The Beatles’ Black Album

beatles black albumI didn’t know what a bootleg album was until my friend Kevin stumbled on The Beatles Black Album in a used record store on the corner of Barrington and Prince Streets in Halifax, back when we were 16 or 17 years old. I think he bought it for around 50 bucks. We couldn’t believe our luck.

Its quality was pitiful: the warped vinyl (three records!) had bubbles and scratches in it, but we still listened to it a lot.

The Black Album is outtakes from around the Let It Be sessions, when they were recording songs like I’ve Got A Feeling and Don’t Let Me Down – that era. The bootleg’s packaging was attractive: completely black, copying the The White Album style, with a poster inside that included photos from the sessions, track listing, and lyrics. Some of the songs included No Pakistanis (sung to the tune of Get Back), Moma You’ve Been On My Mind (a nice acoustic tune by George, I think. Maybe Paul – I don’t remember), in addition to rough takes of their classic tunes.

I don’t know if I still have my copy of the album; Phillip might. It’s worth a listen for Beatles’ fans.

10 Replies to “The Beatles’ Black Album”

  1. That album went to toast when my apartment burned down. But I listened to it a lot once you let me listen to your records. There was a bubble on the vinyl that was so big the needle would fly over the bump and land — well, you didn’t know where it would land. I had to weigh down the turntable arm (whatever the turntable arm is called) with a stack of pennies taped down. I made a tape of the best of that “album.” George singing a medley of “Momma You’ve Been On My Mind” and something else was the highlight. I had no idea Bob Dylan sang that song until a few years ago.

    I also remember talking about the album to impress some people on the night of my high school graduation, something like, “Well, have you ever heard of the Beatles’ Black Album?” I was immediately surprised when the response was, “Yeah, Tom let me borrow his copy of the album.” I said, “Tom has a copy of the Black Album? There might be 5 copies in all of Nova Scotia and Tom has one of them?” So then I turned to Tom and said, “Where the hell did you get a copy of that album?” Tom said, “I took it from your house.” I said, “What?! You took a record from my house without asking and then let someone borrow it?” I later discovered this was a common thing for Tom. He also borrowed books without asking (and returned them with plastic covers on them making us wonder where the hell the plastic covers came from). Things like that made me wonder about Tom. [The person’s real name has been changed, but it’s someone Tom would know.]

    Those are my memories of the Black Album.

    You can probably download it through a torrent (the album, not my memories).

  2. I should contact a friend of mine in Florida that I use to create the bootleg covers of the bootleg CDs that he use to buy. If it was hot and it was bootlegged, he owned it. He would buy the bootlegs, then record them to cassette and then sell those cassettes to second hand record stores. My price, a copy of whatever I created for him.

    I don’t think I have any Beatles, but I have Led Zeppelin BBC sessions, and Black Sabbath live in Paris. Both are great quality for bootlegs.

    Most of the other stuff is Seattle based rock grunge bands.

  3. um..well…i just took stuff but would not tell you…that other “Tom” he was the one with the conciounce…that other “T” is currently training future leaders in airfield engineering in the canadian forces and when given the three choices for his next posting listed them in his desired order….colorado (norad posting), kandahar (just stay on the base just stay on the base) and finally winnipeg…you gueseed it..he is going to winnipeg…but since “we” will be in “trashganastan” for some time he will probably be going there eventually….the overseas posting is actually quite good finacially as long as you do not get a limb blown off, aquire a massive head injury which makes you drooling and sucking from a straw for the rest of your life or get killed…other then that chance of a lifetime…fun in the sun…yeah…

  4. Other memories of the Black Album: Jody gave me a mixed tape in junior high and one of the tracks was George playing “Momma You’ve Been on My Mind,” except Jody told me it was Kevin. For a couple years I thought Kevin was the best guitar player in Nova Scotia.

    Unless you grew up with us, I’m pretty sure you don’t care.

    Finding the torrent for it was easy:

  5. I discovered the Black album in 1985, when I saw an ad in a magazine, selling copies of it on tapes. Too much of a coincidence, the guy lived in the same city I did. We met, became friends and he even lent me the album so I could make my own copies. Many years later, I offered him the book Beatles Diary and the Get Back journals I on cd-rs and he accepted the trade. It was really great to have that gem. Sinde then, I have already got other versions of the Black Album, my first one was the EVA records. Now I have the one which has a dog on the LP label with a gun on his head. I have seen on the nwt this is the rarest version available.
    In short, if you are a Beatles fan, you should try to get one copy for you.

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