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Bootleg History

“The larger pressing plants we used, used good vinyl (virgin vinyl). The smaller ones would punch out the labels, grind up the vinyl and reuse it and this made for some clicks and pops as that vinyl had already been heated before and also no matter how hard they tried, tiny bits of paper from those labels invariably wound up in the mix. Also, there was the issue of how long you left the record in the press. A full minute made for a much better pressing than a record that was only in for twenty or thirty seconds. Those small plants wanted to make records as fast as possible. And two of those small plants that we used were pretty doggoned filthy. Dirt and dust in the vinyl before it got into the press didn’t exactly make for a good sounding record.

When we went to the bigger plants (and believe me, we wound up at the biggest) they had the vinyl come out of hoppers above the press and only used virgin vinyl, but the small ones saved the crap, gave it to us, because could we complain, go somewhere else? Well, eventually we did.”

“Yeah that pesky band between the songs on an LP. On the studio versions we would use about three seconds of paper tape, so whoever was cutting the record would know to put a band there (sometimes we didn’t thought). On the live albums we didn’t do that, didn’t know you could, though I wondered how the real companies did it. Then one day I was sitting by the lathe when the applause came on after the first song and this guy running the machine reached down and turned a knob and, as if by magic, a band appeared on the acetate and then I had to start putting song times on the tape box to warn him when to make the bands. It was so much easier when all I had to worry about was was the side over twenty-two minutes, but under twenty-eight.”

 

We remember this part from an earlier short Q&A session Ken did:

Q: Do you have a list which TMOQ titles you made on CV?

A: […]Just about every TMOQ record I did was available on colored vinyl at one time or another. We didn’t charge more for colored vinyl and we used it when we could get it. Usually when we pressed at Lewis.

“The CV records all came from one pressing plant. If they had it, they used it. A couple of the guys there liked to experiment and that’s why you have splash vinyl.

I spent two months there pressing records, because a couple of employees quit and Greg (my partner at the time) and myself really needed product. This was before we went to the big plants. We pressed only CV and made many different combinations, especially with splash white vinyl. We could be working along, making a bunch of records red, then all of a sudden, to break the monotony, we’d make a few multicolored or splash.

Led Zep Final Option disc

This particular pressing plant had all old presses, so you could change up pretty quick. We’d usually make a hundred records or so, then switch to something else. So it’s possible to get any of the early TMQ records on color, multicolor or splash vinyl. There just is no rhyme or reason for it.

Bowie In America splash

Also, on a few occasions, we’d order the whole first run, usually two hundred or so records at the time, colored, white or splashed. Later, after we shifted to the big plants, colored vinyl was no longer an option. If we ordered a hundred of a title on colored vinyl, we usually didn’t specify color. The colored vinyl at that old plant came in slabs that you heated on a hot plate, then folded, then put in the press. Each rectangular slab made one record, so it was very easy to mix the colors. Some of the hundred record run would be red, blue, green, splash or any number of colors. So as far as identification is concerned, the color of the vinyl doesn’t help. Also, I’m afraid the stamper numbers don’t help me either. If the plant had CV at the time, I asked them to use it. If they didn’t, well they didn’t. I never held up pressing a record because the plant was out of CV and I don’t think Dub did either.

Deep Purple Purple For A Day

The last things we did on colored vinyl there (if I remember right) were the two Dylan Box sets. Striptease and Toasted: the Australian Collection. We did about three hundred and fifty of each and we pressed them at the same time and we went to a lot of effort to try and make one set all green, another all red, another all blue, etc. Of course we had to mix some of the sets.

Dylan Striptease box

I know the popular belief is that we did five hundred, but back then they were specialty items and a whole bunch of trouble. It was much easier to do the color jackets then at the big plants, because we didn’t have to stuff the records. They came shrink wrapped and ready to go, so we didn’t even have to take them out of the boxes. The box sets were a whole bunch of work and at the time we didn’t think they were worth all the effort.

Much later, with a different partner, I made the mega Zeppelin box set on CV. Only a hundred of those [I believe 150 is the correct number]. My partner at the time was behind the whole thing. He hadn’t done a box set before and wasn’t aware of all the work. But to his everlasting credit, I must say we made a pretty penny off that one, so it was worth all the bother.”

Led Zep Final Option

The splash white disc image used above is one of the records from this massive set that will eventually sell for five figures in the future.

Led Zep Final Option box side

As for the matrix numbers, we didn’t think too much about that with the early ones. The guy cutting the acetate probably decided in some of the cases. Then Dub came up with the series idea. Dr. Telly wanted to only do a hundred records, starting at 1900 through 1999. I convinced him to assist me with TAKRWM which I think started at 1800. Sometimes we’d change the numbers for one reason or another.”

  • “Regular pig” vs. “smoking pig”:

It would be wrong to assume that the regular pig was Dubs only. I did many regular pigs after we split up, oftentimes I would make the same record with different labels, sometimes regular pig, sometimes smoking. Sometimes I just used whatever labels I had on hand. And Dub and I used often used stampers off the same mothers, so the records would be exactly the same. I got my pig labels and stickers the same place he got his and he got his covers the same place I got mine.

The clue as to whose record was whose might be in the rubber stamp impressions. Ten or maybe fifteen of Dub’s and my rubber stamps were exactly the same, but after we split up I went to a different place for my stamps as Dub lived in Glendale and I lived in Long Beach. There was a rubber stamp place close to where I lived, so I went there for mine. So most of the TMOQ records will be out there with slightly different rubber stamps. It would probably be hard to tell, unless you knew exactly what you were looking for, but a couple of mine had straight quotes around the title and all of Dub’s had curly quotes. However, I soon caught this and ordered new stamps with curly quotes. So if you find a “Freeze Out” or a “John Birch” with straight quotes around the title, you’ve found something rare.

If today you were to hold up one of my later Great White Wonders next to Dubs, you might see a bit of a difference in the stamp impression, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was which, but other than that, they were exactly the same. Very confusing, I know, but back then we were not planning on anybody caring about all this three decades later.

However, we were about making the best records possible. There never has been a perfectionist like Dub. He did his very best on every record he mastered. And I know what you mean by every record being unique, there were some I only made fifty copies of with a stamp, then did the rest in inserts, I think I did that just to confuse people. But all that said, we still never thought it would last. In fact for the longest time we thought each record would be our last. We made quick money and we spent if fast, because we were young and dumb and having a lot of fun.

From my point of view (and I’m sure Dub’s), There were no pre TMoQ records. Once Dub came up with the pig idea, we shifted the first five or six of our records over. There was nobody else before us. And until Rubber Dubber (with the exception of Norty and Ben), nobody after, except for that one Canadian guy who did that one Beatles’ record. Then, all of a sudden there was Troubled Troubadour, Herbie Howard, CBM Dave, Wooden Nickel, Liver copies galore and the floodgates were open.

I remember one time Dub and I were recording Phil Ochs at the Troubadour [Phil Ochs played at least a dozen shows there from January to February 1, 1970]. He was using the same shotgun mic he’d used to record Liver. The waitresses made sure to not walk in front of our table, kept the area between Dub’s mic and the stage clear, so as not to mess up the recording. We must have looked so official to her with our long hair and hippy clothes. I don’t have that tape anymore, wish I did.”

  • On the later years, repackaging old titles, etc.:

“Boy I’ll tell you this thread has got me to thinking about how greedy we got. Later, looking for an easy buck, we repackaged the Striptease stuff as five double record sets. Those were on black vinyl, if I remember right, because we wouldn’t have been at that old plant anymore. We also made a pretty cheesy cover that we used generically for the toasted box records (I can’t remember what it looked like, but I know it was cheesy), releasing them as five double records as well. God we were a bit slimy, repackaging that stuff over and over again. It wasn’t much fun in those later days. We were just going through the motions, trying to make money on old stampers, when it wouldn’t have been very much harder putting out something new. Lord knows, there was plenty of stuff out there.

I remember TAKRL 1900 was the Beatles live in Japan, because we did so many and we were going to start a special new label with that one. We had the rubber stamp made up and everything. But at the last minute, Dr. Telly came into the picture and Kornyphone was born. So that rubber stamp never got used (except for a couple records we sent to a guy in New York who was supposed to send them to a big account in Japan).

It was all so long ago and I seem to mostly remember the fun stuff, but it wasn’t always that way. Plus, I have to admit, I may be remembering stuff out of order, or maybe even glamorizing it a bit.

Maybe I should follow my own advice and go to some of these sites and get my facts straight, but I’m afraid if I do that, that it’ll color what I have to say. So, I guess I won’t. I’ll just keep writing it the way I remember it, without refreshing my memory with useless facts. You all will just have to remember that I am a fiction writer, and fiction writers like to tell a good story. So just take everything I say with a grain of sand.

As for your questions about various groups, if it’s not Dylan, the Beatles or the Stones, it would be info my brain has long ago flushed. And even regarding those groups, I wouldn’t know anything about stamper numbers other than what I have already posted here. I only have general knowledge, you’ll have to go elsewhere, I’m afraid, for specific knowledge. I don’t own any records anymore, or even CDs. All my music is on my hard drive. For me it was always about the music, not about the medium it was on.

Also, I will tell you that you were a bit wrong in what you told Steve about Homogenized Beatles. However, that’s a story I am going to address in one of my chapters, so you’ll have to wait on that. What Steve has is the test pressing. The first two records I did after Dub and I split were that one and the Reedy River. Steve has the test pressings for both. I was at a new plant and they didn’t know they were making bootlegs, so they naturally thought I’d want test pressings.

As far as matrix numbers and release dates, I don’t know any. And as far as what came before what, if you read through these posts you’ll see that I’ve contradicted myself on that and I probably will again. Which is true? I don’t know. Maybe neither. My posts here are about the way it coulda happened, not necessarily the way it did.

What I’m about here is the why of it all, the fun, the adventure and the downside. I’m not a collector, never was, so I don’t look at it from that kind of perspective. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve always considered bootlegging the same as stealing, always considered myself just a lucky crook. Our only justification was that we had no money and we wanted some. We did it for the money, me and Dub. We liked the music, sure, but we did it for the money. If we told you different, we’d be lying.

I don’t want to depreciate what I did either. We did it for the money, but it was exciting as all get out. However, you have to remember we were just kids. We thought (wrongly as it turned out) that we were breaking the law. We didn’t know we were opening the floodgates, didn’t have any sense that what we were doing was going to be important someday. Sure, we knew guys like B. Mitch Reed were playing our records and guys like Grell Marcus were writing about them, but we really thought it would all blow over. Either that, or we’d get caught by the cops and get sent up the river, which is why we were so paranoid.

This is the second of three Contraband master lists. Part three will include all releases with a non-10XX and non-3XXX – 50XX number.

Relevant concert performance dates where they can help determine the release date are given in brackets behind some of the titles. Approximate year of release appears without brackets.  I did not separate these by sub label. 

What we can see is that CBM was active into the second half of 1976 but they were at their peak from 1972 – 75. Double LPs were and are rare on CBM.    If I am missing any releases falling into this number range, do let me know. I will present and review every single one of these titles in the coming days and weeks.

3010/4240    King Crimson        Texas Hall 2LP / Arlington, Texas / Crimson Rose Of Texas / A Sympho Session 2LP  (6 October 1973)

WEC-3030  Beatles   20 Never Published Songs                                                                                       

3213        Jimi Hendrix         Rainbow Bridge    1972

3245         Neil Young        Live On Sugar Mountain    (1971-02-01)

3272/3     James Taylor    In Disneyland  2 LP  (March 12 ’71) – copied from Rubber Dubber   1972

3316        Beatles            As Sweet As You Are         1972
3316        Beatles            Don’t Pass Me By                1972
3316C/D        Beatles     Yellow Matter Custard        1972

3403        Bob Dylan       Seventy Dollar Robbery

3426        John Lennon/Rolling Stones        British Blue Jam       1972

3436        Jethro Tull        Ticketron      (22 April 1972)

3508        Rolling Stones     Goin’Back To The Roots: American Tour/July 72   (5 July 1972)                          3512        Bob Dylan            Seventy Dollar Robbery

3519        Beatles            Get Back To Toronto

3552        Beatles            Live Concert Atlanta
3553        Santana           Collectors Item
?             Santana           Collectors Item Vol. 2  [I have found no trace that this exists under this title]

3571        Beatles            Live In Europe & US TV Casts     1972
3571/3795    Beatles        Live In Washington DC        

3585        Beatles            Mary Jane or What’s The New Mary Jane        1972
3586/3436    Jethro Tull        Baltimore And Around (listed in Hot Wacks as “November”)   (12 November 1972 & 22 April 72)
3587        Bob Dylan        Help    bobsboots states 1975(?)

3601/02        Allman Brothers        Nassau Coliseum Vol 1 (30 April or 1 May 1973] 
3603/04        Allman Brothers        Nassau Coliseum Vol 2

3609        Beatles            the BEATLES! Gamma Alpha Records 2LP

3624        Beatles              Have You Heard The Word
3625        Neil Young        Coming Home    (1973-01-29, Norfolk, VA)    Feb 73
3626        Beatles              L.S. Bumble Bee        1973

3640        Beatles              Studio Sessions Volume One    1973
3640        Beatles              Studio Sessions 2        
3640/3641    Beatles          Decca Audition Outtakes – Super Studio Series 2 2LP

3643        Deep Purple       Sonic Zoom   1973
3644        Neil Young          A Bit More  (MSG, NY & 1973-01-29, Norfolk, VA)
3645        Pink Floyd          Floyds of London
3646        Led Zeppelin      BBC Zep

3649        Simon & Garfunkel    McGovern Benefit, MSG  (14 June 1972)

3665/3949        John Lennon         Lennon/McCartney / One To One Concert

3669        The Who            Collector’s Item    (1971-08-13)   
3670        Beatles               Peace Of Mind        late spring 1973

3687        Beatles            Sunday Night At The London Palladium / London Palladium
3687        Beatles            London
3688        Beatles            Paris Again or Sports Palais France – Second Show
3688        Beatles            Live At The Paris Olympia
3689        Rolling Stones            Hyde Park July 1969
3690        Rolling Stones            Rehearsal Sessions ’72 Tour     1973

3711        John Lennon              Telecasts                                                                                                            3712 WEC    Rolling Stones       “We Never Really Got It On Until Detroit”
3713        Led Zeppelin                Going To California
3795        Beatles             Sweden 1963  or Wordwide            July 1973
3795        Beatles             Holland/Sweden – Super Live Concert Series 1
3795        Beatles             Worldwide
3795/8430    Beatles       Super Live Concert Series                                                                                       3796        Jethro Tull        Live May 1973  (17 May 1973)                                                                             3796/3436 Jethro Tull     Retroroc  2 LP

3812        Bob Dylan        Alias
3813        Beatles            Some Other Guy        1973
3814        Bob Dylan        Gas Light Tapes    (Visions Through A Window)    1973
3815        Yes                    …Indeed 1973    (21 April ’73)

3903        Pink Floyd        Fillmore West

3906        Beatles            Cavern Club                    1973
3906        Beatles            Cavern Days – Super Studio Series 5
3907        Beatles            Abbey Road Revisited    1973
3908        Alice Cooper/Jethro T    Ian & Alice  (not Alice & Ian as stated in Hot Wacks)  (Jethro Tull in Denver LP side: 17 May 1973 or 9 July)
3909/3645    Pink Floyd        International Transmission
3910        Allman Brothers    Statesboro Blues

3922        Beatles            Supertracks 1        1973
3922        Beatles            bacTrax sessions  KK    1975                                                                              3923       Beatles             Supertracks 2

3940        Neil Young & Crazy Horse

3947        Rolling Stones            Old Gray Whistle Test: The Guv’nors of R&B
3948 WEC    Rolling Stones      Lord Have Mercy

4010        Bob Dylan        Bob Dylan / The Band

4020        Beatles            Cinelogue 1
TB-4020        Beatles      Cinelogue Let It Be

4022A-C/3665A    Beatles       Cinelogue 6
4022        Paul McCartney        James Paul McCartney

4030       Pink Floyd         Nordestar

4040        C,S,N&Y            Reunion Concert July 25, 1974

4162        Beatles             Live In Melbourne                                                                                                  4163        Pink Floyd        Live At Pompeii
4164        Beatles             Live In Vancouver

4178        Beatles             Live In Italy / Italy
4178/3688A    Beatles    Italy/Paris
4178        Beatles             Back in ’64 At The Hollywood Bowl
4179        Beatles             Stockholm                December 1974
4181        Beatles             Sweet Apple Trax Vol. 2
4182        Beatles             Sweet Apple Trax Vol. 1
4183/2044    George Harrison        Excerpts From Three Major Concerts 2LP  (November 1974)
4184        George Harrison              More From The Tour   (22 November 1974)

4216/7     Beatles            Hot As Sun

4228        Beatles             Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

4240        King Crimson      Crimson Rose Of Texas

4242        Lennon / Hendrix    Day Tripper Jam

4438        Beatles             Hi Ho Silver!

4451        Pink Floyd         Live At Pompeii (reissue)

4463 SH/CBM8440    Pink Floyd        Copenhagen
4464/GT8450    Bob Dylan                  Bloodtakes

4598        Paul McCartney        First American Concert
4599        Paul McCartney        Ft. Worth / Seattle      (May & June 1976)

4749        Beatles              Before Their Time

5030        Beatles              Happy Birthday or Rare Beatles        March 1974
5040        John Lennon    Hounddog
5050        Band                   Down South    (1974-01-17)

Last night, these original rubber stamps used to stamp bootleg covers (in 1996 though for the “Bootleg Archive Series” – not the 1970s, as you can see from the ones included that never had a rubber stamped cover) were auctioned off on eBay. I would have been interested in a couple of them but eBay has started to exclude bidders from other countries if the seller has not listed those regions of the world in the “ships to” section (dumb move if you ask me, some of us have mailing addresses in the US too, or friends…).

rs Last Live Show

rs Spicy Beatles Songs

rs 20 x 4

rs Decca Tapes

rs File Underrs Broadcasts

The seller linked to the following story:

Vesta and I spent six months in New Zealand in a small town called Onarahi outside of Wangarai in the north. We lived next to a cemetery and on Sundays we could see the funerals outside our kitchen window. We called the people at rest there, our quiet neighbors. Being Americans we had to drive to Auckland once a month to go to the mall, because as everybody knows if an American doesn’t breathe mall air at least once a year, they die. When in Auckland we’d go to Dominion Road, one of my favorite places on Earth, and eat at one of the restaurants there. There are so many fine ones and we love to eat, so Dominion Road was made for us. And it was in one of the finer restaurants on Dominion Road that one of my ex bootleg partners—who wants to be left out of the story, so I’ll call him Smith—first brought up the idea of what would later be dubbed the “Archive Series.”

Smith was visiting and we were wining and dining him when he brought up the idea, because he had about a thousand records left over in his garage, records without covers, records doomed to sit boxed up and alone forever. But since I was never planning on returning to the States, I wasn’t interested. Besides, that part of my life was behind me. However, I told him, he could do it himself, to which he replied that it wouldn’t be the same.

When our six months were nearing an end, we went to the immigration people and tried to get an extension, something very hard to do. I told them I was a writer doing a story on the Maoris and I needed more time. They gave us three more months and not a second longer. We had to be on the plane, no excuses. It was the flight out or jail.

Two months later we gave up our house, sold our car and got a rental. We decided to drive around the country, spend some time in the wine country, fly to the top of the glaciers, jet boat on the Shotover river, parasail off a mountain, the usual touristy stuff before we had to leave. We’d planned on going to Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland and return in six months. We figured if we kept trying the Kiwis would eventually take a liking to us and let us stay.

With two days left, we left the car we’d rented for our tour of the south island, took the ferry across, rented another car we could drop at the airport in Auckland, drove out of the Hertz parking lot and three minutes later had a head on collision with sixteen-year-old drunk driver. We spent over a month in hospital and another two recuperating at in a hotel in Wellington.

Then it was back to the States, where we spent a week during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I could barely walk. Getting around by myself was difficult to say the least. I’d been using a wheelchair, then crutches and had graduated to a cane, but I couldn’t go very far. So, when we left the Big Easy, we decided to rent an Executive apartment in Seal Beach, one of those places that has a gym and a Jacuzzi, so I could work on getting my leg working again.

Smith came by to visit quite often and we’d drink wine in the evening and we’d talk about the old days when we sold boots at swap meets, dodged the law and ferried records around in the middle of the night. Ah, the old days, they always seem better than the present and the new days yet to come.

He still had those records left over from when we did the boots and I did too. He still wanted to put them in white jackets, like the original boots, but at first I still didn’t want to be bothered.

But I kept thinking back to what I did just before Vesta and I went away to Spain, after we quit the biz. I sold my collection to John Tsurgee, better known as Wizardo, for a buck fifty a record. It was a lot of records, quite a chunk of change, but not a fraction of what they’d be worth today. So, I had no records left, not one, save for those mismatched records that had been in storage along with the stuff Vesta and I didn’t want to part with.

Smith is not an avid bootleg collector, but he has the best collection going of the stuff we’d made and of the stuff Dub and I did together. If it came out in colored vinyl, he had to have all the colors. He loved those records. And he hated the fact that he had all those orphans sitting in his garage, over a thousand of them. I didn’t have that many, maybe five hundred, maybe a little less, but some of mine were ones Smith didn’t have, because I’d made them after he’d retired from the bootleg biz and had gone on to bigger and better things.

These days anybody could make these Archive records, because there’s the internet. How hard could it be to find white jackets and rubber stamps? But back then it wasn’t so easy. Smith dragged me to the library in Lakewood and we let our fingers do the walking through the L.A. Yellow Pages, looking for a place that would sell us some plain white jackets. The rubber stamps Smith had made through a friend who owned a Sir Speedy printers in Huntington Beach.

In the end, we spent a lot of money on those rubber stamps, hundreds of dollars for way over a hundred of them. And why would we do this for a product we were never going to sell? For Smith it was a no brainer, because as I said, he loved those records. For me, I didn’t love them so much, but I’d held on to them for a very long time and besides, it was something for me to do.

So we gathered our records together in that Seal Beach Executive Suites apartment and made a list. Some of the records had labels with song titles on them and Smith wanted to make plain white labels and glue them over the song titles to make them look more like the first boots, but that was way way too much trouble, so I put the kaibash on that idea.

As for the pig labels. Smith couldn’t find the labels Dub and I had used, so he bought day glow label paper and printed them out on his Apple laser printer, which used to be mine, but I gave it to him when Vesta and I went away. However, they had to be cut out. At first I tried using a scissors, but the labels looked like shit. Then Smith bought, from a craft store, a circular cutting device, which worked sort of like a compass. After about twenty or thirty tries, I was able to cut out a round label that looked pretty much like the original ones did.

The rubber stamps and the pig labels taken care of, now all we needed was the white jackets and Smith set out to get them. But that turned out to be the hard part, because it seemed they didn’t make them anymore, not like the ones like Dub and I used to use. Now they were glossy and when you stamped ink on them, it rubbed right off. After his third attempt at trying to buy jackets that would take ink and getting no joy, he decided to go back to the first place and have them made up. They cost more then the glossy stock jackets, but heck, back then we had too much money and it was aching to get spent.

So now we had all the pieces. The records, the jackets, the rubber stamps, the pig labels. And for the next couple weeks it was just like the old days, we stamped covers, we stuff jackets and we boxed records.

The first day I circled out a couple hundred of those pig labels while I watched daytime TV. I went to bed early, got up around 5:00 and started cutting out more labels when the room started to shake.

“Earthquake,” Vesta shouted from the bedroom. Then, seeing I wasn’t in bed, she started shouting my name. I guess she’d thought I’d been swallowed up.

“Out here,” I said, “in the living room.”

“We gotta get outta here! We gotta get outta here! We gotta get outta here!” She wasn’t panicking, but she was getting there. Then with a strength I didn’t know she possessed, she pulled me to my feet. I was barefoot and it hurt like hell as I’d broken most of the bones in my right foot during that accident and usually I’d been wearing an oversized Ugg on my right foot with the front of the boot cut away.

But she didn’t care about my pain and I guess I didn’t either, because she was so excited that I didn’t even think about my foot. Not till we were outside and safe on the grass. We’d’ve been safe in the apartment, too, because it didn’t fall down.

Earthquake over, she went inside to get my Ugg and left footed running shoe, muttering as she went, “I hate California.”

Inside, there were little piggies all over the floor. She went to the kitchen, got a bowl, put them in it and I started peeling and sticking and a week later we had our records. No more orphans.

Beatles Get Back Masters
Mine sat until 2006, boxed up in our storage unit and would still be sitting there, but when Vesta and I came back to America, we got involved in a custody battle and lawyers aren’t cheap. My son sold some of his collection on eBay and then we decided to sell the so called Archive records. We did okay with them and they paid the attorney’s fees.

So, mine are all gone. But Smith, he’s still got his. He watched with amusement as mine sold on eBay, some bringing a pretty penny, but he’s never been tempted. Of course, he invested wisely.

I’ve asked Smith in the past what he’s going to do with his collection.

His answer, “Since I can’t take them with me, my kids will probably donate them to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill.” So if you’re a collector, you might want to start checking out the thrifts, because Smith, like me, is getting up there in years.

We Were Young and We Were Greedy

After I got the boot from the bootleg biz by Big Dub, Dub became known as Little Dub. I missed working with him, because he was good at putting the material together and I was not. I did the ‘RAH’ record, sure, but an idiot could have done that.

I bought a 650 Kawasaki BSA rip of. British bikes were cool, but you had to always be working on ’em. The Kawasaki made the real deal seem golden, it was always apart, so I bought a new Triumph Bonneville, had the fork extended, got tall handle bars, I don’t remember what they were called back then, sort of like the Ape Hanger Bars you see on Harleys today. I was cool and I liked to ride.

And one day I rode out to Riverside, about an hour from Long Beach on the new extension to the 91 Freeway. They had kind of an old town, walking type street and since I liked being a tourist, I touristed off and I found Betty’s Records. A stupid name, to be sure, but what a great store and they sold bootlegs.

I asked for the manager, who’s name I don’t remember, but the guy who ran the place was named Harry. He wanted to buy boots, but I only had the one, plus about 5,000 Donovan records in a friend’s garage. I wanted to sell these guys records and I reasoned that the Dubs would be glad to sell them to me if I paid the going rate, which was a buck fifty a record. They were more than generous and sold them to me for a buck which allowed them to double their money and I could sell them for a buck and half and do alright.

Vesta and I were back in school, because we weren’t working and being uneducated is just stupid. Every weekend I’d drive out to Riverside and I found a couple other stores to sell to out there where nobody knew me. I was still paranoid.

But I wasn’t going to be paranoid for long, because the money was running out. We needed money, because we had two babies and we’d learned that we didn’t like going to work. So tried out a swap meat, sold the records retail in front of God and everybody for three dollars each or two for five, doubles five dollars. We made a couple hundred bucks our first time out and for the next year or so that’s what we did. I bought from the Dubs and Vesta and I worked the La Marada swap meet at the La Marada drive in in La Marada, California (that’s a lotta La Maradas). We’d leave at 9:00 and wait in line till dawn, when they let us in. In those days those at the head of the line got the best spots.

Eventually I was working several swap meets. All at drive ins. I had two brothers, both also in school and a couple friends I was supplying with the records I was getting from the Dubs, but I knew it couldn’t last.

Now I have to back up here, In a previous post I talked about how Kay at Lewis Record MFG copied Dub’s stampers (which were really half mine) for me, but this, what I said above, was happening concurrently. I hadn’t gotten around to pressing any of his records yet, because I didn’t have any accounts. I suppose I could’ve taken over Dub’s and eventually I would, but at that point in time I was too dumb and stupid to think about it.

Besides, I was kind of doing okay, selling Dub’s records to my few stores and at the swap meets. But Dub was getting new stereo equipment all the time, Big Dub quit the Post Office and was stylin’, while Vesta and I were going to school and working our buns off. Sure we had new cars. Sure I had a great bike. Sure we had new furniture. Sure we had stuff. But we weren’t stylin’. We weren’t leaving twenty dollar tips for ten dollar meals. We weren’t taking long vacations. We weren’t dripping in money, rolling around in it. We wanted that.

Back to Betty’s. One day after I dropped the records off, they’d only ordered fifty or so, so I strapped them on the back of my Bonneville and drove ’em on out. Gary, that’s the name of the owner. Gary Sparger, I’m surprised I remembered that. He asked me if I’d like to stop by a friend’s house for a few drinks. That was back when drinking and driving was okay if you didn’t get caught and if you did you just got a slap on the wrist unless you killed someone, so I said sure.

No girls there, just Gary, Harry and a couple guys I didn’t know. They were making Sangria. Years later, when I was living in Spain, I’d often look back when I was drinking it at an outdoor restaurant and remember their Sangria recipe. Here it is: You take a bottle of Spinata — a cheap wine you could get back then, maybe you still can. You squeeze a lime in it. Add lots of fruit bits, heavy on orange slices and canned grapefruit with a little canned pineapple stirred in. Then you add two two hits of mescaline and two hits of acid. Then you stir briskly and smoke a joint while you’re waiting for the flavors to blend.

After a glass and twenty minutes or so we were all doing alright. Somebody found a twenty-two rifle and several boxes of bullets, so we set up cards in a towel cabinet at one end of a hallway and started target practice. We did this till someone realized we’d drilled a hole through the back of the cabinet, through the wall into a bedroom and through the wall opposite. We’d been shooting out into the street. It’s a miracle we weren’t caught and taken away. But we weren’t.

And Harry and I got to know each other a bit. Turns out he and a friend wanted to open a poster business and they thought they needed a third partner and they thought I’d fill the bill nicely. I never dreamed they could’ve wanted me because my dad, whose record business went bust, now had a poster one stop and was selling to all the hippy stores. Being young, dumb and maybe a bit stoned, I said okay.

A month later, after we’d printed up our first batch and sold ’em to, you guess it, my dad. Harry and partner dropped by my house unexpectedly one evening. Since Riverside was an hour away, I didn’t think they’d just happened to be in the neighborhood. I knew right away they were gonna give me the old heave ho. I’d been there before and could see it coming from clear across the room. But what they didn’t know was that I’d met the printer and had a plan to take bootlegs to a whole ’nother level and I’d planned on including them, we were partners, after all.

But I was out now and Vesta and I were on our own again. We were young, we were greedy and we had a couple Beatles tapes.

To recap, in late summer 1969 and throughout the fall, tape copies of one of producer Glyn John’s early acetate collection of the Get Back sessions were aired by a number of American radio stations. One of them was WBCN in Boston, who had obtained a reel-to-reel tape of an acetate and broadcast the tape on 22 September 1969. The broadcast was preserved on another high-quality reel by a listener and by the end of 1969, the recordings turned up on The Beatles’ first bootleg release titled Kum Back, released in January of 1970.

In early 1970, the next Get Back era bootlegs were the Silver Album released the same month and shortly after that Get Back To Toronto on I.P.F. Records .

A1         John & Yoko Peace Message (5:31)    VG
A2        Get Back (3:07)    RS1, 28 January, 1969    Ex
A3         Teddy Boy (5:56)            EX        
A3         Two Of Us (0:09)            EX
A4        Two Of Us (3:43)            EX         
A5         Dig A Pony (4:05)            EX
Stereo mixes, recorded in Apple’s basement studio, 22-24 January, 1969
             
B1         I Got A Feeling (2:56)            EX        
B2         Let It Be (4:00)            EX        
B3         Don’t Let Me Down (3:53)        EX        
B4         For You Blue (2:56)            EX         
B5         Get Back (2:52)                EX        
B6         The Walk (0:55)                EX
Stereo mixes, recorded in Apple’s basement studio, 22-27 January, 1969                                              B7         Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (6:06)   EX

Beatles GBtToronto

Beatles GBtToronto lbl

Matrix – A: HA HA / B: HO HO

Further matrix variations are IPF-1-A S-2142 / IPF-1-B S-2143, LOEB side 1/ LOEB side 2 and RP-23A / RP-23B, which was also used for this block letter design shown here:

Beatles GBtToronto lbl 2

Beatles GBtToronto 2

The label commonly found with the Peace Sign cover and original I.P.F. Records release looks like the first one shown. The cover exists at least in grey as well.

In 1972, CBM copied this title and changed the matrix to 3519 A/B and degraded the tracks to mono.
Beatles GBtToronto

If the insert is still present, it usually does not have the CBM typical record icon seen above and the CBM version can be immediately identified by its generic cartoon back cover.

CBM also added two stickers to the shrink wrap. One saying “THE BEATLES – THEIR UNRELEASED REHEARSAL CUTS – 1970″ (to make sure everyone had no doubt who the performers were) and

“Notices Of Intention To Use Copyrighted Material, Filed Where Necessary. All Statutory Royalties Paid. CBM Music. Norfolk, Virginia”.

The same notice, this time printed on the cover insert, can also be seen in the lower left corner of the CBM title British Blue Jam.

Beatles GBtToronto 2

It seems that the CBM version came with two stickers:

CBM sticker 1

CBM copyright

CBM IA KK SH generic back

Beatles GBtToronto lbl

In the summer and fall of 1963 a Beatles fan in the UK taped several episodes of the BBC “Pop Go The Beatles” radio series and held on to the tapes. By 1971 a copy of these recordings has made its way to California where Dub and his dad acquired and pressed it into what became known as Yellow Matter Custard. What made it most desirable was that 13 out of these 14 songs would never be recorded again in a studio setting and never become commercially available. Subsequently, when John Lennon was presented with a copy of Yellow Matter Custard on December 7th 1971 – likely the first non-Get Back acetate derived Beatles bootleg he ever heard and became genuinely excited about. After not believing that it was the Beatles, he misidentified it as the tape of their Decca test performance from January 1st, 1962, seemingly having forgotten all about the many BBC radio shows he had recorded.

The trade. That:

Beatles YMCustard

For this:

signed Butcher front

Signed Butcher cover slick

It made a nice Christmas gift for Paul and Linda as well:

John bootleg

[From Hunter Davies’ book The John Lennon Letters]

01. I Got A Woman*  (Charles/Richards)  2:32        Recorded July 16. 1963 – Broadcast on August 13 1963

02. Glad All Over*  (Schroeder/Tepper/Bennett)  1:51    Recorded July 16. 1963 – Broadcast August 20 1963

03. I Just Don’t Understand*  (Wilkin/Westberry)  2:48     Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast August 20 1963

04. Slow Down*  (Williams)  2:34     Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast August 20 1963

05. Don’t Ever Change*  (Goffin/King) 2:06     Recorded August 1. 1963 – Broadcast August 27 1963

06. A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues*  (Thompson)  2:18      Recorded August 1, 1963 – Broadcast August 27, 1963

07. Sure To Fall (In Love With You) (Perkins/Claunch/Cantrell)  2:21    Recorded September 3, 1963 – Broadcast September 24, 1963

08. Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees)* (Colacrai/Fontaine/Lampert/Cleveland)  2:57  Recorded July 10, 1963 – Broadcast July 23, 1963

09. Lonesome Tears In My Eyes*   (Burnette/Burnette/Burlison/Mortimer)  2:33   Recorded July 10, 1963 – Broadcast July 10, 1963

10. So How Come (No One Loves Me)*   (Bryant/Bryant) 1:52        Recorded July 10, 1963 – Broadcast July 23rd 1963

11. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)*    (Thomas/Biggs)  1:59    Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast August 6, 1963

12. Crying, Waiting, Hoping*  (Holly)  2:08     Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast August 6, 1963 

13. To Know Her Is To Love Her*   (Spector)  2:46     Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast August 6, 1963

14. The Honeymoon Song*   (Theodorakis/Sansom)  1:39    Recorded July 16, 1963 – Broadcast on August 6 1963

* officially released on Live at the BBC

It would be easy to amass 25 different versions of YMC, here are three different CBM version:

Beatles YMC

On Instant Analysis:

Beatles YMC IA

And on King Kong:

Beatles YMC KK

****

Beatles YMC J 11 12

Beatles YMC J 11 12 detail

The Japan copy as part of the JL series (# 11/12) used a unique textured cover.

CBM_Logo

Contraband Music got its start in 1970, most probably by copying Dub & Ken’s early titles (GWW, Live On Blueberry Hill, etc.). We know for sure that the person responsible for the operation was based in Virginia. They may or may not have been a law student at the time and the same applies to an alleged specialization in copyright law (oh, the irony!).

The book “Black Market Beatles” by Berkenstadt and Belmo has an interview with someone who states they supplied CBM with source tapes, among them one of CBM’s best and most releases, The Beatles’ Sweet Apple Trax Vols. 1 &  2, which came out in late 1974.

Contraband had quite a healthy output during its time, which bobboots.com claims lasted until 1978; I counted 154 titles (some are just re-releases under a different title though) and I am probably still missing a few.Their numbering system across these four labels is quite challenging for the reseracher. Apart from their main 1000, 3000 and 4000 series, there  are numbers based on the artist, such as “NY/B1″ and “BD 1011″, other letter & number combinations (“Z999″), and confusing matrix numbers “3909/3645″ is for Pink Floyd International Transmission, for example.

King Kong Records

“Always turns up with bad pressing vinyl (typical CBM/Contra Band..)” – an eBay seller in his ad.

Generally, their releases have acquired a bad reputation for being a mostly copy label releasing inferior quality releases with primitive cover design but this is not true as they released some really good stuff – which today can be quite hard to find. I find CBM and its sister labels quite fascinating.

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