Bootlegs of rare KLF releases have been released aplenty over the time. While some of them can be easily spotted, others are hard to distinguish from the original issues.
There are two known vinyl bootleg releases of ‘1987’ which are both fairly easy to tell apart if you know what to look for.
The first one changed the original sleeve’s colour scheme from black/white to red/white which makes is rather easy to spot. There is no proper JAMS LP 1 that comes in this sleeve.
Reportedly, this issue has good sound quality, so if you can’t find an original copy (or don’t want to pay huge amounts for it) you can still pick it up.
The second variation got released in the Netherlands in 2000 and looks very similar to the original release, and without taking a look at the label itself it’s hard to distinguish it from the original. The big font (‘1987’) is almost the same, but the smaller writings are quite different from the ’87 release.
On the label, though, there is a spelling mistake – the small copyright notice that circles along the outer part of the label says “ALL SOUNDS O9N…”. Additionally, the text is aligned differently on the bootleg’s label. Furthermore, the original has “MPO JAMS LP 1 A” and “MPO JAMS LP 1 B” written by hand on the run-out groove, while the bootleg is stamped “JAMSLP 1 A” and “JAMSLP 1 B” by a machine.
While CD bootlegs do exist ‘1987’ never got officially released on CD.
In 1991, Marshall Dickson issued 3000 copies with a slightly different ordered tracklist (so people listening to it in a record shop would find out right after the first track that it featured the infamous ABBA-sample heavy ‘The Queen And I’).
You can clearly hear that it was mastered from vinyl, so you might get a better sound with a good vinyl copy (or bootleg).
Furthermore, there is a three track CD from 1992 with a white/orange picture sleeve that, along the original tracks from ‘1987’, also features some live recordings from Big Black and then another similar band called Rifle Sport do a few tracks, although labeled as JAMS tracks from ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Who Killed The JAMS?’.
The origin of this session is unknown.
The bootleg comes with both LPs in a regular sleeve, whereas original has a gatefold double sleeve with one LP in every fold, hence the features newspaper articles are printed on the inner LP sleeves rather than inside the gatefold. There is a small error in the Pyramid Blaster logo (the right speaker is filled black), and on its back cover there is a huge KLF logo. Apparently, the original back cover later changed, though, so the logo is just a possible hint.
While the original Shag Times had the cat# JAMS LP 3 on its spine, the bootleg got issued as ‘JAMS DLP1’. The runout groove is labeled ‘JAMSD LP 3 A’ etc. and is, like on most bootlegs, produced by machine, while the original had all text written by hand (and only said ‘JAMS LP…’). The record labels themselves have been retyped and got a black ring on their border, while the original didn’t have one.
Furthermore, the font on the cover is not 100% accurate. Letters like “S” and “G” are too rounded on the top, and the “J” doesn’t do a full curl.
A French 15-track CD appeared in 2012. Since the original pressings only include 14 tracks it’s pretty easy to tell them apart.
The ‘White Room Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ has never been officially released due to Bill and Jimmy cancelling it when ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ failed to chart at higher places, so basically, every copy you will find of this is a bootleg.
In 1998, list members released a bootleg of the soundtrack that was apparently taken from a stolen mastertape. Along the original ten tracks of the OST, they also added some rarer KLF tracks and mixes, most notable the ‘monster attack mix’ of ‘What Time Is Love?”. While those bonus tracks were mastered from CD or vinyl, which lead to a quite decent sound, the tracks taken from the mastertape sound quite muffled and got several stereo flaws in them. The sleeve features a quite interesting story about the ‘White Room’ movie, though.
Several years later, the owner of the original tape had it re-recorded in a professional studio, using the EQ settings from ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ (the only track that had been released on CD). The sound quality of these is very good, especially if you were used to the 1998 bootleg’s sound.
In 2016 a very limited run of the soundtrack got released on white vinyl in a limited run of 130 copies, being sourced from yet another DAT tape. The sleeve replicates those from the Pure Trance series. Sound quality is superior to that of previous bootlegs.
Due to the CD release being highly available (at least the US pressings), only the vinyl has been bootlegged so far, though multiple times. It seems that only the original JAMS LP5 has the copyright notice printed in the outer circle of the label as well as the KLF Communications logo on the right. Furthermore, the label of the first bootleg has the same spelling mistake as the ‘1987’ bootleg from the Netherlands.
We know of at least two different bootlegs of the Space LP.
The first version, released in 1995, is only distinguishable upon closer inspection. Some of the elements on the back cover look like they have been cut out from the original artwork, then pasted onto a black background.
The second version is actually easier to tell apart from the original due to its stamped runout groove and the omission of the barcode on the back cover.
There are two different CD bootlegs as well. The manufacturers tried to duplicate the Space CD identically, and apart from a slightly botched print job almost managed. Both versions are easily recognisable though, for a large black area after the phonograph right and copyright symbols and before the words “MADE IN ENGLAND”, whereas the original KLF Communications release says “1990 KLF COMMUNICATIONS” in that area.
The CD itself is distinguishable because of the “fake” compact disc logo and the fact that the text that runs along the edges of the CD is only on the top, as opposed to being on the top and bottom of the original.
The original has 3 tracks and is labelled KLF ETERNA 1.
The alleged Italian one-sided bootleg has only one track and is labelled ETERNITY 23. It comes without a sleeve but with a “bumper”-style sticker that reads: “KLF / MADRUGADA ETERNA (CLUB MIX) / EDIZIONE SPECIALE / NUMERO (blank space)/500”. According to Erik Gander the bootleg features the same mix as ETERNA 1.
Note that neither feature the mix from the White Room promo video.
The original 7″ vinyl is one-sided and the catalogue number is KLF5TOTP. The bootleg is double sided (the same track on both sides) and the catalogue number is KLF 3AM1. It is rumoured that these originated when one member of Extreme Noise Terror heard it was not going to be commercially released and had a few printed up on the side, very allegedly.
Since its initial appearance on eBay (selling for $1.325!), ‘Love Trance’ has led to numerous discussions on the KLF mailing list. Reportedly Bill and Jimmy called the pressing plant asking them not to press ‘Love Trance’ but they had already begun, hence the few copies pressed with labels and sleeves in existence.
There are various details that points towards it being taken from an original run of pressings supporting these reports. In the run-out groove you can still see the name of Adrenaline, scratched-out by someone. Adrenaline was one of the pressing plants that usually manufactured the KLF’s records, and while today’s vinyls usually come with printed run-out grooves, ‘Love Trance’ has hand-written information.
Apart from these accidental original pressings a large batch of bootlegs surfaced in the early 2000’s, though most of them without proper labels.
The track itself features some vocal samples that were used on ‘Space’ as well (“Penetration: seven minutes…”).
The sound quality is rather clear. We can’t compare the sound of ‘Love Trance’ to any other release, but the b-side (‘What Time Is Love? (monster attack mix)’) sounds slightly better than on the ‘White Room OST’ bootleg which is the only other place where you can find it.
One might argue that ‘Love Trance’ does not really sound like any other KLF record, nor do parts of it resurface on later tracks. One of the japanese vocal samples says, “The KLF has now left the building” – which would then have been two years before the first promo appearance of ‘3 a.m. Eternal’. Even IF the JAMS ever had a master plan, it is quite unlikely that they had already planned all this in 1988.
At this point the common consensus is that ‘Love Trance’ is indeed an unreleased KLF track, a theory which is supported by a tweet by Jimmy, as well as another track salvaged from a couple of DATs Jimmy had thrown away, displaying some similiarities to the ‘original’ version. This is most probably the most obscure KLF release around, so if you ever see a copy, don’t hestitate to pick it up.
With only 1000 copies in existence KLF 008R is among the more sought after releases so naturally bootlegs exist, but thankfully the differences are right on the outer sleeve.
While the original is pink the bootleg is a lot darker in colour. The font and typeset varies between both – whereas the original uses the KLF’s standard font the bootleg uses a look-alike font (Compacta?) which results in differences in the overlapping of the “5” and “Trancentral” as well as a much more rounded “5” on the bootleg.
Though not as obvious as on the front the back cover features similar differences in font and typeset as well. Furthermore the bootlegs omits the barcode in the upper right corner.
Thanks to Maarten Bouwes for providing pictures for comparison.
Bootleg. This was never released by KLF Communications but appears on ‘Wix Trax! Records’. The sleeve is an amalgamation of Chill Out and Space sleeves, and the CD itself plays Chill Out as individual tracks, but cuts of the end of ‘The Lights of Baton Rouge Pass By’ to break into a single track of Space. CD Cat no. is ODY 026 KLF 1
Bootleg. There was never an official KLF release of this compilation. URT are a well-known series of bootlegs, there is also an Orb one amongst countless others.
The Lost Sounds of Mu series is an effort to make available to fans of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty those tracks which have either fallen out of circulation, or are difficult to acquire in their original state. The discs are created and assembled by fans, for fans, and with a desire for the preservation of these Great Men’s contribution to popular culture. These are ‘Fan Club’ discs.