Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor is among the group's earliest known recordings, although, like the other tapes from the years prior to the release of the Santa Dog EP in 1972, it is not acknowledged by the band as being part of their official discography.
Like The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger before it, the actual title of the reel popularly referred to as Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor (if it ever had an official title, or can be considered an "album" proper) is in question, but the tape features a track of the same title, with a reprise towards the end of its second half, and with Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor has been referred to occasionally by The Cryptic Corporation as being one of "four albums" recorded by the group prior to becoming The Residents.
The tape features contributions from Roland Sheehan on guitar and organ. Sheehan spontaneously co-wrote the song "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor" with the group after looking out a window and seeing a truck filled with rusty coathangers.
The Rusty Coathangers tape also features abortive early examples of the group performing "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones (here crossed with "When Johnny Comes Marching", both previously heard on The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger demo tape) as well as traditional music ("Bringing In The Sheaves"), early tape collage experiments with recorded conversation from the group and their friends chatter and samples from the musical Bye Bye Birdie, and "Bo Diddley", another notable but obscure early original song by the group.
Contents EditAs Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor is only a rough demo tape which was never intended for release, it has no known cover art or definitive track listing, and many of the short improvisational pieces on the tape likely were never given actual titles.
A rough approximation of the tape's track listing, based on tracks with known titles and recognizable cover versions, would look like this:
- Improvisation #1 (Guitar Solo)
- "Bye Bye Birdie" Edit Piece
- Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor
- Improvisation #2
- Improvisation #3 / High Speed Tape Piece
- Bringing In The Sheaves (traditional)
- Improvisation #4
- Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor #2
- Bo Diddley
- Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney)
For decades the existence of The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger and Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor were known to fans solely through a mention in Matt Groening's 1979 article "The True Story of The Residents", as well as occasional references in mid-to-late 1970s promotional materials distributed by Ralph Records.
The existence of these reels was confirmed in the late 2000s, when a number of short snippets of tracks from both tapes were released by an anonymous fan.
Both tapes later became available in presumably more complete versions in the 2010s as part of a series of bootleg CD-Rs. It is said that these recordings were stolen from the band's archives by a former associate and later made available for profit, and as with their other early demo recordings, The Residents and The Cryptic Corporation do not approve of their availability.
Unlike the other three known demo tapes from this period (The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger, The Warner Bros. Album and Baby Sex), none of the tracks from Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor have been released on any later compilations of the group's early material. In 2016, an excerpt of the title track was heard in the documentary Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents, but other than this short snippet, the Rusty Coathangers recordings have only been heard in an extremely low-fidelity form.
In 2019 a representative of Cherry Red Records suggested that Rusty Coathangers was being considered by the group for release as part of their pREServed series of remastered editions of their catalog, but when and if it will be released is currently unknown as the group do not consider it particularly representative of their work as The Residents (though apparently somewhat moreso than the earlier Stuffed Trigger tape).
See also Edit
- The Delta Nudes
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger
- The Warner Bros. Album
- ERA B474
- The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss