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Sunday, July 01, 2012

WARNING: Beware Bootleg Vinyl Copies of Dead Man

Dead Man [Film soundtrack]
by Neil Young
(Click photo to enlarge)

It's been called "the best movie of the end of the 20th century."

A word of warning to Neil Young vinyl fans on the Dead Man film soundtrack ...

Hi there,
My name is Josh and I'm a 19 year old student and Neil Young and vinyl obsessive. Over the last couple of years I have been trying to build up a collection of all of Neil's work available on vinyl although I am still short of some of the more expensive items such as Dead Man, Greendale and of course a copy of The Squires' 7 inch which I feel will always be out of my reach!

Anyway, I recently found a copy of Dead Man on vinyl for a bargain price of £60, still a lot of money for a student like me though. I scraped up enough to buy it and it duly arrived a few days later via Amazon. I opened it up, only one insert, strange I thought, then I pulled out one of the LPs and my heart sank. No matrix number!! I felt physically sick once I realised what had happened.

I went online and found a thread dated a week previously on the Steve Hoffman forums which mentioned there are now bootleg vinyl pressings of Dead Man circulating. Sure enough I went on eBay and these things are going for as much as £150!!! A friend of mine, same age as me and also into vinyl (and Neil Young!) saw a copy on a market stall in his town for £15, needless to say he did not buy it. When I first opened my copy I was over the moon, once I found out about it it became a worthless piece of junk.

I have sent information about these pressings to Vapor Records but they have yet to reply, Amazon don't seem interested in the sale of illegal goods (hence why they themselves market the Live in Chicago and Live in San Francisco LPs) but a warning needs to be issued to other fans, I don't want other people getting tricked like me.

The giveaways are:
No matrix numbers on either of the vinyl discs
Only ONE insert, the picture of the boat, the picture of Johnny Depp is not present. I also believe the original LP had the picture inserts as inner sleeves, whereas this bootleg has plain white polylined inner sleeves and the picture is just an insert.

I have done some further research and it appears there are two original pressings. A US one which has a matte cover with 'aged' brown writing, and a German one with a gloss cover and white writing. The bootleg copies the German sleeve (glossy with white writing). It seems these bootlegs have spread west from Germany from what I have read on the Steve Hoffman forums, and it is where my copy came from.

So if anyone sees a Dead Man that's a 'bargain' then steer clear until matrix numbers are known (due to no contact from Vapor Records I do not know what is meant to be written in the dead wax), or the number of inserts.

Thankfully I was able to get my money back, although once more I have no copy of Dead Man on vinyl, and to be honest I am now so worried about buying a copy for fear of getting another bootleg. One UK based eBay seller has sold three copies recently, all for at least £140.

There are also bootlegs of On The Beach and the Eldorado EP circulating.

I sincerely hope Vapor Records can take legal action, that fans will know how to avoid these bootlegs and that maybe one day I can get a genuine copy.

Keep up the great work at Thrasher's Wheat, it's wonderful having daily updates of NY news sent straight to me!!

Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

Kind regards,

Thanks Josh. What a bummer. Bootlegs of unofficial recordings are one thing, but bootlegs of official recordings are really shameful.

Hopefully, your warning will save others the grief.

Thanks for taking the time to share.


ps - Also, see more on "the best movie of the end of the 20th century" at Dead Man Film soundtrack and Film Director Jim Jarmusch & Neil Young.

Also, preview soundtrack clips here.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 7/01/2012 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Yeesh!!! Another clue is that there are no reviews. If your gonba spend that kind of money go to a record dealer in your town and let him know what you're looking for and how much you can spend. Bartering is fun. I'll fix your motorcycle if I can have that Deadman soundtrack or sonething. Okay chances are if you live in Davenport Iowa it might not show up ever unless a tornado drops down but go with people you trust....

At 7/01/2012 04:13:00 PM, Blogger ZiggySleepdance said...

Hey, do you know anything about Unplugged vinyl repress? Today, I saw dour different ones pop out. Anyone knows if they are official or not?

At 7/01/2012 07:24:00 PM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

Wow, yes, as vinyl is becoming much more popular these days bootlegs of studio albums are popping up everywhere. These boots are usually of rare albums that fetch big money in the collector's market, but I have also been seeing bootlegs of common and inexpensive records like Led Zeppelin III, Pink Floyd's Animals (don't forget...records that sold Millions of copies are not really rare, all you Beatles fans lol). Personally I am a vinyl nut... I have originals of everything Neil put out on vinyl (except an original Squires... a man can dream though!)including Dead Man. Yes, those 90's albums are REALLY expensive these days as most were pressed in Europe only and in limited quantities.
About two years ago I bought an original copy of Eldorado... a holy grail for me and one of the last things I needed to complete my Neil Young collection and I was thrilled! It wasn't cheap mind you, but I am so glad to have it! A year after that I go into my local record store and wouldn't you know it, a "new" copy of Eldorado! For those who dont know, Eldorado is a very rear EP that Neil released in 1989... 5000 vinyl copies in Australia only (and 5000 on CD in Japan only, I believe) Both the CD and Vinyl are VERY rare today... 5000 copies was NOTHING for an artist like Neil in 1989. Anyway, you can imagine it was strange sight for me, and for $15 no less!, but I knew it was a bootleg... this store will sell bootlegs but they are marked as "unofficial" or "Fan Club", so there is no mistake. I have varying opinions on bootleg records... I do own some copies of them, again usually by more obscure artists whose records are SUPER expensive..and SUPER hard to the German Krautrock band CAN for instance; official copies of their albums can be hard to find, and these bootlegs are of really good quality, I even heard the band and their label, Spoon Records are OK with them, and I am glad I own them (would love originals though!). That being said, I don't necessarily agree with studio albums being bootlegged (who knows what this industry is funding, ripping off the artists, etc) but at the same time there is now a demand for records and hopefully the labels will catch on more and officially reissue more albums on vinyl, rendering bootlegs undesirable and unnecessary. The fact that these albums are being passed off as originals on the Internet is ridiculous, and you really need to be careful! If something looks too good to be true, it probably is! This is the first I am hearing of a Dead Man bootleg, but when I saw that copy Eldorado I knew it was only a matter of time before Dead Man followed suit. Dead Man is kind of a strange album in Neil's catalog... one I dont see him reissuing anytime soon, but who knows? I am really sorry this happened to you, but just know that if you are getting into vinyl, bootlegs are a part of it. To be honest here, if I didnt own an original of Dead Man, chances are I would have held on to that bootleg...if it sounded OK.. or I would have returned that one, and bought the cheap one, until I found an original. To me there is just something about a record (over a CD or MP3) but that is just me and my opinion- I totally understand a collector not wanting to buy an unofficial pressing. If the record companies are hurting so much, why are they not keeping up with the demand that vinyl has these days?! Strange. I think they still see it as a fad, but I personally dont see vinyl going away anytime soon. Anyway, good luck completing your Neil Young collection! It's exciting as hell finding all those albums...even if it does hurt your wallet sometimes!

At 7/01/2012 07:31:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks SH for the rundown!

Good to see you again my friend. It's been awhile. Hope all's well.

spin the black circle...

At 7/02/2012 04:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this letter from Josh.
Very good to discuss items like this over here.

Since last November I have seen illegal reissues of:
Dead Man
Harvest Moon
On The Beach
and the latest one: Unplugged

So, those people are releasing a hard to find NY album every two months. Does anybody know of other official release series bootlegs from the past? Sleeps With Angels or Weld? It's really a sad story from Josh and it's true that vinyl-love is still growing and young kids like Josh are still discovering the heart and the soul of Neil's music.

It's true what SH says that it's all part of the game but I don't feel comfortable with the fact that one of my favorite record stores is also selling this crap.

What is Neil going to do about it? Well, he is already working on it for a couple of years. The reason why I am listening to a crappy cd sound of Americana is that the album will be pressed with laser graphics on side 4. Hard to copy that one. So Neil is making the album and the cover art with highest quality and it all is getting more special. It's hard to copy. And last but not least; we are the ones who are paying for it.. personally I am really fine with that. Quality....

Josh, you can find a lot of information on albums/cover art and matrix numbers on discogs dot com.


At 7/02/2012 04:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bootlegs are made from cd-audio.
They sound like shit.

At 7/02/2012 05:36:00 AM, Blogger JoshWard said...

Hi all,
It's Josh here. Interesting to see everyone else's responses.

Ziggy, I expect if there are lots about it's going to be a bootleg.

SH, that was a fascinating and informative post, thanks for taking the time to write it. Like you I have seen plenty of bootlegs, including all the coloured Pink Floyd, Beatles etc although the originals are always overpriced here as like you say they are 'rare'! (Yeah right...!)
I managed to get an original Eldorado on TradeMe (New Zealand equivalent of eBay), a few years back, I guess it must have made it's way over from Australia. I think the bootleg only came out last year which is when I started seeing it appear on eBay.

As you say, sometimes bootlegs are unavoidable and perhaps ok if you know what you are buying, but when they are passed off as something they are not then it's plain wrong. This was sold to me as 'unplayed, from a private collection', which it clearly isn't, it's from a record store and the guy must have dozens of copies. I hope this spurs Vapor Records on into making a reissue, I guess time will tell on that matter. Neil's new vinyl is expensive enough without having to pay a fortune for the back catalogue! Worth it though!!
To be honest I didn't even want to play it once I opened it to check the quality, as I felt sick after being stung for so much, luckily I was able to make my money back. I feel sorry for those paying £150+ on eBay unknowingly.
I have owned a couple of bootlegs in the past but found they were pressed from dodgy masters (probably CDs) and on poor quality vinyl, therefore my instinct tells me just to stick with official releases (mind you some record companies are just as bad quality wise!).

BecauseSoundMatters- are you actually from Warner Bros? If so it's great to see you posting here!
I wasn't aware of bootleg Harvest Moons or Unpluggeds, thankfully I already have those so wont be suffering any more heartbreak.
The quality of Neil's vinyl has been excellent over the last couple of years, especially now he's finished the flirtation with Classic Records (the 200g vinyl people) as I found some of my pressings from then often had skips, ticks, pops etc even when I had bought them new and sealed. I can never understand the point of making vinyl so heavy when it is of poorer quality then the 1990s NY pressings which sound great but are on very flimsy vinyl. It seems to me mastering and pressing quality are far more important than vinyl weight. Can't wait for my Americana to arrive.

As for 'The bootlegs are made from cd-audio.
They sound like shit.' I think you're spot on there, especially when the original is all analogue!

At 7/02/2012 08:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WARNING: Beware Bootleg Vinyl Copies of Neil Young albums Dead Man, Unplugged, Eldorado and Harvest Moon

At 7/02/2012 09:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love bootleg vinyl but counterfeit vinyl is plenty badman! I have all the vinyl but got it when it was released (with one exception)so i have no concerns about authenticity. I did buy Eldorado many years ago as the price sounded too good to be true - it was a counterfeit but I already had an original. So actually i was able to compare the two and let a few i saw on eBay know how to identify one.

As for Dead Man, the US copy has two pic sleeves and matrix #'s:
1-46171-A(B & C & D)-SRI.

Broken Arrow mag has an article about the differences in Eldorado. It would be nice if another article could be written about the others that are beginning to show up.

At 7/02/2012 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea Hurricane! If you bought a counterfeit Eldorado a couple of years ago this means there's a new counterfeit copy on the market. They new ones are for sale since last October/November.

European Dead Man has the same matrix #'s plus WMME Alsdorf 936-246171-1 (2,3,4)
US Dead Man has perforated inner sleeves. After all a very nice joke from GB.

Most sellers on Ebay only show one image with their counterfeit Dead Man advertisement. (Still Sealed, ha, ha) So you can't see the inner sleeves.

Both Us and European also have: (R) (C) and CB initials.

For the new counterfeit Eldorado they made a scan of the cover and therefor had to crop the whole cover. It is on 160-180 gram vinyl which is heavier than the original (120-140 gram?)

The counterfeit Harvest Moon does not have the W embossed logo.


At 7/02/2012 10:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, many bootlegs are pressed from a CD copy…but do you know how many records are officially pressed from digital sources.. meaning no analog at all? More than you know, and there is not much of a difference. True analogue is expensive! Not defending bootleggers by any means, but you have to ask yourself, is there that big a difference between someone selling a record bought for $15, for $200? They are still making money off the artist. Neil got still got his when he sold that album originally. The concern in most cases isn’t people being tricked, because in most cases folks know they are buying a bootleg. The people tricked are probably 10%. People buy bootlegs... if they didn’t they would not be made. Also, it isn’t new albums like Americana or Dreamin' Man being bootlegged, it's titles no one can get for under $100. Warner Bros. and every other label, take note. Reissue this stuff! People will buy them.

At 7/02/2012 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never seen nor heard of a vinyl Eldorado boot until about a year ago. Just CD boots.
Original Eldorado copies are barley 120 gram... more like 100 gram... super thin!

At 7/02/2012 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People buy bootlegs... if they didn’t they would not be made. "

Josh did not know he was buying a bootleg or counterfeit Dead Man for £60. That's the point it was sold as an original but the original doesn't sound like shit.

At 7/02/2012 12:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My counterfeit Eldorado is pretty easy to identify as the printing is not clear and the colors are a bit washed out. Of course this is much more obvious if you can compare the two. Also, if you can see the label, there is smoke coming from both smokestacks.
I should quality this by saying I got my counterfeit many years ago. If it is being repressed, it may be closer to the original.

At 7/02/2012 01:41:00 PM, Blogger JoshWard said...

'Most sellers on Ebay only show one image with their counterfeit Dead Man advertisement. (Still Sealed, ha, ha) So you can't see the inner sleeves. '

Haha!! That is sadly so true!! Pretty much every copy sold recently has been like that.

Thanks for the matrix numbers guys, should make finding an original a bit easier...unless the bootleggers see this!

As for most modern LPs being pressed from digital sources- yes that is undeniably true but at least it is usually done using high res files and a decent mastering engineer, no-one knows who masters, plates or presses these bootlegs and a high resolution digital file is a lot better than being cut from CD files onto cheap noisy vinyl.

As you say though, someone somewhere still makes a lot of money. Vapor Records/WB could probably make a reasonable amount re-issuing the 90s NY LPs, as I expect most fans would want them, as would completists. WE NEED RE-ISSUES!!! (with a bonus seven inch of the movie theme ;) ). Dead Man isn't even the rarest, for every Year of the Horse I see three or four Dead Mans (probably all bootlegs!). If I had known it was a bootleg I would never have bought the thing.

Just checked my Eldorado and it has smoke from one stack...phew! It's also in a round bottom inner sleeve which Warner/Reprise was using around the time going by my other LPs.

At 9/28/2012 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Josh,
I'm also looking,for that Dead man soundtrack,on vinyl ofcourse :)I found one on ebay,yes from a German seller.What i like to know,how did that bootleg copy sounded that you bought or did you not even listened to it?
kind regards,luc (dead man fan & vinyl lover from Belgium)

At 9/30/2012 07:00:00 PM, Blogger JoshWard said...

Hi there,
I didn't listen to it as it might have meant I wouldn't be able to get my money back (although of course the seller probably wouldn't have known if I had listened to it!) but also because I felt so sick after realising how much I had spent on it I shoved it back in it's packaging and put it in a cupboard!
If previous bootlegs I have owned are anything to go by the audio will have been ripped from a CD so reasonable sound quality, not as good as the original LP though, but the vinyl pressing will be of poor quality.

At 3/03/2013 08:48:00 PM, Blogger Piotr Dubiel said...

Wish I had read this before this weekend - having no idea there were boots of Dead Man around and not having seen a copy in real life before, I dropped 40€ on one of these jobs at a record fair in Berlin. Figuring I was getting a bargain, I was a little let down that one of the inserts was missing, did some googling, and came across this page.

I suppose 40€ isn't the end of the world, but beyond the disappointment, I live and work in Poland where salaries are several times lower than in the west and 40€ actually stings. I want to try and get rid of it, but I don't think I could even get my 40€ back if I put it on eBay with full disclosure that it's not an original.

The thing looks convincing too, the text is crisp and has all the GEMA logos and everything - most bootlegs look terrible or have rasterized text from crappy scans, or something is off in the typography as they reproduce it. I am a designer and repro work for reissue labels sometimes, so I feel particularly dumb to have been rooked by this, but I should have known better.


At 5/13/2013 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought a couple of fake LPs from eBay and discovered this post while googling for bootleg Neil young LPs.

There are certainy bootleg copies of Harvest Moon and Unplugged circulating (What I bought). I bought them from a Spanish seller relatively cheap. Beware!


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