is essential. Also if you can find it, the twelve volume, fan curated set “The Great Unknown” includes the main EC “rarities”.

For late period Attractions playing live, “Back With A Vengeance” vols 1 and 2 are also excellent.

For Costello and Nieve, “A Class Act” is a very good triple CD compliation. “Between Wisdom And Murder” is also very good.
For EC and the Rude Five, “Unplugged And Unshaven (A Beard Years Anthology) is essential.
For Elvis and Burt, “The Royal Festival Hall” is very good.
The Wendy James Demos (The Gwendolyn Letters) are also good and may be available on YouTube.

Others will have their favourites too. There is a lot of material out there to discover and enjoy if you have time and energy to spend.

For general reading on "Bootlegs" I can commend Clinton Heylin's 2004 book: Bootleg! - The rise and fall of the secret recording industry.

MOOT

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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby sulky lad » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:39 pm

MOOT has encapsulated perfectly a response I'd been trying to put together for several weeks. Apart from a slight difference in opinion on great bootlegs ( live At The Palomino 1979 and Hope And Anchor 1980), he's absolutely spot on !!

Ulster Boy
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Ulster Boy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:56 pm

We could probably subdivide radio broadcasts to include pre-FM; and soundboard to include those assisted listening device and in ear monitor thingies.

Compilations can be fun (I may have had a hand in Four eyes one vision) - I especially like the media blitz ones that popped up, e.g. bringing together all the radio and tv promotional performances and interviews around an album release. There was a good one done by someone on here for National Ransome and I made up my own for a few others.

One thing that I’ve wondered about for a while - whee have soundboard recordings gone, despite almost constant touring in recent years very few new ones have emerged?

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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby sulky lad » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:06 pm

Back in 2005 I followed Elvis and the Imposters around for a few gigs and became friendly with Welsh Dave, the sound man and used to get the occasional setlist off him and once approached him as he was taking a CD out of the mixing desk. He caught my eye and slowly shook his head, obviously knowing that I'd guessed what was on the disc !! So, putting 2 and 2 together , I'm guessing Elvis might just have recordings of every show he's ever performed nand if his people read this, I am prepared to sacrifice my remaining years in the NHS to sift through them all of them for free to compile the ultimate Live Concert box set :wink:
So to answer Ulster Boy's question, I guess it's probably easier to put security around a CD-R than possibly a cassette.
This also reminds me of an anecdote I heard or read about someone asking Bruce back in the early 80s, about live recordings and he said something along the lines that the band were sometimes given cassettes of the concert but that it would be no good giving Steve a cassette recording of a show as he'd lose it before they got back to the hotel and that Pete was the archivist of The Attractions. I was also told that my recording of Elvis and The Attractions and the TKO Horns recorded at Sheffield Polytechnic in 1983 ( Pete's hometown gig) was sourced from Pete's original recording though if I remember correctly, it sounded mighty like an audience recording to me .

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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Sugar Mouse » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:55 pm

stricttime81 wrote:This one is my favorite, and a great representation of the Costello/Nieve tours. I think it was a Canadian radio broadcast so the sound is fantastic.

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... Road_Again


The set list looks great. Is that bootleg available somewhere for download?

stricttime81
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby stricttime81 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:17 pm

Sugar Mouse wrote:
stricttime81 wrote:This one is my favorite, and a great representation of the Costello/Nieve tours. I think it was a Canadian radio broadcast so the sound is fantastic.

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... Road_Again


The set list looks great. Is that bootleg available somewhere for download?


I'm sure it is, but I couldn't tell you where. Others on here probably know. I've had it for a long time so I have the CD.
AKA: Mike the Lawyer

emotional_fascism076
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby emotional_fascism076 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:05 am

I'm loving the info shared here. I have to seek some of these out. I'm very interested in the 4 eyes one.

Ulster Boy
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby Ulster Boy » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:58 am

Emotional Fascism, check your in box :D

when i was cruel
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby when i was cruel » Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:07 pm

Would definitely love to hear a proper live recording of Couldn't Call It Unexpected No.4 (Easily one of his most beautifully melodic songs, up there with Isabelle In Tears) from that On The Road Bootleg.

It would be a tremendous Christmas present to show up from some festive person in my inbox :P

Oh well (I should have been a pilot or an astronaut)
It's not the days when you leave me, but all I fear are the nights.

stricttime81
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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby stricttime81 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:39 pm

when i was cruel wrote:Would definitely love to hear a proper live recording of Couldn't Call It Unexpected No.4 (Easily one of his most beautifully melodic songs, up there with Isabelle In Tears) from that On The Road Bootleg.

It would be a tremendous Christmas present to show up from some festive person in my inbox :P

Oh well (I should have been a pilot or an astronaut)


There's a great live version of CCIU on the Mighty Like a Rose Rhino bonus disc. Probably my favorite version.
AKA: Mike the Lawyer

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Re: Essential bootlegs/ Getting started with boots/ General advice

Postby TX_Fan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:17 pm

Sugar Mouse wrote:
stricttime81 wrote:This one is my favorite, and a great representation of the Costello/Nieve tours. I think it was a Canadian radio broadcast so the sound is fantastic.

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... Road_Again


The set list looks great. Is that bootleg available somewhere for download?


Same here...I'd love to have that bootleg


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