Though much of its contents were officially released across various compilation albums, the full tape had never been officially released by the group until almost fifty years after it was recorded, when it was finally announced for release as a pREServed Record Store Day limited vinyl edition in April 2019.
Consisting of various studio recordings and excerpts from the group's open mic performance at The Boarding House in San Francisco in 1971, Baby Sex marks the first recorded appearance of the group's collaborators, guitarist/violinist Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman, and The Mysterious N. Senada, an eccentric Bavarian avant-garde composer and music theorist who had appeared suddenly on the group's doorstep in 1970.
Developing the band's predilection for subverting popular music, Baby Sex includes parodies of Tim Buckley ("We Stole This Riff" is derived from "Down By The Borderline" from the 1970 album Starsailor) and Led Zeppelin ("Holelottadick"), and also a cover of "King Kong" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention featuring Snakefinger on guitar.
The group also perform a composition by their mentor Senada, "Cantaten to der Dyin Prunen". An excerpt of "Cantaten to der Dyin Prunen" would first see release on the UWEB Snakefinger tribute, Philip Charles Lithman a.k.a. Snakefinger, and the group created an "orchestral remix" of the track in 1988 which still has not seen official release (thought by Hardy Fox to be lost to time). It is also referenced in "You Yesyesyes" from Fingerprince.
The Mysterious N. Senada himself appears on "Kamakazi Lady"; a performance of this piece (as well as "Eloise") would later be filmed for inclusion in the group's unfinished film project Vileness Fats. "Eloise" was also re-recorded in 1984 for Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?, and again in 2001 for Icky Flix. These two tracks also feature on the set lists of most of the early performances of the group between 1971 and 1976, as they provided the group an easily-performed distraction when members of the band were experiencing technical difficulties.
"The Fourth Crucifixion" contains an excerpt from a radio interview with Snakefinger and N. Senada. The interview was also included in the UWEB compilation, Daydream B-Liver. A different piece with the same title can be heard on the group's previous demo tape The Warner Bros. Album.
"For Doorknob" features night-club singer Peggy Honeydew. This track was performed at the group's Boarding House performance earlier in 1971, but a different performance (possibly recorded at home) features on Baby Sex as part of the closing collage experiment "Hallowed Be Thy Wean 1971".
"King Kong" and "Kamakazi Lady" would be the first two excerpts from the group's early tapes to see official release, first in 1977 on the group's promotional "radio special", and then ("Kamakazi Lady" only) in 1983 on the Residue of The Residents.
Cover art Edit
Baby Sex is notorious for its unpublishable cover art, which features an image depicting a grown woman performing fellatio on a baby. This image, blown up from an advertisement for a Danish porn magazine which the group had received unsolicited in the mail, would also later be printed on a limited run of t-shirts - rarely seen, for obvious reasons, though some remain in the hands of collectors. The tape's title track consists of a dramatic reading of a puerile story seemingly inspired by the disturbing graphic, set to a light organ musical backing.
Like The Warner Bros. Album before it, Baby Sex was submitted after its completion to Warner Bros. Records executive Hal Halverstadt, who had inadvertently inspired what would soon be the group's official name, when he returned The Warner Bros. Album to the anonymous group addressed to "Residents".
Track listing Edit
- We Stole This Riff (Buckley) (1:58)
- Holelottadick (Bonham/Dixon/Jones/Page/Plant) (1:37)
- Baby Sex (1:49)
- Deepsea Diver Song (4:13)
- King Kong (Zappa) (3:27)
- Cantaten to der Dyin Prunen (6:14)
- Somethin' Devilish (4:33)
- The Fourth Crucifixion (4:06)
- Hallowed Be Thy Wean 1971 (14:35)
The Warner Bros. Album and Baby Sex tapes were both broadcast to the public in their entirety by Bill Reinhardt on KBOO-FM radio in Portland, Oregon, during a Residents-themed radio festival in 1977. Most versions of these two tapes that are available are home recordings of this broadcast, although higher quality copies from an earlier generation copy have recently become available in a limited series of bootleg CD-Rs.
It has been rumored that these seemingly earlier generation versions were copied directly from tapes which were stolen from The Cryptic Corporation archives by a former associate and later made available for profit. As with their other early recordings, The Residents and The Cryptic Corporation do not approve of the availability of Baby Sex as a bootleg.
Despite this, excerpts from the tape have since become officially available via the Residue of the Residents, Daydream B-Liver, ERA B474 and The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss compilations. By 2016, the majority of the tape had been released piecemeal through these compilation albums (apart from the first three tracks and the complete original edits of "Cantaten To Der Dyin Prunen" and "Hallowed By Thy Wean").
It was announced in March 2019 that B.S. will be officially released (presumably with alternate cover art) in a limited vinyl edition in April as a special Record Store Day release in the group's ongoing pREServed reissue campaign, similar to the 2018 limited edition release of The W***** B*** Album. The group claim in that announcement that they had "completely forgotten about its existence until the master tape fell from a shelf in the archive onto the singing Resident’s head. As a consequence, he now has no memory of the recording, but we thought you might like to hear it anyway".
See also Edit
- The Delta Nudes
- The Boarding House
- Rusty Coathangers For The Doctor
- The Warner Bros. Album
- Santa Dog
- Vileness Fats
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 http://alienatedinvancouver.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-residents-return-to-vancouver-homer.html
- ↑ The Residents mailing list newsletter, October 22, 2018