Beat the Boots
Beat the Boots II

detailed lists
original bootlegs

Beat the Boots and Beat the Boots II were copies of illegal bootleg albums, that Zappa released legally to try to make some money off of them himself. Beat the Boots was available as individual CDs, an LP box and a cassette box. Beat the Boots 2 was available as a CD box, an LP box and a cassette box, but not as individual CDs.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: American version of 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly, and any version of everything else. [completist's guide]


BEAT THE BOOTS as Individual CDs

  • Rhino, USA (Foo-eee R2 70537-70544, July 16 or August 1991)
  • Castle/Essential, UK (ESMCD 952-961, July 16 or August 1991)
  • Germany (IRS 973.158-164)
  • Vouge or Vogue, France (V-633801 - 633851 - except 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly?)
  • Music Scene Inc, Japan (MSI-0028 - 0036)
  • Nippon Crown re-issue, Japan 1997 (CRCL-7502 - 7510)
  • Russian Piquantique CD (Agat Nord Group 0300) - bootleg or a Beat the Boots version?


  • Beat the Boots 10-LP box (Rhino Foo-eee RI-70907, August 1991)
  • Beat the Boots cassette box (Rhino 70907, June 4 or August 1991)
  • Beat the Boots II 11-LP box (Rhino Foo-eee RI-70372, July or June 16 1992)
  • Beat the Boots II 8-CD box (Rhino Foo-eee R2-70372 in the US, July or June 16 1992; Pinnacle CDRNA-070372 in the UK; IRS 973.165 in Germany)
  • Beat the Boots II 7-cassette box (Rhino 70372, July or June 16 1992)

The Beat the Boots boxes came with a T-shirt and a "pop-up display"; the Beat the Boots II boxes came with a black beret, a pin and a scrapbook. The vinyl boxes were limited to 600 copies each. The retail price for the volume 2 CD box was set between $70 and $80.

Detailed Lists

Rhino, USA

  • As an Am (Foo-eee R2 70537)
  • The Ark (Foo-eee R2 70538)
  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! (Foo-eee R2 70539)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (Foo-eee R2 70540)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (Foo-eee R2 70541)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (Foo-eee R2 70542)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (Foo-eee R2 70543)
  • Piquantique (Foo-eee R2 70544)

Castle/Essential, UK

  • As an Am (ESMCD 956)
  • The Ark (ESMCD 957)
  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! (ESMCD 958)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (ESMCD 959)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (EDMCD 960/1-2)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (ESMCD 961)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (ESMCD 962)
  • Piquantique (ESMCD 963)

Both "Castle" and "Essential" are printed on the back cover; the discs only have "Castle". 

Other points of interest are:
- Unmitigated Audacity has a blue back cover (including the spline) and does also have the hammer image on the back cover
- just like the U.S. version, Saarbrucken has 1979 on the spline, but 1978 on the front insert
- The cd's with a dark color spline have the label number printed in black, reversed out in a white box. These cd's are: As An Am, Freaks & Mother*#@!, Unmitigated Audacity, 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly and Piquantique.


IRS, Germany

  • As an Am (IRS 973.157)
  • The Ark (IRS 973.158)
  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! (IRS 973.159)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (IRS 973.160)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (IRS 973.161)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (IRS 973.162)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (IRS 973.163)
  • Piquantique (IRS 973.164)

One source has listed one of the German issues with the label Essential - please set this straight.

Vogue or Vouge, France

The French catalogue numbers do not seem to follow the original sequence:

  • As an Am (V-633803)
  • The Ark (?)
  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! (V-633805)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (V-633802)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (V-663801)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (not released?)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (V-633851)
  • Piquantique (V-633804)

Music Scene Inc, Japan

  • As an Am (MSI-0028)
  • The Ark (MSI-0029)
  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! (MSI-0030)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (MSI-0031)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (MSI-0032/33)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (MSI-0034)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (MSI-0035)
  • Piquantique (MSI-0036)

Nippon Crown Re-Issue, Japan 1997

  • As an Am (Nippon Crown CRCL-7502)
  • The Ark (Nippon Crown CRCL-7503)
  • Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! (Nippon Crown CRCL-7504)
  • Unmitigated Audacity (Nippon Crown CRCL-7505)
  • Any way the Wind Blows (Nippon Crown CRCL-7506/7)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly (Nippon Crown CRCL-7508)
  • Saarbrücken 1978 (Nippon Crown CRCL-7509)
  • Piquantique (Nippon Crown CRCL-7510)

Original Bootlegs

These are links to the original bootleg entries in the Son of the Bootleg FAQ:


  • Freaks & Mother*#@%! was called Freaks & Motherfuckers when it was an illegal bootleg, but the title was censored for the legal release.
  • Saarbrücken 1978 has the incorrect title "Saarbrücken 1979" on the spine and discs but the correct title on the cover (this holds for both US and UK versions). It is a 1978 recording. (Some copies of the original vinyl boot has this incorrect title on the labels; presumably the Beat the Boots version was made from one of those copies.)


From King Philatola:

The majority of the Beat the Boots CDs are only plain. As an Am definitely is the most elaborate. ["The reason for this is that the original vinyl boot of As an Am came with a booklet insert" - Biffy.] Here's the details (majority Canadian pressings):

  • As An Am: four-leaf fold-out with photos and lyrics to "Sharleena" and "The Torture Never Stops"
  • The Ark: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Freaks & Motherfu*#@%!: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Unmitigated Audacity: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Any Way the Wind Blows (both discs): two-leaf fold-out with plain inside (disc 2 has correction insert)
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Saarbrücken 1978: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Piquantique: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Disconnected Synapses: two-leaf fold-out with photo of Zappa and Flo & Eddie inside
  • Tengo 'na Minchia Tanta: two-leaf fold-out with cartoon inside
  • Electric Aunt Jemima: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • At the Circus: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Swiss Cheese / Fire!: two-leaf fold-out with songlist and personnel list inside
  • Our Man in Nirvana: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside
  • Conceptual Continuity: two-leaf fold-out with plain inside

From Biffy the Elephant Shrew:

Oddly enough, the original boot CD of Disconnected Synapses had the cartoon on the inner spread. I'll bet a nickel that the Flo & Eddie pic appeared in the original Tengo 'na Minchia Tanta boot, and they got mixed up when Beat the Boots II was produced.

From Miguel Amorim:

Castle or direct from Rhino CDs are of identical quality, although the American ones seem to feature the hammer on the CD, whereas the British are silver with nothing except the CD title. I recall Zappa commenting on the As an Am lyrics as having been written by one of the worst listeners of music ever ...

Two US Packaging Variants

From Rolf Maurer:

I have copies of The Ark and Unmitigated Audacity, and am curious about the following packaging oddity. The Ark has a little picture of a Rhino saying "FOO-EEE" on the back cover, along with a large, screened-back image of a hammer coming down. My copy of The Ark also reproduces the little "FOO-EEE" speech balloon on the spine. Yet my copy of Unmitigated Audacity has none of these three things.

Both disks follow the same catalogue numbering sequence (R2 70538 and R2 70540). The copy of The Ark that I have bears a copyright notice indicating that it was manufactured in Canada (at Disque Americ, according to the disc itself), but Unmitigated Audacity has nothing to indicate where it was manufactured. What am I looking at here?

From Dr István Fekete:

I have the same CD you described. This must be a legitimate Rhino US release with the first version of the artwork which was later modified. Somehow this is still in the shops in the USA.

The first Unmitigated Audacity CD I bought was the European pressing on Castle/Essential. During one of my visits in the US I noticed that the record shops there had either of two versions of this: one with the same cover art as the European CD, and the one we are talking about. (There are many more differences between the two than you described - see below). So in the end I bought this version too.

  "Strange" US CD "Straight" US / European CD
Catalogue number R2 70540 R2 70540 (US)
ESMCD 959 (EU)
Back/spine colour Yellow Blue
"FOO-EEE" balloon on spine No Yes
Hammer on back No Yes
Rhino saying "FOO-EEE" on back No Yes
Bar code on back 0 8122-70540-2 1 [The EU version has, of course, a different bar code. As far as I can remember, the US version has the same barcode as the strange one.]
Booklet 2 pages 2 pages (US)
4 pages (EU) (pages 2-3 are blank, though)
Rhino & catalogue number on page 2 Yes Yes
(page 4 on the EU version)

front cover

White square top left "LTD. EDITION
Track list SIDE 1 (23:53)
SIDE 2 (23:16)
Blacked out
Blacked out
Bootleg catalogue number bottom right D-549 [Missing]


Picture disc with hammer (blue on white) Yes Yes (US)
No (EU)

The "strange" disc has the following text around the hole on the shiny side (What do you call this anyway? It is not a matrix number ...):

[asterisks] 3 R2 70540-2 SRC#01. [asterisks] M1S3

I also have the US pressing of other BTB CDs too. Our Man in Nirvana, for example, must come from the same pressing plant as UA. Our Man in Nirvana has:

[asterisks] 3 R2 70372-2.5 SRC*05 [asterisks] M1S2

What I think is that the strange CD was the first one in the Beat the Boots series. It clearly has the same front cover art as the original bootleg LP with some items that were removed on later pressings. They must have decided on the final graphics design for the series only after this batch was already out.

Publishing Correction Inserts

JWB says:

Some American Beat the Boots (volume 1) CDs came with little slips of paper inside the case, correcting publishing information. These CDs had "munchkin" misspelled as "mAnchkin" on the CD label.

"ATTENTION! The publishing information imprinted on the CD label is incorrect. The correct information is as follows: All original selections by Frank Zappa and published by either Frank Zappa Music (BMI) or Munchkin Music (ASCAP)."

Differences from Bootleg Versions

From Kristian Kier:

Freaks & Motherf*#@%!:

  • [the bootleg is called] "Motherfuckers", not "Motherf*#@%!"
  • The golden sticker "A genuine Swingin' Pig Disc" on the front is missing.
  • Instead of the FOO-EEE bubble on the back of the sleeve, there is written "The Swingin' Pig / TSP 017"
  • Between "cover by Tukan Prints" and "This stereo record ..." there is written "(C) 1983 The Swingin' Pig Records / Realised Somewhere over the rainbow - / All Rights Reserved"
  • The painted swinging pig, some kind of logo or trademark of the bootlegger's company, is missing at the lower right corner.

Our Man in Nirvana:

  • Front side: Underneath "Frank Zappa" there is written "and the Mothers of Invention / Feat.: Wild Man Fischer"
  • Back side: Under "Recorded Live ..." is written "Kutekkie Remote Control. Produced by Rod'n Nodny"
  • Lower left corner: "All Rights reserved by Frank's Records, Copenhagen"
  • Lower right corner: "(C) 1985 Made in Danmark"

Tengo 'na Minchia Tanta compared to the bootleg CD on the Lost Rose label:

  • Different picture on the inside of booklet. Boot shows a colorized picture taken in a tour bus, with Zappa and Flo & Eddie.

The Ark

By some accident, when The Ark was tranferred to CD, the first vinyl side was played a bit slower than 33 1/3 RPM. (This is of course very likely true also of the vinyl and casstte Beat the Boots versions of The Ark, but that hasn't been confirmed yet.) From the Crimson King:

I had the actual [bootleg] record recorded onto tape years before the CD came out. Zappa announces the songs, and his voice sounds like it does on Absolutley Free (this is before the accident that lowered his voice). On my CD, however, his voice sounds lower than after the accident. Then when it gets to the second half, his voice is back to normal (at that time).

From Richard Kolke:

I have both the Beat the Boots CD and the Twenty Years Ago ... Again CD (Evil 001). There are a few differences between the two. First, the Beat the Boots version of "My Guitar" ends abruptly with the sound of a needle being scraped off the vinyl at 06:46. The Evil CD has the complete version and clocks in at 9:15. The Beat the Boots version has been run through some kind of noise reduction system, while the Evil CD has not. The 56-second intro to "Big Leg Emma" is missing from the Evil CD, and there are a couple of other edited intros as well. Total disc time is 50:15 (Evil) compared to 51:52 (Beat the Boots).

'Tis the Season to Be Jelly

From Dr István Fekete:

What happened to "Petrouska" on 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly is even stranger. It was on the [actual bootleg] - unlisted. Then it was listed and included on the US Beat the Boots version. On the European Beat the Boots release (Castle/Essential label), the title is stricken through and the song is edited out - from the middle of a block! Frank's spoken intro to the song is deleted, too. [This must have been done for copyright reasons - Ed.]

From Ryan Davenport:

I have a Foo-Eee copy of 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly, and it has a little piece of paper inside the folded cover that corrects a typo on the disc. The disc said the songs were published by "Manchkin Music" - the slip of paper corrects that to "Munchkin Music".

Swiss Cheese / Fire!

A mystery song question from JYOB:

On my cassette of Swiss Cheese / Fire! after "Any way The wind Blows" on side 1 there is an unlisted song which I believe is "A Pound for a Brown on the Bus" (great version, too). Duz anyone have any info on this: why is the song unlisted, is it from the 12/4/71 concert, what is the recording length of the tune ... etc.? (I have the "official" Rhino Records release from Beat the Boots II. Rhino R4 71021.)


  • Anything you can think of!
  • Was the incorrect "Saarbrücken 1979" title represented on all the Beat the Boots versions?
  • Was 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly released in France? How about The Ark?

Additional Informants

  • JWB (box sets)
  • Mikael Agardsson ("Saarbrücken 1979", Pinnacle/IRS)
  • DSOTMToo
  • James Croston

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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