A big part of my music library also includes so-called bootlegs (live recordings and studio sessions) although that term doesn't seem to mean much these days. Numerous major label artists are now releasing this sort of material officially often under an "official bootleg series" banner of some sort.

  Many bands are also now allowing fans to openly record their shows and trade with other collectors. Additionally there are many releases that, because of different copyright laws, are perfectly legal in some European countries but not in North America. Amongst collectors these are often termed "soft boots" or "grey market boots".

"ROIO" is an acronym that has grown among aficionados meaning "Recording Of Indeterminate Origin" (or "Recording Of Independent Origin"). This umbrella term covers both live recordings and studio outtakes. 

  So without getting into issues of copyright, ownership and other legal wastes of time (believe me, I could go on and on....), this area is simply to talk about some of the great releases from the other recording industry. 

The Waterboys
"LIVE IN THE NORTH COUNTRY"

   This fan-compiled disc rounds up various songs from three barnstorming 1989 shows at Toronto's Concert Hall on the band's lengthy Fisherman's Blues tour. Astonishingly, the group played a total of thirty-three different songs over the three consecutive nights so it's remarkable that this isn't at least a 2 CD set.

    This era of the Waterboys history was immersed in celtic music which is apparent from the opener instrumental "Caroline's Welcome" with it's graceful violin and martial drumming. Among the disc's fifteen tracks are the excellant unreleased songs (at the time) "Custer's Blues", "Higherbound" and "In Search Of A Rose". There are also two Dylan covers, a  spirited "Girl From The North Country" and "Buckets Of Rain" recast as a jig. Multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlewaite gets a pair of lead vocal spots with "Billy The Kid and the rollicking "Mr Custom's Man".

   The seven person group take a break from the traditional program for an especially aggressive "Be My Enemy". This show is captured on an acceptable audience recording marred only by a sometimes too loud and distorted bass guitar (and perhaps an overly celebratory crowd).

 

  The disc ends with an elegant version of the then unreleased "Saints And Angels" , fittingly the last song played on the final night, ending the CD on an uplifting and life affirming note.

Lone Justice
"BOSTON 1985"


  This early radio broadcast captures a thunderous 14 song set promoting the self-titled debut release (exactly half of the set is made up of album tracks). After opening with "Grapes Of Wrath", the Dylan written b-side "Go Away Little Boy" gets worked over with some spirited harmonica playing. The forceful cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" that follows adds a bit of a darker edge to the show.

   Throughout the gig guitars ring and jangle over thumping drums while "Train" gets extra movement from a loud, rumbling bass guitar. The main draw though is Maria McKee's diamond sharp vocals, equal parts tiny Dolly Partonesque squeal and full blast Janis Joplin. During the lonesome ballad "Don't Toss Us Away", McKee's voice is center stage with minimal backing from the band and the crowd is completely transfixed.

   The broadcast portion of the show ends with a uplifting cover of "Sweet Jane", McKee exclaiming halfway "whenever we play it I just get real happy".

  After such a strong set, it was her turn.

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