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Robert Langley or Mr. Toad

Robert Langley or ‘Mr. Toad’ passed away c. early January, 2018.

The bootleg world has always been made up of budding entrepreneurs of all sorts – not many were as bold or as brassy as Robert Langley or ‘Mr. Toad’ as he was pronounced but being noted as the UK’s biggest bootlegger at the event of the CD bootleg was a badge of honour to wear.

Behind a stack of labels in the late ‘80’s and the 90’s such as Silver Rarities and Wanted Man to name a few, his was one of the biggest voices in Clinton Heylin’s book, ‘Bootleg’, his simple terminology about how he dealt his business in the halcyon days of the trade in silver disks was an enthralling read and threw entertaining light on some of the mundanity of his ‘hobby’ but also highlighted the risks that our underground chums faced while getting their product out there.

The fortunate few of you might have met this happy character while out collecting as he no doubt had a tale to spin out of his skippy adventures. Apparently he felt in to the trade by accident through a completely different business and another tale was that he spent most of his advances on one of the biggest and best rigs knows this side of a space station or Who concert. His collection of music overshadowing that of some of the more humble collectors. He was a music fan as much as a business man, out for the thrill of new tapes as opposed to new money.

One of the true heroes of the trade, Bob, though he was quieter in the last few years, is to be thanked for building your collection in ways that some labels will only aspire to. No doubt you’ll still own some of his original CDs too as they were far too good to be upgraded for the next.

Robert, thank you and fare thee well.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. He had a very dry sense of humour not sure I liked him when I was at college and first met him in London.But it was at the Page and Plant Unplugged for MTV on both Nights at the London Television Centre on the South bank (thanks to Dave Lewis for the ticket) ,in 1994 that I started to like him sitting next to him we started a conversation before Crowley and Percy started ..I said I thought I knew a lot about Rock music and rare concerts ,of which Bob relied (Ya do Laddie but not as much as me)LOL.I have met him quite a few time since over the years…Jezz Uncle Bob even got the genius of William Stout to do the Legendary Zeppelin Burn like a candle.He will be sadly Missed..My condolences to his family–I will be sinking a few pints of Guinness at his funeral tomorrow- here is to you Bob Eye Thank You..Trade Mark of Quality —

  2. R.I.P Bob I miss the pre-internet days of collecting, when you could pick up titles at record stores in NYC. Those underground stores no longer exist, an era long gone, but fondly remembered.

    • Terry, youre right..though i must admit that that kinda places , where you can buy suche gems are growing slowely.
      i remember the time when boot vinyls were out of fashion. Collectors went into the silverdiscs,
      bootrecs could be easely found for wholesale prices at recordfairs. i still see the guy responsable for imtrat/livealive as i later found out…bought boxes full of boots of tmoq,takrl..all of the old amercian labels, for only a few bucks. Think the same will happen with cd’s. When the policy incase the ‘grey’ live recordings changed, dealers hurried up to slle their stock , also at wholesaleprices.
      Think for the cds, crystal cat is the tmoq of the cd area. Now easely available, but after some time..who knows. But i do agree with your opinion, go out and search in your local underground store, or waiting for your monthly orderform from your fave bootdealer …that good old days….

  3. Ah…sad to learn this. I met him many times, he was a fixture at record/music fairs big and small around London and also at Brighton. I would pick up all the new Zep releases from him, he was a fan himself. I remember he sometimes kept a few scarce releases out of the racks and would offer to the regular/repeat collectors. I also remember him telling me about some “horribly expensive new Japanese label” then a few weeks later debuted the first Tarantura batch at the London Victoria fair, the prices of which floored me.

    He foresaw the end, there was a time he was considering a private gathering of collectors due to the heat being brought by the BPI but alas, all too late. I never did realise how deep his involvement was as a bootlegger until his arrest and trial, to me he was just a friendly reliable seller who could seemingly get anything. RIP Mr Langley, thanks for the memories of great collecting times.

  4. What a sad day it is to hear this news.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bob on many occasions and I must say he was always a delight to talk to and enjoyed sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge by virtue of being, first and foremost, a music lover.

    Larger than life in so many ways Bob was never the fittest man in the world, but some will be of the view that perhaps the time spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure will not have contributed to extending his time with us, and furthermore some may feel that the action that led to him being there was over-zealous at best, or even vindictive.

    Either way I am sure that he and the also greatly missed Gerard Sparaco are, even as we mourn them both, together and debating the finer points of the latest EV, Tara, or No Label release.

    R.i.p. Bob, a gentleman I am delighted to say I knew.

  5. Careful Axeman Eugene

    Very sorry to hear about his tragic passing away…may he RIP in heaven, where he’ll have absolutely no chance in hell of meeting the likes of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, etc., etc.

    I probably have a dozen or so factory-pressed silver original boot CD releases on the Silver Rarities label, so I can’t say that he never meant anything to me.

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