Way Beyond Just Drums & Bass

[By an unknown author. Reproduced and annotated by Bossk (R) without any kind of permission from the Cheekbone Crush bootleg CD (of the vinyl mix of) Cruisin' with Ruben & the Jets booklet. General note by Michael Pierry.]

Many people believe that the differences between the Ruben & the Jets vinyl and CD versions are limited to new drums & bass overdubs on the CD. While that would be sufficient reason to reject the CD altogether, we will still, for fun, demonstrate that it is a gross over-simplification and that the differences go much further. In the following, "the CD" means the official CD, and "the vinyl" of course means the Cheekbone Crush CD.

GENERAL: New drums & bass have been added on the CD (except on the tracks "Anything" (with original bass) and "Stuff Up the Cracks" (with original bass & drums)), played by Chad Wackerman and Arthur Barrow, respectively. [0] (It has never been revealed who played (and sung!) all the other over-dubs.) The vocal and remaining instrumental tracks have been completely remixed, and some are more prominent on the CD, while some are less prominent. Reverb has often/always been added to dry tracks.

CHEAP THRILLS: The initial /d/ seems slightly shorter on the CD. The CD intro keeps the original high bass line, and adds a low one (arguably better or overplayed). The CD fade is much longer; while the vinyl stops completely in mid-fade after seven repetitions, the CD has 12 and fades all the way out. Possibly, the original tape had seven, and Zappa created a loop for the CD.

LOVE OF MY LIFE: Some effect has been applied to Zappa's background vocal for the CD mix. The sound of someone turning a sheet of paper at 01:54-56 has quite inexplicably been completely altered on the CD, and sounds more like someone dropping a ping-pong ball on a table-tennis table. [1] The keyboard triplets are missing from the CD. The original drums & bass stopped during the fade, leaving us with Zappa's scat, but the new overdubs keep playing throughout. The overmodulated drum track was pressed that way on the LP and has only been preserved, not distorted, through our re-mastering.

HOW COULD I BE SUCH A FOOL?: The original keyboard track does a very early (first lines) fade-out on the CD, and at least one new electric guitar or keyboard track has been added (the one that starts playing 2-4). This track, or one or several of them, goes way out there during the chorus, which is full of new over-dubs. Zappa's guitar-licking over the fade is not the same on the CD. (Needless to say, the new bass track does not replicate the original out-of-tune and wrong notes at 01:02 and 01:11/12.)

DESERI: The background vocals start with two tracks that go "ooh". On the vinyl, the first one of these starts too early, stops, and then starts again. This has been "fixed" on the CD and is now "so good". The original guitar track has been deleted and replaced with new guitar (now left instead of right) and some bell/keyobard notes (most obvious, if you're having trouble, during the out-chorus). The CD has more horns, starting just before the first chorus, after which the old horns take over. The beginning of the spoken part, when the speaker starts saying "De-" too early and stops for a second, has been deleted on the CD. The new drums keep playing throughout the entire fade, even though the other over-dubs stop, as did the original tracks. [2] Some background vocals stop earlier on the CD, so that the last "Deseri" can not be heard over the last "ooh".

I'M NOT SATISFIED: The guitar track has been deleted, and some parts replaced with new guitar. The intro on the vinyl had double guitar tracks one octave apart; the CD has only one, high. Like most of the guitar track, the main guitar counter-riff was never over-dubbed again (only partly, by a lower guitar doubling the other ostinato), and since Zappa sometimes missed the ostinato on that one, the new backing is even more monotonous. Nice, breathy horns have been added here and there (even though a lone note at 00:53 on the vinyl sounds very much like a horn). The fade on the CD is several seconds longer and reveals lots of virgin tape.

JELLY ROLL GUM DROP: The CD drum track starts with a great downbeat that the vinyl doesn't have. There have been some horns and/or keyboards (hopefully, none of that is a guitar) added in strategic places throughout [3], and the original horns have been deleted. For some reason, what is

"(/a'gimba/ [???]) (Ah. Ah! Ah! Ah!) I'll need! (Jelly Roll Gum Drop!) (Yah. (Ah!) Hyulk!) (Ah!) (Uh!) (t-t-t-t) (Ah! Ah!) (Jelly Roll Gum Drop!) (Sha-la-la-la.) (Sha-la-la-l...) (Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!)" [4]

on the vinyl has been changed into

"Gotta have (aah-eeh) ... Oh, Jelly Roll (t-t-t-t) ... Gimme! We gotta have it ... [???] Lemme have it! (Sha-la-la-la) /'raebri 'haeri 'lu:c/ [???] (Ah-ah-ah!) Gotta have [untranscribable]!" [5]

on the CD. (And that's not as bad as it sounds.) Something similar applies to the out-chorus, where the fading part has been rather modified. [6]

ANYTHING: Enigmatic with his grouchy glare and dark moustache, Zappa kept the original bass track on this one. New background vocals have been added; on the CD, they start off with two background singers, but on the vinyl the second singer comes in later. (Quite possibly, they were both recorded in full at the original sessions.) Utilizing new technology, Zappa has smoothed out the vocal track quite noticably on the CD: listen to the first "I" after the sax solo. (This has obviously been done on more/all songs, but is very obvious here.) The CD fade slightly longer. As on "Love of My Life", the overmodulated drum track was pressed that way on the LP and is through our remastering only presented as-was.

LATER THAT NIGHT: Zappa censored the final lines "There's no room to breathe in here" and "That's right, honey, you can come outta the closet now" on the CD. (Quoth Frank Zappa: "But I'm not anty-gay!". [7]) Other than that, the first line has been doubled on the CD, and given a drum backing. The original keyboard track is only audible for a few seconds in the new mix, but the tambourine track may be the same as on the vinyl!

YOU DIDN'T TRY TO CALL ME: Drums & bass hstart in bar one on the CD (they did not on the LP). The guitar licks have been re-recorded (and are now fewer) along with other guitar tracks. (Parts of the ending solo remain, however.) The keyboard track seems to have been replaced by a new keyboard or electric guitar, which plays fewer notes.

FOUNTAIN OF LOVE: The moronic CD intro ("Fountain, of, Love") was clearly not recorded at the original sessions (that tone of voice had not been invented then [7.5]) and is not on the vinyl, either. (The count-off itself may have been recorded then but shelved.) On the CD, the fade is much lover, and everything fades out together; on the vinyl, the "Fountain of Love" vocal track was the last to go.

"NO. NO. NO.": Introductory drum fill has no vinyl counterpart. The CD has extra bars of sole backing inserted before "Left me here to cry alone" and "Gave my money all to you", and after "Didn't have the nerve to say goodbye" - but the first "You know, you treat me funky, baby" chorus, without the "No, no, no, no, no, no no-o-o-oo-oh" backing, has been deleted. Once again, the CD fades out completely while the vinyl does a cold end in mid-fade.

ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS: The first downbeat has been deleted from the CD. The CD has a new keyboard track, and no horns. CD fade slightly longer; Tiger Lei become cat's pan. [8]

STUFF UP THE CRACKS: This is the slap in the face for CD consumers: the original drums [8.5] & bass return for the final showdown. The second guitar note pluck is extreme on the vinyl [9], but only slightly odd on the CD. Very good horns have been added, introducing themselves after the first verse. The guitar solo fades in earlier on the CD than on the vinyl, so either the first part is an overdub or Zappa indeed had a multi-track tape of this song (a common explanation for the original drums & bass tracks is that only a two-track master survived). Certain out-chorus vocals appear to have been altered or removed, which points to the latter.

[End of original text.]

General Note by Michael Pierry

I'd like to note that, although the author is very good at pointing out the differences betwixt the two versions, he does not know how to interpret them correctly. For example, when the author hears, say, a guitar part that wasn't in the original mix, he assumes it's a "new overdub".

Footnotes

0. Barrow did the electric bass parts. Acoustic upright parts were probably by Jay Anderson.

1. A comment from Lewis Saul:

But, the funny thing is (and this is all extremely subtle must-have-headphones-on stuff) - the little paper swoosh occurs right after the words 'they never lie'. On the remix - I don't hear a ping-pong ball - but I DO hear what sounds like a solenoid switch being depressed immediately afterwards (while the Ray is singing 'tell me you need me' - in fact right between the words 'me' and 'you'). (The PLAY button on your tape deck or CD is probably a solenoid switch. Only this one sounds like the flipper of a pinball machine ...)

2. Clarification: the drums stop on the vinyl and do not fade out.

3. Michael Pierry comments:

On reading further into this article, I've noticed that it is way, WAY out to lunch on many different things. Especially when the author thinks the acoustic guitar is a keyboard, and Ray Collins' high sustained vocals are 'horns'. This person is out of their fuckin' mind. The CD version has no horn parts whatsoever (none that I can hear), and the guitar/keyboard mixup is absolutely inexcusable, because what is plainly an acoustic guitar is pushed way up in the mix and no keys are present whatsoever. So weird. Almost makes me think this person is listening to a different album than the one I have.

The "guitar/keyboard" mixup ("hopefully, none of that is a guitar") looks like sarcasm about the guitar sound on the CD, but it is true that there are no horns or keys on the CD version of "Jelly Roll Gum Drop", and neither does the horn part look like a joke. The author must have been smoking in front of a mirror.

4. The original uses the phonetical alphabet, which can not be reproduced here. The a characters in "/a'gimba/" represent "schwa" characters: an e turned upside down.

5. The original uses the phonetical alphabet, which can not be reproduced here. The ae characters in /'raebri 'haeri 'lu:c/ represent ae as a single character, and the c represents a vowel character written very much like a sans-serif c.

6. D. G. Porter has explained that the CD version of "Jelly Roll Gum Drop" has two lead vocal parts, one from the original LP (on the left) and one (on the right) from the 45.

7. The bootleg booklet is full of these little things: for example, "pork-chop bone" has been replaced with "ice-cream cone" in the "No. No. No." lyrics.

7.5. From JWB: "Bullshit! OF COURSE it is from the original sessions. It's DICK KUNC'S voice! (See the intro to "She's Too Much for My Mirror" from Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica.)"

8. This mysterioso reference, "Tiger Lei become cat's pan", was finally identified in early 1998 as a quote from the plot summary on the back cover of the Hong Kong laserdisc version of the wxiá  movie Jet Li as Fong Sai-YukFONG SAI-YUK  (Universe Laser & Video Company ULV3229). In an "Anyway the Wind Blows" context, it seems to be nonsensical. (The masterpiece deserves to be quoted in full:

"Fong Sai-Yuk, young, rich, talented, learns Tiger Lei will let the winner of a martial art tournament marry his beautiful daughter. Fong enters into the tournament. / Mother Fong is infuriated by the loss. She puts on a man's attire and enters into the tournament too. She wins, and Tiger Lei wants her as son-in-law. Sai-Yuk tries his eccentric best to anta-gonize the Lei's. But Tiger Lei joins the fan. Ting Ting is furious. / Father Fong comes home. He has joined a secret society dedicated to the owerthrow of the Manchu dynasty. A high official is sent down to hunt society member. Tiger Lei become cat's pan. / Mother and son discover the secret and come to father Fong's acid. The Fongs move into the Lei household and Sai-yuk and Ting Ting rediscover each other. / The high official finds them out. Father Fong is executed. Mother Fong is seriously hurt. The secret society's chief appears in time. Sai-Yuk is sent to kill the high official. Even Tiger is moved and changes his side."

(Incidentally, Father Fong is actually not executed, and Mother Fong not at all hurt. Mother Lei, though, curiously absent from the above summary, falls in love with Mother Fong, but is seriously hurt, and dies from her injuries. Moreover, the film (based on a true story) takes a lot of liberties with history: in the film, Tiger Lei lets his wife fight the tournament, to find a husband for their daughter (in the film, this makes sense), but in reality, he fought it himself, for no other reason than to satisfy his big ego, and was defeated by Fong, who was at the time only 14 or 15 years old.))

8.5 A note from Only the Sky: "Note the dual drum tracks panned to opposite ends".

9. The vinyl copy Cheekbone Crush based their bootleg CD upon may well have been damaged.

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 20:02

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