Amazon Finally Sells (and pushes…) Bootlegs

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By Uncle Blurt

If you know yer ol’ uncle, you know that he loves hisself a good bootleg album – CDs of course, but recently the whole new crop of bootleg LPs that have started turning up, most of them sourced out of Great Britain. I’ve picked up at least 10 choice items, from REM to Tom Petty to Tom Waits to Springsteen, just in the last two months alone. And any collector with half a brain has always known how to track the stuff down – and part of that was knowing not to waste one’s time on going to mainstream retailers like Amazon.

Well, whattaya know, Amazon has finally made the plunge. Or, in the case of the online behemoth likely already having bootlegs in its inventory – or perhaps simply turning a blind eye to when some of its official Amazon sellers were offering boots – it’s now blatantly promoting ’em at the site. Over the course of a couple of days I noticed that some boots were popping up in my Amazon recommendation feed, and quite a few of them appear to be those being manufactured by Leftfield Media, which specializes in radio broadcasts. Or, more accurate, it specializes in booting previously booted concerts and then releasing them at price points guaranteed to appeal to the novice collector.

For example, above and below are three Springsteen CDs, each a triple-disc set, that first surfaced back in the day as vinyl boots then, during the ’90s and ’00s as high quality, expanded remasters from such labels as Crystal Cat and Godfather. Passaic Night and Roxy Night are actually the original titles that Crystal Cat assigned to them, and the editorial description for the latter even makes a sly hat-tip to the transparent tabby from Sweden:” a good quality replication of the original FM broadcast reveals a crystal clear presentation…”

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There’s plenty more at Amazon, including Dylan, Ry Cooder, CSNY and others, so happy hunting. Just be aware that aside from the new artwork, these are straight replications of titles you might already have in your collection. Meanwhile, you can check out a fairly comprehensive list of Leftfield Media titles being offered for sale right here on Discogs. The prices at Amazon, though, tend to be a lot better – often half as much as what the individual sellers at Discogs are asking.

And hell, all this talk about Springsteen gets me excited, so let’s just cue up a portion of that awesome-sounding Roxy show from 1978…

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