Bootleg EP – or – Just a Mirage?

It must have been the year before last when I was enjoying a madcap musical romp through Thailand and its wildly imaginative bootleg EP scene — 7-inch picture sleeves using filched images, with four songs often (but not always) by four different artists, produced in renegade fashion without regard for legal or copyright considerations [see “Oddball Beatles EPs Worldwide“].  It was early 2018, most likely, when I made that fateful decision to print out a decent quality scan of a bootleg EP that had made the curious call to bring together the bubblegum sounds of The Archies and 1910 Fruitgum Co. (plus early Dave Clark Five) with “agit-pop” from The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man” — a song that was banned from radio (and whose provocative sleeve was immediately withdrawn) in 1968, a year in which assassination and rioting dominated headlines.

378×400 pixel version of image below

Coliseum = cheeky send-up of almighty Columbia Records (i.e., “Big Red“)

Track Listing

A1  “Street Fighting Man”   The Rolling Stones

A2  “Because”   The Dave Clark Five

B1  “Bang Shang-a-Lang”   The Archies

B2  “Goody Gum Drops”   1910 Fruitgum Co.

 

Don’t recall why I printed out this image in the first place, but here’s the weird thing —  Located this printout in my “scratch paper” pile and began to use it for correspondence, when the librarian in me prompted me to search the 45Cat database to affirm its existence but could no longer find it there … or anywhere else on the Internet!  This scanned image, therefore, is the world’s only proof of a bootleg EP from Thailand that was almost certainly released in 1968, possibly 1969.

Did I somehow dream up this EP release – Coliseum CLS 1080 – or was it, in fact, actually birthed?  45Cat allows users to easily browse a list of cataloged Coliseum releases, which has entries for two somewhat nearby catalog numbers, CLS 1087 (from 1969, we think) and CLS 1099 (released 1968, confusingly).

CLS 1087 = previously featured here          CLS 1099 = “Sugar Sugar” & friends

Evidence of Coliseum CLS 1080 EP’s existence:  If you Google the terms Coliseum + Archies + “CLS 1080” (as of October 10, 2019), Bill Rousell‘s music sales website will turn up in the search results, with a sales listing for this EP that names the four tracks in identical order.

Zero to 180, you might recall, had previously saluted The Archies five years ago in a piece that acknowledged 1968 to be a remarkably fertile time for truck driving country music.  The Rolling Stones (not to mention Stones sound-alike bands) have also been the focus of Zero to 180’s roving eye more than once over the years.

Rare UK picture sleeve, quickly withdrawn = sold for $17,100 in 2015!

Illicit Vinyl — No Laughing Matter

If the example of Thailand suits your warped sensibilities, you will also likely enjoy browsing the unauthorized vinyl output from the countries of MalaysiaIran & USSR.

           Decca US 451966                                  Decca Lookalike 45 = Malaysia

Furthermore, if you poke around 45Cat’s database in the section tagged asPoland,” you will quickly discover a vast underworld of “postcard discs” — sometimes plain, but often as not, “old-timey” renderings and travel scenes, as well as modernist art images, with one and sometimes two songs on a single-sided “sound postcard”!

All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles – Poland, 1967 = who knew?

Can you guess which early 60s instrumental hit (later covered by Sugar Hill Gang)?

Isn’t it obvious?  “Apache” by The Shadows = Polish postcard disc

 

Oddball Hendrix 45s Worldwide

Those familiar with Jimi Hendrix‘s song catalog might be amused by the quirky decisions made in various ‘foreign’ (i.e, non-US or -UK) markets around the globe — that’s right, it’s another romp through the 45Cat database not unlike the previous piece with The Beatles.

Let us begin our quest with “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” Hendrix’s fourth UK single and an ‘important’ early composition — right away, we note that Germany produced a playfully expressive picture sleeve for this 1967 A-side release.

Norway, on the other hand, would take Hendrix’s ‘wild man’ stage persona and run with it.

Barclay of France (previously celebrated here), meanwhile, would present Hendrix in a slightly more regal fashion in this 1967 picture sleeve.

Tragically humorous to see “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” as a B-side in 1969, paired with “Fire” for the UK market, however with the A-side mistitled as “Let Me Light Your Fire”!

New Zealand, Yugoslavia, and Germany would also confuse “Fire” with The Doors’ big breakout hit also from 1967 – pop music’s peak year – along with Spain, whose picture sleeve release (below) wins an award for most imaginatively literal interpretation.

Spanish 45 – “Let Me Ligh Your Fire”:  Musical Misspellings!

“Light Your Fire” / “Midnight Lamp” Polydor 45 from unknown country – possibly Singapore.

“Burning of the Midnight Lamp” would also be used as a B-side on this 4-track EP from Portugal that was released in 1968.

“Burning of the Midnight Lamp” would receive somewhat of a promotion in Bolivia, where the song was sequenced as the second track (side A) of a four-cut EP from 1970 that features “Come On (Pt. 1)” in its first and only starring role as an “A-side” (EP also notable for “Love or Confusion” – a recording otherwise found only on Are You Experienced).

“Come On (Pt. 1)”:  first & only A-side appearance

4-song EP from Iran (with one Hendrix track) sold for $180

Musical misspelling!  “Jimmy Hendrix Experience”

Some of Hendrix’s more adventurous songwriting efforts, such as “Are You Experienced”; “Third Stone from the Sun”; “Little Wing”; “Castles Made of Sand”; “House Burning Down”; “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining Still Dreaming” (et al.) would not end up on a 45 release – or, at least, during his lifetime.

However, there are a couple unlikely Hendrix compositions that found themselves being issued in 7-inch format, such as side one’s ambitious (5 minutes and 29 seconds) closing track for Axis: Bold As Love – “If Six Was Nine” – chosen for the US & Australian markets in 1969 as the B-side to “Stone Free” (no doubt prompted by the song’s inclusion in the soundtrack to that same year’s classic counterculture film, Easy Rider).

“If Six Was Nine” — unlikely Australian B-side

Another unlikely Hendrix track found on a 45:  “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” selected as the B-side for “Crosstown Traffic” in 1968 for the Australian market, while serving the same role in 1970 for the Yugoslavian market (although paired instead with “Voodoo Chile”) — the song’s only non-LP releases thus far known.

“Have You Ever Been” — unlikely Australian B-side

But without a doubt, the oddest Hendrix composition to end up on either side of a 45 is the epic underwater fantasy that fills an entire album side on Hendrix’s finest long-player — “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” — which Barclay saw fit to release in 1972, along with another Electric Ladyland cut, “Come On (Part 1),” that, aside from Bolivia, could not be found on a disc measuring less than one foot in diameter [in fact, hilarious to discover that Iran beat everyone else to the punch when bootleggers issued “Come On” on this EP from 1968, the year of Electric Ladyland‘s release].

French 45 – 1972

This French 45 release from 1972 would be the sole non-LP release of beautiful ballad, “Drifting” (with nice vibraphone work from Buzzy Linhart), from the first posthumous LP, 1971’s The Cry of Love.

French 45 – 1972

Spanish Castle Magic” – otherwise confined to Axis: Bold As Love – would find itself loudly liberated in Japan, where it would be released on 7-inch (and nowhere else) in 1968.

Japanese 45 – 1968

This pair of 45s from 1967 – Italy (left) & Spain (right) – shares the same design template, if not typography.

The cover design of this “Purple Haze” EP from Mexico (1968) also wins for ‘most literal’ — includes three tracks from the debut album, plus one (“Up From the Skies”) from the ‘new’ one, curiously enough.

“Freedom” b/w “Angel” 45 picture sleeve – Japan – 1971

1971 EP from Singapore — rare non-LP appearance of “My Friend” from The Cry of Love.

“Hej Joe” 45 picture sleeve – Yugoslavia – 1975

This Hendrix piece would not be complete without bootleg EP releases from Thailand, beginning with this 4-song Are You Experienced sampler (title track + 3 others).

Axis: Bold As Love would likewise get packaged as a 4-track EP sampler — includes rare instance of “Wait Until Tomorrow”; “You Got Me Floatin'” & “Little Miss Lover” on non-LP.

4-track EP (1969) includes 2 tracks each from Hendrix’s Experience & Clapton’s Cream.

Another noteworthy 4-track bootleg EP from Thailand with a familiar cover montage — includes Jimi’s “Freedom” plus three non-Hendrix (!) tracks.

Jimi appears on the cover of another 4-track EP, albeit with only one Hendrix recording — this one a bootleg from Malaysia, however.

Iran would produce other bootleg Hendrix product, such as this 4-track Smash Hits EP.

Iran would also boldly pair two musical giants – James Brown and Jimi Hendrix – for the first and last time ever on this split EP that includes “Let Yourself Go” (a song previously celebrated in Zero to 180’s salute to Brown’s brave and patriotic Vietnam tour in 1968).

Distinctive green-vinyl EP from Iran includes “House Burning Down” — plus “Mr. Soul” from Buffalo Springfield (not to mention “Grits and Corn Bread” – a 1966 soul instrumental  previously celebrated here).

Hendrix releases on obsolete playback formats are available for purchase, go figure.

Zero to 180 is stunned to discover that all three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums received radically different covers and sleeve designs when released in France on Barclay imprint, Panache, as shown below.

1967 debut

1967’s Axis: Bold As Love

1968’s Electric Ladyland

Hendrix, incidentally, would only merit one picture sleeve in his lifetime for the US market — debut 45, “Hey Joe” b/w “51st Anniversary” (released April, 1967 on Reprise).

Oddball Beatles EPs Worldwide

Last month’s surprising (and under-reported) research results pertaining to The Beatles’ controversial association with K-Tel, I assumed, had tapped the well of Beatledom dry.  So imagine my surprise when Zero to 180 researchers poked at 45Cat’s database with a stick and stumbled upon a treasure trove of curious and, at times, downright baffling decisions regarding Beatles 45 and EP releases in “foreign” markets around the world.

Thailand takes the proverbial cake, in terms of audacity, style, and sense of the absurd, with not a single vinyl offering having enjoyed input from EMI or The Beatles whatsoever.  My favorite find among these brazen bootleg releases on Thailand’s Coliseum label is an EP that features four tracks from 1968’s ‘White Album – all of them left-field song choices – but it’s the picture sleeve that wins a prize for sheer daffiness:

Musical Misspellings!   “The Beatle” (singular) + “warm gum”

Beatles 45 Thailand-aa

As one of the 45Cat catalogers notes, this 1968 EP enjoys the distinction of being the only appearance of “Martha My Dear” on a non-LP Beatles release.  Only Finland would see fit to include “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” on a (legitimate) 45, while “Glass Onion” would remain an album track solely (if you exclude this unauthorized EP from Iran).  “Savoy Truffle” very nearly suffered the same fate — until Mexico’s outsized fondness for George Harrison manifested itself in this impressive assemblage of four (count ’em) George tracks released in 1971, one year after the band had called it quits.

Guinness record for number of George songs on Beatles non-LP release

Beatles EP - Mexico-aa

Actually, that same year Apple Mexico would issue four additional George-packed EPs, particularly notable for the Beatle whose first and only A-side — 1969’s “Something” — had come near the end of the Beatles’ recording career (where his output would be limited to one song per album side):

Beatles EP - Mexico-bbBeatles EP - Mexico-ddBeatles EP - Mexico-cc

Needless to say, this is the sole non-LP appearance ofPiggies” (above, endearingly misspelled), while the picture sleeve below is a rare use of the Sgt. Pepper image on an EP that includes but one track from pop music’s most revolutionary album.

Mexico Salutes George Harrison:  fifth & final EP

Beatles EP - Mexico-eeGeorge’s “I Me Mine” would forever be confined to the Let It Be album, except in Mexico, where the song would be included on a 1972 EP, (also noteworthy for including album-only track “One After 909“), while Venezuela would go one step further by being the only country to issue this waltz on a 45.  Also noteworthy is a planned-but-never-issued 5-song EP for the UK market of what would have been the only non-LP appearance of George track “It’s All Too Much.”

Nice to see that Mexico — who would take credit for the only authorized non-LP issue ofYer Blues” — also has a soft spot for Ringo, as this hand-picked set of tracks from 1971 clearly indicates:

Beatles EP - Mexico-ffSpeaking of Ringo, this has got to be a first and only one of its kind:  A solitary Beatle (rendered as a cartoon, no less) as the cover image for a Beatles EP issued by Odeon Bolivia in 1965.

Beatles EP - Bolivia-aaaApple Mexico’s casual use of Sgt. Pepper tracks on other 1971 EPs (“Lucy in the Sky,” as well as “Help From My Friends,” and album showstopper, “A Day in the Life“) would seem to be unparalled among EMI affiliates while, at the same time, oddly sacrilegeous.  And for some quirky reason, it is Italy – not the UK – who enjoys the distinction of having issued the world’s only Sgt. Pepper 45 the year of the album’s release.

Odeon Spain’s 4-track EP is remarkable for being, essentially, a Sgt. Pepper sampler from 1968 that includes “Lovely Rita” – the only authorized such use of that track, as well as the magical “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”  Odeon Argentina would enjoy similar distinction for its own 1967 Sgt. Pepper EP, notable for including “Fixing a Hole” and “Good Morning Good Morning.”

FLEXI-DISC!  Says 45cat:  “DESIGNED TO BE SOLD IN VENDING MACHINES

Beatles flexi-disc - US 1969

Must point out that the Sgt. Pepper EP released on Thailand’s TK label is almost certainly not the work of the band — the bizarro song selection [“All You Need Is Love”; “Lovely Rita”; “Baby You’re a Rich Man”; “Things We Said Today”] being a major tip-off.  As 45Cat contributor Tylerl notes with exasperation on the world’s behalf:

“Why ‘Things We Said Today’??  Weird.  Needed ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ instead.  It’s not on any 45 or EP worldwide.  Sad.”

(Bam-Caruso also hits it on the head with his observation “another strange Thailand EP with an inspired sleeve.”)

Sgt. Pepper EP – but with only one track from the album!

Beatles EP - Thailand-ddBeatles EP - Thailand-ee

“Strawberry Fields Forever” is one of those monumental A-sides from AM radio’s golden age — and yet Odeon Japan would do the unthinkable, when the label made the tragic and misguided decision in 1967 to dilute the song’s seismic impact by leading off instead with a throwaway track from the previous year (“Bad Boy”) that sounds considerably out of its depth.

Beatles EP - Japan-aA recent documentary tribute toHey Bulldog,” the group’s last true collaborative effort, would note the song’s exclusion from single release during the band’s lifetime — a factual statement, if you ignore the track’s inclusion on a 1969 EP issued by Thailand renegade label, Coliseum.

the famous Yellow Submarine cover, and yet only one track from the album!

Beatles EP - Thailand-aa

Thailand’s labels would, indeed, take liberties with not only song selection but cover design, as well.  For instance, the band depicted on the 1968 EP below most definitely is not the same group that recorded “Sexy Sadie” (Lennon, by this point, wearing a beard and “granny” spectacles) and “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey.”

“Rock” Raccoon

Beatles EP - Thailand-bb

Note, too, this 1968 EP’s use of a still image from the iconic “I Am the Walrus” sequence in 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour film for a collection of ‘White Album‘ tracks!

Beatles EP - Thailand-cc

The only EMI-authorized issue of “I Dig a Pony” on a non-LP released during the band’s lifetime, meanwhile, is what secures Bolivia’s place in Beatles history (ditto for “Bungalow Bill,” “Julia” & “Me and My Monkey“).  But it’s Brazil (and no one else) who issued “Dear Prudence” on a 7-inch, while only Nicaragua would dare to include “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” on a 45 (ditto “Cry Baby Cry“).

sole authorized use of “Dig It” on non-LP release:  1972 MEXICAN EP

Beatles EP - Mexico-gg

Fascinatingly, Jamaica alone would enjoy authorized use of “Sexy Sadie” on a non-LP issue, while Venezuela would have bragging rights over its singular selection of “Wild Honey Pie” for 45 release.

“I’ve Got a Falling”:  1970 MALAYSIAN EP

Beatles EP - Malaysia-bbHowever, no one can top Portugal as the only country authorized to include the ultimate Beatles psychedelic track – “Tomorrow Never Knows” – on a vinyl platter whose diameter measures less than one foot (sorry, Iran – I don’t think you got permission).

Beatles EP - Portugal-aa Happy to see the distribution of Beatles recordings reach the African countries of Nigeria, Kenya, Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia [Zimbabwe], and South Africa, as well as countries in the Middle East, including United Arab Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel, plus such Eastern Bloc nations as East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.

Can’t tell if EMI had a hand in this 1965 EAST GERMAN 45 release

Beatles 45 - East Germany-aEncore bootleg EP
Thailand Loves The Beatles

Beatles EP - Thailand-fff

“When I Was a Boy”: Adulthood Stinks

Music fans who only know The Who through their album releases are sadly depriving themselves of a whole other world of Who music:  their non-LP tracks.  And not just singles and EP tracks but also bootlegged/pirated versions of great recordings that, for whatever reason, were officially kept in the can.  What a revelation, for instance, to discover the existence of an alternative version of beloved album — The Who Sell Out, a pastiche of AM radio complete with phony ads & station IDs — that includes two great obscure originals (“Early Morning Cold Taxi” and “Jaguar“), as well as studio versions of two cover songs made famous on their Live at Leeds album (“Young Man Blues” & “Summertime Blues“), plus one that wasn’t (Eddie Cochran’s lesser-known, “My Way“).  How interesting to learn, as I did just now, that Keith Moon did the lead vocal on “Jaguar”!

Al Kooper plays organ on this 45-only version of ‘Who Sell Out’ album track

In recent years, many of these non-LP recordings have been used by MCA as bait to get fans to buy yet another CD reissue of The Who’s back catalog, but you know what?  The remixed and remastered versions of these “bonus tracks” sound dreadful and overly fiddled with.  Thank goodness I didn’t do anything hasty to my bootleg & pirate recordings — where they got the mix right the first time.  Can you tell how annoyed I am when record companies remix musical recordings, not because they should but because they can?

John Entwistle would later gather 11 of these wayward, album-less recordings, such as “Little Billy” (written for the American Cancer Society, who ultimately passed on it), “Glow Girl” and “Faith in Something Bigger,” et al. – and issue these orphans as Odds and Sods.  However, many more interesting songs are out there waiting to be rediscovered, and the better bootleg albums, such as Who’s Zoo and From Lifehouse to Leeds, are worth seeking out.  Who’s Zoo, for instance, performed a great (pre-Internet) public service by putting “Dogs” and “Dogs Part Two” back-to-back to maximize the humor – the kind of thing that their record company would never deign to do.

Master tapes for ‘Lifehouse’ (i.e., ‘Who’s Next’) were once found in a dumpster

Who's Zoo LPWho - Lifehouse to Leeds

Who’s Zoo was also my first exposure to long-lost B-side, “When I Was a Boy,” originally released October, 1971 as the flip side to non-LP single, “Let’s See Action“:

‘Entwistle’ misspelled yet again – hence the joke behind album title ‘Whistle Rymes’

John Entwistle, whose distinctive songwriting had always been deeply infused with dark humor, is simply and utterly dark on this despairing take on mortality.  “When I Was a Boy” would appear to be one of the very few (perhaps only) autobiographical songs released as a member of The Who.  It is hard for me to assume, especially in light of how Entwistle’s life tragically ended, that rock’s finest bassist was writing in character when he penned these tortured lyrics:

When I was a baby, I hadn’t a care in the world.
But now I’m a man the troubles all fill my head.
When I was five, it was good to be alive.
But now I’m a man I wish that I were dead.
My how time rushes by,
The moment you’re born you start to die.
Time waits for no man,
And your lifespan is over before it begins.

Entwistle’s lyric would seem to anticipate rock’s other great meditation on life’s fleetingness, “Time” from 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

Those eager to explore the parallel universe of bootleg and pirated recordings should most definitely pick up Clinton Heylin‘s excellent history of illegal vinyl, Bootleg:  The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry.

Link to companion piece about The Who — posted one day apart!