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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30 THE WHITE STRIPES
THE LEGENDARY LOST TAPES
Recorded 1997-2003, Detroit, Boston and Melbourne

This extensive Italian bootleg features a somewhat perplexing assortment of White Stripes-related material from their earliest days up to 2003. But it can be forgiven any eccentricity given that it kicks off with all three tracks from “Makers Of High Grade Suites”, the blistering release from The Upholsterers, a short-lived duo White formed with Brian Muldoon (of The Muldoons) when they worked together at a Detroit upholsterers. Released in 2000, the one original “Apple Of My Eye”, is classic punk-blues White, but the covers of Willie Dixon’s “I Ain’t Superstitious” and Jack Starr’s “Pain (Give Me Sympathy)” aren’t bad either, chainsaw blues in a sea of fuzz. Also featured is Thee Jenerators’ 2003 single “Mystery Man” with White on vocals. The rest of the album features White Stripes live recordings from shows in Detroit, Boston and Melbourne; some intriguing Jack White solo live tracks from 2001; a demo of “Hello Operator”; and two remixes and a collectable demo of “Seven Nation Army”.
Sound quality: Variable, but The Upholsterers tracks sound exactly as they should
See also: Life On The Flipside, an epic comp of White Stripes b-sides up to 2004

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29 ELVIS COSTELLO
OUR AIM IS TRUE
Recorded 1975, London
Prior to his name change and signing to Stiff, Declan MacManus’ first band Flip City recorded these polished demos at the Hope & Anchor pub. The sound here leans heavily towards The Band, particularly on covers of Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”, “Third Rate Romance” (Amazing Rhythm Aces) and “Packin’ Up”, by R’n’B stalwart Chris Kenner. Fascinatingly, embryonic versions of “Pay It Back”, “Living In Paradise” and “Radio Radio” (appearing here as “Radio Soul”) have a more country-blues feel, as well as additional, convoluted lyrics that Costello would remove on subsequent studio versions. The ballad-like “Imagination Is A Powerful Deceiver” has since turned up on extended reissues of My Aim Is True (this boot’s title borrows a Stiff marketing slogan for that album as well as period press ad artwork), but the other Costello original, “Please, Mister, Don’t Stop The Band”, has yet to appear anywhere officially. The bootleg has itself been bootlegged over the years, as both Aim To Please and Flip City Demos.
Sound quality: Good
See also: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – later Stiff demos and US live show from ’77

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28 NICO, JOHN CALE & BRIAN ENO
BERLIN, NEUE NATIONAL GALERIE
Recorded October 5, 1974, Berlin, West Germany
This documents the night when, as legend has it, Nico, backed by Cale (viola, grand piano) and Eno (synth, breaking glass), drove a Berlin audience to riot by performing the German national anthem, complete with verses banned since the war due to Nazi associations. But legend has it wrong: “Das Lied Der Deutschen” comes nine songs in, but unrest had already kicked off during the second song of an evening that drew heavily on Nico and Cale’s stately trilogy, The Marble Index, Desertshore and The End. Following a haunting “No One Is There”, the booing began. Someone hollers: “Shitty Music!” Defiant at her harmonium, Nico, trading insults in German, ploughs on undaunted. The caterwauling builds hatefully; even Cale, never easily intimidated, is rattled, badly fluffing his “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”. The audience bays “Play some music! Not this noise!” before “Das Lied Der Deutschen” tips things into the pit. As Island Records’ Richard Williams, who had organised Nico’s “homecoming” concert, recalls: “Eno making air-raid noises on his synth, Cale pounding his piano, Nico intoning ‘Deutschland, über alles’, cushions flying – it was quite something…” An awesome recording; rumour has it that video footage of the night has just surfaced.
Sound quality: Lo-fi, flawed, but utterly gripping
See also: Nico, Reims Cathedral, December 1974, supporting Tangerine Dream

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