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December 13, 2007

Bootleg recordings

In the days of my youth as a young lad in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I was a big afficianodo of bootlegs. Especially Led Zeppelin bootlegs. I must have had 20 or so bootleg recordings of Led Zeppelin in concert. By far, my favorite bootleg was Led Zeppelin's BBC recordings, now officially released for all to legally enjoy. This tape stayed in my car tape player probably for two years straight. "I Can't Quit You Baby," "You Shook Me," "Communication Breakdown," and the unreleased "Travellin' Riverside Blues" made me quite a fan of the early Zep of albums I and II.

I would get these bootlegs from a friend named Andrew Kennedy. He would tell me he got a new recording, and I would scrape up the $10 to $20 he would demand for a copy. Then he would literally give me the tape in a paper bag, sometimes in a parking lot. It was all very secretive and film noir. I would keep them in my red tape holder and wait until Andrew got another one. It is hard to convey what a thrill this was, having recordings that very few other people did. Especially Led Zeppelin.

Then after a bunch of transactions I guess he felt I had earned enough trust. He told me where his source was.

His source was a mom and pop CD store in Norfolk, Virginia. So, one day I decided to cut out the middle man and venture out to this store to see if there was anything new. When I got there I looked around and couldn't find the bootleg section. Confused, I decided to ask the store manager at the counter, "Do you have any Led Zeppelin bootlegs?"

Angrily he replied, "No! We don't carry any bootlegs! This is a reputable CD store and we only sell legal CDs!" or something to that effect. I can't remember exactly what he said to me. But I replied, "Oh, I'm sorry. Andrew Kennedy told me that you had some bootlegs."

"Andrew Kennedy?" he said to me with a smile, "Why didn't you say so? Come to the back with me."

He took me to a back room and opened up a box full of bootlegs. Oh, I was in heaven! And not just Zep bootlegs, but Aerosmith and Van Halen. I took out a CD (I think it was the Zeppelin "Destroyer" concert in Cleveland) and asked if I could buy it. The sale was made, and I felt ... well I felt a little devious. I was now a part of the bootlegging culture, with my own source and everything! Needless to say, it wasn't the last purchase I made.

Now? Now we have the internet. Take a look at this site:

The Ultimate Bootleg Experience

Where is the fun in that? No more back alley deals, no more back room transactions. Just click and the bootleg is yours.

I miss the good old days.

Posted by snackeru at December 13, 2007 6:09 AM

Comments

Whoa, given Jimmy Page's reputed dabbling in the black arts, I'm not sure if this is something you want to have out so publicly.

I read an interesting story that You Tube was forced to remove some video of the concert that was recorded on cell phones. Ostensibly because Zep's label is going to release a DVD of the show. Now I can't think of one person who would watch a couple of minutes of cell phone-recorded concert footage on You Tube and then feel they don't have to get the DVD. If anything, the You Tube footage would cause fans to buy the DVD so that they can experience the concert in full DVD glory. Led Zeppelin should be uploading snippets of the concert on You Tube to goose sales of the DVD, not taking stuff down. It just shows that media companies still don't know how to deal with the interweb.

Did getting those bootlegs make you NOT want to get other "legitimate" Zeppelin stuff Shane. I'm guessing not.

Posted by: Freealonzo at December 13, 2007 11:16 AM

Free, good points. Led Zep was rather rabid about dealing with bootleggers (especially Peter Grant) so maybe I should have kept quiet!

Let me assure my readers, though, that I have legally purchased every song Led Zeppelin put out. I had all the albums, and then I even bought both box sets. And even though I listened to my tape of the BBC sessions for two years straight and knew it backwards and forwards, I still bought the CD when it was legally released.

I was a HUGE Zep fan in high school. Sometimes the recognized recordings aren't enough. So, I was pretty happy to be able to supplement my collection with concert material.

Posted by: Shane at December 13, 2007 2:18 PM

Shane and George Costanza finally have something in common... Bootlegging!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 13, 2007 3:40 PM

Where's my KMOTW? Auggh!

Posted by: Snyder at December 14, 2007 12:52 PM

Shane's not posting a KMOTW actually puts him in the running for this week's KMOTW!

Posted by: Freealonzo at December 14, 2007 1:51 PM

i was always a fan of bootleg recordings and i always sought them out and always will. i like to hear human errors and the limitations of individual expertise. i think we all do.


thank you rod

Posted by: rod boone at April 23, 2008 11:22 PM

i was always a fan of bootleg recordings and i always sought them out and always will. i like to hear human errors and the limitations of individual expertise. i think we all do.


thank you rod

Posted by: rod boone at April 23, 2008 11:22 PM

i was always a fan of bootleg recordings and i always sought them out and always will. i like to hear human errors and the limitations of individual expertise. i think we all do.


thank you rod

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