What to Get: The 2012 CD, although those with Lšther already have most of it.
Summary: The pre-2012 CDs contained a remix of "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary," and some contained digital glitches. The 2012 CD matches the vinyl version and does not have the remix.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Any non-2012 CD (preferably either a Zappa Records or "first pressing" Barking Pumpkin, although there's some indication that some later versions are fine), plus the 2012 CD; unlike the vinyl, it does not contain a fade on "Greggery Peccary," which is also slightly more complete than the one on Lšther (most people will be perfectly happy with Lšther). However, insane completists may want to drool over a cassette from 1987 known as The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa, available briefly back then from Barfko and Guitar World magazine - it seems to have had a 2-minute excerpt from an otherwise unreleased Studio Tan remix with Chad Wackerman's drum overdubs!
And on the weird side, parts of this album seem to have been issued in Poland as a set of flexi-disc postcards.
The vinyl, cassette and 8-track releases that were put out by Warner Brothers had "Greggery Peccary", "Let Me Take You to the Beach" and "REDUNZL". Zappa's re-issues had the corrected titles "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary", "Lemme Take You to the Beach" and "RDNZL".
Relation to LÄTHER
Studio Tan is thus the sole entry from the "Ugly Covers" period to be represented on Läther almost in its entirety.
The Adventures of Greggery Peccary
From Neil in the UK:
From Simon Roberts:
From Román García Albertos:
From Reader McReaderface:
The 2012 CD version does not fade out "Greggery," so this represents the longest version of the original mix released.
From "Tinseltown Rebellion" by John Bamford, in Hi-Fi Answers, November 1986 (quote provided by Biffy the Elephant Shrew):
From Harry de Swart:
The DiscReet MFD 2291 cassette has the exact same track listing as the vinyl.
Like many of the Barking Pumpkin discs, "Studio Tan" had a "stealth variation" introduced in a later pressing. Unlike "Roxy" or "Sleep Dirt," though, the variation here is entirely unintentional:
(nobody's reported on the Zappa Records disc yet, but past experience would suggest that it is the same of the first two versions above)
This may sound more than a bit confusing, so to summarize: if you don't care about a brief dropout in RDNZL, both discs are the same.
Like the original CD, presumably.
The 1995 CD is digitally identical to the second Barking Pumpkin CD (with the "Re-1" in the matrix code). Unfortunately, it introduces one additional error: something that sounds like a "digital skip" (what Biffy describes as a "nasty glitch that sounds like a bad edit") at 19:19 in Greggery Peccary [Ed: Clearly, the digital tape used for the master of this album was prone to errors!]. Consequently, the earlier edtion(s) is preferable. Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet." [full statement]
Note that apparently some 1995 CDs do not have this glitch; in particular, sh.tv forum member Black Elk points to one he bought in Europe with the matrix Y13132 A4 P2 310526-2 01 M1S1 that doesn't have either this or the RDNZL glitch. Can anybody help up get to the bottom of this?
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.
Mastered by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley and Sangwook "Sunny" Nam from the original analog master. Reverts to the LP mix of "Greggery Peccary," but does not fade out, so it contains more music than the original LP. Reviews are positive so far.
2012 iTunes Weirdness:
The long deleted vinyl version of this album has been bootlegged on CD at least once, coupled with Sleep Dirt. [read all about it in the son of the alt.fan.frank-zappa Bootleg FAQ] (At least one issue of this coupling is on the same label as at least one issue of a bootleg CD of the (uncensored) vinyl version Zappa in New York.)
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