Love Story

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It's no coincidence that people who put out illegal albums are called bootleggers; like the bootleggers who provided beer, wine, and whiskey during the prohibition era, music bootleggers offer things that legal businesses aren't offering. Critics of music bootleggers would argue that like Al Capone's booze providers of the 1920s, music bootleggers are selling an inferior product. That was often true in the 1960s and 1970s, when so many bootleg LPs were plagued by lousy sound quality. But the music bootleggers of the 1990s generally had much higher standards than their 1960s and 1970s counterparts, which is why there are so many Hole bootlegs with decent or excellent sound. One of the Hole bootlegs that sounds great is Love Story; recorded live in London in 1994 and at the Hollywood Palladium in 1994 or 1995, this CD paints an exciting picture of the band's Nirvana-minded grunge period. The Palladium show can also be heard on an Insect Records bootleg titled Electrical Support; while Insect gives a 1994 recording date, Chrome Hearts states that the Palladium show took place on March 13, 1995. At any rate, most of the gems that Courtney Love aggressively belts out are from Hole's sophomore effort, Live Through This; in fact, Hole performs about 80 to 90 percent of that five-star album in both Hollywood and London. Only a few of the songs aren't from Live Through This, including "Teenage Whore" (from Hole's blistering 1991 debut Pretty on the Inside) and an unlikely cover of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like a Wolf." Many of the songs are heard twice, and those with only a casual interest in Hole might wonder why listeners need to hear two versions of "Miss World," "Plump," or "Asking for It." But then, Chrome Hearts didn't provide this CD for casual listeners. Love Story is aimed at the sort of obsessive Hole followers who simply can't get enough of its grunge period, and those who fit that description will find a lot to admire about this rewarding bootleg.

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