(Columbus, Ohio) — Humbled. Amazed. Proud.
These are just three of the words Columbus resident Lewis Ceri used to describe his emotions on being announced the winner of this year’s Best Bootleg Grammy award for his work on Prince’s otherwise unreleased Black Album. “Mainly, I want to share this award with Prince, for without his prodigal workrate, there might not be material to bootleg.”
Award presenters Steve Winwood and Natalie Cole couldn’t have been more fulsome in Ceri’s praise: “From the sourcing of overpriced, poorly manufactured, late generation copies,” enthused Winwood. “To the high-speed dubbing of cassettes on your room-mate’s stereo while he’s out, to collecting the easy money from mercenary independent record shops, the bootleggers’ art is a fraught one.”
“In awarding the Bootleg Grammy to Lewis Ceri,” Cole continued, “the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences wishes to acknowledge the hard work involved in making unreleased music available to overzealous, unscrupulous music fans.”
Ceri purchased his original copy in Camden Market when on vacation in London last summer and has been selling shittily dubbed cassette tape copies to College Boys Records since returning home. “I used cheap casssettes and low grade paper to keep costs down,” he joked during his acceptance speech. “Though I did at least use cheap purple paper for the J-card!”
Of the album itself, Ceri concluded, “It’s actually not that great, [followup] Lovesexy is a better record.
Editor’s Note: I got this album, Sign ‘☮’ the Times and Parade in one gigantic purple splurge at a thrifta in Sandwich. Another case of getting vinyl versions of records originally purchased on CD.