Growing up in the music scene that was happening in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip during the 60s has its perks. But for Harold Sherrick, it became a story to tell in the form of a book, ”A Pig’s Tale,” about the first bootleg record company, Trade Mark of Quality.
Sherrick always has a good story to tell because he knows just about everyone in the music scene it seems like and this new book is no exception. This is the story of the legendary bootleg record label and is recalled with fellow bootlegger Ralph Sutherland.
The main figure in this story is a guy they penned “Pigman” who as the tale goes decided one day to put some raw cuts of Bob Dylan’s that he believed his fans had a right to hear. The quality of these tapes was negligible at best. The year was 1969 and it was summer and Pigman had no clue how to go about pulling together an album.
Pigman worked at Jupiter Record Distributors and found his job exciting as well since this distribution company was known as the one-stop record distributor.
One day Pigman found himself sorting through tapes that were unsold which would be sent back to their respective record company. He began to debate with co-conspirator and partner “Carl” which was better, the acoustic Dylan or the later electric stuff. At Dylan’s first electric concert fans actually booed him and walked out.
Pigman and Carl thought how cool it would be to put together an underground LP of earlier rare unreleased recordings of Dylan’s. The pair surmised that Dylan freaks, like themselves, would love to hear.
Pigman and Carl pitched their idea to “The Greek” who was always looking for ways to make a quick buck. Between the three of them, their first bootleg album was created – “Great White Wonder” – which was of course a double album of Bob Dylan’s various unreleased performances and was released in the summer of 1969.
The bootleg was a hit and the Greek’s desire to make some fast bucks came to fruition. Many famous acts were bootlegged by this talented and improvising group of individuals. The book hints at the idea that Bob Dylan‘s inspiration for his “bootleg” series of music was inspired by “Great White Wonder.” LA Music Scene tried to get Dylan to answer that question and a few more but we never heard back.
The book is packed with so many stories of who they bootlegged, how they bootlegged, and where they sold their wares, such as the Free Press Book Store, and gives one an armchair view into the highs and lows of their enterprising soiree as record bootleggers.
At one point the guys were being watched by the FBI and they had to improvise a way around the scrutiny and how they found ways to record concerts for their record label Trade Mark Of Quality with a pig in the circular logo.
Among the other acts that were bootlegged by Trade Mark Of Quality were three by David Bowie: 1972 “David Bowie In Person,” 1973 “David Bowie In America” and 1973 “The All American Bowie.”
LA Music Scene recently went to see the Bowie rockumentary “Moonage Daydream” and found it to be a lovely potpourri of clips from performances and interviews. It wasn’t done in chronological order and did jump around quite a bit. But, overall, you watch Bowie morph into his characters and as always the consummate performance artist with a flair for the dramatic. The film struck us as a bit of a film noir stylistically with a rock n’ roll edge. Go see it if it’s still out there or buy it on DVD.