Bootlegs – Part 2 Ramping Up

So Scott, the first trader that taped me some Hendrix was the start of it all. After that I was scouring Relix monthly, now that I knew it was my gateway to other traders. I found many that responed like Scott had. There were cool and would tape anything I wanted for blanks and I started sending out packages of tapes a couple at a time. I was still leery of sending away tapes and fearing I would never get them back. I don’t know if I got lucky, or the temperment of traders was just that good, but I not even once got ripped off. There were some times that it took a seemingly long time to get them back, but they always came back. I was proud of my species.

At any rate, eventually I had grown my collection to about 20 tapes. I realized I had to make a list of what I had to send out to people. Maybe there was something I had that they wanted and we could trade straight up, ending the double tape buying.

So I developed my list. Naturally, this appealled to the organizer in me and using the lists I had received so far, I created my own. Eventually, it became this.


I was WAY into Stevie Ray Vaughn at the time (still love him) and of course Hendrix. SRV seemed to be a good bartering item. I had gotten a few that were rated very high quality and I was thrilled when one guy I sent a request to, instead of asking for blanks asked me to tape some SRV for him.

This was the big time.

I recorded his request, packaged it, and sent it to him. Since I was only sending 1 tape it cost less and I didn’t have to include return postage. Woo hoo! In a few weeks I got my request. Deal complete. I was a tape trader now!

I even started requesting some things that I supected many people might want for me, so that they would be on my list for others to request from me.

I quickly accumulated more tapes than I had time to listen to. And then it happened. I received an SRV tape the trader had listed as excellent quality. This tape, which was supposed to have been A quality, seemed not that A to me. Suddenly, the notion of accurate quality ratings became a huge thing. This ultimately was the beginning of the end and I didn’t even realize it.

I started thinking about the (at this time about 35 or so) tapes that I had. Were they all at about the level they were supposed to be based on what the trader indicated? I decided I needed to listen to them all and note any flaws and review the quality ratings that had been give to them by traders. It took a couple weeks to get through all the tapes. The results were pretty much on the mark, but a couple were puffed a bit by the traders. I decided then and there that each tape that I got needed to be reviewed and confirmed for quality and time. Some people listed a show as 90 minutes if it went to side 2 of the tape and there was no filler, or listed the original show and the filler as 90 minutes, but never really listed the acurate length of the main show. Ugh. Suddenly, I felt like I was the gatekeeper, and I needed to make all this acurate and not misrepresent what I had to the other tapers, instead of just adding the tape they sent me to my list without question.

This is where my anal-ness kicked in.

Every tape I got in I added to a list of “To Be Added”.

I have posted this before, but this is what I worked from. I found tape on here that I was looking for that had never been added to my final list, that was only listed here. Beginning to see my issues? Once I listened to it in a religious procedure I liked to call a full concentration listen, and rated it and timed it and created an “Aural Retentive Tapes” J-cover, then and only then did I add it to the rack of tapes that was my bootleg collection and then crossed it out on the Add listing.

This was my system for many years. I always had a stack of tapes that were needing to be listened to and rated and timed and mocking me silently.

I was in full scale trade mode and I usually had tapes coming and going once a month. It was a job just keeping track of what had been sent, what I needed to tape, and updating and adding tapes, and printing covers and writing track lists when they were included with the tapes.

I traded in spurts from 1992 when it all started to sometime in 2003, as is evidenced by the last save of my bootleg list. Just over 10 years. I came to have about 180 tapes. Way more than some, and likely way less than others.

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