The Full Story
Where it all began.
I started collecting bootleg tapes of The Jam when I was 14, late in 1981. I had discovered a stall on the local market ran by a guy called Brian (nice chap) he sold second hand records and always had a tray of tapes
To my delight he had several Jam cassettes, over time I bought them all. The last thing I bought from him was TSC white label 12" of Shout To The Top a few weeks before its release. Cant really remember what happened to the stall but it was Brian's fault I became addicted to collecting bootlegs....and I cant thank him enough.
I had also discovered another stall on the Indoor market in the city centre run by Tony & Stuart. This place had a much larger selection and primarily concentrated on bootlegs. They had rows and rows of Jam tapes. I made this my weekly pilgrimage on the 82 bus with my spends and over time my collection grew. TSC tapes had started to surface and I started on those too. I bought my first bootleg album from the Underground. Young Man From Woking. £20 bargain. The Underground Market shut down in 1989.
Luckily my mate had found an advert in the NME of someone selling The Jam on VHS.
He bought Rockpalast, couldn't believe there were such gigs on video and we ended up with his full collection.
I kept in touch over the years with the seller, no email then so it had to be letters in the post. He eventually started converting his audio tapes onto CD and I acquired a good few. We keep in touch to this day.
One rainy day while mooching around with nothing to do, I decided to take a look in the old Corn Exchange building. Lots of old antique shops and a great military shop with loads of old WW2 items (another passion of mine). Down on the bottom floor tucked away in the corner was a record shop and to my delight it had bootlegs and lots of them. To find another source was a great relief. I did spend quite a bit in there on VHS & CDs but in 1996 that whole part of the City was blown to bits by an IRA bomb. Gutted but not as much as DD.
So another gone, what now?
Record fairs, that's what. Me and my mate travelled around to various fairs spending our hard earned on more bootleg vinyl. Someone there mentioned there was another shop in town so one Saturday morning off I went to check it out.
I remember climbing the stairs and as I got close I could hear the music booming. Risen from the ashes of the bomb, they were back, Bootlegs galore and plenty of PW VHS, better still more racks of Jam cd's. I already had lots of gigs Id got of my mate from the NME but these were printed on with sleeves, very nice. By now I was married with a couple of kids and had bills to pay but always found enough to continue buying and in true collection obsession I eventually bought the lot. At a nice price I might add (Cheers Colin) It was in there that I heard the news Gill Dando had been shot. This was 1999 & at this point I was 18 yrs in collecting.
This is also where I learnt that the full Bingley hall gig with extra footage existed on video, a good few years before it finally made it into the public domain. This had two editions of the gig with backstage and sound check footage . A few years later a group of fans (inc myself) chipped in to buy it. A DVD was born but that didn't include the extras. These surfaced sometime later on Youtube.
By this time the internet was rife with collectors and forums where you could download all sorts.
It was also full of snakes. Travelled the length and breadth of the country (& others), I met a lot of people at gigs through the forums and to this day I am still good friends with most of them. Over the years I have pretty much bought everything available. There were a few albums that I never managed to own on Vinyl but I can live with that. I'm happy with what I had. I still have an unhealthy amount of digital recording of all three. Jam, TSC & PW.
The next chapter.
Custom cut releases.
Now I know a lot of people disregard these and blame them for killing off bootleg vinyl collection. I strongly disagree. There has been some brilliant releases and they are all listed on here. If you don't like the custom cuts just simply stick to chasing the factory pressed bootlegs. Rockpalast, Bingley Hall, Wembley, The Tube are some fine examples of custom cuts that never got an "official" bootleg release. Just have a look at what there is. Jam Council and PW have some great releases. Better still there are some great TSC releases coming out. There wasn't that many original TSC boots done so in my opinion these are great! A mention must also go to the PW Radio sessions. Fantastic listening.
So, there you go.
After 40+ years of collecting I have decided to do this site to hopefully bring people together under one roof to enjoy the bootleg world of The Jam, The Style Council & Paul Weller.
Feel free to sign up and start the conversation. Review writers most welcome. Also if you have anything that is not on here and want it displayed, then please send photos with as much info as possible to the email below.
JCWbootlegs does not endorse the release of bootlegs:
The artists do not get paid by bootleggers but we do collect them.
Just like many artists collect bootlegs of their own favourite artists..