Just Another Band from LA
What to Get: The 2012 CD is the best of an iffy set of
Summary: Zappa heavily re-tweezed this album in 1986 for the second
"Old Masters" box; it sounds nothing like the original, and some prefer
this version, which is bright instead of muddy and bassy like the
original LP (which was on the Old Masters LP and all pre-2012 CDs;
however, those later CDs have some audio problems). The 2012 UMe
CD is like the LP, but some people complain about it.
Steve Cobham has a UK issue with fun etchings in the run-out groove:
This tape had a funky colour scheme: army green with murky yellow labels. From Ben H:
This album was released in the second "Old Masters" box, which debuted the (remixed?) brighter, leaner version that was in print until the 2012 CDs.
The original CD was missing some artwork that had been on the vinyl; this was restored on the 1995 re-issue. Reports are that the stereo spectrum was altered and Zappa had seriously modified the equalization. We could use more details.
Jasper Emiliano reports:
The 1995 CD re-issue includes a little new artwork: a behind-the-tray inlay of "Billy the Mountain hisself - fabricated storyboard [pencil] drawing (slightly visible over my head in interior photo)", as Cal Schenkel put it. Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork." [full statement]
Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000 copies each) of Zappa CDs in paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and "bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had "proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold" cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.
We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors items, not new remastered editions.
Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you know if this happens.
The low end of the new one being boosted (in comparison) so much so as to overwhelm the entire balance of the CD. Brickwall freakin' Bob strikes again. He had no reason to compress this, but he did anyway. Too bad.
Rick Wood likes it, and points out a difference:
On JABFLA compare the end of the last track "Uncle Meat" on Ryko vs 2012 UmeCD. The 2012 track is 7 seconds longer, so you can hear Mark, Howard and FZ all say "Thank you very much", and a few keyboard clinks after applause. Also in this section there's a persistent humming noise on the Ryko (60 Hz onstage hum?), suppressed on the 2012 CD. Much nicer.
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