Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bobb Trimble's Dreams Harvested by Others

Anyone familiar with the Bobb Trimble LPs from the early 80s, Iron Curtain Innocence and Harvest of Dreams, knows those self-released works are dazzling jewels of crystalline dreamlike psychedelic folk augmented by some prog rock touches, unusual percussion, and even some firey fuzzed out electric guitar. A quick check on Popsike.com shows the LPs sell on Ebay consistenly in the $300-900 range. It’s highly unusual for 80s records to go for that kind of money and it seems the cult of Bobb is ever growing. No doubt this is a testament to the almost magical quality of the music contained within. These are finely crafted songs with layers of sound that at the same time are dense and airy, and the lyrics mirror the dreamlike sounds with their fantastic tales of longing and despair. Its not unusual to have sounds pop out of nowhere–suddenly you hear the plinking of vibes, a stray flute, synthesizer squeals, a sitar, or even the voices of children. The garden of delights is indeed a Harvest of Dreams and these very personal LPs are a window into Bobb Trimble’s soul. Like his LPs it is fragile and delicate, yet strong and defiant just like the war metaphors that run thru his songs.

It’s a great shame that Bobb Trimble is now fighting his own personal war in an all too public forum. Despite the fact that authorized issues of his work in both the US and overseas (the swell comp from the above 2 LPs, Jupiter Transmissions, was issued in 95 by Parallel World in NYC and in 2002 Orpheus in Denmark released Life Beyond the Doghouse)have been available for years, the UK company Radioactive decided to give Harvest of Dreams their “deluxe” treatment which consisted of mastering a CD from a vinyl LP and shooting a pic of the cover. Naturally, in their haste to make money off Bobb Trimble’s intellectual property, they neglected to ASK PERMISSION FROM THE ARTIST! Now any reader of this blog may have picked up on the fact that Bona Fide was treated like dirt by those bootleggers who refused to pay George Brigman a cent after booting his Jungle Rot LP on CD so this news is certainly no shock. Despite the type of actions that we expect from a unrepentant bootlegger, it is particularly galling how this company has no respect at all for the artists who make the music they sell! They profess to be at the top of the pile of labels that reissue obscurities, but I am starting to get a whiff of what is exactly in that pile!

We all know the reissue scene is crowded with those of dubious legality, and in some cases the concerned parties simply cant be found; however, what we have seen with both the Bobb Trimble and George Brigman treatment, is not only that Radioactive was unwilling to do a proper search to find the artists, but also refused to deal with them in a fair and honest manner once they were caught. Harvesting Bobb Trimble’s dreams amounts once again to outright thievery and there is no excuse for any reputable business to conduct itself in this manner. The arrogance with which Radioactive treats the artists it bootlegs is matched only, apparently, by their criminal intent. Kris Thompson in Boston is working with Bobb to release authorized expanded CD editions from the master tapes of his two classic LPs. It would be a wise choice to wait for those so you can support a deserving artist, instead of ripping him off. In the meantime, if you don’t know this swell stuff, go to Bobb Trimble’s My Space and check it out!


At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lost my comments - they just disappeared into cyberspace as I was wrapping. Too bad. It was about RR's pirating of my bvinyl Red Letter Day, and that it sold well (forhim) while creating a data base for our new company which will be debuting online in July and have avilable 2 new CDs - RLD with a 10th song added from that original asession, and my 2nd vinyl small release: "Tom Lucas - Lifeboats". The company is "New Fate Productions L.L.C. we thank you for your integrity and hard work and will recognize you for that whenever we can. Tom Lucas

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Rick Noll said...

Tom--great to hear you are doing your own CDs--artist approved editions are the way to put these crooks out of business. Please drop me a line at bonafide3 @comcast.net and I will be glad to help as well as provide you with some useful info.

At 6:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


I'm Frédéric and i'm living in France.I just bought the radioactive record reissue of Bobb's second album on CD and i wasn't aware that this was a bootleg cos' i bought it in a big records shop in Lille.I don't buy cd's normally but i'm too poor to buy(or even try to find)an original LP from Bobb Trimble so i decided to buy the CD.If i had known that Mr T. would not get even a dime from my money(thanks to Radioactive records)i wouldn't have bought it i think.Most of the artists i listen to are from the sixties or the early seventies and most of the time i try (as i said before) to get a LP but Radioactive was my only chance to get Bobb Trimble music ...I bought another radioactive records called "stained glass window" which is a great folk album but i fear that this guy has been treated the same Bobb Trimble did?...Anyway sorry for discovering Mr T. music this way...and thanks for the great music. Frédéric
P.S.;Sorry for my english and if there's a release from Bobb Lp's (officialy this time) i'll be happy to buy them !

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Rick Noll said...

Frederic--thanks for your words of support! Bobb's LP's will be officially reissued with extra tracks this fall on Secretly Canadian on November 7th as it stands now. hopefully this will post now as blogger crapped out when you sent the comment! I cant wait to get the reissues in my grubby little hands...

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

I only recently realised that Radioactive/Fallout were bootleg labels. Have bought quite a few of their records. Is there any chance that you could send me the names of a few proper reissue labels that deal in the same kind of music (prog/psych/jazz/folk) so that I know that I'm buying the real deal in future? My email's tamlewell@hotmail.co.uk. Thanks, hope that all's well with you, Tom.


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