Quality Is Key

There’s been a recent newcomer on YouTube, uploading SM bootlegs. Some I really enjoyed as they were of a fairly decent quality – others …. not so great.

The most recent upload I was really excited to see was another from the tail end of 1982 – my all time favourite period for listening to them live.

I started to tune in last night but I quickly stopped, disappointed that the quality of the audio just WASN’T there.

They had shared the upload on one of the SM fan group pages with a cheeky “Art & Talk who???” comment. Lol

Well, if you’re going to be full of bravado about it, then honestly, A&T has nothing to fear because A&T uploads QUALITY!

I’ll even delve into periods of the band I am not so enamoured with because I know the sound quality of the bootleg will be “to a standard”. It is why I listened to the Glastonbury set a few nights ago. As much as I love the Good News From The Next World album, and as great as the band was live at the time, there is an element of Jim’s singing voice at that period that grates on me. I don’t really know what it is – I just don’t like the way he sounds at that point. It’s mostly to do with word annunciations and nuances in pronunciations of words – kind of “American mid-west crooner” kind of style. Or more … over-emphasised “blues man”. It just sounds false and kind of protracted and laboured. It wasn’t so pronounced at the Glastonbury gig so I did enjoy it but other gigs from the time, his voice just gets on my tits and I have to stop listening (sorry, Jim!).

So, yes, the quality of A&T’s uploads means I *will* listen to things I normally wouldn’t. Not always. Some I still haven’t dabbled in – but I’ll get around to it.

Of course there are some points in the history of the band’s bootlegs in which it will be nigh on impossible to have quality recordings. Unless they actually had made recordings for radio, etc, and they were professionally recorded, there is going to be little quality around.

And still, for my own level of interest in wanting to listen to bootlegs – quality is key. It is why I shied away from dabbling into bootlegs for so long. One) the general poor quality of recordings, and two) I wasn’t overly into live music when I first got into the band. That has changed massively since being a SM fan and now I really enjoy the live music experience. And I actually find the bootleg experience to be a much better (and truer) representation of what it is like being at a gig than a more professionally recorded thing with full production techniques and “in studio ‘enhancements’” and overdubs made to them.

I want to hear the crowd! Yes, I hate having some bloke being a pub singer right next to me and wailing over the top so I end up hearing much more of them than I do of Jim! But I’d prefer that than to no crowd noise at all and Jim’s voice sounding perfectly audible … almost as if he had gone and recorded his voice in a studio 🤨🤔🤔

If you’re going to give me a live album – make it LIVE. Don’t fiddle with it! Give me the imperfections and the crowd noise.

Still, one wonders exactly HOW MUCH is *live* at the gigs these days. Well, not much at the moment in good old Covid World.

But I digress.

Bootlegs – they need to be of a certain standard. They can still have the crowd and the punters talking and singing and you can hear the cheers and the screams and that makes you feel a part of it. And the band still sounds full and strong, and you can hear Jim’s patter between songs and he always sounds amazing and emotive, sometimes even breathless, and on the VERY ODD occasion, off key – but it all adds to the magic.

So, you provide the quality and I’ll keep on listening – capiche?!

2 thoughts on “Quality Is Key

  1. Larelle, you are right. I am new to Youtube and I can see just like you, that there is a finite number of ‘quality’ bootlegs in existence. I have hundreds of bootlegs of varying quality and the majority of the better quality ones have already been published by other members. I takes me hours and sometimes days to refine the often unlistenable, rarer recordings into something that is semi digestible to the human eardrum. And I do this all in the name of keeping the spirit of ‘our band’ alive and making a contribution to the SM community for all to enjoy, without reward. Any contribution is better than no contribution, particularly when our 40 year old band’s popularity is at such a low ebb. So please dont criticize when that contribution may not be to your acceptable standards, I would have hoped for more encouragement and recognition from a fellow avid fan. I am bitterly disappointed that it would seem I have been very much mistaken…

    • Hi Stuart,
      I’m sorry if it sounded like a personal critique to you. I did not mean for it to be. I know the quality of the bootlegs are all down to the original recordings. And there are ones you have uploaded that I have really enjoyed. Please keep uploading them! They are appreciated. By me and lots of other SM fans.
      I am loving what I am experiencing from listening to the gigs I am hearing from back then. I wasn’t a fan then, so the bootlegs are precious.
      It was crass of me to have counter retorted in the way I did. My apologies.
      And I know A&T has been doing this a fair while and has learned things by trial and error and not all of his uploads are of “pristine” quality.
      It’s my hang up, I know. It was the thing that put me off listening to bootlegs for soooo long. I don’t want there to be any hard feelings 🙁

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