Orchestral Favorites

What to Get: All CDs are the same; this title wasn't remastered in 2012.

Summary: The vinyl is reputed to sound better than the CD, but the CD isn't terribly different; however, it has a reversed stereo spectrum. All CDs are the same.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Any version. [completist's guide]


  • Original vinyl (DiscReet DSK 2294 in the US, May 4 1979; DiscReet K 59212 in the UK, June 1979)
  • German vinyl (WEA DiscReet DIS 59 212)
  • Greek vinyl (Warner Brothers 59212)
  • Cassette (DiscReet M5D 2294 in the US)
  • 8-track (Warner/DiscReet M8D 2294, 1979)
  • Original CD (Barking Pumpkin D2 74236 or D2074236 in the US, September 24 1991; Zappa Records CDZAP 45 in the UK, September or November 1991; VACK 5087 in Japan)
  • Japanese MSI CD (Music Scene Inc. MSI-0044?)
  • Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA45)
  • 1991 cassette (Barking Pumpkin, September 4 1991)
  • 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10529, May 2 1995; VACK 5087 in Japan, renumbered 5222 in 1998)
  • Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1237, April 27 2002)
  • 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR 3860 September 25, 2012)

Current Version Track-listing (links to Román's stupendous lyrics rundown)

  1. Strictly Genteel 7:04
  2. Pedro's Dowry 7:41
  3. Naval Aviation In Art? 1:22
  4. Duke Of Prunes 4:20
  5. Bogus Pomp 13:27

Relation to LÄTHER

Three Orchestral Favorites tracks - "Naval Aviation in Art", "Pedro's Dowry" and "Duke of Prunes" - are also on the Läther album ("Duke of Prunes" as "Duke of Orchestral Prunes"). The only difference between the Orchestral Favorites and Läther versions is a stereo image reversal, so that the right channel on Orchestral Favorites is the left channel on Läther, and vice versa. On Läther, "Naval Aviation in Art" is written with a question mark - "Naval Aviation in Art?". [full Läther walkthrough by Zoot]

Original Vinyl

From "Tinseltown Rebellion" by John Bamford, in Hi-Fi Answers, November 1986 (quote provided by Biffy the Elephant Shrew):

To this day I've thought those albums [Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan & Orchestral Favorites] had a weird sound. In talking to Zappa recently I learned that although Warners had the master tapes, he had the Dolby line-up tones. (He likes to be present during disc mastering.) So the equalization on those recordings is all wrong!

German Vinyl

From Harry de Swart:

My LPs of Studio Tan, Orchestral Favorites & Sleep Dirt have a German label but it mentions "STEMRA" instead of "GEMA". STEMRA is a Dutch firm which collects the money for the performing artist and protects their rights. All other German issues of Zappa albums have GEMA on the label!


The "track list", or whatever it's called on an 8-track:

1. Strictly Genteel / Naval Aviation in Art
2. Pedro's Dowry / Duke of Prunes (Beg.)
3. Duke of Prunes (Concl.) / Bogus Pomp (Beg.)
4. Bogus Pomp (Concl.)

Black cartridge.

Original CD

When Zappa remastered Orchestral Favorites for CD, he reversed the stereo image, so the right channel on the vinyl became the left channel on the CD and vice versa. Some tracks can be heard in the original stereo image on the Läther CD.

From István Fekete:

Both the Zappa Records (CDZAP 45) and the Barking Pumpkin (D2 74236) CDs have the following note on the bottom right of page 3 of the 4-page booklet:

"Orchestral Favorites was originally released
in lp format, May, 1974 and is album #27."

... which is pretty funny considering that the stuff was recorded in 1975 as you can read on page 2 of said booklet. Looks like no-one noticed the error until 1995 when Rykodisc (RCD 10529) corrected it to say "Orchestral Favorites was originally released in lp format, May, 1979."

From John Henley:

I have always suspected that error came about through the misreading of someone's - maybe Zappa's - handwritten scrawl.  "4" and "9" can easily look alike.

1991 Cassette

This cassette has the CD remaster on it, which means that the stereo image is reversed compared to the vinyl (and original cassette). From Biffy the Elephant Shrew:

The Barking Pumpkin Orchestral Favorites cassette has a different side break from the LP: everything except "Bogus Pomp" is segued together on side one, which makes for a bloody long silence at the end of the tape.

From Nik Lowenberg:

My Orchestral Favorites cassette says in the notes that the album was released May 1974, right after it said that it was recorded in September 1975. Anyone else see this? (I know most of you don't own the cassettes, but I'm not rich like alla y'all so I went with 10-tape deal from the official site).

1995 CD

Just like the original CD, the stereo image is reversed compared to the vinyl. Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork." [full statement] A booklet error from the original CD has been corrected.

2012 UMe CD

Taken from the 1993 digital master, this is the same as earlier CDs. Jaypfunk laments this sad state of affairs:

last nite i compared the Orchestral favorites LP to the 1995 Ryko CD and all I have to say is JESUS CHRIST does that CD suck . . . . Some of the instruments are just completely buried in that shitty CD mix. If you never heard the vinyl then the CD is fine. but the vinyl is just a tad better mix. there are some subtle things that are going on in comparison but not bad enough to completely hate the CD version.

it's too bad that the new CD is still using the Ryko version

From Mike Espinoza:

Actually, I don't hear much of a difference on "Bogus Pomp" between the LP and CD, but "Strictly Genteel" sounds much crisper on vinyl. The other three are on Lšther, where they sound better.

Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)

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.


  • Any details on cassette versions?
  • It seems there had been both a VACK and an MSI CD in Japan prior to 1995. How come?
  • Is the Greek vinyl legit?

Additional Informants

  • Patrick Neve
  • Bossk (R)
  • Jeepster Records

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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