What to Get: The 2012 CD is a clear upgrade.
Summary: The original vinyl is generally
considered to be superior to the Old Masters LP (which utilized a
partially reverb-soaked digital master, one which also trimmed the
intro to "Disco Boy") and all pre-2012 CDs (which are made from a
potentially be-futzed-with version of the Old Masters transfer). The
2012 CD reverts to the dry vinyl version and is Swell.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: The vinyl or 2012 CD. [completist's guide]
- [Test pressing of the originally planned double vinyl,
which was never released - see the Weirdo
Discography for details]
- Original vinyl (Warner
Brothers BS 2970 in the US and Canada, October
20 1976; K 56298 in the UK, December 1976)
- RCA Record Club vinyl
- French & German vinyl (Warner
- Greek vinyl
- Japanese vinyl (Warner Brothers P-10266W, white-label promo
- Argentine vinyl (MusicHall 14.297 - Warner Brothers WB
14297 white-label promos also issued)
- Israeli vinyl (Warner Brothers K 56298, 1976, some Hebrew
print on label and back cover)
- Yugoslavian vinyl (Warner Brothers K 56298, 1976, pressed
by YUGOTON, "SUZY RECORDS PRODUCTION" on label - legit?)
- Turkish vinyl (Warner Brothers BS 2970)
- Brazilian vinyl (WEA Discos Ltda,
1977, with special "DISCO DO MĘS STATUS" version)
- The Old Masters vinyl (Barking
Pumpkin BPR 9999-8, December 1987)
- Saudi-Arabian cassette (IMD-6550 - may be counterfeit)
- Original CD (Ryko RCD 10160 in
the US, Zappa Records CDZAP22 in the UK, May 1990; VACK 5037 in Japan;
Ryko D30373 in Australia, 1990)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10523, May 2 1995;
VACK 5126 in Japan, renumbered
5261 in 1998)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD
(Ryko/VACK 1222, October 24 2001)
- 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3855 August
From Harry de Swart:
My Dutch copy of Zoot Allures I bought November 18
1976 which is 14 days earlier than the UK release.
From Mikael Agardsson:
Speaking of Zoot Allures, there's another misprint
LP [the first being the German - Ed]: it
has two B-sides and comes from the USA. I have it myself.
DAN WATKINS: I was checking out a web page full of Zappa
interview clips and came
across one in which Frank mentions a censored Canadian pressing of Zoot
which censors out "Black Napkins" and "The Torture Never Stops" (the
latter being for the screams) by a sheet of paper that was actually
placed over the vinyl.
Has anyone ever seen one of these?
RICK STILES: I have a vinyl copy of this, bought in Canada. It
doesn't appear to be
censored as you describe. However, it was bought used ...
STAN: The Canadian release itself wasn't censored; the
management of one radio
station put tape or something across the front of their copy to
Torture Never Stops" from being played on the air. Frank did an
interview at that
particular station and complained that the tape also blocked them from
Napkins." (I have that interview on tape.)
JON NAURIN: A similar thing happened at a 1975 interview (KSAN
12/26, I think), where
Zappa claims that the station would never play "Dinah-Moe Humm" on the
interviewer wants to prove him wrong, asks Zappa what album it's on,
and then digs up Over-Nite Sensation
from their archives. It turns out
that the vinyl is badly scratched, someone has crossed it over with a
yellow crayon and
put a "contains dirty, dirty words" label on it. The interviewer sounds
noticably embarrased, and lets Zappa recite the whole song on the air.
Frank seems amused
and keeps stopping to ask whether the interviewer had heard any "dirty,
RCA Record Club Vinyl
From CSTMAS's ad on ebay,
This is a really hard to find variation on a great ZAPPA LP!
This is the Zoot Allures RCA Record Club Edition! These record
club editions are fastly becoming some of the greatest collectable LPs!
I think this was the only Zappa LP on the Warner Brothers Tree Label
(this has "RCA MUSIC SERVICE EDITION" above the title on the LP label
and of course their added catalog number.
Originally, Zappa planned a different track order for Zoot
but changed his mind (well, orignally-originally he planned a double
but that's another story - see the Weirdo
for details). This track order shows up on the cover (only) of some
copies of the released
album, at least in Germany:
1. Black Napkins
2. The Torture Never Stops
3. Disco Boy
4. Filthy Habits
5. Wonderful Wino [Zappa/Simmons]
6. Zoot Allures
7. Find Her Finer
From Mikael Agardsson:
There's actually a German (WB 56298) MISPRINT issue,
with ZZ TOP on side A!
A Brazilian edition of this LP had a light-blue "DISCO DO
logo stamped or printed in the lower-right corner of the front cover.
Brazilian LP released in 1977 by WEA Discos Ltda. It has the
label "DISCO DO MĘS STATUS". Status was a Brazilian
adult magazine like Playboy. They used to endorse some records
in the '70s and this one was one of the best. Very rare.
Old Masters Vinyl
The Old Masters LP came out in late 1987, and featured a
"digitally tweezed" master: there's extra reverb (particularly
noticeable on formerly super-dry tracks like "Find Her Finer"), and the
EQ is very different. The drum-machine intro to "Disco Boy" is also
missing. This version was later used (perhaps unmodified) on the
Like the Old Masters vinyl; contains additional reverb and missing the intro to "Disco Boy."
From Pat Buzby:
Zoot Allures is ... one case I know of where the CD is
inferior to the LP. It's a subjective difference, but I noticed a
certain boxy quality to the CD sound that I never noticed on the album.
Also, the last scream on "Torture Never Stops" is obnoxiously
placed at the introduction to the next track.
From Michael Pierry:
The difference between the vinyl and the CD IS QUITE
noticeable, and the CD does sound murkier. Just take a listen to "Black
Napkins" for example. The guitar jumps out on the vinyl, but it doesn't
on the CD. So you have to turn it WAY UP to compensate
until you can't tell the difference. Extremely annoying and aggravating.
Let's just say the only reason I even like that album is
because of the vinyl. Hearing "Black Napkins" was an absolutely
jaw-dropping experience. It lives in a much larger, more alive space
than the CD mix. Everytime I hear the CD
myself checking to see if there's cottonballs in my ears. I've said it
before and I'll continue to say it everytime this comes up: I barely
even liked Zoot Allures until I found a vinyl copy of it. The
bottom line for me is that Zappa's guitar is much more present in the
LP mix. I think Keneally described the Ryko disc's sound as "wrapped in
gauze" or something like that.
From David G.:
Reverb galore. Things that stand out in the original are, by
comparison, buried here. I don't detect any of the right-channel
problems that usually plague the 1989/90-era titles, so this might be
more or less a straight transfer of the 1987 digital master (the other
bad-batch titles all had older digital masters, if any existed at all).
Like the original CD. Official Ryko
master. New timing sheet." [full
Mikael Agardsson has compared the WB 2970 vinyl and 1995 CD
There's a "Sparkie Parker" singing backup vocals on "Disco
Boy". On the CD, this person has suddenly been renamed "Sharkie Barker".
The LP cover is not as dark as the CD cover, so the faces
can be seen more clearly. The picture is also sharper. The words "Zoot
Allures" are printed in two colours: red approaching purple and blue.
The blue colour is a lot brighter on the LP. Clearly noticable.
Additonally, the following information is not on the CD:
Recorded at Record Plant. L.A.
Engineer: Michael Braunstein, Davey Moire.
Re-mix engineer: Frank Zappa.
JWB weighs in:
This one sounds like absolute garbage
compared to the original LP.
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.
2012 UMe CD
Mastered by Bob Ludwig from the original analog master (this info may be missing
from the back cover of some copies). Reverts to the
dry LP version and restores the introduction to "Disco Boy."
Definitive; buy this.
- Any details on cassette versions?
- Any details on 8-track versions?
- Any regional peculiarities?
- Is the Greek vinyl legit?
- Are all CDs the same? Comparisons between '95 CD tracks and
tracks on promos seem to suggest this.
- Biffy the Elephant Shrew
- Andrew Harper
- Tony Burke
- Steve Jones
- Otmar Haβlinger
- The guy who uploaded the Old Masters rip of "ZA" onto at
least one tracker, thus allowing it to spread.