Uncut’s 50 best bootlegs

A wealth of amazing music, scrapped LPs, obscure sessions and lost nuggets selected from our own private collections…

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10 ROXY MUSIC
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
Recorded 1972-73, London
Davy O’List is now a strange footnote in the Roxy story. At 23 already a veteran of The Nice, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull, he was a member of Roxy for barely five months between September 1971 and January 1972, before his “wayward lifestyle” and an onstage dispute with drummer Paul Thompson saw him ditched for Phil Manzanera. Yet his brief intervention in the first draft of the band was crucial – he acted as a kind of mediator between their sketchy, arty, vaguely prog indulgences and their pop ambitions. The only document of his tenure is the band’s first Peel session recorded in the first week of 1972, included on this European bootleg, along with further sessions from later in ’72/3. When Manzanera joined just prior to the sessions for their self-titled debut he was essentially reproducing O’List’s work, and on the version of “Remake/Remodel” included here you can hear how his relentless riffing transformed the group.
Sound quality: Good, though some tracks seem to have sped up between broadcast and vinyl pressing
See Also: The Full BBC Sessions

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9 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
THE TIES THAT BIND
Recorded May 1979, New York
After taking three years to record Darkness On The Edge Of Town (and leaving half of that on the cutting-room floor, released in 2010 as The Promise), in 1979 Springsteen took the E-Street Band into New York’s Power Station to blast through 10 new songs including “Hungry Heart”, “You Can Look” and the still-unreleased “Cindy”, a sublime, two-minute homage to Roy Orbison. The album would be called The Ties That Bind. It was slight, but the sound was crisp and immediate, and, with sequencing complete, would be out that Christmas. But in September, Springsteen played an anti-nuclear concert in New York and promptly took the album back. (“I didn’t feel it was big enough,” he said.) Instead, Springsteen returned to the studio and recorded The River, including new versions of many of the tracks from The Ties That Bind. “You Can Look” was toned down, “The Price You Pay” has a different third verse, and there’s a more mournful version of “Stolen Car”.
Sound quality: Impeccable – this was an album ready for release
See also: Born In The Studio, alternate takes of songs from 1973-75 including an acoustic “Thunder Road”

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