For several months now I’ve had a second blog entitled Bootleg Nation. It was all about my bootleg collection and live music. You see at the time I decided I needed a more niche market for my writing and the bootlegs seemed like a good place to start. The idea was that since Brewster’s Millions is such an eclectic space filled with my rambling on all sorts of subjects, I might be turning people off.
Let me explain. Let’s say the average Asian cinemaphile searches for a review of the movie, The Red Shoes and comes to my page. If he likes it he may click on my front page to read more. But instead of more Asian cinema he finds Random Shuffle, or commentary on the latest Simpsons episode. Well, he doesn’t care about these things and clicks away for ever.
I suspect many people do this. They find one article they like, look for other similar articles and find the hodge-podge that is my blog and then leave. Because of this I figured if I can condense my Bootleg writings in one place I might keep like minded people and get return visitors.
The problem is that my bootleg writing has died over the last couple of months. In the interim, Brewster’s Millions has actually found a decent audience. So it looks like curtains for Bootleg Nation.
All of this is to introduce a new feature here at Brewster’s Millions, which is really not new at all as it appeared on Bootleg Nation multiple times.
Fresh Boots should be a regular, weekly feature discussing the new bootlegs I have acquired over the past week. It actually features a bunch of bootlegs that I have had on my hard drive for who knows how long. A recent spat of burning had created CDs of these boots and thus you get them here.
John Denver 12/2/96
Valley Forge Music Fair, Devon, PA
I usually have to duck when I admit I’m a John Denver fan. His music is just a little too saccharine for most people I know. But there is something I dig about his sincerity and his voice and well, yeah he is saccharine, but sometimes I’m a sucker for sugar.I am also a complete and total sucker for his Christmas album with the Muppets. It would, in fact, top my all time list of best Christmas Albums Ever. This set starts out with a full Muppet version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and is followed by a set of Christmas songs. Though most of them are not on the Muppet album.The second set is all classic Denver stuff, and that’s ok with me.
Fillmore West San Francisco, CA
I periodically want to be a Byrd fan. The first record I ever bough of theirs was the Gram Parsons influenced “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.” It is a gorgeous blend of country and rock music and an all time favorite record of mine.
From there I got other albums, and mainly a big boxed set, and for the most part I hate them all. The music is nothing like “Sweetheart” but rather super produced pop music.
Still, I’m always looking for the sound I fell in love with and downloaded this bootleg awhile back. I’ve not given it much of a spin yet, but from what I have heard it sounds like the latter sound and not the stuff I love.
Grateful Dead 03/22/87
Hampton Coliseum Hampton, VA
By 1987 the Dead were a monolith. They were selling out stadiums and very set into their ways. Gone was the experimental troupe of pranksters seeking new frontiers and in its place was this gigantic corporation of musical giganticness.
Now this is not to say that they still didn’t smoke once in awhile. In fact, with the introduction of MIDI technology the Dead found a new way to experiment with sound. A lot of heads really dig the late 80 sound. I’m just not one of them. Garcia’s voice and guitar tone by this point have both become very weak, and the whole MIDI sound is generally kind of irritating.
So, why did I get this disk? Mainly because it was on a fast download, and I’m a sucker for all things Grateful Dead. But also because I have to admit they still produced some danged good music during this period as well.
Ryan Adams 08/01/06
The Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
I love Ryan Adams and I especially love him with the Cardinals. I’ve set it before but the Cardinals really seem to elevate Adams to another level. Plus they tend to eliminate his pension for whinny, whispering songs of sadness.
This is a soundboard copy and I’ve been trying to scoop up everything Ryan Adams in high quality. Plus it was performed on Jerry Garcia’s birthday and they do a nice version of “He’s Gone.”
Agora Ballroom Cleveland, OH
There were two boys in Junior High that had the long hair and the denim jackets plastered with Mega Death, Iron Maiden and Metallica t-shirts. They were sort of outcasts (the kind of kids you’d probably worry about in this post Columbine world) but they were really fairly happy sort of chaps, like not being the least bit popular didn’t phase them.
It was interesting to see them in the early 90s when Metallica suddenly had a hit record and all the kids were digging them. Suddenly their little underground band was every where. Suddenly they were seen as hip kids who knew about the band way before everybody else.
I admit I landed on Metallica, along with most everybody else during the “Black Album.” I did delve into their back catalog a bit, but for the most part that one album is my experience with the band.
I’m not really why I got this bootleg other than I’m always up for having a larger collection of boots, and any band that expands my repertoire is a good thing. Though I can’t say I foresee myself giving this a real listen anytime soon.
Lucinda Williams 08/09/91
McCabes Guitar Shop Santa Monica, CA
Alternative Car Wheels
I’ve mentioned my love for Lucinda Williams here before. She’s just magic to my ears. She’s got something of a gravely voice, but it fits her songs of the country wood and back roads just perfectly. This is an amazingly crisp recording of her performing what sounds like just her and an acoustic guitar. I can’t wait to give it my full attention in the very near future.
When Car Wheels on a Gravel Road came out there was much ado made about how long it took Lucinda to record it. There were also many mentions of an alternative version she recorded with Steve Earle that got extremely cut in the final version. Thanks to the internets I have a copy. I have yet to give it a single spin, so I can’t say in what ways it differs, nor if it is any better than the copy sitting in the record store.