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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6 THE CLASH
RAT PATROL FROM FORT BRAGG
Recorded 1981, London, New York, Sydney

Rat Patrol… was meant to be The Clash’s fifth studio album. Conceived by Mick Jones as a double album, the plan was to continue the theme of a global rock’n’roll jukebox the band had staked out with its predecessor, Sandinista!. But Jones’ 15-track, 65-minute mix was rejected by Joe Strummer; Glyn Johns was brought in to edit it down to a single album: Combat Rock. Johns’ edits are cleaner and shorter (“Sean Flynn” loses three minutes, and its tropical atmosphere), but on “Overpowered By Funk”, the Rat Patrol version is closer to the skittish playfulness (and indulgence) of Sandinista!. There’s a sense of intimacy, too, on Mick Jones’ “Death Is A Star”, which is absent from the released version. Combat Rock ditched five Rat Patrol cuts. Three remain unreleased. “Walk Evil Talk” is seven minutes of jazzy atmosphere. “Kill Time” is a Caribbean shuffle. Ironically, “The Beautiful People Are Ugly”, later reworked by Topper Headon as “Casablanca”, would sit happily next to Strummer’s solo work.
Sound quality: Good, occasional murkiness
See also: D.O.A. (Demos, Outtakes, Alternates)

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5 LITTLE FEAT
ELECTRIF LYCANTHROPE
Recorded September 19, 1974, New York

When Electrif Lycanthope appeared on The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label in 1975, the quality was so high the rumour was that Lowell George himself was behind its release. Recorded for WLIR, New York at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, it captures the classic Feat lineup at its peak, and surpasses 1977’s sanctioned live double, Waiting For Columbus. Electrif Lycanthrope (the title remains a mystery) offers the ultimate setlist, drawing heavily from Dixie Chicken and the then-recently completed Feats Don’t Fail Me Now; Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down” segues into “Spanish Moon”, and the result is pure New Orleans funk, albeit played by a bunch of California misfits. The nine-song vinyl is bolstered on a later CD edition by three further Ultrasonic recordings, and you can find film from the Ultrasonic sessions of “Rock’n’Roll Doctor” and “Oh Atlanta“ on YouTube. This bootis the Feats’ own Dylan/Royal Albert Hall, 1966. Seriously, that good.
Sound quality: Excellent
See also: Rampant Syncopation, aka Live In San Francisco 1976

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