Customer Reviews: Original Spunk Bootleg
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on November 5, 2006
To my mind, there are four landmark recordings that characterise and embody '70s punk - The Ramones first album, The Clash first album (UK version), The Buzzcocks Spiral Scratch EP and Spunk, the Sex Pistols demos. And what a stormin' powerhouse of a record this is!

To those unfamiliar with the story, The Pistols recorded a series of demos in late '76 / early '77 while Glen Matlock was still in the band. These were issued as a bootleg called Spunk several weeks before the Never Mind The Bollocks LP and then promptly withdrawn. To this day there is still a mystery as to who put it out in the first place but it was obviously someone well-placed because the sound quality was extremely good. The recordings have re-surfaced here and there over the past 30 years but now finally, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of these recordings, here are those magical nuggets once again, re-issued in exactly the same packaging as the original.

Perception of the Pistols has often suffered due to their iconic status. It's often been very hard for people (myself, at least) to separate the myth from the music, to able to appreciate the band's recordings without being aware of the phenomenon behind it. No such dilemmas with Spunk. On this record, you'll get to hear what a sledgehammer of a Rock 'n' Roll band they really were. They didn't need all the negative publicity or the cachet of being 'iconic'. These demos are as powerful as anything in Rock 'n' Roll's history.

Although most of the tracks later surfaced in re-recorded form on ..Bollocks, the re-recorded versions suffered from a slickness and polish that did not truthfully represent the band. On Spunk, we get the unadulterated action - raw and snarling. So compact and basic are these recordings that they all sound as though they were recorded in mono even though they were cut in stereo. Steve Jones' axe sounds ferocious throughout and you just have to appreciate the contribution that Glen Matlock made to the band - his wonderful bass playing evidenced here gives The Pistols both a musciality and a muscularity missing on their legit record. The rhythm section as a whole is totally pumping! And this is all before John Lydon/Rotten opens his mouth, spewing venemous attitude in a way that makes his lyrics seem all the more necessary and pointed. With the recordings on Spunk, you get to really understand the Pistols and what they were trying to achieve. And you get to rock out to the boys with wild abandon.

Take God Save The Queen for example. Although to less cultured ears the version here may sound distinctly similar to the Bollocks version, there's something tighter and more focused about this performance. It's one of numerous subtle revelations. My personal fave has to be Submission - a slower, grinding, sleazeball performance complete with swampy underwater effects. And this is just one of the many delights on show here.

The Sex Pistols were a great Rock 'n' Roll band as well as a social force to be reckoned with. This record will appeal to anyone who wants to discover that former quality of the band that changed the world we all live in.
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on January 9, 2013
Here it is.....the 'original' SexPistols debut record (that was never released in 1976).....raw, powerful, chaotic, wonderful, the 'real' sound & feel of the SexPistols in all their early glory.....with the original line-up of SteveJones/PaulCook/JohnnyRotten&GlenMatlock.....this is a fantastic record.....punk at it's've got to buy this record if you even think that you might be a punk (there's no shame if you think you are) has the original version of GodSaveTheQueen aka's out there, get it now.....
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on April 7, 2009
It is one of those music industry mysteries that will probably never be solved; about a month before the release of the debut album on Virgin Records, 12 tracks from sessions produced by Dave Goodman appeared on this then bootleg. It had pristine sound quality and captured the "punk" power better than the official album.

And to make things even more intriguing, a bootleg (No Future UK?) of the bootleg - with additional tracks - made it into the "underground" marketplace. The lineup is bassist Glen Matlock (before he was replaced by Sid Vicious), John Lydon, Paul Cook and Steve Jones.

The 15 tracks of this now official bootleg (there has also been a number of "official" releases of Spunk) captures the band in full-flight, minus the media drama that was drummed up by Malcolm McLaren. Goodman understood his role as producer and let the music do the talking.

The back-story is interesting, but the music shows the full potential of the "Fearsome Foursome," since the person directing the show understood that "punk rock" needed a healthy dose of the latter to go with the swagger of the former.
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on September 3, 2012
Originally released with a plain white cover merely reading "Sex Pistols", Spunk was a bootleg release of the Never Mind The Bullocks demos. These same recordings would appear on various bootleg labels including The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label (TAKRL 929) and later appeared scattered across many of the post-break-up Pistol albums released by Malcolm McLaren. Musically, Spunk is punk rock with the "punk" downplayed and the "rock" emphasized. It proves that the Pistols weren't the radical destruction and rebirth of rock which was proclaimed at the time but were actually an amped up speed junkie version of good old standby kick-your-ass rock and roll. Spunk reveals a more solid sound, slower and heavier yet more controlled, less chaotic. Had they released Spunk instead of Never Mind, the Pistols might not have been called punk at all but merely the next step towards a tighter, faster, harder embodiment of rock's evolution.
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on December 29, 2011
The Sex Pistols were the Stock-Aitken-Waterman pop creations of the punk years. Much as they are touted by populist historians as the progenitors of the British Punk movement, they came second, third or last in every category. The Damned beat them to virtually everything and sounded better, UK Subs had better punk credentials and there weren't any punk bands that sold out as completely as the Sex Pistols, not even the Clash.

"Never Mind..." was their only real album, and these rougher recordings floated around at about the same time and to every interested punk were infinitely more exciting. "Never Mind..." was turned out as pop-punk, over-produced with half an eye on the singles charts and the newspapers, designed to sell to an enormous potential in the USA market.

Spunk on the other hand was raw, featured the classic line-up of Lydon, Matlock, Cook and Jones and had the Sex Pistols sounding like a band with energy, talent and some great great songs. They had something to say and knew how to say it.

On the album there are a couple of weak songs, most notably track 6 "Nookie" (Anarchy in the UK) which always sounded trite and pretentious, a sort of hair-metal type of punk appealing to silly teenagers who will eventually evolve into the sort of idiots who wear baseball caps backwards and think they look something other than stupid. The sound quality isn't the studio-polished quality you'd expect if you'd heard the same tracks on "Never Mind...", rather there are mistakes, poor edits, vocal errors and so forth that you'd actually like to associate with a great punk band doing their Do-It-Yourself best on limited studio time and cheap equipment. Real late 70's music in other words. However, the album is obviously a studio production and not a live bootleg or true rehearsal tape gone astray, these are early cuts and alternative versions of songs that would be released professionally and make a legend from a bunch of hyped-up teenagers.

What appears here is a demonstration of exactly how talented the Sex Pistols really were. Guitar riffs that rock, Lydon's vocals excellent and the rhythm section very tight.

So, if you're looking to buy a Sex Pistols album, buy this one. It's far and away their best. Get "Never Mind..." too to hear how awful they were to become when the money men got hold of them and produced their music to death.
If you're looking for a great sound of 70's punk, listen to the Damned's early efforts, or Eddie and The Hot Rods, or even the Ramones.
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on March 4, 2013
It sounds like compression and peak limiting were added to the remastering, which actually helps on this collection. This sounds more like what you would expect, compared to the 1989 'No Future UK?', and especially the 'This is Cr#p' late 1990's import, which has a lot if interesting takes, but a very subdued sounding 'Spunk'. This is probably as good as it's gonna get. I hope this doesn't receive repeated re-releases with different titles, etc.
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on September 30, 2006
But it has to be done. In fact, this is a bootleg that was released a month before "Never Mind the Bollocks". It's a different album, containing different songs, or at least much different versions of said songs. This really isn't a rehash so much as a reissue of something you can't get anywhere else.
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on April 5, 2014
The first thing that jumped at me from these recordings was the lively bass that Glen Matlock brought to the Pistols. This lively bass is missing from Never Mind The Bullocks, so it's a good idea to own both of these side by side.
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on November 10, 2011
Better than the studio debut if you ask this listener. Reveals many facets to the Sex Pistol's sound that were scrubbed and scraped off the finished "Never Mind..." tapes. Almost psychedelic in it's flanged, mid-paced delivery. You can really hear what they probably sounded like live and their musicianship is surprising. Although these are demos, the sound is clear and well-rounded. If you have any interest in this band or punk rock in general, this is a must have.
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on February 21, 2012
Before the decline of this great band when they booted Glen Matlock and brought in Sid Vicious,their music was as real and raw as you could have ever hoped to hear in the mid 70`s.They were,as this disc shows,not just a bunch headline grabbing punks,an image that their manager Malcolm McClaren put forth on an almost daily basis,but a group of disaffected British youths who found an outlet for all of their negative feelings and rage about their home country and life in general and threw it back into the faces of all the masses of people who lived day to day thinking everything was just fine in jolly old England - you can almost feel how angry they were.Before the more polished Never Mind the Bollocks and a handful of singles they were busy making demos,refining their sound and sharpening the verbal and aural attack they were soon to unleash on the world.These are the seeds of all of those great songs that shook the political and social core in England and translated into a serious musical statement for the U.S and the rest of the world.They are what they are,not high quality,polished songs but rough and raw demos that evey serious fan should have already but any music fan would want to at least hear for themselves.Spunk proves that the Pistols were what all bands hope to be - perfect in their moment.
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