Back to Inner Sleeve - the Rat Records blog>

Loose Booty Part 1: Live'R than you'll ever be

Ever break the law?


I don't mean choosing self medication above and beyond the booze fags and over the counter pills The Man lets us have, or a parking ticket.I mean breaking the law with your ears heart and soul.And if you've not do so, you probably have and if you don't know you probably should.We're not talking piracy here. As in straight copies of legit, available records.When the rights fog means its not clear in the "law" who did what or who owes what to whom, but the people want the sound, an unauthorised release is the only way to get justice. This is often the case with soundtracks, unauthorised covers or mashups like the Doors one that may or may not have involved a genius DJ cutting back the hippie cock swinging crap bits of "Break on through" into the pure, funky breakfest it should have been. When a certain friend played it for me the shit was so illicit it was like several kilos of opiates being exchanged in a chain hotel bar - all nervous glances and shut the fuck up moments. That is a bootleg, not piracy.But back in the better day, it meant something even more. And of course way way back in probably meant shifty homemade booze hidden in a boot during the batshit suicidal dress rehearsal of the Drug War, Prohibition.Bootleg records have always been around in some form or another before the scene got serious. Fan club types, industry insiders and tapeheads traded offcuts and forgotten songs from the artists they just could not get enough of.It was a real under the counter, brown paper bag or pub barter swap kind of habit. Very few people knew about it, and even fewer took part. A bit like being into grumble mags about hippos or getting buzzed off very obscure forms of Bulgarian Bug Spray. Most people were untouched and unaware.So it was the bitter end of the post Beatlemania music market before bootlegs broke cover and changed the world.In the hazy 60s, major artists started to lose nerve in the face of the cynical, data driven marketing world and their own sex and self medication bummer burnouts. Record companies made this worse with their own misunderstandings of what sold, when where and why. Whole albums worth of material became "lost", mixing and mastering became a contentious committee process, and great tracks were dropped from final LPs just for reasons of whim or space.Live albums were too often a cynical afterthought unless you were James Brown or in the Jazz world, and when they were created they had been overcooked into vomit with studio fakery.Meanwhile, not only were microphones and tapes getting deliciously sexy, but the locks on the doors of studios and vaults were less effective than hammers made from butter and breath. Something had to change, and what did was:Bob Dylan.Many of my best friends rate him a lot. I am more a Brel, Walker, Gainsbourg, Young and Cohen type. Why? Bob is a flawed poet, as poets tend to be, and is well covered. But there is a middle class White Mon Messiah being Blues vibe there I cannot shake. But that is my own issue.When Bob discovered modernity was real and then had some kind of cycle crash a lot of fans were upset, but a lot of music was made that Bob and his label masters did not dig was created.In essence, Bob was letting fans down by moving on as was his right as an artist. He had taken a new direction, and left a lot of sex on the cutting floor.Two mysterious scenesters, "Dub" Taylor and Ken Douglas got access to stuff Bob and his label had left behind. A bunch of unheard songs cut with the Band in 1967, and a hotel room warm up from 1961 in Minnesota, plus some bits from a live PA on The Johnny Cash Show. The most interesting part of this seminal set were the so called "Basement Tapes" from '67.As Bob was away with the fucking evangelical fairies in 1969, these LA chancers with connections made what is often called the "first major rock bootleg", The Great White Wonder. A double LP with a plain jacket hot enough in that freer day to be played on radio.Before they knew it, Dub and Ken were rolling in cash and had founded an underground label of their own. Trademark of Quality.And that's where we'll go next....

Back to top>

Website by Sea Pebble Ltd.