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Rate Your Music has a ranking of the top bootlegs/unauthorized recordings.
I'm sure there are some great ones that didn't make the RYM list.
Do you have a favorite bootleg (i.e. unauthorized recording) that you enjoy more than the officially released albums by the same artist?
The Bob Dylan bootlegs of "Blood on the tracks" are very good, more intimate versions of the songs.
The "VH1 Storytellers" by Tom Waits is also excellent because all the stories, jokes, and general comments Tom Waits makes during a concert are included, and the performances are excellent too, only two musicians. It's the perfect Tom Waits live album.
"The 5 E.P.'s" by Disco Inferno is released officially on One Little Indian records now.
I can't find any fault with their number 1. My personal favorite is all the way down at #52, DMB's "Lillywhite Sessions".
Cool, I have to check out some of these bootlegs; there is even one Dylan bootleg I don't have!
I'm a big fan of the Purple Chicks bootleg of Smile, it would probably be in my top 50 if it were a real album.
Prince's Work It 2.0 is a pretty stunning compilation of his outtakes - some 38 discs worth of vault stuff.
He does have some great live boots as well, such as Small Club, which takes #10 on the RYM list.
This topic caused me to go on a bootleg spree, because I only had a select few bootlegs (mostly Dylan), and here's the resulting top 10. I stuck to one album per artist, if I hadn't "48 Hours" and "Thin Wild Mercury Sound" would have made the list. Between brackets behind the titles is the approximate position it would hold in my all-time list were it a real album.
1. The Beach Boys - Smile (Purple Chicks + Surf's Up from Millennium Edition) (#40)
2. Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks: New York Session (#70)
3. Ryan Adams - The Suicide Handbook (#130)
4. Neil Young - Chrome Dreams (#160)
5. The Rolling Stones - Nasty Music (#250)
6. Bruce Springsteen - Live At Winterland (#270)
7. The National - White Sessions (#320)
8. Prince - Small Club (#360)
9. Mark Morgan - Fallout 2 (#380)
10. Tom Waits - VH1 Storytellers (#400)
Up until the official remasters I would have said the Dr. Ebbetts Beatles remasters. But, that's all changed. I'm not as big of a fan of Ultra Rare Trax or Artifacts discs as most are. If you really want to get into the sessions it's cool, but I prefer the Anthology discs which are a little easier to sit and listen to. I don't know if the Beatles just didn't make music that wasn't fit for an album or a B-Side or trashed them never to be seen again. It's surprising that there isn't a lot more music out there for them to cash in on. For the most part all of the bootleg stuff is different takes or live versions of music everybody has heard.
Are MSFL releases unauthorized? They aren't always better but in a lot of cases they are. I'm a big fan of Sea Change MFSL.
I'm not a huge fan of All Things Must Pass, but I do prefer Beware of ABKCO to the original recordings.
Elliott Smith- Basement II
There's a version of Basement Tapes I have which was constructed from copies of the original 1967 acetates. Some of the songs are the same, some of the songs are slower, moodier versions of the songs on the commercial release in 1975.
(Robbie Robertson was behind the commercial release, and he picked versions that sounded more like the Music From The Big Pink versions of the songs.)