A BOOTLEG recording is an audio and/or video recording
of a performance that was not officially released by the artist, or
under other legal authority. A great many such recordings are simply
copied and traded among fans of the artist without financial exchange,
but some bootleggers are able to sell these rarities for profit, sometimes
by adding professional-quality sound engineering and packaging to the
In the past, these used to exist in the
form of vinyl or casette tape, and Christie were victims particularly
in SE Asia, Russia and Poland (see below).
But the late 1990s and early 2000s saw
an increase in the free trading of digital bootlegs, sharply decreasing
the demand for and profitability of physical bootlegs. The rise of standard
audio file formats such as MP3 and FLAC, combined with the ability to
share files between computers via e-mail, FTP, instant messaging, and
specialised peer-to-peer file sharing networks, made it simpler than
ever for bootleg collectors to exchange rarities.
Older analog recordings were converted
to digital format for the first time, tracks from bootleg CDs were ripped
to computer hard disks, and new material was created with digital recording
of various types, and all of these types could now be easily shared.
There are at least four digital bootlegs
of Christie material available through the net as of October 2011: one
is a DVD of Christie video clips, the other three are CDs of songs culled
from Jeff's reportoire.
The cover of the DVD bootleg which features Christie
The digital 3-CD set which collects the works the Outer Limits,
Christie, and Jeff as a solo artist.
The digital CD bootleg which contains 24
Japanese digital product released in 2005, labelled a 35th
anniversary remastered version of the first album. It includes
all the songs as well as Iron Horse
as a bonus.
Fans should note that
the DVD consists of clips copied directly from the videos uploaded to
youtube. The cover of
the product is very nicely done (although using artwork from the Russian
CD which plagiarised photos from this site), but the quality of the
clips is poor. It also strangely uses the logo for the Christie Again
band as part of the DVD menu. A couple of the clips are incorrectly
labelled ... a performance of San Bernadino
on German TV is wrongly attributed to the BBC, while the first-ever
Christie clip (Yellow River) is mysteriously
dubbed "the Hamburg video".
The 24-track digital CD is also
definitely not an authorised product, even though it goes to great lengths
to prove it is (for example, using a CBS logo on the disc label). The
Japanese CD uses photos downloaded from this site. The 3-CD set merely
collects the Past Imperfect set with the Christie digital bootleg mentioned
above, and rearranges the song list to make it different from the original.
Christie fans will only buy the genuine product and realise that these
bootlegs do not form part of any official Christie collection.
SOUTH-EAST Asia was a haven for record pirates back
in the early 70's, and every song that was a hit was cheaply mass produced
on poor quality vinyl, either as singles, EPs (with four songs) or on
albums (up to 12 songs).
These products were illegal and obviously
manufactured without any permission of the artists' recording labels,
nor were any royalties paid.
The records sold very cheaply, usually
in covers that had pictures of one of the artists featured on the record,
or sometimes none at all.
The vinyl used for
the bootlegs was thin and the sound reproduction was poor.
Like other successful artists of the
era, Christie was not immune to such piracy, and several of their recordings
exist in these pirated forms.
Unfortunately, many unscrupulous SE Asian
dealers are currently selling these records for exorbitant prices, claiming
them to be collectors' items.
Inaccurate reviews by ignorant Western
journalists in some music magazines have not helped either.
Do not be fooled. These records were
made without the artists' authority or knowledge, and if you pay a premium
for them, you are merely swelling the coffers of rip-off merchants.
Here are a few tell-tale
signs of a pirated disc:
1) The cover artwork looks amateurish and poorly
2) The record company logo is a poor imitation of the original, or a
variation - for example, EMI would be changed to JMI. Alternatively,
there is no logo or record company name at all
3) The artists featured on an EP belong, in most cases, to different
recording companies. For example, if you see the Beatles (EMI) and Creedence
(Fantasy) on the same EP, you know it is a pirated disc, for there is
absolutely no way different recording companies can be represented on
the same item without complex legal agreements in place
4) The vinyl itself is thin and ragged on the edges. The sound quality
Of course, the bootlegs
weren't restricted to Asia; the practice was prevalent in just about
any other country where licencing wasn't policed very well, such as
Communist regions. Remember the tell-tale sign if the artists
on the product belong to different companies, then it is a bootleg.
In Poland, a different sort of bootleg
was manufactured the postcard disc, again featuring work of artists
See here for a detailed analysis
of Russian and Polish bootlegs.
The art of piracy continues well into the current
age, despite attempts to crack down on it.
These days items like CDs and DVDs are
the most often copied, with technology so advanced that even a novice
can create a passable imitation but it was in the 70s when bootleg
vinyl records were in extensive and profligate supply.
See this message from
a Christie fan.
IN 2010, a Japanese bootleg of the
Repertoire CD release of the first Christie
album was produced.
However, instead of slipshod work which usually
characterises a bootleg, this item is immaculately presented, sold in
a plastic wrap with a cute Japanese strip label on the side. Even more
impressive, the makers took the time to produce extensive liner notes
about Christie's history (in Japanese text of course), as well as include
lyrics to the songs in both English and Japanese.
Great lengths were taken to give the impression that this
is an original product, with the inclusion of the CBS label on the cover
and on the CD label itself . But it is clear this is
merely a copy of the Repertoire release, as it includes the eight extra
tracks that were never on the first album.
The liner notes are
very interesting, for they are clearly written by a music historian
who has done his research about Christie. They also include a bit of
editorialising, with the author in no doubt about the high quality of
Jeff Christie's songs. For that alone, this product deserves some kudos.
Here is the text loosely translated:
. Christie started
in this turbulent time (of around 1970), but Jeff Christie, one
of the main members, actually started his professional career in
1967 as a member of a group called Outer Limits. However, it did
not make a success and the band disintegrated. So Jeff tried to
make a living by writing songs, but no one was interested in his
songs. That was when broken-hearted Jeff met Alan Blakley, Tremeloes
said that Yellow River was at one stage liked by Tremeloes
and was going to be recorded as a single. Unfortunately, however,
another song was used instead of Yellow River. Then Jeff
Christie formed a new band, with the support of people who loved
Yellow River, just in order to give it to the world. Jeff
Christie played the bass/vocal, Vic Elmes played the guitar and
Mike Blakley (Alan Blakleys brother) played the drums. However,
being a quickly made-up band, it only went well at the beginning.
River is a song which has an aspect of social satire, with a
cute melody and lyrics on the theme of the Vietnam War. The line
about putting the guns down and going back to the favourite place
of Yellow River must have caught the heart of young people
who were against the Vietnam War.
the huge success of the song panicked Christie themselves. Not expecting
the single would become such a big hit, the band had not had time
for proper rehearsals. Christie made a tour with one hit single.
Then they released their second single San Bernadino/Here I Am
in October of the same year, followed by their debut album Christie
Featuring San Bernadino and Yellow River.
All Mankind was released in 1971
and is Christies second album. In contrast to the two singles
released in the previous year, which was warmly welcomed, people
thought little of For All Mankind. But this does not necessarily
mean For All Mankind is low level music.
before, around 1970 was a turbulent time in the British rock scene.
It was an innovative time when many new rock groups were trying
to create a new history. Many of the bands from 1960s tried to survive
by introducing new musical essence. And many of the bands started
around this time tried to differentiate themselves from existing
rock bands by having innovative and original sound structure in
their music, which appealed to the young fans.
did the band with Beatles-like pop sense survive in this time? The
truth is that the music fans who liked hard rock or progressive
(new rock) ridiculed them they regarded such bands as one
level lower. Every music fan over 40 knows how former Beatles
members' pop albums (after the Beatles had disbanded) were evaluated
in 1970s in real time.
Christie tried to survive by adding harder arrangement to For
All Mankind. From a commercial point of view, people say it
was a failure. However, this change of direction was a success from
a musical point of view. All the songs recorded in the album were
feels a vague sense of British beat from the core of Christies
sound. This is rather natural considering Jeff Christies background.
One feels a strong influence from the Mod scene, especially The
Who. It is a shame that Christie stopped producing original songs
after this one, as the level of the music is high. The performance
is also at a high level. The performance of Mike, the drummer of
the band when it was formed, was at a questionable level, but Paul
Fenton, Mikes successor, performed professionally.
album is a collection of Beatles-like good quality melody, beat
pop which was rearranged for 1970s style, power pop tunes which
were arranged harder and tighter, with strong melancholic ballads.
It is no exaggeration to say that this album is a hidden gem in
the 1970s British pop scene.
like any music fan who looks for good quality British pop to purchase
and listen to this album at least once. Eight singles released after
For All Mankind but had not been included in the album before
are included in this album as bonuses All of them are filled with
a high level catchy sound from the British pop (or power pop) point