The CD has 1) a remix of "Mr. Green Genes", 2)
a lot of digital reverb added to a lot of tracks, and 3) three new "penalty
tracks": one 1980s rock song ("Tengo 'na Minchia Tanta") and two
very long bits of movie dialogue. The 1995 Ryko CD adds some extra cover/booklet artwork.
We NEED: Info on the Old Masters LP, and comparisons between
the original CD (Zappa and Ryko) and the Ryko '95 reissue.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Vinyl and CD. [completist's
- Test Pressing (unknown)
- Original vinyl (Bizarre 2MS 2024 in the US, April 1969,
blue label; white- and gray-label promos also reported (repressed in 1973, without the 12-page booklet); Reprise 2MS 2024 in Canada
(yellow-pink-green steamboat label);
Trans-Atlantic TRA 197 in the UK, September 1969)
- Bizarre 52024 UK vinyl
- Japanese vinyl (Reprise SJET 8151-2)
- French vinyl (WEA Reprise 64 005)
- German vinyl (WEA Reprise 64 005/1, yellow steamboat label)
- Australian vinyl (Reprise 2MS 2024, 1969 -
- New Zealand vinyl (Reprise 2RS 2024, 1969)
- Reel-to-reel (Reprise RST-2024-P, 4-track 7.5-IPS)
- 8-tracks (Bizarre 8MS 2024, Reprise REP J 82024)
- Reprise Cassette (CRJ 2024)
- German cassette (WEA Reprise 464005)
- The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR
- Original CD (Ryko RCD10064/5 in the US (imported into
Australia by Festival Records and re-stickered Ryko D70279/80), Zappa Records CDD ZAP 3 in
the UK, October 1987; VACK 5025/26 in Japan)
- IRS 970.703 CD?
- Barking Pumpkin cassette (USA)
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA3)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10506/7, May 2 1995; VACK 5109/10 in
Japan, renumbered 5244/5 in 1998)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1208,
September 21 2001 - Bizarre inner sleeeves; stickers & booklet
- 1995 Cassette (Ryko RAC 10506/7, May 2 1995)
"Nine Types of Industrial Pollution" was called "400 Days of the
Year" on some early 8-track and vinyl
copies. Jasper Leach has such a vinyl copy, and:
... in place of "Louie Louie (at the Albert Hall)" it says "The Mothers
Play Louie Louie at the Albert Hall in London"; on the last "King Kong" it
says "the Underwood Zappa Ramifications" [instead of just "the
Underwood Ramifications"]; also it never says that "Louie Louie" is by
Some copies had "400 Days of the Year" on the labels, and "Nine Types of
Industrial Pollution" on the cover.
More. From (allegedly) an interview in the July 20 1968 issue of Rolling
ROLLING STONE: Are you recording at all now?
ZAPPA: We have 2 albums in the can. We've been working on this for
the past 5 months. We bought a huge block of time in a studio in New York with
our own teenage money, secretly knowing that MGM would bite the dust ...
becausegood guys always win. [---?] 2 albums. One is Whatever Happened to
Ruben & the Jets? - a secret project [which obviously ended up
as Cruising with Ruben & the Jets - Ed]. The other is No
Commercial Potential - a 3-record set. Six sides. It has such 8-minute
tidbits as police busting our recording session. New York cops! Live! In
person! You can't dance to it! It also has a piece where Jimmy Carl Black, the
Indian of the group, is bitching because we are not making any money, and it's
taking too long for the band to make it. 2 songs about El Monte Legion
Stadium. A song about fake IDs. Another song about teats. A surrealistic
R&B song called "The Air Escaping from Your Mouth". 2 other
surrealistic things: "Mr Green Genes" and "Electric Aunt
Jemima". Lots of instrumentals. On one song, we used 40 tracks and the
tune lasts 90 seconds.That took us 4 days to put together. It'll probably be
released in the fall.
From this interview segment, we can conclude that No Commercial Potential
was a project best described as Uncle Meat plus some other stuff, such as
a longer edit of "Cops & Buns" (released later on The Lost
Episodes). But the source of this information is notoriously
unreliable - can someone confirm the interview?
Some files purported to be from a test-pressing of Uncle Meat have
recently been circulating around the internet. No other information (matrix
numbers, date, etc.) is available as of yet. Informants: we want your
Some runs had no track separation. See also the track titles
From Robert Cloos:
The original US version had an inner sleeve with an advert for the Zappéd sampler. Price: one dollar!
From Ben H:
The original UK version was on Transatlantic Records. This was a small
independent label, run by Nathan Joseph, which had been notable for many important folk
music records by people like Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Hamish Imlach. Uncle
Meat came about when Bizarre/Straight was founded, with the deal with Reprise
Records. In the UK at this time, Reprise albums were pressed and distributed by Pye
Records, but they apparently would not have anything to do with this unmusical freaky
racket. B/S made a deal with Transatlantic to release Uncle Meat in the
UK until Reprise got a new UK distributer sorted out, along with the Lenny Bruce album
that Bizarre released. Sadly Transatlantic lacked the funds to push Uncle Meat,
and the booklet never graced these copies either. By the time of Burnt
Weeny Sandwich, Reprise had got a new deal with CBS (who also released the Straight
albums from 1969 / early 1970 - the GTOs' Permanent Damage,
Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica etc.) and the label copy that read
"Manufactured by Pye Records" was blacked out.
From Richard Kolke:
I have two copies of this LP. Both are original pressings - one from Canada
and one from the US. Both are on Bizarre/Reprise 2024, but the Canadian
copy is on the pink/yellow/blue Reprise label and the US copy is on the blue/green Bizarre
label. However, both pressings list "9 Types of Industrial Pollution" on the
cover as "400 Days of the Year" on the labels. The US copy also has a large red
sticker in the upper left hand corner of the front cover which states: "The Mothers
of Invention - Two LPs and a Nifty 12-Page Book".
From Ryan Takatsu:
The word "fuck" was airbrushed out of the Canada pressing
of Uncle Meat but I remember very well that the Winnipeg Central
library (circa 1968 or '69) had a copy of the US pressing with the word
"fuck" printed in the lower left cover of the gatefold, opposite of
the song listings. Please correct me if I am wrong.
US & Canadian Re-Presses
DAN WATKINS: ... the Uncle Meat LP was sealed, and it had a
suspiciously low price of $25. Needless to say, I bought it immediately. When I got in the
car and opened it up (yeah, I probably should have left it sealed up, but what the
fuck ...) I was surprised that both of the records were in sleeves with the Warner
Bros. logo all over them and the records wore a Reprise label and not the Bizarre label,
even though the Bizarre logo is printed in several places on the cover. The album is also
missing the booklet. Everything else seems to be like the original vinyl: original mix of
"Mr. Green Genes", much less echo than the CD, and the same catalog number as
the original LP. Plus, I'm hearing mega distortion in the the middle of "The Legend
of the Golden Arches". My questions are does anyone have any idea of the country this
album could have come from if it is not American, and is it a re-release?
CHARLES ULRICH: Sounds like the US LP I bought in the late 1970s. Reprise MS-1/2/3/4-2024
DAN WATKINS: I forgot to mention that sides one and four are on one record and two and
three are on the other record. Didn't they start doing that in the late seventies?
CHARLES ULRICH: Mine (late 1970s) is indeed 1/4 and 2/3. But the inner sleeves feature ads
for the Warners sampler album Supergroup.
BIFFYSHREW: Sounds like a later US pressing. Zappa's Bizarre albums switched to Reprise
after Frank & Herb's bust-up, as did Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica
(probably the only Straight title to remain in print after the label folded, unless any of
Tim Buckley's stuff got re-pressed, as opposed to being repressed). Are those inner
sleeves clear plastic with the logos in blue? Warners was using that design circa 1980.
DAN WATKINS: Yeah, clear sleeves with little blue "WB" logos. Yeah, it looks as
if it's definitely a re-print. But $25 for a sealed reprint ain't bad. With the exception
of a few seconds in the "Legend of the Golden Arches", it sounds much better
than the CD.
Well, mine is a copy from the early seventies at the latest: it has "Bizarre"
in large "mod-stencil" writing on the the label, but "Reprise"
is written on it also in smaller letters. It has the original inner sleves in sepia tone
with the weird graphic of Frank and Herbie (that is Herbie, isn't it?) and the big white
astrolabe-type-thingy graphic and the First Amendment quote on one side and the "We
make records that are a little different ..." quote on the other side.
It is also arranged with the sides as described above [1 & 4 on one record, 2 &
3 on the other]. This was more common in the late sixties and early seventies than anytime
afterwards because that was when they built those crazy turntables with the stackable
spindles. People got a bit more sensible as the seventies proceeded. At least as far as
turntables are concerned. My brother bought it used sometime in the early to
mid-seventies, and it doesn't have the booklet, but you can't have everything.
BOSSK (R): ... there was a US repress in 1973 without the booklet -
maybe there was also a Canadian repress which did not include the booklet?
ROLF MAURER: Yes indeedly-doodly. That's the version I bought circa 1980 (at
Phantasmagoria on Granville St., if I remember correctly).
I once saw a "mislabeled" copy of Uncle Meat in an
underground record store, priced somewhere between $60-$100. (It was way too
long ago to remember, but I remember it being expensive.) The price tag said
"RARE - MISLABELED". When I looked inside I found that it was
a US pressing with labels for the ill-fated Jimi Hendrix War Heroes
album accidentally applied to the second LP.
From Chris "Fufas" Grace:
Although the UK Transatlantic version did not have the booklet, copies of
AN Uncle Meat booklet were being sold instead of programmes at the
Mothers concerts. I have a copy acquired in 1969. I mentioned it to Calvin
Schenkel (It has a comment from him in it that the films were late) who had
forgotten that he'd done it at all. If the CD booklet is an accurate
facsimile, the concert booklet has less than half the pages of the album
version. At the time it was a mystery why they sold it at the concerts as it
had nothing to do with them at all and didn't even refer to them.
From Erik Steaggles:
A friend of mine has the original TRA 197 issue and he bought it when it
came out. He has a booklet with it, and to my amazement, it is completely
different to the US booklet. Some pages are similar, but this book has about 4
or 5 more pages. From what I can remember, there is a lot more colourful
artwork and some really nice photos of the Mothers. It is the only book like
this I have seen. It has the same front and back cover and has a Transatlantic
logo on the back so I figured it must be genuine. I have asked other Zappa
fans/experts and they have never even heard of it! Does anyone else know about
Australian & New Zealand Vinyl
From Collecting Frank Zappa in Australia - Part
1: The Early Years, an article by Stuart Penny in it - The Australian Record
Collectors Magazine, Issue #14 June-July-August 1995 (provided by Henry
Griggs, Sydney, Australia):
Issued towards the end of 1969 in a heavily-laminated gatefold sleeve (but with no sign
of the booklet which accompanied early US copies), Uncle Meat (Reprise
2MS 2024 - also issued in New Zealand as 2RS 2024) nevertheless suffered badly at the
hands of the Australian censors, who imposed no less than six 'modifications' on the
following spoken-word tracks: "The Voice of Cheese", "Our Bizarre
Relationship" and "'If We'd All Been Living in California ...'". Such petty
constraints aside though, Uncle Meat did, at least, look the part -
which is a lot more than can be said for the Oz version of Hot Rats
(Reprise RS 6356).
to some information, Bizarre 8MS 2024 was a black tape in a grey box, and Reprise REP J 82024 was a black
tape in a black box. What the picture to the right depicts is an open question.
Is it complete on one cartridge, or incomplete on one, or complete on two? I'm asking
'cause I remember having some double albums that just couldn't cut it onto 8-track, for
some reason. I guess it's like the dreaded 120-minute cassette: if the tape is too thin,
mechanical failure is almost certain.
From "bills" (Bizarre 8MS 2024):
It's all on one tape, which by the way sold for $9.98 - or about $9.98 more than
it's apparently worth now. For anyone who cares, it was put out by Reprise Records, a
division of Warner Brothers. Manufactured and distributed by Ampex, Elk Grove Village,
Illinois. It's a black tape in a grey box.
Mojo Man (Reprise REP J 82024):
The plastic tape case has the back label with the track information but it does not
have the picture label. (That I assume would be the same as cover picture.) There is no
adhesive traces on plastic tape case so maybe this cut-out never had the cover picture on
it at all. (Just a guess.)
From Gary Horowitz:
I have the Reprise cassette of Uncle Meat. I found it sealed in some
bargain bin about 20-something years ago. I thought "here's a novelty
item - a copy of Uncle Meat for the car ..."
I don't know what they did in mastering it, or if it's just a fluke, but I
have to tell you that it sounds fantastic! This album was made for
tape. [Gary! You're getting carried away! - Ed :] There is a definition and
clarity that simply does not exist on vinyl and CD.
The sound is full and airy. The music seems more lively and transparent.
This is never the case with any commercially manufactured cassette. I know
that this does not make any logical sense and as a recording engineer I loathe
commercially available cassettes as a rule. But this tape really does sound
fantastic and I think it is because the source was taken from the original
master and not a remastered-for-vinyl copy.
On the front it has the front cover of the album. Above the photo it says
"Uncle Meat", followed by the Warner Reprise logo just to the
right of that, both in white lettering. To the left of the title it has the
Bizarre logo in black, and underneath the title also in small black lettering
says "(MOST OF THE MUSIC FROM THE MOTHERS MOVIE OF THE SAME NAME WHICH WE
HAVEN'T GOT ENOUGH MONEY TO FINISH YET)". Below the picture it says:
And at the bottom is:
A Division of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
The cassette is bright white plastic assembled with screws. Side 1 is 40:23;
side 2 is 34:40. The continuity of the album has been preserved. No
selections had been placed out of normal running order to try to balance
timing lenghths of the cassette sides. Both sides also show the little
Bizarre logo of the antique vacuum pump, or what ever it is, only it is on its
side to save label space, I presume.
From RIFF RAFF FROM MICHIGAN:
I have a cassette release of Uncle Meat (on the Barking Pumpkin label). I
hear no audible differences between that and the Ryko CD release (other than
the "penalty tracks" on the CD that were obviously not on the
Old Masters LP
Since the CD is partially remixed, and longer, what's the Old
Masters LP like? Good question; not much answered yet. From Bermuda:
To me, it sounds like the same mix as the original LP, but re-EQd a little.
Note that Mr. Green Genes on the
Old Masters II sampler is, in fact, a
digitally re-tweezed version of the vinyl mix. Does this mean that the OM
vinyl version of Uncle Meat does not have this remix?
All CD versions of Uncle Meat have three "bonus tracks" (also known as "penalty
tracks"): Two long excerpts from the movie UNCLE MEAT, and
the song "Tengo 'na Minchia Tanta", recorded in the 80s. The second movie
excerpt affects the beginning of "King Kong" slightly.
(Zappa obviously still thought of this CD as the soundtrack to his movie UNCLE
MEAT, which was nowhere near completed when the LP was released. This must be why
he introduced the bonus tracks - the LP sort of reflects the movie in the state it
must have been in at the time, and the CD sort of reflects it in its final state. Compared
to the LP, the CD sounds extremely heterogeneous (with antiseptic '80s sound popping up
amidst all the '60s recordings) and has extremely long stretches of crazy dialogue (which
many people have called extremely boring) - because that's the way the movie is.)
From Michael Gula:
The only problems I hear with the Uncle Meat CD are:
- the "penalty tracks" which many (including me) don't like, but you can program
your player to skip over them,
- a "twittery" sounding echo (same echo as on the Weasels
CD), but it's not too annoying - probably meant to cover up the print-through
"dirt" on the quiet parts of the tape (other attempts to cover up the tape
degradation are the truncated reverberation on the slowed-down snork between "Zolar
Czakl" and "Dog Breath", and the truncated decay on the clang which ends
the "Uncle Meat Variations"); and
- a re-mixed "Mr. Green Genes". It's an OK re-mix, but I still like the original
From Dan Watkins:
I hate the CD because of all that damn reverb Frank added. I always cringe when I hear
those snorks because they really expose the added echo.
From David G.:
I just got a CD-R copy of the vinyl (thanks, ZappaLVR) and was surprised at the many
differences. The "twittery sounding reverb" mentioned somewhere else on this
page isn't applied equally to all tracks ... some, like "Dog Breath", don't
have much on the CD, while "Cruisin' for Burgers", which is almost unnaturally
dry and upfront on the LP, is smothered on the CD (although I actually prefer this
reverbed version). Nothing except for "Mr. Green Genes" seems to be a different
mix, but some tracks are so different without reverb (the aformentioned "Cruisin' for
Burgers", "Legend of the Golden Arches") that they almost SOUND
like different mixes.
More discussion of "Mr Green Genes" - alt.fan.frank-zappa,
DAVID GOODWIN: I was just A/Bing the vinyl and CD mixes of "Mr
Green Genes", and I must say, the bass drum sounds completely different
on the latter (very much like a Wackerman bass drum). The drum seems to
be playing the exact same thing on both versions, but as we've always kinda
wondered about the arbitrary nature of that particular remix, maybe there IS
some sort of drum overdub going on. [Editor's note: This followed a
discussion of the famous "did he or didn't he?" Stage II bass overdub
BOSSK (R): If it's a bass drum sample, it's an a hell of a lot
better-sounding one than on THE HELSINKI CONCERT. :) You're right, it does
sound weird. But I can't offer any opinion because I don't have the LP.
MICHAEL GULA: Judging by the dramatic difference in the sound of
Wackerman's bass drum on the first CD issue of "Sad Jane" [LSO -
Ed] and the second, I am convinced that studio engineering could certainly
account for the differences you're hearing in "Green Genes".
MIKE ESPINOZA: I must agree. The same could be said for a good chunk
of the Hot Rats LP. It's clear to me that the exact
same basic tracks are used, but the resonance is very different between the LP
and the CD. Some instruments are made louder, others quieter, drum sounds are
softened (perhaps removing echo, be it natural or artificial) while cymbals
are accentuated. I even think this is the case with "Filthy Habits"
on Sleep Dirt, which I think sounds brighter on
DAVID GOODWIN: The question remains: why is this track remixed? The
original mix is fine. Could it have been some sort of studio experimentation
that somehow made its way into the reissue programme?
From Juha Sarkkinen:
CD indexing differs slightly from the vinyl.
The Zappa Records CD (CDD ZAP 3) has two booklets: one reproducing the cover and back
cover in full colour, with lyrics, credits and graphics from inside the gatefold cover of
the vinyl album reproduced in black & white, and one twelve-page booklet reproducing
the vinyl booklet. The 1995 CD has a full-colour fold-out instead of
the first of these booklets. From Erik Steaggles:
The booklets and covers contained most of the artwork, but it was all in
different orders and most of it was in black-and-white. The most notable missing
piece of artwork (now restored on the Ryko CD) was the
negative-imposed photographs which was in the middle of the LP booklet. They
were completely missing on the original CD.
The 1995 CD re-issue introduced some extra artwork: an inlay sheet behind the tray,
described by Cal Schenkel as "2 of the found Dentoid elements that were used in the
cover assemblage (turned into mush when they printed it with a scan instead of a simple
line shot)". Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored
artwork. This is the 1987 remix." [full statement]
1995 CD versus the Old CD
Un-compared as of yet. Anybody have specific examples of
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).
- Original Ryko CD - artwork?
- Were there any differences between the original vinyl and the Old Masters
- How do the old CDs compare with the current issue?
- Biffy the Elephant Shrew
- Erik Pepke
- L. L.
- Román García Albertos
- Patrick David Neve
- Ariel Ross