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Fingerprince is the third (or fourth) album by The Residents, recorded between 1974 and 1976 and released on February 15th 1977 on Ralph Records. Its first half consists of a number of short and relatively accessible songs, with a six-part suite entitled "Six Things To A Cycle" on the album's second side.

Fingerprince was initially intended as a "three-sided" album titled Tourniquet of Roses. This idea was abandoned by the group, and it was released as a regular two-sided LP, with the additional songs released separately in 1979 as the limited edition EP Babyfingers.

The Babyfingers tracks have since been restored to the album on its CD reissues, and the EP was included alongside the album in an extremely limited edition Tourniquet of Roses collectors' box in 2020.

History

Fingerprince was compiled by The Residents in 1976, originally under the title Tourniquet of Roses, from recordings dating from 1974 to 1976. It was intended to be the world's first "three-sided album"; featuring two separate grooves pressed into the second side of the EP, with each groove containing a separate programme of music. Which of the two grooves was heard by the listener was determined by where the stylus landed on the vinyl.

The Residents abandoned this idea in December 1976 due to impracticality, expense, and the discovery that the British comedy group Monty Python had already pioneered this technique in 1973 with their album Matching Tie And Handkerchief. Instead they removed the intended "third side" from the album's running order and renamed the resulting work Fingerprince.

The first side of Fingerprince contains a sequence of short and relatively accessible songs, some of which originated from a demo reel they had recorded in 1974 entitled X Is For Xtra (A Conclusion). It is thought that many of the pieces of music on that reel (which included "Bossy", "Tourniquet of Roses" and "March de la Winni") were originally intended for the soundtrack to the group's abandoned feature film Vileness Fats.

Other pieces of music featured on the first side of Fingerprince (including "Boo Who?") originate from a 14 minute suite entitled "Leapmus" which had been recorded by the group's primary composer and arranger Hardy Fox in February 1976 as a gift for his then-wife Nessie Lessons.

The Residents had wanted their friend, British guitarist Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman to appear on their previous album, The Third Reich 'n Roll, but he could not contribute as he was living in Britain and touring with his band Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers. By 1975 Chilli Willi had disbanded, and Snakefinger returned to America in 1976, appearing on The Residents' single "Satisfaction" and at the group's Oh Mummy! live performance, dressed as a giant artichoke.

Snakefinger appears on Fingerprince, making his first contributions to a Residents studio album proper; guitar on "You Yesyesyes" and "Tourniquet of Roses", and vocals on "Home Age Conversation".

The album's second side consists entirely of "Six Things To A Cycle", a shortened version of a much longer, mostly instrumental six-part suite which had originally been conceived by the group as a ballet performance piece, but which was ultimately not produced. Portions of the piece were debuted at the Oh Mummy! show in June 1976. The ballet tells the story of "a primitive humanoid" who is "consumed by his self-created environment only to be replaced by a new creature, still primitive, still faulty, but destined to rule the world just as poorly". It features vocals from the group's friend and then-frequent collaborator Pamela Zeibak, as well as contributions from Adrian Deckbar on violin and Don Jackovich and Tony Logan on percussion.

Release

Babyfingers

In 1979 The Residents released the shelved "third side" of the album, including "Monstrous Intro" and "Walter Westinghouse", on an EP entitled Babyfingers, which was pressed in a limited edition of around 40 copies and sent as gifts to purchasers of the delayed Third Reich 'n Roll collectors' box. The EP was reissued in 1981 in an edition of 1500 copies which were sold exclusively to members of the group's W.E.I.R.D. fan club. A third reissue of the EP in 1985 was pressed on pink vinyl in an edition of 250 copies.

Babyfingers is structured similarly to Fingerprince, in that both include one side of short, self-contained pieces, with a longer suite on the second. "Walter Westinghouse" on the EP is a mini-opera with characters and dialogue, complementing the mostly instrumental ballet "Six Things To A Cycle" which closes the album.

Tourniquet of Roses collectors' box

Contents of the 2020 Tourniquet of Roses collectors' box

After the release of Fingerprince, The Residents' in-house graphic designer Homer Flynn of Porno Graphics conceived of a series of collectors' box sets of Residents albums, which was to include a Tourniquet of Roses box, including the Fingerprince album and a separate 7" EP of Babyfingers, thus approximating the original concept.

The collectors' box series was abandoned in the early 1980s after Flynn went to the emergency room after suffering light-headedness brought on by a tight rubber band he was wearing around his forehead while spraying The Third Reich 'n Roll collectors' boxes with black car enamel.

The Tourniquet of Roses collectors' box was briefly revisited again in 2013, but abandoned as the group could not find a vinyl pressing plant who were interested in producing such a set in a low number of copies.

On December 17th 2020, a newly-created collectors' box of Tourniquet of Roses was announced by noted fan and collector Jannis Tsakalis. This collectors' box was pressed in an issue of 15 copies only, and sold out within a day of being announced. Fourteen copies were available for sale, with one copy being sent to The Cryptic Corporation's archives. The box contains Fingerprince on transparent yellow vinyl, with the Babyfingers EP on an additional single sided 12" picture disc, and comes with two hand-puppets, a silk-screened t-shirt, and a Cryptic Corporation certificate of authenticity.

A second run of fifteen numbered copies of the Tourniquet collectors' box was announced on February 20th 2021, to be released in March. Alongside the boxes, Tsakalis is also releasing the Fingerprince colored vinyl and Babyfingers picture disc separately, as well as Tourniquet of Roses hand-puppets, shirts and mugs.

Reissues

The album's first reprint in 1979 featured an updated, colored variant of the album's cover art, which was later also used on many of the album's CD reissues.

For the album's first CD release in 1987 on East Side Digital and Torso, the original Tourniquet of Roses track listing was restored, including all of the songs from Babyfingers in their originally-intended running order (minus the short instrumental piece "Monstrous Intro").

The 1995 Euro Ralph CD reissue of Fingerprince maintained the album's original track order, with Babyfingers included on a separate 3" mini-CD.

Track listing

Fingerprince promo art, 1977

All tracks composed by The Residents.

Fingerprince (original release, 1977)

Side A (19:23)

  1. You Yesyesyes (3:00)
  2. Home Age Conversation (2:03)
  3. Godsong (3:41)
  4. March de la Winni (0:58)
  5. Bossy (1:00)
  6. Boo Who? (2:48)
  7. Tourniquet of Roses (3:15)
  8. You Yesyesyes Again (2:38)

Side B (17:44)

  1. Six Things To A Cycle (17:44)[1]

Tourniquet of Roses (CD reissues 1987, 1997, 2012)

  1. You Yesyesyes (3:02)
  2. Home Age Conversation (2:05)
  3. Godsong (3:45)
  4. March de la Winni (0:59)
  5. Bossy (1:04)
  6. Boo Who? (2:49)
  7. Tourniquet of Roses (3:21)
  8. Death in Barstow (2:04)
  9. Melon Collie Lassie (2:54)
  10. Flight of the Bumble Roach (2:15)
  11. Walter Westinghouse (8:03)
  12. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 1 (2:47)
  13. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 2 (1:38)
  14. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 3 (2:26)
  15. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 4 (3:49)
  16. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 5 (4:50)
  17. Six Things To A Cycle: Part 6 (2:17)
  18. You Yesyesyes Again (2:37)

Tourniquet of Roses (Euro Ralph CD and collectors' box, 1995, 2020)

Disc 1 (Fingerprince)

  1. You Yesyesyes (2:59)
  2. Home Age Conversation (2:05)
  3. Godsong (3:42)
  4. March de la Winni (0:59)
  5. Bossy (1:02)
  6. Boo Who? (2:51)
  7. Tourniquet of Roses (3:16)
  8. You Yesyesyes Again (2:46)
  9. Six Things To A Cycle (17:44)

Disc 2 (Babyfingers)

  1. Monstrous Intro (0:41)
  2. Death In Barstow (2:04)
  3. Melon Collie Lassie (2:54)
  4. Flight of the Bumble Roach (2:15)
  5. Walter Westinghouse (8:03)


pREServed edition (2018)

Postcard included with early copies of the pREServed edition

Fingerprince was the third album to be released in The Residents' pREServed series of newly remastered and expanded album reissues. It was released March 23rd 2018 through Cherry Red Records, MVD Audio and New Ralph Too, alongside Duck Stab!/Buster & Glen.

The pREServed edition of Fingerprince features the original sepia-toned cover art, and includes Fingerprince in its original track sequence (with the longer version of "Six Things To A Cycle"), followed by the Babyfingers EP. This replicates one possible running order of Tourniquet of Roses, the originally intended three-sided version of the album, though it differs from the sequence presented on most previous CD reissues of the album.

The pREServed edition also features a second disc with bonus ephemera such as the previously unheard 14 minute suite "Leapmus", featuring a number of musical themes which would ultimately be included on Fingerprince, as well as instrumental outtakes from the sessions, 1982 live rehearsals of "Godsong" and "Walter Westinghouse", and live versions of album tracks dating from 1986 to 2014.

Track listing

(*) indicates tracks which are previously unreleased.

All tracks composed by The Residents.

Disc 1

Fingerprince (remastered from the original tapes) + Side Three (aka Babyfingers)

  1. You Yesyesyes (2:59)
  2. Home Age Conversation (2:05)
  3. Godsong (3:42)
  4. March de la Winni (0:59)
  5. Bossy (1:02)
  6. Boo Who? (2:51)
  7. Tourniquet of Roses (3:16)
  8. You Yesyesyes Again (2:46)
  9. Six Things To A Cycle (17:44)
  10. Monstrous Intro (0:41)
  11. Death In Barstow (2:03)
  12. Melon Collie Lassie (2:52)
  13. Flight of the Bumble Roach (2:14)
  14. Walter Westinghouse (8:05)

Disc 2

Finger Ephemera

  1. Leapmus (February, 1976) (*) (14:36)
  2. Entrance to Crypt (*) (1:10)
  3. Clumsy Climb (*) (1:55)
  4. Piano Dittie (*) (1:21)
  5. You Yesyesyes ('Oh Mummy' Mix) (*) (1:53)
  6. Whoopy Snorp (3:44)
  7. God Song (1982 Rehearsal) (*) (1:33)
  8. Walter Westinghouse (1982 Rehearsal) (*) (6:45)
  9. God Song (Studio Rehearsal) (*) (1:32)
  10. Tourniquet of Roses (Tromso, Inconvenienced, 1986) (*) (2:44)
  11. Walter Westinghouse (Live 1997) (6:24)
  12. Once I Went To Barstow (Live 2011) (4:47)
  13. Melon Collie Lassie (Live 2014) (3:33)
  14. Fingerprince Concentrate (7:52)


Liner notes

1987 ESD CD pressing

Recorded in 1976, Fingerprince is The Residents' fourth album. However, when it was being recorded it was not called Fingerprince. In 1976 it was called Tourniquet of Roses and was so long that it would have consumed three LP sides. The record company, Ralph Records, insisted that the record be cut back to the standard length of two sides, which was renamed Fingerprince. The remaining side was eventually released in limited numbers as Babyfingers.

The two pieces to note here are "Walter Westinghouse" and "Six Things to a Cycle", which is a ballet. The plot outline as provided by The Residents reads: "Man, represented as a primitive humanoid, is consumed by his self-created environment only to be replaced by a new creature, still primitive, still faulty, but destined to rule the world just as poorly". "Walter Westinghouse", on the other hand, is noteworthy as a kind of mini-opera with characters and dialogue interaction, a trend which points towards much of The Residents' later work.

Thanks to the convenient length of Compact Discs, we are happy to finally present the original Tourniquet of Roses as it was conceived. True, the title Fingerprince is still on the cover in attempt to prevent confusion, but this is the real thing, folks. Dig it.

- The Cryptic Corporation

Credits

Additional Credits (From 1987 CD pressing)

Release history

Year Label Format Region Notes
1977 Ralph Records LP US
1979 New color cover art
1987 East Side Digital CD Babyfingers tracks inserted before "Six Things To A Cycle"
Torso NL
1988 LP
Ralph Records US
1994 Euro Ralph CD EU
1995 Babyfingers included on bonus 3" mini-CD
1997 East Side Digital US Babyfingers tracks inserted before "Six Things To A Cycle"
Bomba Records JPN
2010 Birdsong & Hayabusa Landings
2012 MVD Audio CD US
LP
2018 New Ralph Too & Cherry Red CD UK, EU & US pREServed edition; Babyfingers inserted after "Six Things To A Cycle"
2020 Jannis Tsalakis & The Cryptic Corporation LP EU Tourniquet of Roses collectors' box, limited edition of 15 copies; Babyfingers included on separate 12" picture disc

See also

Buy Or Die!

Listen online

External links and references

  1. The track times for the earliest vinyl pressings of the album incorrectly list "Six Things To A Cycle" as being 15:09 in length; the full 17+ minute version is featured.


Fingerprince-transparent-sml.png Tourniquet of Roses
Fingerprince / Babyfingers
(1976-1979)

Side A
"You Yesyesyes" · "Home Age Conversation" · "Godsong" · "March de la Winni" · "Bossy" · "Boo Who?" · "Tourniquet of Roses" · "You Yesyesyes Again"

Side B
"Six Things To A Cycle"

Side C · Babyfingers
A: "Monstrous Intro" · "Death In Barstow" · "Melon Collie Lassie" · "Flight of the Bumble Roach"
B: "Walter Westinghouse"

Personnel
The Residents · Snakefinger · Don Jackovich · Adrian Deckbar · Tony Logan · Pamela Zeibak

Related works
Vileness Fats · X Is For Xtra · "Leapmus" · "Entrance to Crypt" · "Clumsy Climb" · "Piano Dittie" · Oh Mummy! Oh Daddy! performance · The Third Reich 'n Roll video · "Whoopy Snorp" · The Residents Radio Special · "Six Amber Things"

Related articles
Sycamore St. studio · Grove St. studio · Ralph Records · The Cryptic Corporation · Pore No Graphics · Collectors' Box series
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