Over the years, many bootleggers have appropriated the good Vigotone name in order to get instant respectability. (But, if their material is that great to begin with, why the need to latch on to Vigotone's coattails?)
Occasionally, people will also write to ask "is this one real?" or "is that one real?"...
The only honest-to-goodness authentic Vigotones are the ones cataloged elsewhere on this site. If you ever see anything not on this site, it's a fake. (Vigotone went out of business in 2001. Anything coming later is not a real one. It's really just that simple.)
This page catalogs some of the known fakes:
Water Wings - This one appeared in Japan in April 2004. A lot of people contacted me to see if it was authentic. It should be pretty obvious that it's not! Consider the facts:
1. Shoddy packaging. (A 3 CD set without a box & true booklet? I doubt it!) The packaging was done on somebody's printer - It's not "real" printing. The discs (CDRs) have printed labels that say "Made in Australia" on them (why?!), and the "booklet" is actually a folded piece of paper that is absolutely full of spelling mistakes (2 examples: "Girl's School" is called "Gurl's School" and the tracks were recorded in the "Vergin" Islands...!). Finally, the Vigotone logo was kind of fuzzy and not even lined up properly!
2. A UPC code on the back. (Vigotone never had them as Vigotone releases were bootlegs and not sold at typical outlets that would require UPC codes!) The date is also wrong. The person that prepared this put it down as a "1999" release, yet the Roman numerals used read "1998"!
3. Only one catalog number. (A 3 CD set would have had three!) What's more, the catalog number makes no sense (VT-500 X 2 BEAT)!
4. Vigotone went out of business in 2001. (This is the big one. Vigotone is gone. Deal with it.)
Bottom line: this was probably produced by a Vigotone-wannabe in Japan. The spelling mistakes are consistent with the types of mistakes a Japanese person would make when "translating" from the phonetic Japanese writing system to English. The fact it only seems to be sold in Japan also supports this theory.
Vigotone was the leader in quality boots. So, it's pretty obvious that others would try to capitalize on this fact by trying to ride on the Vigotone name. This site has a complete list of the Vigotone releases. Anything else is going to be fake.
The Complete Parkinson Show And Rehearsals - This is another piece of garbage by the friendly folks who gave us Water Wings.... I'm not going to write a lot about it (read the details above, they're pretty much the same). It has 3 CDRs, the packaging was done on someone's home printer, and its artwork is awful. The catalog number is another one that screams it's a fake (VT-125 x 8 BEAT)! Avoid this one too!
New Moon Over Macca - Here's a 6-disc set, but unlike most "original fakes", this one is on the Madman label...! This release appears to have been produced in South America.
Brian Wilson / Sweet Insanity B-Sides - The bootlegger of this title gets an "A" for knowing that Vigotone never released a true "Vigotone 113", but he gets an "F" for the date. All titles from Vigotone 100 to 115 were done in 1993, not 1991! Also, there is no logo on the back, nor a catalog number on the spine. All real Vigotones have both! Finally, the packaging is not up to real Vigotone standards! It just looks cheap...!
Dennis Wilson / Bamboo - OK, here the bootlegger remembered to add the Vigotone logo and catalog number, but he used a number that WAS released by Vigotone (as part of the Get Back Journals II set)! Also, Vigotone only used the spelling "VigOtone" (big "O") in the logo itself. All other instances have the spelling with a small "O" (Vigotone). The artwork is also pretty poor. Real Vigotones just look different than this.
Summer 1999 Promotional Sampler (VT-1718P) - The fact that this is a fake makes me sad.... Ever since I started to collect Vigotone CDs I had been looking for this release. I recently learned (from a dealer who used to get Vigotones direct from the source) that this one was never offered to him, nor was it on any of the order sheets. Since this person was a large Vigotone dealer, I assume he knows what he's talking about! (Also, don't you think that Vigotone would have given one of their better customers one of these?)
While the packaging is handsome, upon further review there are a couple of things that just don't look right. First of all, we have the name "Vigotone" written as "VigOtone" (big "O" in the middle). Secondly, the catalog number (VT-1718P) makes no sense whatsoever (this release covers VT-178 to VT-182). The final thing that doesn't look right is the Vigotone logo on the back cover. The only place where this style logo was used is on the box of Get Back: The Glyn Johns Final Compilation. Every "true" Vigotone has the normal Vigotone logo (the name under the man). Also, notice how the man's face is reversed on the back cover!
Still the same, I think the knock-off artists who made this did a very credible job. It's the best "original" fake I've ever seen!
(Update (early 2012) - A visitor to the site wrote to say he had one of these. I was told it was a blue-backed CDR, with a "nicely-printed paste-on label". The front & back jewel case inserts were printed on normal matte printer paper - not on thick or glossy card stock.)
John Lennon / The Complete Imagine Sessions - Here's a piece of junk that was originally seen on eBay. This set is merely a shoddy re-packaging of the authentic Imagine..All The Outtakes and Imagine...More Session Tapes. Judging from the picture, the set includes "silver CDRs" not real CDs. The number listed is VT-242-247. Too bad the person who made this didn't do his homework! The real Vigotone used numbers 242 & 243 for authentic releases! (VT-242 was part of the "Goodbye Surfing, Hello God" box, and VT-243 was the final Vigotone CD released!) The packaging is also WAY too crummy to be authentic! Finally, name a real Vigotone multi-disc release without a box & booklet! Don't you think a 6-disc set would have had a big box w/a glossy, informative booklet? (I bet it would!)
The Traveling Wilburys / Complete Collection - Here's another low-quality Vigotone fake. The person I got this from told me that the dealer who sold it to him had other "genuine" Vigotones all the way up to 300! Since this is 250, I imagine that there are at least 50 other "Grade Z" Vigo-wannabes out there...! Caveat Emptor! (BTW, this is a two-disc set and it only has one catalog number, and the careless bootlegger spelt Vigotone as "Vligotone"...)
The two items below are another couple of wannabe Vigotone releases from Japan. We've got a DVD set, as well as a 6-disc CD set. Let's list the ways they are not authentic:
1. Vigotone didn't release DVDs
2. Vigotone didn't co-release anything with Polydor (see the front of the DVD)
3. The catalog numbers don't follow the authentic numbering system.
4. Vigotone always wrote "all rights reversed". These say "all rights reserved".
4. Vigotone could spell the word "definitive" (it's not "difinitive"...)
5. Vigotone specialized in classic western rock. They didn't release CDs or DVDs by Japanese groups/artists.
6. Vigotone went out of business in 2001. These have 2009 dates on them.
7. Vigotone never used Japanese writing on its releases.
These two items were obviously made by a Japanese person who wanted to capitalize on the Vigotone name. The Japanese language is correct, yet there are mistakes with the English that a Japanese person would make if they tried to sound it out phonetically (like "difinitive").
Obviously, the person who prepared these has great love for the subject matter. The sets look quite professional. They are just not authentic Vigotones...
Write to me here: vigotonefan (at) hotmail (dot) com