As we look back over the year 2004, it's been a year of change for me both personally and professionally. Not all of it good, but I hope that you see the improvement in this little place we can all assemble, share, debate and more importantly - guide. HotWacks On-line was a good idea that struggled to find its' feet completely in its' first 12 months. There was opportunity to increase my role and see if I could implement a vision of what I had in mind from the start. I took over the site at the end of May 2004 and it has taken some time to get things to warm up! God knows I haven't been able to do this alone. I'm gonna start by just thanking you, the membership, for keeping the faith and allowing the changes to happen without completely bailing out - just giving us a chance to get things in place. 2005 will be very exciting around these parts, I can feel it! It all really depends on your collecting habits and continued interests, and that we all can relate to. Our lives dictate what we can do vs. what we would like to do and whatever level you are participating, please make this your home for keeping informed. Ok, secondly I need to thank my right-hand man, MJR. He's the glue, our technical consultant, our doctor and more importantly, the guy who will assist you with any difficulties with site access or technical issues. Much obliged, and we're smoothing out the wrinkles! Now we can bring our vision up a notch. Next, I need to acknowledge our other contributors, the individuals involved with keeping a flow here at
HotWacks On-line, those that not only feed their passion of collecting these elusive recordings, but take their time to share what they can about the titles they pick up and hone their writing skills, GSparaco and OSWALD. Thanks a million guys for all of your input and time. Good work. I must also acknowledge those who I have forged some wonderful friendships with over the last 6 months due to this project. That's the bonus!...you know who you are and thank you for coming forth and assisting me with whatever was needed. Last, but certainly not least...a BIG thanks going out to DBoy for looking to me first, to keep what I considered a potentially excellent resource, going. We knew the potential and when the commitment couldn't be maintained, I appreciate you looping me in and really forcing me to look at this opportunity seriously. It was hand in glove for me and you knew it all along. All of us here at HotWacks On-line want to wish you and yours all the best this Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year! (How else are we going to feed this collecting bug?!?!) On with the sparse News for the week of December 13th, 2004...
The week unfolded as expected with the arrival of Scorpio's ambitious BOB DYLAN DVD Box Set, "The Genuine Telecasts 1963-2002". While we plan on posting a formal review, it will take some time to sort through all the material. Currently, I'm half way through it! A couple of comments from what I've seen so far...The Box Set and it's packaged contents are really breathtaking and impressive upon opening up. Very classy and nostalgic in its' appearance, you get a sense of it from the scans I posted in last weeks' column. Believe me, they look much better in person. While this was a beast of a project to get together, Scorpio did in fact...get it together. The only criticism is that I don't think the logistical partners involved provided the care that went along with the blueprint. The menus are a nightmare and I'll just leave it at that for now. It also appears that whoever was putting the masterdisc together, used this project as an education in transfering VHS sources to DVD. It is a novice effort, without a doubt. The only reason I say that is because I just performed the same type of project here at home by making compilations out of a bunch of tapes. It's tricky but I did a better job than this! (I had never attempted this task before either.) So, this DVD is set a little rough around the edges and that is the charm with Bootleg collecting, isn't it? The material is outstanding, but not always the best source used. A few standouts from the first 3 DVD's include the initial, early '60's stuff...wow...too cool to describe. The 1980 Grammy footage is indeed, from the NBC Master Tape and no one can dispute that with the intense crispness and clarity of both the video and audio. I must insert here that the Audio quality is tops all the way through thus far. That seems to be a deciding factor in what source to be used in some of these clips. I know better video sources exist but the accompanying audio track doesn't match what Scorpio has included. Plus, it doesn't appear that this is every pro-shot film clip known to exist, like it was being described through the ranks. There are, however, segments that I have never seen or knew existed. Another highlight, the Barcelona '84 segment...the best of the 1984 material andit is amazing. This Dylan Box is Limited to 1000 copies worldwide and I understand that only about 200 made it the U.S. so, I will cherish mine. There you go, my initial takes. A review coming by Christmas.
So what else surfaced this week?...LED ZEPPELIN fanatics are chomping at the bit to get their hands on Empress Valley's "St. Louis Blues"...it will be streeting and shipping by December 23rd so the waiting is nearly over...and we are all over this like a wet blanket. In other ZEPPELIN news, Cashmere's "Lightbringer" arrived as did the Wendy Label's "San Diego Mystery Train", which in my opinion gets top honors for worst Bootleg CD Artwork for 2004. I think they are trying to pull an Akashic. It didn't work, or it doesn't for me. EV's "New York In The Wind/The Legendary Fillmore Series" is getting favorable comments. If anyone in the membership can provide a review, we would all appreciate that input. (If you would like to be a contributor of Bootleg Reviews please contact me, see note below.) Last week we provided a min-profile of a new Zeppelin Bootleg Label Beezlebub Records. We need to comment on the release "Pure Demand" that we picked up late last week. Subsequently, new details have come to light about this title and the poor recording. It seems that the label was duped by an individual claiming it was a new source, when in fact it wasn't. We hear about this crap all the time and I certainly don't fault the folks at Beezlebub, but I'm sure they are a wiser bunch at this point in time! If anyone else has picked up some of the other titles, get in touch with me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org
In other news, MisterClaudel issued 2 new BEATLES titles.. "Pacific National Exhibition" is a single disc release that features 2 shows: Vancouver, August 22nd, 1964 soundboard and Seattle a day earlier on August 21st, which is an audience source. "The Beatles In Italy" is also a single disc and boasts soundboards from both the afternoon and evening shows at the Teatro Adriano in Rome on June 27th, 1965 and sounds excellent! Wardour announced a couple of new QUEEN titles to street soon..."At Last Budokan", a double-disc release featuring the May 9th, 1985 show in Tokyo and "Dreamer's Ball" from their January 25th, 1979 concert, also at The Budokan. Cross Border has just released "Price Of Love", a new DEREK & THE DOMINOS 2CD set taken from the McFarlin Auditorium, Dallas on November 6th, 1970. From the Grace Carry Label comes BRIAN WILSON "Reincarnation", a 2CD release that was recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York on October 13, 2004. Yeah, more Smile...and there's plenty more where that came from!...you know it.
No pun intended but I need to wrap it up there for this week. I have to complete my Christmas Shopping! Seriously, I can't thank you all again for the support of the effort we are trying to establish here at HotWacks On-line. If there are individuals out there in the membership, or if you know of someone who would be interested in becoming a regular contributor of bootleg reviews for us, please send me an email. Our goal is to broaden the coverage. That will be Number 1 for 2005. We need many perspectives to make up the body of information. When I took over the site in May, there were 423 reviews in the database. I set the bar high and had a goal of having 1000 before the end of the year. We are now at about 870 so, we made strides but fell a little short. This was the gauge for me on what needs to happen in the next year. The good news is that in our 6 months at the reigns, we better than doubled the uploads in the database and established relationships around the board to bring you MUCH better information. As always, we have work to do though. Be well and enjoy time with your families and loved ones over the next couple of weeks. We want you to be good on all fronts as we launch into the New Year. All the best, whatever holiday you are celebrating. As always, keep an eye on the News Ticker and visit www.hotwacks.com often!
Steve, by day...Svengi by night.
HotWacks On-line Administrator
December 19th, 2004