Steve Ramm wrote, "This set is Pricey but it's also 1/3 the price of Black
Europe that Rainer priced for Bear Family."
That is true, but this Paramount set has very little material on it that has
not already been reissued (unlike Black Europe) and the 800 recordings on
the flash drive are in the form of mp3s (unlike Black Europe). (Will a
Chris King-transferred MP3 offer better sound than a Chris Zwarg-transferred
CD? I don't see how it can.)
The first volume of the Paramount set, despite the advertising, has NO
Paramount recordings from 1917-1922, so is not a comprehensive overview of
the label's offerings. It has no ethnic recordings. The label's history
has already been extensively covered (in 78 Quarterly and then in Alex but
der Tuuk's Mainspring Press-published book) and the label's discography is
being covered by Agram books. Unless one is new to discovering this
material (and that may be the audience this set is directed at), the
Paramount set doesn't have much to offer.
As for bootlegs, my understanding is that John Steiner purchased the rights
to Paramount recordings from Wisconsin Chair Co. head Otto Moeser, and so
whoever purchased those rights from John Steiner has legal title to those
recordings. (Someone please correct me if I am mistaken.) Thus, I assume
that when Paramount recordings are re-issued by John Tefteller's Blues
Images, Revenant, Third Man Records, Yazoo, Document, etc., etc., all of
these entities are bootlegging the recordings. Not that I mindů without
their efforts I would not have been able to hear them.