MEET THE RESIDENTS

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: MEET THE RESIDENTS
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First Release
LP - 1974 - Ralph Records - RR0274 - US
Do Not Forget My Face, My Friend (Meet The Residents)
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It’s been well over a year since the first Ralph Records release, and frankly I had forgotten about them.  If I had been forced to think about Santa Dog, I’d dismiss it as an interesting one-off project, something that wasn’t a serious attempt at starting out in the music business; an artifact from some people with more creativity than business sense.
But here in front of me is evidence that Ralph Records means business: an album from a new artist.  As an album, Meet The Residents demands to be looked at before it is even heard.  Like the label’s first release, it leads you from the familiar to the unknown, but this time more abruptly and with a single image instead of a sequence of four songs.  At first glance it’s Meet The Beatles, but this is definitely a warped version of that iconic artwork.  The vandalised photo of the Fab Four is equal parts whimsy and vitriol.  I bet John Lennon loves it.
Likewise, the music refuses to gently guide us into this world.   The album begins with a rendition of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” but unlike the album cover which starts in the familiar and quickly becomes unsettling, it takes a while to recognize the song The Residents are performing.  As for the following half dozen songs on side one, they are intertwined to such a degree that I can’t tell when one song ends and another begins.  And I thought it was wild when “Sgt. Pepper” and its reprise led directly into their following songs.
However, once each song is underway it assumes its own identity and becomes recognizable.  It is only in retrospect, in knowing what the essence of each song is, that we’re able to tell where they begin and end.  The Residents have therefore created a suite that has a first-time effect that cannot be repeated.  Once you know how it is structured, you’ll recognize the changes and won’t be surprised again.  Maybe you can recapture the experience if you put it away for several years and pull it off the shelf only after you’ve forgotten about it.  That seems an awful lot to ask: to engage in an album to such a degree that you actively ignore it in order to experience it fresh once more.
The rest of the album approaches more traditional structures.  The songs have definite starts and stops, and sound as if the band is consciously attempting to perform in a number of different, but known, musical genres.  In this sense Meet The Residents is somewhat the mirror reverse of Santa Dog.  That collection of songs started normal and ended strange.  Meet The Residents starts strange and ends… well, it’s still strange, but gets part of the way to normal.  But The Residents are not Ivory & The Braineaters by any stretch of the imagination.
And while I’m thinking of good old Ivory… Ralph Records has now introduced us to several bands, and only one seems to have any commercial potential.  I am all for artistic expression and doing your own thing, but I hope Ivory has some more songs coming for the sake of Ralph Records.  They need a hit generator to keep the business side of things afloat.  You can’t leave your finances to the mercy of pure art.  Mercury Records can carry the likes of Captain Beefheart because they have a stable full of artists with mainstream appeal.  The Beatles could afford to go experimental now and then because they were The Beatles.  Nobody bought The White Album for “Revolution 9,” but that song would never exist without the selling power of the rest of the band’s output.
It’s been over a year of silence from Ralph Records, and instead of reintroducing us to their commercial side, they’ve tested the audience.  I’m hoping the Braineaters have something out soon.  I think I might like the idea of The Residents, but I’m afraid they won’t last long without support.
This entry was posted in residents on April 10, 1974.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: credits - tracks
THE RESIDENTS
with guests:
Wool
R. Essex
J. Whitiker
Zeibak
P. Freihofner
J. Aaron
B. Tangney
Arf & Omega Berry
The Singing Lawnchairs
Tracks:
• Boots
• Numb Erone
• Guylum Bardot
• Breath and Length
• Consuelo's Departure
• Smelly Tongues
• Rest Aria
• Skratz
• Spotted Pinto Bean
• Infant Tango
• Seasoned Greetings
• N-ER-GEE (Crisis Blues)
Enter the name for this tabbed section: additional notes
Note: The original version of 1000 copies of this album featured the infamous alteration of the Meet The Beatles album cover art. After this edition sold out they remastered the album and re-released it with different cover art (below). This re-release runs roughly 7 minutes shorter than the original.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: lyrics
Meet The Residents Lyrics

Boots
Boots were meant for walkin'
That's just what they'll do.
One of these days
These boots are gonna
Walk all over you

Numb Erone
Instrumental

Guylum Bardot
The love that we've been through
Was splintered and sent to
The end of
The rainbow today
Now that its over
The grass and the clover
Grow over
The ground where I lay
................................Come back Petonia
Come back I say.................Come back Petonia
I'm hopin' soon ya'll...........Come back, I pray
Be with me to stay..............I'm hopin' soon ya'll
................................Be with me to stay

Breath and Length
Breath and Length
.......And
Breadth and Width
.......And
With and Without
....In Our Dance

Consuelo's Departure
Instrumental

Smelly Tongues
Smelly Tongues Looked Just as They Felt!

Rest Aria
Instrumental

Skratz
The bedposts are cool to the touch
The sheets are crumpled into an Oldenburg
Three hairs rolled over his undershirt
A spare tire rolled under his overshirt
But ... Scratz, scratz, scratz
(Dirty Fingernail)
Ollie wasn't young like he was last night
Scratz, scratz, scratz
(Dirty Fingernail)
The sheets still showed the yellow spot
Ann ran her tongue along the ridges by the Gulf
Thoughts slipped into valleys
Concealed by dense Mexicali underbush hair
A flag ran up his pole
And waved firmness with wings
But ... Scratz, scratz, scratz
(Dirty Fingernail)
Ollie wasn't at all as young like he was last night
Scratz, scratz, scratz
(Dirty Fingernail)
The sheets still showed the yellow spot

Spotted Pinto Bean
Spotted Pinto Bean is leaving
Leaving on a midnight streaming
Tears behind him all the way
And all the way arms are folding
Handkerchiefs to pockets holding
Holding yesterday

Infant Tango
....Watch
That Infant Tango
.....See
That Infant Tango
.....All
That Infant Tango
....Is a
Dance for You.

Seasoned Greetings
Merry Christmas, Mom
Merry Christmas, Dad
Merry Christmas, Sis...
I Love You.
Uh, Uhh It's Christmas
But, but there ain't nobody
Raisin' much of a fuss.
Christmas Christmas Christmas
Ain't Nobody
Raisin' no fuss...
...........Nobody
............But
............ME!!!

N-er-gee (Crisis Blues)
The, the,
The end of the rainbow
Is a speedin' up news
But the, the,
The knot in the,
The fuse
Is the speed that,
That you lose?
Go home America
Fifty-five'll do
Go home America
Enter the name for this tabbed section: liner notes
MEET THE RESIDENTS

Subtitled The First Album by North Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo, Meet the Residents was released on April 1st, 1974, with a striking cover -- a defaced version of the cover of Meet the Beatles, the Beatles' first album from Capitol Records.
The album had been recorded as a break from the huge Vileness Fats project. Like the band's first release, the 1972 single Santa Dog, this album was produced at home, creating sounds with tape effects and instruments -- which the band still didn't really know how to play. The Residents were not using synthesizers yet. Meet the Residents is more organized than Santa Dog, though, and demonstrated a little more skill with the instruments. The album was fairly close to the traditional album format: a series of songs, some seguéing into the next.
The Residents put a lot of attention into the packaging as well as the music, though the defaced Beatles cover upset Capitol Records greatly. John Lennon proudly displayed his own copy at home. The cover also became the favorite piece of evidence for the old "The Beatles are the Residents" theory.

In addition to the infamous cover art, the record included liner notes on N. Senada's Theory of Phonetic Organization and a promotion for the Vileness Fats film. 1050 disks were made, though 200 had to be scrapped. These barely sold, so the band made 4000 seven-minute 7" flexy-disk samplers which were included in an issue of the February '74 issue of the Canadian art magazine,File, along with a blurb advertising the album at $1.99 per copy. It still didn't sell -- people thought it was a joke. An ad in the May 17, 1974 issue of Friday, a college magazine from San Francisco, offered a free sample, but even so The Residents only sold 40 copies of Meet the Residents in the first year of its release.
Later, as the band became better known, sales of this first album started to pick up. In 1977, The Residents re-worked the tapes, cutting about seven minutes from the playtime, and released a new version. This release had a new cover, to keep Capitol happy, which depicted four figures with non-human heads: three with prawn-heads, the fourth with a starfish. These were identified as George, John, and Paul Crawfish and Ringo Starfish.



UNCLE WILLIE'S HIGHLY OPINIONATED GUIDE TO THE RESIDENTS

The first unusual thing about Meet The Residents—even before you get the record on the turntable—is that you never meet The Residents: The artists haven’t signed their names to their debut album. There are no faces either, only a nutty distortion of the Beatles. Which isn’t as evasive as you might think, because Meet The Residents takes the vocal and instrumental innovations of the Beatles—and Captain Beefheart—and rockets them out into deep space. Listening to the White Album or Trout Mask Replica, you’re never sure what you’re going to hear from one cut to the next; with Meet The Residents, you can’t predict what you’ll be hearing from one moment to the next.

Forget about predictions—you can’t always be sure what it is you’re actually hearing. A lot of this music is utterly inexplicable, as in “How are they making that sound?” You can’t even grasp the “well-it’s-a-synthesizer” straw, because this low-budget, 1973 recording was plainly done by hand: It’s basically voices, piano, and winds; some guitar, bass, drums; occasionally, brass and violin; and lotsa percussion (undoubtedly including all sorts of household items and toys and debris and who knows what else.) There are some distortion effects through mic and instrumental preparations, but it’s The Residents’ use of tape, the tracks they’ve razored and overdubbed and remixed and re-speeded, which makes their sound so uniquely bizarro.

And all these bizarrely unique tracks are served up dripping with a deliberate eccentricity and a playfully grotesque sense of humor. Listening to this music, you can feel The Residents staring straight out at you, their teeth bared in the kind of fixed grin that’s ordinarily symptomatic of clinical dementia.

By the time the needle has lifted, Meet the Residents seems to have been everything: really bitchin’, funny as hell, abrasive, druggy, exotically lush and dreamy, relentlessly surprising, amateurish, highly sophisticated, incoherent, visionary, and even vaguely insulting. The album can leave you feeling put on, put down, and put through a wringer. Of course, my feeling is that anybody who’s worked so hard to put out music as novel and stimulating as this is actually putting you on a pedestal.

The Residents of Meet The Residents clearly have no orthodox musical chops whatsoever. And you’re forced to deal with that right up front: In the album’s opener, Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots,” they rub your nose in painfully unprofessional singing and a tinny, buzzing piano. Putting their worst foot forward is more than a point of honor with them—it’s the point of their music. They don’t cover up deficiencies, they build songs around them. Meet The Residents had to step off with a psychotic rendition of “Boots”: This music is gonna walk all over you.
- Cole Gagne



CD Liner Notes

The Residents began collecting interesting and unusual tapes in the early 60's in an effort to expand their awareness of the very nature of sound. The tapes came from everywhere... cassettes of soldiers in Vietnam singing songs with impromptu instrumentation... reels from second hand shops... sounds effects and bird call collections from garage sales... and, yes, even a few bootleg tapes of well known pop artists going avant-garde between takes which were purchased on the black market and stored in a local bank vault.
The Residents not only collected other peoples tapes, but gained widespread notoriety for their unusual recordings. The underground network carried their reputation across the oceans where it finally hit the ears of the then unknown Englishman, "Snakefinger" Lithman. Packing a few clothes, he flew directly to San Mateo, California where the Residents then had their sound studios, in hopes of studying tapes of early Cajun music the Residents were alleged to have recorded while in college in Louisiana. Snakefinger had also brought an acquaintance that he had met in the woods of Bavaria while on an expedition there for Britain. That friend was none other than The Mysterious N. Senada who had developed a complex musical system based upon phonetics.
For six months Snakefinger, N. Senada (who spoke very little english), and The Residents worked together recording and listening to tapes. A few lucky people were even able to catch impromptu performances by The Mysterious N. Senada and Snakefinger at several of San Francisco's folk and jazz clubs.
The Residents negotiated with Warner Bros. Records executive Hal Halverstadt over the rights to the Snakefinger/N. Senada/Residents tapes, but Warner Bros. hit by a slump in record sales, decided the audience appeal was too limited and at the last minute withdrew their offer.
Snakefinger returned to England to become a rock and roll star, and The Mysterious N. Senada, well he just disappeared one day. The Residents have ventured to guess that he has probably gone to the arctic regions. He believes some musical link is hidden among the Eskimos of the frozen north.
The music on this album is not that of Snakefinger or of The Mysterious N. Senada. The Residents have taken the basic ideas of the phonetic organization but have applied the theories to a more Western style of music. The translation does not always hold intact, though there is more than enough example of this staggering new music style.
The instruments used on this record have been tuned to approximate Western culture harmonies and artistic freedom is assumed for the right to substitute normal instruments where necessary.
Listen closely to the record. Let the strangeness wear off through a couple of plays. Soon you too will whistle the merry tunes and wonder along with The Residents who that old man N. Senada really was.