The CD is a remix, and heavily overdubbed: vocals, by Thana Harris (yes!), on three tracks,
and new drums on some, overdubbed by Chad Wackerman; it's almost a completely
different album. Some CDs have a remix of "Regyptian Strut."
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Vinyl and any CD. (Some CD versions have
a remix of "Regyptian Strut" and some do not, but this is a moot point as
both versions appear on Läther, which you need
anyway.) [completist's guide]
- Original vinyl (DiscReet DSK 2292 in the US, January 19 1979; K
59211 in the UK, September 1979)
- French & German vinyl (DiscReet DIS 59 211)
- Green vinyl (?!)
- Portuguese vinyl (DiscReet / Radio Triunfo LP-S-68-19)
- Israeli vinyl (DiscReet BAN 59211, with a little Hebrew print on the back cover)
- Brazilian vinyl
- Original CD (Barking Pumpkin D2074238 or D2 74238 in the US,
September 24 1991; Zappa Records CDZAP 43 in the UK, September 4 1991 (or 1990?); VACK
5086 in Japan)
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA43)
- 1991 cassette (Barking Pumpkin (D2 74238?), September 4 1991)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10527, May 2 1995; VACK 5086 in
Japan, renumbered 5221 in 1998)
- Russian CD
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1235, April
- Bootleg CDs
- "Bogus CD"
From Harry de Swart:
My German copy of Sleep Dirt I bought January 18 1979 which is one
day earlier than the USA release?
Relation to LÄTHER
Five Sleep Dirt tracks appear on the Läther
album. The differences between the versions are as follows [full
Läther walkthrough by Zoot]:
- "Filthy Habits": Läther has a shorter edit of the Sleep
Dirt vinyl version.
- "Flambay": Läther has a shorter
edit of the same instrumental version
as the Sleep Dirt vinyl; the Sleep Dirt CD has a
different mix. The Läther version is spelled "Flambé".
- "Spider of Destiny": Läther has a shorter edit of
the same instrumental version as the Sleep Dirt vinyl; the Sleep
Dirt CD has a different mix.
- "Regyptian Strut": Läther has the same mix as the Sleep
Dirt vinyl; the Sleep Dirt CD has a different mix. (The original
pressing of the Barking Pumpkin CD has the vinyl mix, but all subsequent pressings and all
other CDs have a different mix.) Sheepishly, the Sleep Dirt CD version
appears as a "bonus track" on Läther (Spence Chrislu
at the UMRK/zappa.com put it there by
mistake, not realising it was already on the Sleep Dirt CD). The Läther versions is spelled "Re-Gyptian
Strut". However, as David Goodwin observes, the introductory drum fill
is different on Läther:
As I said before, Läther has a longer
drum intro. Well, that is and isn't true. It's longer, but it also isn't
what's on all other issues of the remix. To clarify, it seems as if the
remix itself (on Sleep Dirt, and Strictly
Genteel) always uses the opening drum parts from the original mix
before the song starts, while Läther has the
complete song with Chad's original drum intro. (Ed: See the
version comparison below for more insight into this)
- "Time Is Money": Läther has the Sleep Dirt vinyl
version as a bonus track; the Sleep Dirt CD has a slightly different
- "The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution": Läther has a
shorter edit of the Sleep Dirt vinyl version.
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!
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!
When Sleep Dirt came out on CD, it was heavily overdubbed with vocals,
by Thana Harris, on three tracks. The first pressing had the original version of
"Regyptian Strut", but subsequent pressings have new drums on that track,
overdubbed by Chad Wackerman. Chad Wackerman is not credited on the CD, and at
least some CDs do not credit Thana Harris on "Time is Money".
From Chris Ullsperger:
The CD contains Thana Harris' vocal tracks on the Hunchentoot numbers
("Flambay", "Spider of Destiny" and
"Time is Money") and represents an important
"restoration" in my opinion. Essential for continuity. Too bad that musical will
never see the light.
About 10 seconds of percussive flourishes found at the end of the original Warner
Brothers instrumental version of "Flambay" are removed -
about 20 seconds of a guitar bridge found in the original Warner Brothers instrumental
version of "Spider of Destiny" are edited out (near the end
after the line that begins "All the comets and stuff ..." and before the
line that begins "Eat the Earth people ...").
[Ed: While the officially released CD of the "Sleep Dirt" remixes does have
these edits, the tape smuggled out as part of the "Beyond
the Fringe of Audience Comprehension" bootleg--later part of the
Mystery Box--has some of these
extra portions. See below for some sound samples.]
From Richard K Fox:
The CD also has drum tracks overdubbed by Chad Wackerman.
From Michael Gula:
I've never accepted the claim that the drums on "Time Is Money" is a
Wackerman overdub. The credit is wrong. That is Chester Thompson's drum track there.
Without a doubt.
From Dan B:
After careful analysis (maybe I should get a life) of the original version of
"Time Is Money" on Läther (disc 3 track 8) and the
vocal-overdubbed version on Sleep Dirt (track 5), I have concluded that
both versions feature the original drum track as laid down by Chester Thompson. Both
versions have the same tom-tom fills and identical delicate cymbal bell rolls (in the
middle and and at the end). (It was somewhat hard to notice this at first because the
vocals take prominence in the Sleep Dirt version.) It does become more
noticeable when you compare the drums on "Re-Gyptian Strut": the original
(Chester) on Läther, and the over-dubbed (Chad) on Sleep
Dirt - a different approach stylistically on the drum set - now back to
your regularly scheduled program. (On the Chad version you can hear a tom-tom accent
played on the off-beat right after the first snare drum hit of each measure. On Chester's,
there is an open hi-hat accent on the corresponding 2 and 4 of the beat.)
The very first Barking Pumpkin CD pressing of Sleep Dirt contains the ORIGINAL
mix of "Regyptian Strut". The Wackerman overdub appeared on the second and all
future pressings. I have the first pressing, a friend of mine has the second, so I have
investigated this. There is no difference in artwork between the first and second
Evil Bob raised an important point about this practice:
As far as I understand it, Sleep Dirt was one of the albums released
by Warner Brothers while Frank had them in court for "aromatic fiscal practices"
(i.e. shoddy accounting, overruns, etc.) and as such Zappa had very little to say about
that release. Other albums in this category are Studio Tan
and Orchestral Favorites. So what we hear on the
CD is probably much closer to what Zappa had in mind for the material to begin with.
... but on the other hand, Pat Buzby's side of things is equally relevant:
Actually, this is true of almost all of the CD reissues, but people who've had the LPs
for years tend to have a hard time accepting this sort of change.
Like the original CD (that is, different from the vinyl). Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing
sheet." [full statement]
Version Comparison Excre-citement
From the 2004 Zappa CD Rundown:
In summary: All CD versions are the same, except for the variation in
mixes in "Regyptian Strut." The remix of "Regyptian Strut" actually uses the old
version's drum introduction on the Sleep Dirt CD; only the body of the
track differs. The only place to find the remix of "Regyptian Strut" with
its new drum intro is on Läther, and the body of the track there matches
the one on the Sleep Dirt CD. Confused? Don't worry about it.
Another of the Zappa Records/BP Switcheroo titles. This exists without
the Regyptian remix (all Zappa Record
CDs I've heard) and with the Regyptian remix (the Ryko '95 and the one BP CD I've heard: again,
could be a coincidence). Remix aside, all discs are digitally identical on the
Amusingly, Regyptian itself presents a few interesting sub-variations. While the BP/Ryko
use a remix, the remix is only of the body of the track; the introductory drum
fill is still
from the original mix. This introductory drum bit is identical to the one on the
mix" version of the CD, meaning that only the body of "Regyptian" is actually
on the newer discs; "Cheepnis" on Roxy and Elsewhere presented a similar
case, with its introduction matching old versions and its body being a remix. Lastly, barring some slight level differences, the
as it appears on some CDs of Sleep Dirt is
digitally identical to the "1993" version on Läther (minus the different drum
intro). In other words, the Läther "1993" version uses the same version (EQ and
all) as on the reworked Sleep Dirt disc. Interesting.
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-2005-UPDATE: Ryko USA has apparently been importing the overstock
of these releases to sell as domestic "special editions," causing the
speculators who paid top dollar for the entire collection to hari-kari
themselves. This includes some of the discs that, as of August 2005, were pretty
hard to find ("Money" and others).
From David Goodwin:
As for this spiffy Russian item ... well, insert-wise it seems to be an
exact copy of the older CDs . The artwork does, though, look like it might be a generation
away from the original. Spine art has "FRANK ZAPPA SLEEP DIRT"
on a red background, and then, curiously, a little picture of an old-style
which is there for a reason not known by me. The back cover seems "normal"
except for a little notice in Russian on the back which includes the little
the date 4.06.98, an EMAIL ADDRESS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and a WEB SITE (www.cdmusic.ru). The disc also has a "P and C" notice,
the purpose of which I also don't know. Disc art has "FRANK ZAPPA /
SLEEP DIRT" on a red background in the same style as the cover art, along
with track titles and the notice "ALL TRACKS SEGUE".
The long-deleted vinyl version of this album has been bootlegged on CD at least twice,
once coupled with Studio Tan. [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.)
From Richard F. Jones:
I have a bogus copy of Sleep Dirt. The CD has other music on it. Is
this common? Are there others in existence?
(If you are Richard F. Jones, know him, or have the same faulty CD -
what IS on it?)
(In low-bitrate OGG format)
1) The "percussion flourish" beginning of
"Spider of Destiny" from the "Beyond the Fringe" tape. Note...no percussion
2) A piece eventually edited out of the final mix
of the CD version of "Spider of Destiny."
- Any details on cassette versions?
- Any details on 8-track versions?
- Any regional peculiarities?
- Details on Richard F. Jones's "bogus CD"?
- Is the Greek vinyl legit?
- Mikael Agardsson
- Gonçalo Falcão