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MARC Records

From “Operation Moonbeam” to the Moonmadness Tour – how fitting!

Camel Lunacy itmm

Camel Lunacy itmm detail 2

Camel Lunacy itmm detail

Camel Lunacy itmm lbl 1

Source: Fair to good audience recording from the Liverpool Empire on 2 April, 1976. The pink-camel.de website lists an FM recording for this date. The first – and only – Camel vinyl bootleg.

Side 1: Song Within A Song [07:31] / Excerpts From Snow Goose 1 [10:23] / Air Born [05:04] / Chord Change [06:37]
Side 2: Excerpts From The Snow Goose 2 [09:31] / Another Night [06:29] / Lady Fantasy [14:04]

MARC goes prog-rock – and not exactly out with a bang. Possibly the worst sounding recording in their catalog. Why did they stop here? I would love to know.

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Camel Moonmadness-Tour Ad

Camel-Moonmadness-Tour-474374

Camel Moonmadness-Tour 2

Camel-Moonmadness badge

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Bowie Don't Touch That Dial

Bowie MM 28 Feb 76

Bowie Don't Touch That Dial 3Bowie Don't Touch That Dial 2

Did the originals have blue labels?

Bowie Don't Touch That Dial b 2Bowie 76 Wembley pic

Japan: Second half of 1976

Source: David Bowie at Wembley Empire Pool, 07 May, 1976. Night # five of a six night run.

Side 1: Station to Station (cuts in, first 3 mins are poor/fair) / Suffragette City / Fame / Word on a Wing / Stay / Waiting for the Man  [28:15]

Side 2: Queen Bitch / Life on Mars? / introductions-Changes / TVC 15 / Diamond Dogs [29:15]

Concert set list:

Station to Station
Suffragette City
Fame
Word on a Wing
Stay
I’m Waiting for the Man (Velvet Underground cover)
Queen Bitch
Life on Mars?
Five Years
Panic in Detroit
Changes
TVC15
Diamond Dogs

Encores:
Rebel Rebel
The Jean Genie

For years, I have been led to believe that the audio quality of this recording is terrible – Heylin calling it “godawful”. In fact, this might actually be one of the better recordings from this series of concerts.

Have a listen to two samples here: http://floorboards.blog.co.uk/2011/06/18/david-bowie-tvc15-11336034/

” it is a good sounding audience recording for the era. The performance is excellent and is great fun to hear, with Bowie in great voice and jovial mood (drunk again!) Tony Kaye really shows his class on this too. […] It’s a shame the intro to Station To Station is cut as Stacey Heydon was a class act and really did a magnificent job on it. Several tracks are missing but that’s the way with boots of this era. I remember DB created the howling effect at the end of Diamond Dogs by standing on the edge of the stage and swinging his microphone Roger Daltry style in front of the PA stack to get the feedback on every pass. Too funny.” [uploader comments]

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Bowie 76 Wembley tix

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THE SETUP:

While in the US, the FBI was busting bootleggers, the UK had the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) and it’s Anti-Piracy Unit. The BPI represented the interests of British record companies since being formally incorporated in 1973 when the principal aim was to promote British music and fight copyright infringement. Unfortunately (for the BPI), while the FBI was part of law enforcement, they were just a private limited company.

In 1979, the BPI ended up copying MARC’s LP – contrary to common belief, they had not picked the original bootleg and made that decision but claim to have been “forced” in order to continue their investigation, a classical case of ‘the ends justify the means’.

“The investigations started following a tip about a Manchester-based bootleg operation importing US bootleg product into Holland…” [Billboard, 8 September 1979]

“[The Wembley Wizards] weren’t pressed to implicate. They were purely pressed so the guy could maintain his cover … All the investigator did was to act as the middle man. He was approached by the gang and the gang said to him. ‘Look, you say you can manufacture records, we would like you to get 2,000 manufactured for us.’ The guy had to say yes because of his cover. But there is no question of those records being used to implicate anybody. There were literally tens of thousands of them around at the time. It’s in the press releases. They were being pressed in America and coming over via Holland.” [Richard Robson [BPI] in New Musical Express, 2 August 1980]

Robson’s final statement must have been about all Bowie bootlegs ever made and simply cannot have been about the MARC album, pressed in a run of perhaps 2-300 and imported into the UK in tiny quantities by a mail order company in the Netherlands called Unique Records. At least, he got it right about product coming in from Holland! This is probably a good point to explain that bootlegs by Western artists with material recorded before 1978 (when Japan which had become a member of The Phonogram Protection Convention),

Heylin comments Robson’s statement with “Either Mr. Robson was very good at the bare-faced lie or astonishingly ignorant ignorant …” [Bootleg, p. 214]. There is another Robson quote where gets it spectactularly wrong: “All we did was re-press and mark an album that had already been in circulation.” I would tend to lean towards ignorance, mixed with a good dose of PR exaggeration. This was going to be another proof that the institutions who dedicated themselves to fighting bootlegging in the late 1970’s usually didn’t understand this sub-culture at all.

“The BPI’s main investigator at this time wa one Bill Hood. He had hooked up with a motley crew of Manchester bootleg retailers and was convinced that they could help him unravel the entire chain of bootleg shops in the UK. The Mancunians were operating from Bookchain, a shop on Peter Street inhabited by staff familiar to anyone who had ever frequented Manchester’s original bootleg store, Orbit Books.” [Bootleg, p. 215]

“Hood successfully infiltrated the gang and actually visited the home of a supplier. And yet, mysteriously, he was still ‘unable to gain concrete evidence against the major suppliers’ … Hood chose not to follow the tortuous path back to origins but to ‘involve myself in the manufacturing process. It was decided by me and my supervisors that I pose as a presser of bootleg records … I had been told that one of the members had some metal casts and that he wanted some pressings done urgently. … I was given these metal casts and asked to press 2,500 records from them. I took the casts back to London where a member of the BPI did the necessary pressing for me’ … And not only did Hood’s pressing amount to practically  the grand total, but the whole Moonbeam bust […] hinged on this one pressing … There were no Wizards to speak of until Hood did his pressing.” [New Musical Express, 2 August 1980]

In my opinion, this bootleg would have been pressed regardless if the BPI had lent a helping hand or not; as we can read above, the mastering and transfer to the pressing plates had already been done, someone was taking care of the art work (clearly not a Bowie connaisseur – they also forgot to list “Stay” on the wrap-around insert), the BPI’s involvement was limited to pressing the records. Not that it wasn’t entrapment, of course.

 

THE PRODUCT:

UK: Summer of 1979 (ca. 2.5 years after the release of the Japanese original)

Bowie D WWTTD

Four different versions can be identified:

1. b&w folded wrap around around insert. Blank white lables, stamped matrix: CCIA (side A) plus “The Actor 79” / CCIB (side B). “There are also the letters “EG” together with a long horizontal stroke stamped on each side. The etchings are all quite deep.” All copies seem to suffer from clicks during “Queen Bitch” and “Life on Mars?”

Bowie D WWTTD 1

2. Plain white sleeve with a sticker labelled in green print and bold letters: “The Wembley Wizard Touches The Dial” “Limited Edition”. As expected the disc itself is identical to the one described above in every way,  The obvious explanation is that they ran out of inserts and substituted the green stickers instead.

Bowie D WWTTD 2

Both versions came in dated inner sleeves that were also used for officially released records. Was this normal for UK bootlegs or could this have been a sign of a Trojan horse? On the other hand, I doubt bootleg dealers paid much attention to inner sleeves.

Writing on the left:

Bowie D WWTTD sl1And on the right:

Bowie D WWTTD sl2

3. 1 / 2 labels and pressed on thicker PVC than the standard copies shown above, however the matrix markings are still the same as described above. One can faintly see the ‘1’ on the label here:

Bowie D WWTTD 3

“The pic sleeve of [versions 1 & 3] has been printed quite dark. Since I have seen a more detailed, less dark printed cover, I started to question whether my copies are part of the original BPI release, or a release pressed soon after the raids when the album became a hot must have item.” [collector comment]

 

4. 1982 reissue with printed labels and a new/different matrix. Runs slow.

Bowie D WWTTD lbl 1Bowie D WWTTD lbl 2Again, there is no “Stay” listed on side one. The misspelling in the title might point to this reissue not having been produced in the UK.

“I got my copy at a record fair in Leeds when the BPI ones first came out. The usual price for single LPs was always £8 to £10 depending on how much bargaining you could do with the seller. I remember knowing exactly where to go when I got in to the hall, the stall with loads of people all trying to get it quick! So I got in to the small but tightly packed throng and I think it was £10. The dealer didn’t have to make any deals that day. […] on the day of the fair plenty of Bowie fans were after it, the stall I got it off was busy as soon as it was apparent he’d got them, that I do remember.” [Quotes and many of the images in this section taken from the Illustrated gb discography forum]

 

THE OUTCOME:

Most of the Wembley Wizard’s were not recovered, of course but sold as described above and injected into market of eager bootleg buyers. It is said that only 250 copies were eventually seized.

Bb 8 Sept a

Bb 8 Sept 79

Bb 15 Sept 79Billboard, 15 September 1979

“‘Britain’s recording industry has cracked a bootlegging syndicate!’ screamed the tabloid press. ‘Undercover agents working on an investigation code-named OPERATION MOONBEAM have carried out raids in London, Manchester, Newcastle and St. Helens.’

Beneath familiar mug-shots of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and Elton John (‘BOOTLEGGED!), the reports went on to stipulate how, in April 1979, a telephone tip-off had set into motion the greased wheels of Operation Moonbeam.

‘Inquiries led to Manchester where stocks of bootleg records were being imported from America.’The ingenuity of the Moonbeam agents was such that ‘One investigator posed as a manufacturer to infiltrate the network’ while ‘Suspects were trailed all over the country by BPI investigators with long-range cameras’.

Both Orbit Books and BOOKCHAIN (the third Savoy outlet, Peter Street) were hit by the operation. David Britton found himself in the High Court in London, agreeing to pay the BPI a sum of £7,250 for damages and costs, as well as to a permanent injunction, not to make, sell or offer for sale any bootleg recordings.

“We were two days late making the first payment of £l,000,” says Butterworth of the fine. “They sent the cheque back and instructed the bailiffs to move in straight away and stuck further costs on top. This was our second bust… at Orbit Books we had been done over by the BPI as early as 1976.” [http://www.savoy.abel.co.uk/HTML/hdprss.html]

Bb 15 Dec 79Billboard, 15 December 1979

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In a meeting on June 24, 1981 the BPI celebrated the profitable conclusion of ‘Operation Moonbeam’. The association’s lawyer Tony Hoffman tallied up the final numbers. $100,000 had been spent by the BPI with won damages of $60,410 already received and another $44,562 expected. Seized equipment was valued at $4,000 and the street valued of confiscated bootlegs was valued at $200,000.

Ironically, Hoffman called the album “a great success” and mentioned the favorable review it had received in Hot Wacks Quarterly as if the BPI had been involved in its artistic creation. “The final accolade, he said was a new American bootleg album of Bruce Springsteen which carried on the jacket the legend “Produced by William Hood and manufactured by Moonbeam Records Inc.” [Billboard, 4 July 1981]

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Operation Moonbeam’s most significant result was the implication of Rough Trade Records as a bootleg retailer. The store, on the verge of becoming an independent record label was fined GBP 10,000. “Virgin had been busted in 1973 for carrying shifty product, and the spotlight now turned to Ladbroke Grove.

Today’s hipster darling label was mostly a shop back then and Punky bootlegs were part of its scheme, especially for mail order customers in the States.  That stopped.  However, the rest of Operation Moonbeam was covered in dog mess steam.  Stores that never had a bootleg before stocked the BPI knockoff, and charges were served to the wrong names with duff addresses.  The Police first were frustrated, then livid. The Courts were even less helpful – reminding all that stung wholesalers were “perfectly entitled to stay silent about their customers and suppliers…alleged offenders protected from self incrimination by long standing legal privilege.”  The Judges involved curled out much angry scat on the BPI and its faux cops.

Retarded press statements were made by Bill and the BPI, a lot of congratulations all round until the dust settled on a pint of the cold piss that is reality.  A tonne of punters had been turned on to bootlegs. And the confusion around international copyright had also been exposed.  Western acts had no protection in Japan, and on the Continent major loopholes about what was recorded live, when, by whom and the nationality of the artists concerned appeared like magic in the dusty law books.  The stage was set for a new explosion of bootlegs from Europe.  Bill retired in mockery.  Ken cracked a knowing smile and put up the mainsail.” [http://www.ratrecordsuk.net/blog/item/99355-loose-booty-3-the-man-strikes-wack.html]

Springsteen MGfAPNJ b

Rolling Stones Brit Ven 76

Rolling Stones Brit Ven 76 b

Rolling Stones Brit Ven 76 detail

Rolling Stones Brit Ven 76 lbl

Rolling Stones Brit Ven 76 lbl II

Japan: second half of 1976. Among the four earliest Japanese Rolling Stones bootlegs (see comment section).

Source: Very good stereo audience recording from the fifth of eight shows at London’s Earl’s Court on 23 May 1976. There are certainly more popular ’76 RS live recordings than this one.

Side 1: Honky Tonk Women [03:55] / Hand Of Fate [03:58] / Hey Negrita [05:18] / Ain’t Too Proud to Beg [04:25] / Fool to Cry [05:15] / Hot Stuff [05:16]
Side 2: Band intro [01:55] / Happy [03:05] / Tumbling Dice [04:18] / Nothing From Nothing [03:22] / It’s Only Rock’n Roll (But I Like It) [04:35] / Brown Sugar [03:33] / Jumping Jack Flash [03:20] / Street Fighting Man [06:20] 

Matrix: RS-76071-1 (A)/2B

Almost 30 minutes of music per side, pushing the limits of how much music is too much on a record.

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The back cover art inspiration:

MM 22 May 76 Stones

Rolling Stones Earl's Court '76 ticket80p more compared to seeing the stones at Wembley three years prior. That sounds very reasonable.

Rolling Stones Earl's Court '76 osRolling Stones Earl's Court '76 MBRolling Stones Earl's Court '76NME 26 May 76

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Gallagher Rory Souped Up Rory!

Japan: ca. second half of 1976. I believe this was the first Rory Gallagher bootleg made.

Source: Rory on his 28th birthday, filmed by the BBC at the “Shepherd’s Bush BBC Theater”, as it is introduced by Bob Harris, later known as the Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert venue.

I am not sure what happened to “Bullfrog Blues”, which is the last song in the YouTube video but not on the bootleg.

Side 1: Introduction, I take What I Want / Bought and Sold / All Round Man
Side 2: Out on the Western Plain / Souped-up Ford / Hands Off

Matrix: RG 76056-1 / 2

What do Paul Simon and Rory Gallagher have in common?

Both had their first Japan tours in 1974 (Rory in January, he would return in January of 1975 and again in October/November of 1977).

Rory Gallagher bootlegs listing: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/checkerandblues/rory/vinyl4.html

melodymaker-760103-1

The album title inspiration? Melody Maker, 3 January 1976 issue

Simon P art-superb-simon

Simon P art-superb-simon b 2

Simon P art-superb-simon detail

Japan: ca. mid- to second half of 1976

Was anyone buying this LP and hoping for an audio witness of a rare Simon & Garfunkel mini-reunion on a London concert stage disappointed when listening to this? …  In December of 1975, while on tour in Europe, Paul Simon recorded a live TV special in a BBC studio (not on the 27th and not at the Palladium). As part of the finished program, two clips from Simon & Garfunkel’s appearance on Saturday Night Live from 18 October ’75 were edited in: “The Boxer” and “Scarborough Fair”. As the YouTube videos show, this special was also broadcast in Japan (were Simon had toured as early as April 1974) . This is the soundtrack of that TV special.

 

Side 1: Still crazy after all these years / Homeward Bound / I do it for your love / 50 ways to leave your lover / Toots Thielemans: Bluesette
Side 2: Loves me like a rock/ Some folks’ life’s roll easy / (Simon and Garfunkel SNL/75} The Boxer + Scarborough fair / My little town / American Tune

Paul Simon plus the following musicians:

Davin Sanborn – Alto Sax
Toots Thielemans – Guitar
Richard Tee – Electric Piano
Tony Levin – Bass Guitar
Steve Gadd – Drums

Cover photo taken at the 1972 McGovern benefit, as these images show:

1972-mcgovern-benefit

1972 mcgovern benefit color

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Paul Simon Japan 74 stub

Ooops!

Well, it had to happen. Lost a saved draft on Saturday and had to rebuild it from scratch – but life goes on.

Led Zep White Summer

Led Zep White Summer b

Led Zep White Summer detail

Led Zep White Summer lbl

Led Zep White Summer mat

Led Zep White Summer lbl B

Led Zep White Summer mat B

Listen to the full album here: http://ledzeppelinbootlegs.bandcamp.com/album/white-summer

Japan, ca. mid-1976

Side 1: 

Train Kept A Rollin’  [Winterland, San Francisco – 25 April 1969]

Since I’ve Been Loving You  [Düsseldorf, Rheinhalle – 13 March 1970]

White Summer / Black Mountainside  [Düsseldorf, Rheinhalle – 13 March 1970]

Side 2:

Dazed And Confused  [Düsseldorf, Rheinhalle – 13 March 1970]

Communication Breakdown  [Winterland, San Francisco – 25 April 1969]

ABC Song  [Robert Plant & daughter Carmen at Headley Grange Studios, January – February 1974]

This appears to be a combination of the German release Life plus two (filler) tracks from Wizardo’s 1975 CAUTION EXPLOSIVE (# 329):

Led Zeppelin Caution Explosive

The rare German bootleg  (1017 M)- about 200 pressed – was also released in 1975.

Led Zep Life

Above, first version of the cover before the misspelling was discovered?

Led Zeppelin Live Best 1017 300

Led Zep Life lbl

Matrix: M 1013 A/B

Pressing quality is supposed to be mediocre at best. Despite its status as a rare item, there are five copies offered on discogs as I am writing this.

White Summer (<< Black Mountain Side..) [ 10:59 – cut ], [ cut ], Since I’ve Been Loving You [ 7:05 ], [ cut ], Dazed And Confused [ 19:37 – cut ].

“Source: Incomplete good 1st audience recording. 39 minutes.
Details: The source is quite distant but still enjoyable. The guitar is the most prominent in the mix with guitar and vocals somewhere in the middle and drums as the most distant and echoey. Since I’ve Been Loving You has some minor speed issues in places and Dazed And Confused is distorted. [argenteumastrum.com]

Bootleg LP Reference(s) source 1: The Final Option (Rock Solid Records & The Swingin’ Pig Records), Germany 1971 (no label), Led Zeppelin Film Can (Rock Solid Records), Life (Best), & White Summer (Acid, Box Top Records, Marc & Rock Solid Records both issues)”

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vienna 70

Led Zep Mar 11 70 HH

dusseldorf70_ticket

Düsseldorf set list:

Communication Breakdown
I Can’t Quit You Baby
Dazed and Confused
Heartbreaker
White Summer / Black Mountainside
Since I’ve Been Loving You
Organ solo / Thank You
Moby Dick
How Many More Times (medley incl. Move On Down the Line, Bottle Up ‘n Go, “Lemon Song”)
Whole Lotta Love

 

When led Zeppelin’s first German tour was originally scheduled, they were supposed to play in Frankfurt on March 10th before moving on to Hamburg. However the Frankfurt concert was cancelled and instead two nights were played at Hamburg’s Musikhalle (where early in 1971 Pink Floyd would get bootlegged resulting in the famous M-502/Take Linda Surfing/Miracle Muffler bootlegs).

Why was this concert cancelled?

Led Zep DE shows 70

Next stop: Vancouver, BC on the 21st, originating date of the famous Pb bootleg.

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Jethro Tull started 1970 with a short Scandinavian tour in mid January before flying off to Los Angeles to film their contribution in 
The Switched-On Symphony, an NBC TV Special directed by Jack Good, featuring Tull, the Nice, Santana, Ray Charles, Jack Benny and the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. 

After filming a live-in-the-studio special for the German program Beat Club on the 19th, they were booked to perform their first ever concert appearance in Germany at the 4,000 seat Jahrhunderthalle. Only two further German dates were to follow in April in Nuremberg and Hamburg,

Jethro Tull FRA JHH 70 ticket

The concert promoters had underestimated the enthusiasm and demand for tickets and on concert day, an extra ticket-less 2,000 people showed up.

Jahrhunderthalle

When it became apparent that the extra non-ticket holders were not going to be admitted, some took matters into their own hands and reportedly 11 of the hall’s large glass panes and four glass doors were shattered in a mini riot, causing 40,000 DM in damages {Pink Floyd’s fee for their 1971 Hamburg Musikhalle performance, to put it into perspective] and five hospital admissions.An audience recording of one of the shows has survived and was eventually pressed on CD as Fairytales From The Pawnshop .

The local citizens were not pleased  to learn about this destruction of public property, to say the least. There was going to be a fall out: No more rowdy destructive rock’n roll at the Jahrhunderthalle (a concert by Leonard Cohen the following May was allowed to go ahead).  An article appeared on February 28th claiming: Broken Glass Shakes Promoter’s Confidence: After The Fiasko At Jahrhunderthalle, Pop Soon At The Festhalle

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The original (signed) concert poster showing both concert times.

The first victims were Led Zeppelin, whose scheduled concert at the same venue was nixed. Apparently, a suitable Frankfurt area venue could not be found and so they were the first band to ever play at the giant acoustically-challenged barn that is the Festhalle in July of the same year, when they returned to Germany.

Led Zep FRA July 70 review

Concert review of Led Zeppelin’s 18 July ’70 Frankfurt performance mentioning the circumstances of the March cancellation.

Deep Purple Get It While It Tastes

Deep Purple Get It While It Tastes b

I have also found these picture labels on a Japanese blog. Does that mean there was a first pressing perhaps that used these?

Deep Purple Get It While It Tastes lbl a

Deep Purple Get It While It Tastes lbl b

Deep Purple’s last night of their AustralAsia tour live at the Budokan, 15 December 1975

The official multi-track recorder was running backstage to capture material for yet another Japan only live album (to be released March 1977 as Last Concert In Japan, the 1985 31 minute video compilation Rises Over Japan and finally upgraded and including the full show in 2001 as This Time Around: Live in Tokyo ) while recorders were running in the audience as well. Apart from the person taping the source that ended up on GET IT WHILE IT TASTES, Mr. Peach also attended this show and his much better recording was released by Tarantura in 2010 as Made In Tokyo (making it the second recording of an already officially released concert among his tapes, his Cheap Trick capture being the other one).

It looks like Marc released this LP around the early summer of 1976, beating the official album comfortably, although lacking in the fidelity department.

“In a 1995 interview, Glenn Hughes calls Last Concert in Japan an “awful record,” and says that it “should never have been released” because “Tommy couldn’t play.” “

Side 1:  Burn / Lady Luck / Love Child / Smoke On The Water / Wild Dogs                                                  Side 2:  I Need Love-Soldier Of Fortune / You Keep On Moving / Stormbringer / Highway Star

The set list:

Burn
Lady Luck
Love Child
Gettin’ Tighter
Smoke On The Water
Wild Dogs
I Need Love
Soldier Of Fortune
Keyboard Solo
Lazy (incl. Drum Solo)
Owed To ‘G’
This Time Around
Guiter Solo
Drifter
You Keep On Moving
Stormbringer

Highway Star

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Vicky Vinyl must have gotten hold of this title around the same time as MARC’s Suzi Quatro release – 1977, I would guess:

 

Deep Purple Made For Japan redDeep Purple Made For Japan red bDeep Purple Made for Japan blueDeep Purple Made for Japan yelDeep Purple Made for Japan SM Pig

Apart from “Stormbringer”, the bootleg and the official LP selected the same tracks.

Deep Purple-Lyrics-Jap Pressing

 

Deep P 75 Budokan

 

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Deep Purple fans must be among the least shy to stick a bootleg under an original member’s nose and ask to have it signed:

Deep Purple Get It While It Tastes signed

Deep Purple GiwiT signed