Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pat Benatar - Between a Heart and a Rock Place!

A lot of rainy weather recently has brought on a lot of reading to pass the time!

I have been through a few books in the past weeks. I read Paul McCartney’s biography. What can I say, well written book, crazy life and always fun to read about Beatlemania.

Keith Richard’s book came next! Another great read. Keith too has quite an eventful life. He would change topics quickly in the book, often in mid paragraph. So it was a bit more of a challenge to get through this book but overall it was a very enjoyable read.


Next up was Pat Benatar’s memoir – “Between a Heart and a rock place”. I was pretty excited to see this book on the bargain bin at Chapters. I have always enjoyed Pat Benatar’s music and never knew much about her so it was a great opportunity to learn.

However this book almost seemed more annoying than enjoyable.

First off it was a very easy read. This is always a plus for somebody with an attention span like mine. I can trail off pretty easy in the middle of a book if it doesn’t keep my interest.

She basically had a very fortunate past. She was given a record contract at a young age with very little struggle to get it. A lot of the time bands and artists struggle for years to get any recognition. She was seen at a club singing and it was as simple as the right person hearing her and a record deal came shortly afterwards.

However Pat makes it seem like she went through hell and back to get recognized.

Throughout the book she has a big hatred out for her record label Chrysalis. Everytime she would release and album and have a successful tour she would start bitching about how Chrysalis would be on her case to record her next album.

Well no shit Pat! They gave you a record deal! R-E-C-O-R-D DEAL! They want records! Do you have any idea how many people would kill to be in a position to have a huge record company pushing them to record an album so they can play it to millions of people, send you out on tour, and make you millions of dollars? She made it seem like they were evil and never thinking about her and giving her time off. You’re a rock star! That’s what people like me dream of sitting in our offices all week long. What are you looking for time off to do? Travel? Site see? Stay in fancy hotels? Wait a minute.. That’s your job!

I found it amusing how she would get into a rant about how the record company was out to get her and she would put them in their place. For example: They would ask her to play a show on short notice. She would put them in her place by telling them to go to hell! ”You can’t tell me what to do! I’m the talent! This is my show.. blah blah blah!..” Then the record company would basically say “if you don’t do it we’ll sue you.” This happened every time and she would always cave immediately. Very rock and roll Pat!

She also kept going on about how she broke down barriers being a woman in rock and roll! She was the first… She demanded respect.. blah blah freaking blah.. Sorry Pat! You’re not even close to the first! Hell Janis Joplin had you beat by over a decade (and I’m not even sure if she would technically be the first)!

Regardless of all this it was still an entertaining read… I still like her music.. and I’m sure she is a great person… but again.. annoying… It just seems like she thinks she had it so hard when in fact she had it easier than pretty much everybody!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Spin that unknown album!! Be free!!!!!

Ahhhh!!! Friday before a long weekend! I’m sitting out on the porch, turntable spinning and enjoying the tunes. Could anything be more perfect?

It has been a good week for record and cd collecting. I got to do a few vinyl trades with some people who frequent this site and also added a few nice cd’s to the collection from various thrift stores in the province.

All of this trading and chatting at the thrift stores has brought a few thoughts to my mind.

It seems that people who are just getting into collecting are just trying to find the albums that they already know. Of course this is a given that If you know and like an album, buy it. HOWEVER, stop being afraid of exploring the unknown!

Try that record for a dollar that has a crazy cover that catches your eye. Try that cd from the thrift store from the band with the crazy name you never heard of! Take recommendations from the guy flipping through the crate next to you! Or one of my personal favorites, try that cd that looks like it has been through hell and back because it has been played so often!

I have discovered so many cool bands this way. Besides bands, so many cool albums by bands I already like! Sure CCR’s greatest hits are enough for most people.  But if you see “green river” cheap, give it a spin! There are many songs on this you would never know from just the greatest hits compilations!

A few weeks ago a guy at the thrift store just spoke up to me. “If you haven’t heard this ‘Pride Tiger’ cd before, definitely give it a shot for $0.99”. Hell yeah! That’s what I wanted to hear! Tried it and love it!

And make your own decisions! Even though your bud says he doesn’t like a specific album from a band, make your own choice! Hell I had people tell me that “prairie wind” by Neil Young was terrible! This by far turned out to be one of my favorite Neil releases!

Sure you will get some junk. But give it a shot! Just once in a while, you have no idea what you are missing. It is for the simple reason of discovering that unknown tune that has got me so addicted to this hobby!

Happy Canada day all!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Matthew Phillips memorabillia from the Beach Boys concert in Maine!

Hey got the following email from Matthew Phillips! You can see Matthews interview here. Thought I'd share the email!

"Finally saw The Beach Boys in Bangor, ME on June 22nd, and I made a frame collage from some stuff I got at the concert.

In the beachy frame is a tour poster, our regular tickets, special  "VIP" tickets, a pick that my wife grabbed for me at the end of the show, and a t-shirt rolled up at the bottom."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Andy "Bug" Campbell!

Next up we have Bug Campbell! I met Bug a while back when I sold him a few records from my previous blog. He is a hell of a nice guy and has some nice LP's here! Enjoy!

Here we go! 

Introduce yourself!

Name: Andy Campbell but almost everyone calls me Bug

City/Town: Fredericton

Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What do you collect? Vinyl; CD’s; Cassettes; 8 tracks; bootlegs; music memorabilia; magazine; etc.. 

Bug - Just vinyl

MV - Do you prefer one audio format more than others? (example: vinyl more than cd’s)

Bug - I prefer listening to vinyl in my basement, but the convenience of an iPod is great – I listen to it outside, in the car and at work.

MV - How big is your collection?

Bug - Roughly 75 albums

MV - Do you concentrate your collection on one or more artists in particular?

Bug - Not really. I enjoy finding music on vinyl that I enjoyed at some point in my past. I also have a couple of newer releases on vinyl – the latest by the Trews and Sam Roberts

MV - What is the first album you remember purchasing? Do you still have it?

Bug - I vividly remember listening to records with my dad – Willie Nelson, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, the Beatles, Elvis and many more. I started my own vinyl collection in 1982 when I was about 8 years old. The only ones I can remember having were Men at Work's “Business as Usual”, Survivor's “Eye of the Tiger”, John Cougar's “American Fool”, the J.Geils Band's “Freeze Frame” Stever Miller Band's “Abracadabra” (which I still have). I switched over to cassettes shortly after and I remember Thriller being the first tape I ever purchased. I joined Columbia House to get a bunch of “free” tapes as well. Because Fredericton didn't have a rock station, I was into top 40 played on CIHI – the Police, Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis, etc. - until I discovered “Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue. I turned into a metal head after that, listening to Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., AC/DC and Van Halen. In junior high, I got into “hair metal” - Poison, Skid Row, Bon Jovi....I wore out 2 copies of Appetite for Destruction, which is bar-none my favorite album of all time. In high school, the grunge movement took over and I got into Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains. I didn't get into Classic Rock like the Stones, the Beatles, Zeppelin and Hendrix until the Fox started broadcasting. Now, I listen to just about every form of rock out there – Foo Fighters, Matt Mays, RHCP, Big Sugar, Sam Roberts, the Trews. I have a number of different playlists on my iPod depending on what mood I'm in.

 MV - What is your favourite item in your collection?

Bug - In 1993 I entered a contest on MuchMusic – I forget what the grand prize was. Anyway, a couple of months later, I got a package in the mail with an Ontario address. Puzzled, I opened it and found Nirvana's “In Utero” on vinyl. I gave it to my brother but I've recently gotten it back from him. Next to that, probably an autographed copy of the Sam Roberts Band “Collider” LP.

MV - Do you still actively collect or was this something you concentrated on in the past?

Bug - I have been actively collecting vinyl for the last 2 years.

MV - What is your preferred way of adding to your collection? Shopping online? Flea Markets? Independent music stores? Etc… Any favourite store or websites?

Bug - I've gotten the bulk of my collection from some guy in Fredericton named Brad. I also visit Backstreet Records in Fredericton every now and again, and Live Wire and Spin-It when I'm in Moncton. I stay away from the Flea Markets because the prices are a bit steep for what I want to pay for a record. I have purchased records through kijiji, eBay, and too.

MV - How do you store your collection? Shelves? Boxes? Your attic?

Bug - They are currently in a little metal wire crate but I'm toying with the idea of getting some shelves built.

MV - Does your significant other support your collection? Did you have to convince him/her?

Bug - I had purchased a few records a couple of months before I even had a turntable, with the intentions of starting a vinyl collection. My wife actually surprised me with a great record player as a wedding present. I've purchased a few records with her in mind.


 MV  - What is on your “wish list” at the moment?

Bug - Appetite for Destruction is in the mail as we speak; that was #1 on my list. Besides that, the first 3 Metallica albums, the first 3 Pearl Jam albums, and Iron Maiden's “Live After Death”. I really wish “Terminal Romance” by Matt Mays & El Torpedo was available on vinyl.

MV - Do you know any other collectors?

Bug - A former co-worker collects vinyl; I've bumped into him at Backstreet before. Besides him, not many...although vinyl is apparently making quite a comeback, which is good to see.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures of a tape trader! - New interview with Keltie Harding!

I have been watching Keltie bootleg shows for a long time. I never ceased to be amazed by the pride he takes in the quality of his recordings. Keltie gives us a great interview below!

Here we go!

Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What is it about bootlegging concerts that got you interested initially?

Keltie Harding (KH) - My love of bootlegs & live recordings & being a "tape trader" started as a teen in the mid 80's.  I kept reading about bootlegs like "Sweet Apple Trax" & "Indian Rope Trick" in various Beatles books, and a little later "Live On Blueberry Hill" by Led Zeppelin in a Zeppelin book.   I guess what really got me interested was that some of these "illicit" recordings consisted of material that not many people (or the public at large) have ever heard. 

I guess I should kind of clarify the terms that often get batted around:  Bootlegger, pirate, counterfiet, tape trader, taper.   I classify a "bootlegger" as someone who will manufacture and profit from an unreleased recording, be it live shows or studio outtakes.  A "tape trader" is someone that will trade tapes / recordings with another trader (or nowadays share it with the online world) with no motive for profit. (To go along with this a "taper" is a guy who obviously records the show & is almost always a trader).  A "Pirate" is a guy who will manufacture and/or sell an already exact recording, often with new artwork.  So if you see a copy of "Jimi Hendrix - The Last Experience", it'll most certainly be a pirate, with no royalties (or sometimes a basic royalty) to the publisher of the material.  A "counterfeiter" is a person (or group/organization) who will make copies of a commercially available recording and sell for profit.  In recent years, the Russians have been notorious for making counterfeits, and they can be found for sale online, especially CD's with 2 albums on one.  While some of them may have actually purchased the rights to the recordings from the original owners of the recording, I'm sure most of them are culled from existing sources.  Clinton Heylin's EXCELLENT book "Great White Wonders" (now titled "Bootleg") described the difference between bootleggers, counterfeiters and traders in better detail.

In the recent past, live boots / live tapes have been classified as "ROIO's" or "recordings of indeterminate origin'.  I first saw this as it pertained to Pink Floyd live recordings.  But I still like the term "bootleg". Gives it that "taboo, underground, underbelly of the music establishment" feel, LOL.

MV - Did you trade bootlegs before you ever bootlegged your own shows?

 KH - Well I was a collector first, and then began to trade once I began to have a reasonable collection.  In about 1987, a mutual friend knew I was a heavy music nut and gave me this envelope of about 6 typed sheets, all with listings of various bootlegs by various bands, with a heavy emphasis on Kiss, Zeppelin and Van Halen.  A lot of Metallica too.  Lots of metal. A lot of these were just the name of the venue and the performance date.   These titles were available to purchase on cassettes, and priced according to the length of tape used to record on.  Shows 30 minutes and under were $6.00, 60 minutes & under were $8.00, 90 minutes and under were $10.00, and so on. Sound grading’s were pretty basic, EX for excellent, VG for very good, F for fair, and a + or - if the recording was a little above or below the given rating.  He also had legends of AUD for an audience recorded tape, MIX for a board tape and FM for a recording from the radio.   This guy was based out of a Montreal suburb. 

So I had like NO bootlegs to trade when I first started, so I simply bought from this guy 2-3 times a year, orders of at least $100.00.  I'd get these big padded envelopes with TDK D brand tapes of Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple concerts.  I even got a few that were obviously dubbed from bootleg LP's and had studio outtakes. Hearing "So Long Darlin'" by Zeppelin (actually "Operator" by Alexis Korner with Robert Plant) really got the juices flowing.   And some tapes were famously mis-labeled, and I'm sure not on my source's part.  They were probably labeled as such when he got them.  "New Yardbirds Live At The Marquee, Oct. 1968" by Zeppelin seemed like a great find and an amazing show for a band that were to become "Led Zeppelin" shortly after.  Only later did I realize that this "New Yardbirds" show was actually a Zep show from San Francisco, January 1969.  Bootleggers (in)famously mis-labeled shows just to throw people off.  

MV - What was the first bootleg recording you remember getting?

KH - "'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky" - Live At the L.A. Forum 1970 by Jimi Hendrix.  This was an actual double bootleg LP in a plain sleeve with a copied insert for the cover.   I borrowed this from a guy in Miramichi who I took a few guitar lessons from.  The sound was a bit tinny, but the performance was great.  I still have that original dubbed tape to this day.  I've found better sources of that same show in later years, but that was my first.  The second was "John, Paul, George & Ringo In The 1970's" on Melvin Records. I borrowed this record from a friend of mine.  Later did I realize that there were no real "rarities" on there, but was a collection of solo Beatle interview clips and B-sides from singles. But still it was a bootleg album.

I also listened to (and recorded) "The Lost Lennon Tapes" on the radio throughout 1987, and that was a great source for Beatles and Lennon rarities.  Hearing "take 1" of "Strawberry Fields Forever" or the unused "Arial Tour Instrumental" (an early version of "Flying" from "Magical Mystery Tour") gave me shivers.  I would make my own "Beatleg" tapes from my Lost Lennon Tapes cassettes, and knew there was more out there.

MV - Do you remember the first show you ever recorded?

KH - Well as mentioned above, I recorded "The Lost Lennon Tapes" off the radio back in 1987, but that doesn't really count.  The first real show was Metallica & Queensryche at the Moncton Coliseum, April 1989.  I used a VERY shitty walkman sized recorder and the tapes were pretty much all distorted.  Totally unlistenable.  After that experience, I saved up and bought a "Stereo Mate" portable cassette recorder at Radio Shack. The next show I recorded had to be Melissa Etheridge and Paul Janz at the Moncton Coliseum, June 1990.  I had somehow got a free ticket to go (can't really remember how but I think I got it through my buddy Mark (Gaudet) at Sam The Record Man.   I know I still have these tapes somewhere.


MV - What are some other notable bands you recorded over the years?

KH - Metallica in 1991, the last time they were ever in Moncton, Dire Straits in 1993, April Wine on their first reunion tour in 1992.  I recorded Big Sugar a few times.  I even recorded Nickelback (GASPS!!) when they played the Coliseum in 2003 I think (The ONLY time I have seen Nickelback.)  I recorded The Pixies when they rolled through town last year.  But I'd say that 80 % of my live recordings are of local indie bands, most of which I have developed personal friendships with over the years.  Lots of Eric's Trip, Elevator, Julie Doiron, Monoxides. 

Mv - Have any bands ever had any problem with you recording their shows?

KH - Most of the indie and local bands were and are cool with me recording the show.  I've only gotten sassed by a few, and one band were total asses about it. I did ask if it was OK beforehand & they made a big deal of it.  This band thought they were some real hot shit, but didn't last long.  The other time the said band were really polite in their refusal for me to record them and I respected that.  As for "big name" bands and shows at larger venues, I have to be careful and go into "stealth" mode, so security didn't see me.  But I guess nowadays with everyone owning smartphones now, they can record something and post it on Youtube, so I don't think it’s as "taboo" as it once was. 

MV - I know a lot of the time you set up your recording set up right next to the sound guy. Is this because this is where the show sounds best?

KH - Well I assumed that if I set up my mics near the board, I would get a better recording of what it would sound like from the sound guy's perspective, and also not having anyone knock over the stuff. Sometimes that's not possible, so I have to set up where my stuff is not in anyone else's way.  I have always tried to be respectful of other concert goers and not get in the way.  When I got into bringing more gear, I would tap into the sound board and get whatever feed I could get and record that as well as the open mic setup.

MV - The sound guy knows what you are doing.. Ever have any problems?

KH - Well not the sound guy per se. They've always been pretty accommodating, but again I am talking lower profile Indie gigs.  I'd be happy with whatever mix they gave me.  Sometimes they would give me a custom mix where I'd ask for a little more vocal or kick drum, but this was very rare.    One time I was packing up my gear after a show by a fairly popular Canadian band and either a security guy or roadie seized my tape recorder.  After about 5 minutes, he came back with the unit and the tape still inside. "The band says don't sell any copies to anyone, OK" was all he said.  That's the only time I've been confronted.

MV - At some concerts you have to sneak the equipment in.. Did you ever get caught?

KH - Nope.  Never.  Just that one incident with the security guard.  I was surprised that I got my recorder back.  I try to be as discreet and careful as possible.

MV - I know a lot of the shows I discover online are sound board recordings. How do bootleggers get taped into the soundboard?

KH - Well, a lot of board tapes are taken from recordings made for the band specifically.  Bands sometimes record the performances to listen to later, to critique their performance.  Open reel tape and cassettes were the preferred format.  And along the way, copies of these tapes were made and got leaked or found their way into collectors' hands. Some tapes were even stolen from the band's possession.  I think this happened to Jimmy Page from Led Zep, if I recall correctly.  There was even a story where the original cassette demo compilation of (what was later titled "Cold Cuts) unreleased McCartney tracks that was stolen from his glove box of his car.  (Again this was a story I heard long ago and not sure if it’s entirely true.  Sometimes bootleggers like to "spin a yarn" (create a story) to go along with the recording).

Soundboard tapes are almost always pulled from the live sound engineer's mix.  He's not mixing for a recording, but he is mixing for the venue.  So some board tapes may be heavy on one instrument but laid back on the other.  If a guitarist is pushing enough volume from his own amp to fill the venue, then the sound guy will put less of him in the mix, as opposed to say, bass guitar or kick drum.  So if you ever get a soundboard tape that sounds less than thrilling, that's probably the reason there. 

Some bands even promoted taping and the most famous of this is the Grateful Dead.  I know the Dead were very accommodating for audience tapers and had a special section for tapers, with strict guidelines.  Absolutely NO TALKING was one of them, no mic stands higher than 6 feet high, and a few others, and I THINK they had a certain amount of tickets per gig where you could actually tap into the sound board.  Dead fans are very obsessive about quality and that is a good thing.  I mean, who wants to listen to a crappy recording. 

And a lot of "Board" tapes came from TV or radio broadcasts as well.  And usually TV and radio recordings were better mixed than a "soundboard" tape.  There were a few occasions where the artist was (either directly or indirectly) involved with putting out a bootleg.  The most famous of this was the classic "Electrif Lycanthrope" by Little Feat.  Recorded at Ultrasonic Sound for a radio broadcast, the final mix was made by Little Feat founder Lowell George himself.  He figured if it was going to be bootlegged, it may as well be of high quality.  It’s a FANTASTIC performance and everyone should have this in their collection. Of course versions out there now are sourced from a copy of the actual stereo reel to reel mix, and sound much better than the bootleg LP. 


MV - When I first met you in the mid 90’s, I remember the majority of your bootlegs were on cassette and you used to trade through magazines… Am I remembering correctly?

KH - You bet!  I used to buy bootleg tapes from that guy out of Quebec, and then later made some trade friends through some Fanzines.  I remember one guy I met through "Electric Magic" (a Zeppelin fanzine)  and we traded a crapload of tapes. We even ended up collaborating on some original material too, if you can believe it. 

MV - Do you ever miss snail mail trading like this?

KH - In a way, I do.  I miss the personal feeling I would get from sitting down and writing a letter to go along with the tapes or in the case of my trader friend from Nova Scotia, pages and pages of music talk, talking about our lives, problems we were having, so on and so forth.  I miss the excitement of waiting for a package to arrive in the mail, the thrill of opening the package up, and the sweet agony of trying to decide what tape to play first!   But online sharing has changed things completely.  I don't know if any one trades by mail anymore.  But I'm sure there are a few that are unable to have high speed internet and have to do the mail thing.  I'm kind of jealous actually as I remember all those feelings I described above so well. 

MV - Does file sharing sites take away all the fun of finding the shows?

KH - Not really.  I think now that because fans of "bootlegs" are really conscious about sound quality, better sounding sources of the material is out there.  There are still a few shows that I know are out there and would love to have, and sometimes you do have to scour the web to find that show, even if it’s in low bitrate MP3.  I'm pretty picky about sound and will ONLY get an MP3 source if that is the ONLY source I can find.  Once I get a better source in lossless, the MP3 gets deleted, or set aside in case I want to put it on my iPod one day.  But file sharing does take away the "penpal" aspect of trading.  But now on most reputable trading sites, you can post comments and share views with other users.  It’s nice to read other people's comments. 

Fans nowadays, like I said, are quite picky about the sound, and even the details and history behind the recordings.  In the past, many boots were deliberately mis-labled to throw off fans or (worse) the authorities.  (Classic example is Dylan's famous "Royal Albert Hall" concert which is actually from the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.  )  These days, fans want the most accurate information they can get, right down to the gear used to record the show and how that particular version came to being (the "lineage").  I'll give an example:

SBD ->  7.5 IPS Reels ->  3.75 IPS Reel -> TDK SA Cassette (no NR) -> WAV -> CDR  -> EAC/CDR->FLAC

Pretty self-explanatory.  But to break it down, SBD recording fed to a reel running at 7.5 IPS, then a copy made to a 3 3/4 IPS reel, then copied to a TDK "SA" brand Cassette without any Dolby noise reduction, then transferred to digital WAV file, burned to CDR, a copy of that CDR made to another CDR via "Exact Audio Copy" software, then converted to FLAC lossless.

 It’s important (more out of good karma than being a rule, but it’s the accepted norm these days) that recordings have lineage included, as many fans would rather have a recording closer to the original source than a copy of a copy of a copy.  Sometimes it’s not possible, as some recordings may only exist on cassette, for example, but knowing where the recording has come from is quite important.  Think of looking at getting a dog.  You want to know where the puppy has been bred, if the parents had any health issues, etc. The same idea. 

MV - Also when I first met you CDR’s were just becoming popular and I remember you got a lot of bootlegs on cd as well. Do you still have all of these cassettes and CD’s or did you just convert them and toss them?

KH - I have kept everything from the years.  Some boots I have on tape and that will serve me just fine (ie: Van Halen at Castle Donnington 1984).  I never had many bootleg CD's right from the manufacturers (they were always too expensive,) but I have kept most of them.  I horribly regret trading in The Who's "Furious Prelude" (Fillmore East, April 1968.)  I have yet to find that title again.  I have the cassette dub I made of it, but should not have let go of the CD.  And I've never gotten rid of my vinyl boots.   I do see some independent stores still selling CDR's of boots, sometimes with really bad inkjet printed covers.  I almost feel like saying "you know, you can download these now online if you know where to look.  $20.00 for a CDR of a boot is a rip off. "  

MV - Has your recording equipment changed over the years?

KH - Oh yes.  My first portable rig was one that was better suited for dictation only, and not crazy-ass loud concerts.  I recorded Metallica in '89 on that and it sounded like shit.  I then purchased the Stereo Mate walkman sized stereo cassette recorder.  I used that thing so much I wore it out practically.  It had built in mics, but they picked up alot of the mechanical noise of the recorder.  It had jacks for left and right microphones, so I purchased a stereo condenser microphone from Radio Shack.  The BEST portable mic I have had.  My original was stolen a few years ago so I bought one just like new on Ebay.   It was housed in 1 body and you could pivot the mics to a maximum of 180 degrees. 

When I knew that portable digital recording was possible, I decided to go with MiniDisc, as it was what I could afford at the time.  (Looking back, I should have invested in a portable DAT recorder but knew that it was very pricey).  The MiniDisc aspect seemed very good, but I had a hard time with finding a good unit.  I had 2 Sony units that both were very glitchy and had a lot of mechanical problems.  I got a Sharp unit and it was a fantastic little rig.  I bought another Sony to go along with the Sharp and it was the best Sony I had, with absolutely no mechanical hang ups.  I even went so far to get a playback only MD unit to save wear and tear on the recorders.  Unfortunately both the Sharp and Sony units were stolen.  I had to buy a used Sony and I still have that unit and it works well, but have not recorded on it in so long. 

After attending college (a recording arts program) I began to buy equipment to start recording professionally.  I ended up getting a Yamaha MD4, a 4-track MiniDisc multitrack unit.  I hauled that thing to many a show, and recorded mono board feeds with it, stereo audience recordings and even 4-track multitrack stage recordings on that thing.  I still have it but the disc mechanism is futzed, but the mixer on it still works great.  This MD 4 track used a different type of MiniDisc called "MD Data" and were quite expensive, so I never had very many.  I still have the discs with stuff on them and would love to find someone with the same format (and a working unit) to help me convert the discs over to high rez digital.  (If you are one of those people, please contact me via Brad. Thanks!)

Right now I have a portable digital recorder by Zoom called the H2.  This unit records onto SD memory cards and can record from low bitrate MP3 to 96 K, 24 bit high rez digital in 4 channels.  There are many other brands of portable digital recorders out there but at the time, I liked the Zoom H2 for the features and the price.  Having a choice of recording in 2 track stereo or 4-track was a selling point.  The unit sounds great.  There are newer units that record at even higher bitrates but I'm happy with what I got.  I need to be.  I'd be broke-ass broke if I kept upgrading every year! 


MV - What is your favorite bootleg recording that you recorded yourself and why?

KH - Oh man, that’s a loaded one.  There's been so many shows, hundreds of recordings, so many memorable ones, it’s hard to pick a "favorite".  I have many favorites.  But there have been some that have stood out more throughout the years. (Taking a pause to think for a bit...)

OK - Big Sugar at Voodoo Nightclub.  The first time I saw them live and became a huge fan afterwards.  I know you played me their CD's and really liked them, but seeing them live solidified that for me.  This was recorded on the stereo mate recorder and sounded great.

Another one was "Little Orton Hoggett & The Ten-Cent Wings" Live at The Esquire Tavern 1996 (opening for Elevator To Hell).  I had no idea who they were.  At the show I saw Sloan's Chris Murphy milling around for a bit. Then he comes out dressed in western garb.  Then 3 members of Halifax band The Superfriendz came out as well.   And they began playing honky-tonk style COUNTRY music.   It was completely surreal, but so entertaining and damn, they could PLAY!!! That recording has been listened to many times over.

One of the more recent ones has to be Julie Doiron from the first SappyFest in Sackville.  This was an 8-track multitrack recording and was lucky to catch most of it on multi.  She was backed by Shotgun & Jaybird for this set and the version of "Some Blues" she played that night was so intense. 

MV - Have you ever sent your recordings to the artist and if so what kind of reaction did it get?

KH - Well, when it comes to the indie scene, the locals know that I will probably have a recording of their band kicking around.  They are usually pretty stoked when I give them a copy.  Especially if its of a band that does not exist anymore.  Sometimes I have the only known live recording of a band, and that's pretty cool.  Some artists have even used my recordings.  Joel Plaskett used a live recording of "From The Back Of The Film" on his website at one time as a download.  Same for Julie Doiron.  Moncton / Miramichi based singer Zwerg used a live recording of his that I made a few years ago.  And recently singer/songwriter Snailhouse used one of my multi-track recordings on an EP he issued last year.  I always try to get a good quality recording and like to share with the artist.  If they want to use it for something, great!

MV - Do you know any other local recorders?

KH - I think I was the only one from the Moncton area recording and documenting the indie scene.  I know Rick White (of Eric's Trip and Elevator) taped a lot of shows on his 4-track.  But I never ran into many other local tapers.  I did meet my friends Shant Pelley and Katrina Grentz at a Julie Doiron show back in the day and Shant was into taping shows as well.  As for local tapers that share on The Trader's Den and Dimeadozen (ie: Scotian Bill and Walkin' Dude) I don't know them but they do great sounding recordings.  Robb Tyner (not his real name for obvious reasons) was the taper of the Deep Puprle show from the Moncton Casino that I did the mixdown on.  He gave me the SD card with the show on it and I worked on it from there. 

Final Thoughts:  I feel the hobby of collecting, listening to and sharing live recordings & unreleased music is a natural step for anyone who's a serious music fan.  The recordings have gotten better as the equipment and techniques have gotten better.  If you already have all 10 of Zeppelin's LP's, the DVD's and 2 official live albums, and want more, no place else to go but to the tape traders and file sharers. I feel that having bootlegs can help you appreciate the true measure of a performer, without the aid of overdubs or studio tricks.  Boots can also help you appreciate the work an artist or group puts into recording an album.  And boots certainly have made some big labels stand up and notice.  Would we ever have gotten The Beatles' Anthology series if a good portion of that material hadn't already been circulating on boots?   Would Experience Hendrix would have ever formed their "Dagger Records" imprint to reissue live Jimi boots and release Jimi's last show (Isle of Fehmarn, Germany) if it wasn't already out there on inferior tapes of unknown generations?  Boots certainly serve their purpose and have their place in the whole scheme of things.   I'm thankful for the technology we have to share and "liberate" recordings from the profit seeking bootleggers.  I'm thankful for the tapers who take the time and energy to record performances, some of which have become classic and truly essential (Rolling Stones "Liv'R Than You'll EVER Be").  

The bootlegging and online live music trading community is a great thing to have.  I encourage everyone to start collecting and start enjoying.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to identify original Beatles LP's on the capital label!

What was the first vinyl lp I ever bought? Well it was two actually. The Beatles Red and Blue lps!

I thought it was a great start! I was a cd collector for a long time and decided to take the epic jump to vinyl. What better place to start than the greatest band ever! The Beatles!

Now since I purchased these lps I have bought literally hundreds of Beatles albums! Some I sold…. Most I kept!.

Now a big thing about buying Beatles lps is knowing what you’re buying! And of course as it is with all albums, it’s all in the label!

I am by far no expert when it comes to labels on lps. I always have to rely on Goldmine price guide or do some research online. However, over the years I got a better understanding of the Beatles labels. Particularly the Canadian releases. So I’m going to give a crash course on identifying the Beatles Canadian releases on the “Capital” label!!

When the Beatles albums were first released in Canada they were issued by Capital Records. Capital records had a black label with a rainbow around the perimeter until. This is known as the rainbow label! Basically all of the official releases were released on this label until 1968 when they opened Apple Records and released them under their own company (the apple label).

Now this label was reintroduced within capital again in the 80’s.And yet again sometime later on! So just because you have a Beatles album on the ‘rainbow’ label does not mean that you have an original Beatles lp! BUT, there are a few easy things to look at to tell the difference.

The 60’s rainbow label (which of course would be the original Beatles releases) looks like this:


Note the text written above the rainbow along the bottom portion. This is way of easily identifying the 60’s rainbows!

Now look at this 1980’s release:


See how much text there is? Forget about what the text says… Just remember that the 80’s rainbow text goes almost the entire way around the label, and the original does not.

On the even later pressings the text is in the actual rainbow! Simple isn’t it!. So to know that the capital label is from the 60’s, all you have to know is that the text is outside of the rainbow, and covers less than half the perimeter of the label!

Now if you want to get really particular.. The Beatles lp's pressed in the later part of the 60’s has “Canada” in brackets! The earlier 60’s labels do not!

Now of course Capital had other label variations over the years.. Here is a quick rundown..

Between 1969 and 1971 the capital target labels were used. First the label was green with the target and later it was switched to a red label with the target which is shown below.


From 1972-1976 it was switched to an orange label like this!


There were a few small variations over the years with the orange label but know that if you have an orange label it was from this time period!

In 1977 they switched to this purple label!

Again a few small variations over the years but if it is purple, it’s from the late 70’s!

And then in the 80’s they went back to the rainbow as I discussed above!

So this gives you a good idea how to identify Beatles lps on the capital label! Hope it helps!

If I missed anything or you disagree with how I identify these, by all means please leave a comment!