Category Archives: Bootlegs

Banksy Picture Discs – All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Readers of this blog may already have suspected that I have a serious case of OCD or just plain collectors’ mania. I aim to keep my collections of record cover art by artists/themes I collect as complete as possible. Therefore, I have compiled lists of each of these which I try to remember to update when I find or acquire new items.

So, a couple of weeks ago, picture discs with Banksy cover art began to appear on Ebay posted by a seller from Israel. The looked really cool and I could imagine hanging a selection on my wall.
Think TankPulp FIctionKeep It real-1

The prices were high–but genuine records with Banksy covers are fetching quite amazing prices nowadays, so I didn’t reflect too much. I made an offer on one disc which was promptly accepted and I was happy. The seller informed me that he had “a couple of other Banksy picture discs” and was prepared to offer me an even “better” price if I bought those, too. He even offered free shipping, so I agreed.

Less than a week later, the package arrived.

These turned out to be single-sided singles. The “Keep It Real” is a version by Jamal, called “Keep It Real“. As shown, it came in a die-cut, black card sleeve. The other two are shaped picture discs. The Blak Twang record is the “Kik Off” single and the One Cut has the track “Mr. X“.

Examination revealed that the records are 2 mm thick pieces of perspex with a sort of  thick flexidisc with the image and sound track affixed. The image is slightly blurred as if it has been copied from a picture sourced on the Internet.The sound quality is poor, probably lifted from an MP3 file.

The seller informed me that he had “bought” the discs and the person who had sold them to him said they were made in Japan and only twenty or so copies existed. He had about twenty-five different discs with Banksy cover art for sale and was prepared to let me have them for the “bargain” price of $139 each.

Further research on Ebay gave more surprises. The same seller is selling picture discs by other artists, such as Björk, Aphex Twin, Led Zeppelin and others at the same sort of inflated prices.

These records are not proper pressings. They are produced to appeal to collectors and sold at wildly inflated prices. They cannot really be called bootlegs as they are not really records at all. And the quality of the artwork, not to mention the sound, is really poor.

I decided not to “invest” in the 25-or-so Banksy picture discs the seller had on offer. I prefer “proper” records, not pieces of perspex with a flexidisc attached. And I would like to issue a warning to other collectors not to support this type of exploitation solely aimed at fleecing collectors.

 

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More Andy Warhol record and CD covers

The Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, north north west of Detroit, is currently exhibiting called “Warhol on Vinyl – The Record Covers 1949-1987”. This is the first comprehensive exhibition of Andy Warhol’s record cover art since the Montreal exhibition “Warhol Live!” in 2008. Of course, many record covers with art by Andy Warhol have been unearthed since that exhibition thus making the Cranbrook show essential viewing for anyone interested in this aspect of Warhol’s oevre. Included in the Cranbrook exhibition are such recently discovered covers as Lew White’s “Melodic Magic” EP on the Camden label.

Lew White's EP "Melodic Magic".
Lew White’s EP “Melodic Magic”.

 Others include two LP covers on the RCA Victor Bluebird label; Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, and “Porgy & Bess / Grieg’s Symphonic Dances which join the Byron Janis recording of “Rhapsody in Blue” as being acknowledged Warhol covers.

Tchaikovky's Violin Concerto.
Tchaikovky’s Violin Concerto.
Cover of the "Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances" album.
Cover of the “Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances” album.

A number of bootleg albums that use Warhol’s art were also included including three Velvet Underground boots: “Screen Test: Falling in Love with the Falling Spikes”, “NYC” and “Orange Disaster”, The Rolling Stones’ “Live in Laxington”, Mick Jagger’s “Suntory D R Y Beer”.

The search for more records and CDs with Warhol’s art continues. I recently added a couple more to my collection. I had bought the re-issue version of the CRI CD coupling Matias Pickjer’s “Keys to the City” with Marc Blitzstein’s “Piano Concerto” with a smaller image of Warhol’s “Brooklyn Bridge” print:

The re-issue cover for the Picker-Blitzstein CD.
The re-issue cover for the Picker-Blitzstein CD.

 

The original cover image for the CD on the CRI label.
The original cover image for the CD on the CRI label.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I also found an unusual CD of a classical concert including Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and “Prague Symphony (No. 38)” performed by the NHK Orchestra on one disc and Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5″ on the second, released by an organisation called NTT Data. The cover had an intriguing Warhol drawing on the front and on each CD that I could not resist. When I showed photographs to members of The Warhol Cover Collectors Club they could identify the drawing as one from a series that Warhol did in a book for ‘Play Book of You S. Bruce from 2:30-4:00”. It was a very special portfolio because only 1 copy was made. Subject of all portraits is Stephen Bruce, the owner of the Serendipity restaurant in New York where Warhol used to hang out a lot in the Fifties. He must have had a crush on Bruce, because he made this drawings supposedly in one night, in ballpoint pen and offered Bruce the portfolio. The portfolio was sold at Sotheby’s in 2010 for £181.250 [Thanks to Guy Minnebach for this information].  There is book of the drawings as well.

NTT-Data "Concert of Concerts, Opus 2" CD cover.
NTT-Data “Concert of Concerts, Opus 2” CD cover.

 

Four more Warhol covers for my collection

It feels like Christmas when four additional Andy Warhol covers can be added to my collection. Two are releases I had not been aware of until very recently. The four covers are:

1. Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto played by Erica Morini and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Desiré Defauw.

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2. The Joe Newman Octet – I’m Still Swinging, double gatefold EP – 45 EPB-1198.

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3. Velvet Underground – Paris 1990 – Bootleg “promotional” LP.

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VU_Paris1990_bk

 

 

 

 

 

4. The Falling Spikes (Velvet Underground) – Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes (1987 re-issue):

VU_Red-ScreenTest_600

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Byron Janis recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” coupled with Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” on the RCA Victor Bluebird label has an illustration of a piano and orchestra generally accepted as being by Andy Warhol. This recoeding was released both as a 12″ LP and a three 7″ EP box. Its sister release, the recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by Erica Morini and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Desiré Defauw, on the same label has an illustration of a double base done in the same style and probably by Andy Warhol. I have a copy of the 12″ LP, generously given me by Frank Edwards. Until recently, I had not been aware of a three EP box similar to the Byron Janis recording, then one came up on Ebay and found its way into my collection.

2. The Joe Newman Octet’s “I’m Still Swinging” has been released as a 12-tract LP and an 8-track double EP and single EPs. I have one of the single EPs and recently acquired the German pressing of the single EP. Now I succeeded in finding the double EP version.

3. A short while ago, Guy Minnebach told members of the Warhol Cover Collectors Club about a Velvet Underground bootleg of a live show recorded in Paris on 11th June 1990, cleverly entitled “Paris 1990”. I was lucky to find a mint copy from a seller in Texas. This cover has a reproduction of an early Warhol flower on the front cover and a portrait of Warhol on the reverse. The images fluoresce in the dark! So cool!

4. Frank Edwards discovered the re-issue version of the bootleg album by the Falling Spikes, later to metamorphose into The Velvet Underground. The re-issue  “Screen Test: Falling in Love With the Falling Spikes” LP has the same detail from Warhol’s “Flowers” painting as the original 1985 release, but has a red card cover and includes two postcards. I found this one on Discogs and made a good deal with the seller. So now I have all three versions; one with the black and white cover, one with the blue flower and now even the red cover.

It seems a stranghe coincidence that I should receive the two Velvet Underground albums just days after founder member, Lou Reed, died. Anyway, four interesting and unusual additions to my collection.