Monday, August 24, 2015
I consider myself a pretty big early-era Beastie Boys fan so I was surprised as shit to stumble upon this bootleg claiming to feature demo tracks from the trio's watershed 1986 LP Licensed To Ill. Jaded from decades of shitty boots I didn't expect much but once "Rhymin' & Stealin'" hit the speakers it was like welcoming an old friend back home. Sure the mixes are rough and the CD quality is marginal but man it is fun hearing semi-alternate versions of the record's time-tested classics. Featuring two so-so deleted songs "I'm Down" (a Beatles cover, 'natch) and "Scenario" - the real treat are the demos. While most of the songs are basically the same they are clearly mixed differently and, how can I say, heavier (especially "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"). "Rhymin' & Stealin" now ends with a since-censored "I smoke my crack and I'm rhymin' & stealin'..." "Fight For Your Right" has a whole additional verse (!) tacked on at the end, "Hold It Now, Hit It" wraps up differently. While it would be great if this was an actual leaked demo of what Licensed was originally intended to be, I've since read that Blue Moon Records (or whoever really cut this together) compiled some demos of tracks that were altered after the fact, added some deleted songs and filled in the gaps with slightly modified album cuts to approximate an "almost was" record. Regardless of the history it's still a cool listen. And I hear there's a Paul's Boutique demo bootleg floating around out there as well. Stay tuned.