Bootleg Nation

Fresh Boots – 10/11/06

byrds65_ed_c.jpgA couple of weeks past due, and posting on a Wednesday instead of the usual Friday only brings in two new fresh boots. As mentioned in the last one the lack of funds and job type things have kept me pretty small in the bootleg department. But here goes anyways.

The Byrds
Jan. 4, 1970 late show
Fillmore West
San Fransisco, CA

The Byrds have always been something of an enigma to me. I first heard them through there big hits, mostly Dylan covers, that the oldies stations like to play. Eventually I bought their country album Sweetheart of the Rodeo and fell in love with it. It’s great old style country played with a pop heart. Beautiful, brilliant music.

Later, in one of my BMG music club binges, I bought their boxed set. And hated it. It was totally different from Sweetheart, way over produced and sounded like trash to my ears. I still have that set but haven’t listened to it in years.

I’ve always got my eye out for bootlegs from bands not yet in my collection, which is why I downloaded this show. Much like the boxed set I am disappointed. It’s not overproduced, but it is marred by a poor quality sound and from what I’ve listened to none of the songs stand out in anyway. It is such a let down than I am tempted to delete it from the hard drive before I burn it to disk.

Sam and Dave
MAY 2,1967
Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweeden

This is a small four song set off of a radio broadcast. Honestly, beyond the lack of disks and the no money to buy more ordeal, my hard drive is quickly filling up as well so I’m trying to cut back even more on my downloading. But a small set like this is hard to turn down.

I don’t know a whole lot about Sam and Dave, but I’ve dug their sings that still get radio play, and I am lacking in the sixties soul music sound from my bootleg collection so this seemed like a most interesting set.

That’s it. I’m trying to get better in my writing for this site. I’ve been bogging myself down in TV and movie writing so have neglected the bootlegs. Hopefully a job will come soon and I’ll find myself in longer car rides listening to good boots.

October 12, 2006 Posted by | Fresh Boots | 1 Comment

Bootleg Review: Otis Redding – 1967

otisredding.jpgBefore I begin with this week’s review let me first apologize for the lack of content here of late. I normally listen to my bootlegs while driving to and from work, since being laid off, I’ve been driving my car remarkably less and thus have had little time to listen. You might think this would free up time to listen at home, but I have remained quite active in other things and music in the home tends to work as something in the background. I try to give my full attention to bootleg reviews and thus I have been quite absent here. Please accept my apologies.

Let’s put a few facts on the table. I am a middle aged, middle class, white male from the Midwestern United States. I’ve got no soul, I can’t jump, I can’t dance and I can’t get the blues. I don’t know the difference between hip-hop and rap, the blues from complaining, or soul from Shinola.

What I do know is I love Otis Redding, and if it is soul that he sings, then I’ll spend my life wishing I had some.

Otis had a voice like silk pie. He could make a blind man see, the dead rise again, and a middle class, middle age white guy shake it like he’s got a pair.

This particular bootleg is actually a mix of at least three separate venues all from 1967. As such the quality of each performance varies from simply super to less than stellar. It also contains a few songs played more than once. The result feels less than complete, a little like listening to rehearsal tapes for an album, but Otis displays enough overt energy in every song to make it well worth listening to.

It helps that his band is cracker jack. They swing, jump and pop all over the place. With Otis keeping up every step of the way it is nothing short of a celebration of life, soul and music.

Four songs into the disk he covers the Beatle’s classic “A Hard Days Night.” At first it feels out of place, the music feels to heavy and dense. But in less than a minute, as by sheer force of will, Otis converts me to his side of things. He’s like a fire and brimstone preacher shouting to his minions that there is a better way, and it involves plenty of horns.

Even on slower songs like the tender “Pain in My Heart” the band cooks and lights a fire under the sentiment. It is not as soul wrenching as what you’ll hear on studio albums, but it is impossible to complain as the beat moves your out of your seat and onto the dance floor.

In pieces you can hear that’s just where the audience is – moving and grooving and shouting like the apocalypse has just announced the end of times, but first there’s a party to attend. During “FA-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” Otis turns the audience into part of the chorus and I they blow him out of the park in terms of sheer volume. They are there to have a good time, and there aint nothing gonna stop them now.

The differing levels from venue to venue couples with the couple of songs played twice mars the overall effect of this bootleg, but Otis Redding turns it all loose and more than makes up for the problems with performances that are out of this world.

With only a handful of available bootlegs out there for Otis Redding, this is definitely worth seeking out for collectors and fans of Otis and soul music itself.

October 9, 2006 Posted by | Bootleg Review | 3 Comments