Monday, February 17, 2014

# 31 Paul Butterfield @The Psychedelic Supermarket, March 28th, 1968.

    Recording, and then publicly releasing unofficial/unauthorized audio or video recordings of artists, (bootlegs), is a well established practice. (There are actually accounts of bootleggers releasing unofficial transcripts of Shakespeare's plays in the 1600's.) By the early 20th century bootleggers are recording orchestras as they perform the soundtracks to popular films, and many Be-bop performances are bootlegged during the '40's and '50's. However, don't confuse bootlegs with pirate recordings, the two are two completely different endeavors.

   Many historians believe that the bootlegging of Rock music starts in 1966 when Bob Dylan retreats from public view because of his famous motorcycle accident. Shortly after his accident a bootlegger assembles an album of his unreleased songs, packages it as Great White Wonder, and then releases it for public consumption. If the historians are correct, it is this event that marks the beginning of a very long list of bootlegged Rock

    As the music world moves through the less expensive, yet more technologically sophisticated, practices of the digital age, so do the skills of bootlegger. Now, almost anyone can bring a smartphone into a concert, record it, and engineer it at home on a computer. They can then reproduce it in a variety of formats, and share online.

    Many older artists or people claiming to represent their interests, recover old bootleg performances, hire a sound engineer to remove most of the imperfections, and then sell them. There are many bootlegs of Butterfield associates like: Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, and of course Paul Butterfield being offered up online.

     So, below you will find a bootleg of the Butterfield Blues Band from '68. It often comes up on ebay or some other online vendor, but the whole concert is available for free on YouTube. It's a good example of a poor quality bootleg because it has not been engineered, or even divided into tracks. In addition, the sound quality is only weak to adequate. However, the performance is very spirited.

    As a bit of background on this bootleg, The Psychedelic Supermarket is officially listed as a venue at 590 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, but in reality it is in an alley behind Commonwealth Avenue, near Kenmore Square, and backing onto Boston University. The address is only used by the promoter to help direct patrons to the venue.

    The Supermarket is actually a parking garage during the day, and local promoter George Popadopilis converts it into a live music club at night to cater to about 300 patrons. (He also ran the Unicorn coffee house, see post #10). The first successful band he books is Cream, and after this concert, he hires many of the new Rock bands out on tour: the Doors, Janis Joplin, and of course the Butterfield Blues Band.


Psychedelic Supermarket, Boston Mass., March 28, 1968. 1). Instrumental Jam, 2). Drivin’ Wheel, 3). In The Wee Hours, 4). Get Out Of My Life Woman, 5).Mystery Train, 6).Watch Your Happy Home, 7). Run Out Of Time, 8). Born In Chicago, 9). I Gotta Mind To Give Up Livin’, 10). More, More, More 11). Just To Be With You, 12). Keep Lovin’ Me Baby.

Paul Butterfield: vocals and harmonica, Bugsy Maugh: bass and vocals (Drivin’ Wheel, The Wee Wee Hours), Elvin Bishop: guitar, Mark Naftalin: keyboards, Keith Johnson: trumpet, Gene Dinwiddie: tenor sax, David Sanborn: alto sax.


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