Along with the many other tapes from the years prior to the release of Santa Dog in 1972, The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger is not acknowledged by The Cryptic Corporation as being part of the official Residents discography, and has never been officially released in any format.
The tape known as The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger represents the group's first recorded use of a number of motifs that would be featured in many of their later works as The Residents.
With a length of 38 minutes, the tape includes their first known recorded attempt at covering The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction", The Swingin' Medallions' "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)", and the traditional "When Johnny Comes Marching". All three songs would later recur as thematic elements throughout the group's later career as The Residents.
Other standards performed on The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger include versions of George Gershwin's "Summertime", The Beatles' "Let It Be", and "House of the Rising Sun" (a traditional folk song popularized in 1964 by The Animals).
The actual title of this tape (whether or not it ever had an official title, or can even be considered an "album" proper) is in question, but it features a track of the same title with a reprise towards the end of its second half (known on some bootlegs as "Maybe More Trigger").
Like Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor, The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger has been referred to occasionally by The Cryptic Corporation as being one of four "albums" recorded by the group prior to becoming The Residents. Despite this, Uncle Willie, former president of the UWEB fan club, wrote in his book Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide to the Residents that while searching through the band's archives he came across "a suite named 'The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger'" but not an album per se.
Contents EditAs the tape mostly consists of loose, improvisational jams and studio banter and was not ever intended by the group for release, there is no known cover art or a definitive track listing, and a number of the tracks on the tape likely do not have titles at all.
However, given that a number of tracks on the tape are recognizably cover versions, or have had titles otherwise provided by bootleggers (or other mysterious sources, ie. "Ecological Blues") a track listing could be roughly approximated as follows:
- Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards) / Let It Be (Lennon/McCartney)
- Cherry, Cherry (Diamond)
- Let It Be #2 (Lennon/McCartney)
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger
- Ecological Blues
- Summertime (Gershwin)
- Way Down In Dixieland
- House of the Rising Sun (traditional)
- Summertime #2 (Gershwin)
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger #2
- When Johnny Comes Marching (traditional) / Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) (Smith/Vetter)
For decades the existence of The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger and Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor were known to fans only through a mention in Matt Groening's 1979 article "The True Story of The Residents", as well as occasional references in Ralph Records promotional material in the mid-to-late 1970s.
The existence of these reels was confirmed when a number of short snippets of tracks from both were released by an anonymous fan, who had attained them through unknown means. Both reels later became available on a limited series of bootleg CD-Rs.
It has been rumored that these two reels were stolen from the band's archives by a former associate and later made available for profit, and as with their other early demo tapes and reels, The Residents and The Cryptic Corporation do not approve of their availability. To date, only an excerpt of the title track has been released officially from this tape (on the ERA B474 and Greatest Hiss compilations).
Tracks dating from the same era but which do not feature on this tape can be found on ERA B474 and Greatest Hiss, suggesting the existence of further demo reels otherwise unknown to the wider public.