Contraband’s “Greatest Hits”

I wanted to end this series by pointing out the good stuff we are left with, thanks to CBM. So, here we go:

– Producing a superior sounding version of “The Great Rock’n Roll Circus” tracks (compared to TMoQ) on ‘BRITISH BLUE JAM’ CBM 3426

– First release of the Rolling Stones in Charlotte, NC and Norfolk, VA 1972 audience sources (Norfolk: “generally considered to be the best audience recording of the Rolling Stones 1972 US Tour“: ‘GOIN’ BACK TO THE ROOTS’ AMERICAN TOUR – JULY 1972′ ); as well as recordings made in North Carolina by Elton John and Jethro Tull (‘ticketro/n)

Excellent 1971 Neil Young show on ‘rocky mountain review’

mccartney & WINGS ‘BELGIUM 1972′ still core for some of the in-between song stage banter

– CBM were the first to release the Beatles Melbourne 17 June 1964; 6:00 pm show, sourced from a radio broadcast; core release until 1996 (see ‘LIVE IN MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA JULY 16, 1964′)

I have to include the legendary PINK FLOYD ‘LIVE AT POMPEII’ 1/2 LPs double here

Original release of Led Zeppelin in Detroit 1975 on ‘DETROIT – JUST ABOUT BACK’

First to release the best sounding source from George Harrison’s 1974 dates – Ft Worth – on more from the tour, as well as the only release to find three tracks from the Atlanta show and first release of material from the final performance of the tour in NY (EXCERPTS FROM THREE MAJOR CONCERTS)


Upgrading their Beatles live in Washington ’64 recording from audience recording at a film screening to copy of kinescope soundtrack (see THE BEATLES ‘FIRST UNITED STATES PERFORMANCE’ / ‘LIVE IN WASHINGTON D.C.’ / ‘On Stage in Melbourne Australia and Washington D.C.’ WRMB 314 / ‘FIRST U.S. PERFORMANCE’ :WRMB 360)

Releasing a superior version of Wings’ 1973 Edinburgh concert – see PAUL McCARTNEY (and WINGS) ‘scotland – 73′ :IA 1030 / ‘in scotland’

– “among the very best King Crimson audience tapes(Arlington, TX 1973) released across several titles (and winning silver for sound quality, sandwiched between Flat Records (gold) & Wizardo) – see ‘Arlington Texas’ / ‘Live In Texas’ / ‘Texas Hall’ / ‘SYMPHO SESSION’ vs. ‘Groon’ :WRMB 338 vs ‘SENABULAR’ :Flat 8221 8

First to release an unreleased Beatles song in November of 1972 on ‘the never released MARY JANE’, followed up by the debut of the (fake) Beatles outtake “PEACE OF MIND” on the bootleg with the same title in spring of 1973

Releasing some BBC tracks from the Beatles Story 1972 radio series for the first time on titles such as ‘HAVE YOU HEARD THE WORD’

– First to release from off air recordings of the Beatles’ 1964 UK TV appearances on Val Parnell’s Sunday Sunday Night At The London Palladium, Big Night Out (‘SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM’), Around The Beatles (on ‘CINELOGUE SIX’) and 1965’s Blackpool Night Out (on ‘STOCKHOLM’, which also has four songs from their 1963 Drop In TV appearance, “one of their most exciting television performances”)

First to release the Beatles’ Paris 1965 afternoon and evening shows from the video soundtrack (on Paris Sports Palais* & LIVE Paris Olympia – see The Beatles at the Paris Palais des Sports – 1965). * still the only source for the complete song introductions

The same goes for the inclusion of the Beatles on Swedish radio in 1963 tape on ‘SWEDEN 1963′, often cited as John Lennon’s favorite Beatles live recording (this bootleg also deserves mention for the first release of the Beatles From Us To You # 2 BBC radio special – the only program to survive on a transcription disc)

First release of Dylan’s ‘THE GASLIGHT TAPES’  & his first appearance on a concert stage in 1962 (the latter on friends of chile (Forest Hills 1965))

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Denver 1974 show from their reunion tour can only be found on CBM’s 2 LP ‘Reunion Concert – July 25, 1974′

First release of the Rolling Stones Hyde Park 1969 audience source on ‘HYDE PARK JULY 1969′

– The excellent ‘COMING HOME’ and ‘a bit more’ Neil Young live in 1973 companion LPs (another recording made at The Scope in Norfolk, VA)

A very fine “BBC ZEP” release

Presenting Duane Allmann’s last live performance with the Allman Brothers on ‘statesboro blues’

First to release tapes of John Lennon’s benefit appearances in Ann Arbor, MI in 1971 and at Madison Square Gardens in NY a year later on one / one in 1973 (see John Lennon – One To One Concerts at Madison Square Garden, New York)

Original release of Yes live in Tampa, FL in 1973 on ‘YES … INDEED’

Bettering TMoQs version of the ‘JAMES PAUL McCARTNEY’ TV special with their own version

Presenting a complete Bob Dylan / The Band live 1974 show over 6 album sides on BOB DYLAN/THE BAND / the band ‘down south’

Excellent sounding release of Wings’ first 1976 North American appearance on ‘FIRST AMERICAN CONCERT’ 2LP + ‘FORT WORTH SEATTLE’


In the course of listing all Contraband releases (or at least most of them), I did find out who was the main person behind the label, a fact not widely known even today; it turns out he really did go to law school while producing bootlegs.



  1. Hayley Burns said:

    I’m a HUGE CBM freak, can you PLEASE tell me who it is?? Or just the school?? Or just the years at the school?? I NEED to know

    • What fascinates you so much about CBM? That’s a really interesting question for me.
      I have no idea which school it was or what years. The name I won’t give out on the blog or via email, sorry.

      • Hayley Burns said:

        I got myself a copy of their Floyd’s Of London and I’ve been ridiculously interested ever since are you SURE you can’t even give me hint?? I know I’ll find out by myself eventually, but can’t you even give me a hint???

  2. Erik T said:

    Definitely some hits and misses for me with CBM… I really like Pink Floyd’s Copenhagen which was from a better tape source than the one I got when I tracked down a copy of the whole show expecting the same sound quality. I noticed many CBM titles as well as HAR titles come from the same Fort Worth taper’s excellent recordings. I traded with him for a bit 20+ years ago. He told me he used a Sony 152, used to record some “legendary” 70’s audience tapes. Can’t remember if he ever mentioned the mic. He recorded a great Little Feat show opening for Traffic, I never could understand why that didn’t get bootlegged. How did bootleggers get copies of his tapes? I heard, but never asked about him, that he was one of few people advertising in Rolling Stone magazine in the seventies. I remember asking about recordings from Dallas and Fort Worth which I know exist, it seems more than one person was recording there. Some great tapes came from that dude. Another Mike with a mic…
    I thought CBM made or obtained good recordings, the non- Ft. Worth titles come mostly from the Virginia area. Combining Alice Cooper and Jethro Tull seemed like a dumb idea to me, though. When I got the Stones complete show from 1972 I passed on the l.p. and here I read it’s regarded as the best audience tape from a tour with some pretty good and pretty bad recordings floating around.
    Another would-have-been coup I heard about CBM from someone who seemed knowledgable, was that the Dylan boot mentioned in Hot Wacks, Drunken Minstrel, does not, in fact exist. It was a planned release, would have seen the vinyl debut of Montreal 74 and probably some other 74 dates, but if was either never pressed or never released. The same guy told me, many years ago, that Pink Floyd’s Blow Your Mind Until You Die was never pressed, when this wasn’t such common knowledge amongst us nuts. He used to know his way around bootlegs from retail to manufacturing, but when I knew him he had a store in my town, very knowledgable guy.

  3. “…many CBM titles […] from Fort Worth…” I can only think of the Wings titles First American Concert & Ft. Worth / Seattle right now. Were they any others?

    “Drunken Minstrel” for sure never got past a project title and a track line up. Same for the PF title.

  4. Erik T said:

    King Crimson in Arlington, Dylan in Ft Worth 76, also 74, another great audience tape that surprisingly was never mined by vinyl era bootleggers, George Harrison 74, maybe more…
    I checked back in because I’m a nut for this stuff and I wanted to mention a rare old Canned ahead boot I have called Atlasta, made by the Atlasta Record Company, had a reference to the Wisconsin Cheese Company which I believe showed up later on CBM releases. The Atlasta boot lp was released with 2 covers, mine is the insert, great soundboard tape on a not great slab of vinyl, another tradition with this label. For some reason I thought this label also released a Woodstock compilation of acts not featured on the lp or in the movie, a rarity as an l.p. and as a seventies boot with Woodstock material! A bunch of boots recycled official Woodstock material. Come to think of it, a decent topic might be bootlegs made from official sources, an irritating practice which continues to this day. The new bootlegs I see in my town are often represses of obsolete bootlegs, or straight up rip- offs of legit products. Jerks keep pirating Velvet Underground material officially released on the box set, on various deluxe editions of cd’s, on the Quine Tapes… A Jimi boot that was crappy even in the 70s, Pipe Dream, was reissued in recent years, from an officially released Stockholm 67 broadcast, a Doors reissue of Critique, an album a sold literally decades ago because the material was obsolete as I had. VHS tape of the material, as opposed to the officially released DVD that has since been released officially, I can go on…
    Back to CBM-
    I have the Santana one on CBM, Collectors Item, nice board tape I think, with the drawn cover- any connection to the artist who did the CCR and Jimi/ Jim Morrison boot lp covers? It has labels I haven’t seen a lot.

    • I do admit to not knowing where Arlington is in relation to Fort Worth, so that’s why I didn’t count that one. I would also discount the Hoffman Avenue Records Dylan title Hold The Fort For What It’s Worth, as there is no connection between CBM and HAR. Thank you for reminding me about Harrison’s More From The Tour.

      Wasn’t the Canned Heat album called The Real Future Blues album?

      In regards to the Santana cover art, I only know it’s not J. Fish for sure 🙂

  5. Erik T said:

    With respect to Ft Worth tapes bootlegged in the 70s, maybe Eric Clapton 76 and Neil Young / Still 76, can’t remember if they were put out on vinyl, the Crimson was from the same guy with his Sony 152 cassette recorder, nice job, As I mentioned I think a few renowned tapes came from this recorder before the Sony D3, D5 and the classic D6. I have seen the D5, it must have been such a pain to sneak into shows. Many years ago people insisted they were the best Sony cassette recorder ever, better than the D 6. I had a D3 for a while, they were ok but one could sure hear the difference, they were at best thinner sounding than the D6. One could set the levels on these recorders. I suspect that was a rare feature at the time. I have seen ads from the seventies for similar tape recorders and they cost hundreds of dollars back then.
    I’ll have to double check my Canned Heat boot for any sub titles or anything, but Atlasta is all I remember, no recording information, same with the Santana Collectors Item boot on CBM. I would be most interested in reading an interview with the person(s) behind this label… A strange mix of unique source tapes, re- releasing other bootlegged material. Anyone else see the Wisconsin Cheese Company on old bootleg vinyl?

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