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WCF got its start in 1970 in a Northern US state and was very active from 1970 – 1974. Clinton Heylin attributes WCF to an Ian Sippen based in the UK but this must have been a misunderstanding. They did not give themselves a name until 1975 when they chose Berkeley Records.

This is an attempt at classifying the earliest WCF titles based on matrix numbers, labels and slip sheet characteristics and is a work. A large number of these early WCF titles are quite scarce and must not have been pressed in large numbers as WCF was busy churning out release after release. Some of these were repressed around 1973/4 in fold-out covers that had a picture of the artist on the back panel.

Presentation-wise, their development progressed like this: (1970) A few stamped covers – (1971) inserts (double albums in gatefold covers with blank white inner panels) – adding their trademark “Compatable (sic) For Stereo)” slogan – (1971) dropping the slogan – wrap around inserts – (1973/4) folder style covers, either with inserts or printed ones, at times these were recycled from other releases) – 1975: Berkeley uses deluxe b&w covers only.

Each title will be presented in detail. While many were “copy jobs” this series will help determine exactly how many.

If you have any further information, please leave a comment.

***

Part 1: Single ‘non-fold-out’ covers

a. stamped covers

LS-1  THE BAND – LIVE BAND # ONE (+ insert, later issues?)
(NRV-6  CHICAGO – THE WINDY CITY NOVEMBER 26 1970) – previously shown here

103  BOB DYLAN – MOTORCYCLE (released in 1971)

 

b. “Stereo/Compatible For Stereo” (+/or Customized Labels) Series

Labels were produced in a number of bright colors with silver writing, often using a title that related to the artist in some direct or indirect way. This led to the editors of the HOTWACKS book to christen the label with the ill-fitting name “White Cover Folks”; they were obviously not the only ones using blank white covers at this time and in fact were the first label to produce a b&w printed one. The slip sheets followed a similar color scheme.

LB-1  BEATLES – LET IT BE LIVE

KUM BACK #1 – WCF  BEATLES – KUM BACK!
23  BEATLES – GET BACK TO TORONTO
24  BEATLES & ROLLING STONES – BATTLE (RP pre-fix for # 23 + 24)
25/26  CSNY – LIVE AT L.A. FORUM 2 LP  (rec. 26 June ’70)
27  THE WHO – UNRELEASED (pirate)

30/31 LED ZEPPELIN – BLUEBERRY HILL 2 LP
32/33 ROLLING STONES – EUROPEAN TOUR – 1970 – LIVE (rec. 7 October 1970)

34/35  THE BAND – LIVE IN CALIFORNIA # 2   (rec. 10 July ’70)
36  SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – GREATEST HITS LIVE  (rec.  September 1970, WCF orig.)
37 (39)  BOB DYLAN – STEALIN’ / JIMI HENDRIX – HENDRIX LIVE HAWAII  Hen 37
38  MOODY BLUES – LIVE ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON  (rec. Dec. 1970, US Tour, WCF orig.)
40/41  BOB DYLAN – GREAT WHITE WONDER 2 LP

101  BEATLES – LAST LIVE SHOW
102  ROLLING STONES – STONED – M.S.G. (WCF orig.) / BEATLES – YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD
103  BOB DYLAN – MOTORCYCLE (no insert exists)
104  V.A. – FILLMORE EAST FINAL CONCERT  (3304 matrix as a reissue in a folder-style cover)

 

c. 500 series

501  ELTON JOHN – SUPER STAR – LIVE 
502  BYRDS – LIVE AT BUDDY’S IN ENGLAND (WCF orig.)
503/504  BOB DYLAN – THE VILLAGER 2 LP’s (WCF orig.)
505  ELTON JOHN – GULLIVER’S GONE (pirate)
506  CSNY – OHIO
507  BOB DYLAN – KINDEST CUT

509  BOB DYLAN – ISLE OF WIGHT 
510  BEATLES – LIVE CONCERT AT WHISKEY FLATS

ROLLING STONES – GIMME SHELTER

 

d. 700 series

713  JANIS JOPLIN – WICKED WOMAN (WCF orig.)
CC-714  CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL – LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST
DD-715  DONOVAN – LIVE AT THE REEDY RIVER JUNCTION

717  ROLLING STONES – STONED AGAIN
718  PROCOL HARUM – THE ELUSIVE PROCOL HARUM
719  KINKS – RARE
720  YARDBIRDS – ON DOWN

723  JIMI HENDRIX – GOODBYE JIMI
724  LEON RUSSELL – THE MASTER OF SPACE AND TIME 
725  LEON RUSSELL – LIVE AT ANAHEIM CALIF  /  725  BEATLES – RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS
726  BEATLES – RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS 2
727  CAT STEVENS – CATNIP
728  BEATLES – RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS 2

730  LEON RUSSELL – Recorded Live From An Earlier Broadcast
731/732  NEIL YOUNG – I’m Happy That Y’all Came Down  2 LP’s
731  NEIL YOUNG – Live on Sugar Mountain 1
732  NEIL YOUNG – Live on Sugar Mountain 2 or Live on Sugar Mountain February 1, 1971
734/735  JAMES TAYLOR – Tailor Made
736  THE WHO – Instant Party
737  EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – 21st Century Schizoid Rock
738  V.A. – Woodstock Nation
739  GRATEFUL DEAD – Live Dead Spring Tour 1971
740/1  JANIS JOPLIN – Get It While You Can  2 LP’s

743  GRATEFUL DEAD – Ain’t It Crazy
744  BOB DYLAN – Looking Back 1
745  BOB DYLAN – Looking Back 2

750  JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHER

 

e. 4-digit series

1010 NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE – s/t

4011  ROLLING STONES – BEAUTIFUL DELILAH
4022  V.A. – BANGLA DESH
4033  JAMES TAYLOR – NOVEMBER ’72
4042  HARRISON / DYLAN – BANGLA DESH
4044  JAMES TAYLOR – LIVE NEW YORK – NOV. 1972
4045  ROLLING STONES – LIVER THAN YOU’LL EVER BE
4046  SANTANA – LIVE
4047  SANTANA – COLLECTOR’S ITEM

BD 002 BOB DYLAN – VISIONS OF JOHANNA
BD 509 BOB DYLAN – JOHN BIRCH

 

f. Miscellaneous

Beatles – Live from Germany 1
CSNY  – Wooden Nickel  XYZ 123 / Dittolino matrix ?
CSNY – Lid?
Bob Dylan – Looking Back 2 blank white / Down Home
Bob Dylan – Million Dollar Bash
Jimi Hendrix – Live at the Forum – Munia 28
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Munia 707 (foc version)
J. Geils Band – Live from Germany  Geils 777  [pirate of their official LIVE FULL HOUSE album (rel. 26 September 1972)]
Paul Simon – Solo
Youngbloods – Youngbloods Hit The Live Trail  Blood Records
31 W-A/B HM-PART – 1/2 BOB DYLAN – ISLE OF WIGHT (add. matrix; ‘BEAVER REC. 104701/2’ ‘MOTION’)

 

 

 

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A. The Melvin Records Discography

 

Their Greatest Unreleased   MM01 1975

21   MM02 1975

Wings Over Atlanta   MM03   1977

When It Says Beatles Beatles Beatles On The Label Label Label You Will Love It On Your Turntable Turntable Turntable   MM04   1978

Ed’s Really Big Beatle Blasts    MM05   1978

The New 21    MM06   1978

(The Move) Omnibus   MM07   1978

Beatles vs Don Ho / Silver Lining    MM08   1979

(John Lennon) Come Back Johnny!   MM09   1979

Visit To Minneapolis EP    MMEP-01   1979

(Ringo Starr) Down And Out?    MS10   1980

Shout/I Forgot To Remember To Forget You 45    MM6-2/MM6-3   1980

Top Of The Pops EP    Brown Cloud Records   year?

John Paul George Ringo In The 1970s    MR-12-S   1980

The 1964 & 1965 Ed Sullivan Shows    MR-14-M   1980

 

2. Supposedly Planned But never Released Melvin Titles

The 1995 book BLACK MARKET BEATLES lists these for 1981 and 1982 but offer no further information. I have my doubts this is more than just an insider joke, I mean The Beatles Order Lunch, seriously?

It does appear that for whatever reason, Melvin Records either decided to cease operations in late 1980 or 1981 or that decision was made for them.

Howdy Y’all    MM-15-UNREL

The Beatles Order Lunch    MM-17-UNREL

Live Somewhere    MS-18-UNREL

Abbey Road under Construction    MM-19-UNREL

The Best Of Melvin    MM-21-UNREL

 

3. Not Melvin Records

Apart from Silver Lining, which technically is not a Melvin Records original release, there is of course this imposter:

Wings Over Wembley

A Melvin release with simple POD labels (a label associated with several re-pressings from the old TMOQ catalog)? Clearly not possible.

***

Around 1985, someone revived the name Overdone Productions for this Beatles bootleg 12″ on colored PVC, I don’t think Eddie or Fred were involved.

 

 

4. The Ballad Of Fred & Yoko

 

“[Fred] went to see George Harrison live in Atlanta, attended both of John Lennon’s “One to One” benefit concerts in New York City, and along with a few other fortunate super-fans, talked his way into spending two weeks in 1974 as a fly-on-the-wall in Nashville, while Paul McCartney recorded a never-released Wings album called “ColdCuts.” As Arnold later told an interviewer, “I was aggressive enough to be at the right places at the right time, that’s all.”

Friends recall Arnold disappearing for weeks at a time, and returning with deliberately vague stories suggesting he’d spent time with John and Yoko in New York. As a local fan club president, he’d get offered occasional promotional opportunities, and meeting the band was apparently part of the deal. “John, you just feel in the atmosphere around you that he’s greater than you are,” Arnold told a reporter about his first visit with Lennon. “He doesn’t necessarily feel that way — you just feel that way.” And Ono? “Yoko,” he hesitated, “I just feel comfortable with. She’s very natural, normal, intelligent and intellectual. A bright lady; very bright.”

In the aftermath of the band’s break-up and Lennon’s death, Arnold had discovered the great cause of his life: “My eventual goal is to one day open a Beatles museum in New York and take people on tours,” he told a reporter, who identified him as the “world’s 2nd largest collector of Beatle paraphernalia.” “Of course I could never sell or part with all my souvenirs and memorabilia,” he told her, “but I’d love to talk to people as I have talked to you.”

In the ’80s, Fred renamed his store The Prism and began increasingly to embrace the avant-garde. Friends wondered openly if Yoko Ono’s influence might be to blame. Fennell and the rest of the city’s old-school Beatles-fan community found his interest in Ono baffling, almost treasonous. “He was much more enamored with Yoko than with Lennon,” Fennell told me, still shuddering at the thought. “We found it very weird.”

Melvin Rec Fred A r s

The Prism became an important meeting place for Charleston’s emerging punk community, and Arnold enthusiastically embraced the new subculture. His employees wore facial piercings and spiked collars, and Arnold started booking shows for groups like the Dead Kennedys, developing longstanding relationships with artists like Jello Biafra, Wendy O. Williams and GG Allin. He kept a cage of live rats in the center of his store, a gimmick that appealed to his new customers. Online, you can find a number of nostalgic tributes to the ’80s Charleston punk scene, many of which cite The Prism as a crucial gateway to the underground. (Jack Hunter, a radio host and former writer and aide for Rand Paul, told me he purchased his “entire Sex Pistols record collection there when I was in high school.”) You can imagine the appeal of punk’s proudly outcast ethos to the albino child of a paranoid schizophrenic. For their part, the punks made Arnold into a kind of mascot, “Billy ‘Bino,” and several of the online remembrances contain speculation as to the mystery of his whereabouts.

In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo struck the coast of Charleston. The Category 4 storm brought with it winds of up to 140 mph, and large areas of the city were devastated, Arnold’s store included. He estimated the initial inventory loss at $10,000 — the roof of the store’s warehouse was dislodged entirely in the storm. He lost electricity for two weeks, and, as he told Billboard in an interview the following month, he assumed the resulting lack of air conditioning had inflicted even further damage. Moreover, Arnold had no insurance. “I’ve been in business for over 18 years, and we never had insurance for our inventory,” Arnold said. “We hardly ever have hurricanes here. I think the last one was in 1958.”

Among the objects lost were important pieces of Arnold’s Beatles collection, artifacts of incalculable sentimental value. On top of everything else, there was the cruel fate of his favorite pets. “When the hurricane came, the rats died in the flood,” Durst told me. “It was a sad day for him.” ”

Fred Arnold died a homeless person at the age of 67 when he stepped into the path of a car in December of 2015 in Little Rock, AR.

 

In closing of the Melvin Records chapter I once again highly recommend this well written article the above quotes were taken from:

http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/the-ballad-of-fred-and-yoko/Content?oid=4345986

 

Beatles 64 65 Ed Sullivan S.JPG

Beatles 64 65 Ed Sullivan S b

USA: 2nd half of 1980

Going out with a bang: Melvin’s 5th release ED’s REALLY BIG BEATLE BLASTS was one of their – if not the – best, offering an upgraded to the artificially extended versions of the songs from the 1964 Ed Sullivan Show on RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS volume I.

According to the book WAY BEYOND COMPARE, this album contains their complete second appearance on the show on February 16th (although not in chronological order), leaving “Twist And Shout” and “Please Please Me”, which were not performed on the ’64 Ed Sullivan Shows unaccounted for. Leave a comment if you have a copy of this album and know where they were sourced from.

The last track on side 1 and the first on side 2 are from their third broadcast on the show, which was recorded first and then held until February 23rd, giving the USA three solid weeks of total Beatles immersion.

HOTWACKS’ quality rating of “Exm” was an upgrade from its first inclusion on this 1973 Contraband title:

Beatles POM large

JPG + R In The 1970s

JPG + R In The 1970s b

USA: 2ns half of 1980

Another basically pirate release following the similar in concept Down And Out?

Side 1:

  • Interview / Bip Bop / Lucille (excerpts only) – Wings’ rehearsal before their first ever tour, Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, early February ’72. Taken from the Wings Over The World TV special, broadcast 16 March 1979
    Lucille is from the first Wings rehearsal at the Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London in February 1972.
  • Little Woman Love – B-side of Mary Had A Little Lamb
  • John Lennon interview about New York – ?
  • Angel Baby – from the withdrawn Roots album
  • Bangla Desh Press Conference / Speech / If Not For You (Rehearsal) – the first few minutes of the Concert For Bangla Desh film
  • Deep Blue – B-side of the Bangla Desh 45
  • Ringo interview about the Nashville recording sessions 1970
  • Coochy Coochy – B-side of the Beaucoups Of Blues 45
  • Interview Paul McCartney about touring Europe in 1972
  • The Mess – B-side of the My Love 45
  • “Good Bye Joel” – described as a “very weird montage of sounds (and pretty funny!)”, another Melvin message aimed at (“Paul-is-dead” theorist) Joel Glazier

Side 2:

  • Interview – Blow Away with George voice-over, discussing the Beatles
  • Miss O’Dell – B-side of the Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) 45
  • Grammy Awards John Lennon, Andy Williams, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel on Grammy Awards Show, L.A., March 1, 1975  [finally something new (and not copied from an official or TV source!)]
  • Move Over Ms. L. – B-side of JL’s Stand By Me 45
  • Give Ireland Back To The Irish / Interview – rehearsal in the McCartney home filmed by ABC News, 7 March 1972. Excerpts from this were also used on a late night US TV special hosted by David Frost:  A Salute To The Beatles: Once Upon A Time – which aired May 21st, 1975, which became Melvin Records’ source.

  • Oh Woman, Oh Why – the promo version pirated (has crackle and some skips), despite what the back cover states, the amount of gun shots is exactly the same compared with the official version: seven.
  • Ringo interview about the Blindman movie
  • Blindman – B-side of the Back Off Boogaloo 45
  • Now Hear This – The third piano intro from Paul’s Brung To Ewe By promo LP for the Ram album
  • Zoo Gang – B-side of Band On The Run and theme of a British television show by the same name about a band of French resistance fighters, This track would not see an official US release until 1988.
  • John interview about a possible Beatles reunion – ?
  • Be My Baby – from the withdrawn Roots album

 

I do remember when I owned this album that side 2 ended with the sped up recording of Melvin Records denying they had anything with the Wings Over Wembley double album.

Ringo Starr D A O

Ringo Starr D A O b

Ringo Starr D A O det

USA: 1980

Ringo’s first bootleg, except it’s not even that but basically a pirate since most material has been sourced from officially released tracks.

Side 1:

  • Down And Out – The B side and non-album track of Ringo’s hit single. Despite Melvin’s claim, George Harrison does not play on this track.

Down and Out

  • Six ‘O Clock – The extended 5 minute 26 seconds version of this Photograph album track combines the standard version with the coda or “insert”. Apart from the promo version of the album it was also included on all pre-“nice price”cassette tapes, so was not even particularly rare. Paul and Linda provided backing vocals, piano and synthesizer.
  • Heart On My Sleeve
  • Hard Times – these two tracks were taken from the Ringo US TV special promoting his latest album Bad Boy (they are in segment 5/6).

“The highlight of the special was easily the brief live performance by “Ringo’s Roadside Attraction”, another precursor of the “All-Starr Band” concept. The musicians included the core group from the Bad Boy LP: Ringo, Dee Murray on bass, Keith Allison and Lon Van Eaton on guitar and Dr. John on keyboards. The live performance took place at a Los Angeles studio in front of an invited audience of 500. Musical director for the special was legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb.”(Eight Arms To Hold You, Madinger & Easter. p. 515)

 

  • Band Of Steel – In early 1976, Ringo played drums on American singer songwriter Guthrie Thomas’ album sessions for his Lies And Alibis album. In addition, Guthrie accepted this country song written by Ringo for the Beaucoup Of Blues album in 1970. Ringo shares co-lead vocal duties on the final recording.

 

  • A Man Like Me – Taken from the 1978 Ringo TV special as well.

Side 2:

  • Living In A Pet Shop
  • Scouse’s Dream
  • Running Free
  • Boat Ride
  • Scouse The Mouse
  • I Know A Place
  • S.O.S.
  • A Mouse Like Me – Ringo’s final project for Polydor in the fall of 1977 was contributing lead vocals on eight tracks as well as to the dialogue segments of this children’s story album. It was only released in the UK, went out of print almost immediately and originals in good shape – counterfeit copies exist – command a hefty price. The cartoon version Melvin refers to actually never materialized due to a strike at the producing UK TV station ITV.

 

 

Shout 45 frontSHOUT! MM 6-2,3. b

SHOUT! MM 6-2,3. lbl 1

SHOUT! MM 6-2,3. lbl 2

USA: ?

Melvin’s numbering system becomes a bit hard to follow at this point. If I am missing any of their 7″ releases, please leave a comment.

One topic were bootleg producers and Beatles fans always saw eye to eye was the desire for rare unreleased tracks and this 45 aimed to hit that spot.

The Beatles’ cover of the Isley Brothers 1959 first gold single Shout! was included in their TV special Around The Beatles on April 19, 1964. John’s introduction during the rehearsal was “a number we haven’t recorded … and we’re not likely to.” but that was not used in the broadcast version, in which they mimed to the pre-recorded songs to ensure a degree of control over the audio quality.

“While Shout! begins with a trio of B7 guitar chords on the broadcast version, the master tape must have been damaged in the intervening years, as all bootlegged versions only contain the last two of these. even Anthology 1, which went back to the multi-tracks, had to use fakery by repeating the second chord (listen for Paul’s two identical intakes of breath)! That’s hardly the extent of the oafish butchering done to the Anthology version, which makes The Beatles sound incapable of performing a simple repeating two-chord ostinato.” (Way Beyond Compare, Winn, p. 182)

This Melvin 45 was at the least the fourth time this track had been made available to the Beatles’ bootlegs buying public:

1971:

beatles-last-album

1975 on King Kong/Contraband (1020) – it closes side 2 here:

Beatles First US Performance 80s

1976 on Wizardo’s Around The Beatles (wrmb 349):

Beatles ATB 349

 

***

The country number “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” written by Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers is most well known in the Elvis Presley version recorded in 1955, released as a single and also included on his first LP. George Harrison / The Beatles picked it for their third appearance on their From Us To You radio program, recorded May 1st, 1964. After the broadcast on Whit Monday bank holiday, May 18th, it was forgotten until 1972 when the BBC radio The Beatles Story series included about a minute of the surviving mediocre quality recording but misidentified the lead vocalist as Paul.

A tape of the documentary found its way to the US and the excerpt was promptly included in the line up of this Contraband LP (# 3624), released in February of 1973:

Beatles Have You Heard The Word

Five years later, there was an upgrade on Audifön’s Youngblood album, which had located an almost complete copy of the track.

Beatles Youngblood b

 

 

;

You will recognize the silly “NOT FOR SAIL” comment as also found on their Visit To Minneapolis EP.

USA: ?

“In the late Seventies, the programme Top Of The Pops was independently rereleased by two different manufacturers on 7″ EPs. One of these versions, in excellent quality, was on matrix 45×45000/45001 and bore fake “Capitol” P-9431 labels; the other one, from Brown Cloud Records (a name for a Melvin Records issue), had worse sound.” (from: “A History of the Beatles’ BBC Bootleg Releases”)

Above; The better sounding (and looking) Top Of The Pops EP, released ca. 1978

Having survived on an overseas BBC Transcription Disc that was part of a series labeled Top Of The Pops, excerpts of The Beatles appearance on the radio series Top Gear # 1, recorded 14 July ’64 and transmitted on the 17th, have been included on Beatles bootlegs since 1971’s The Beatles Last Album, shown below. So, that explains why all these bootlegs are called Top Of The Pops.