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.
"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".
The Mysterious N. Senada appears on "Kamakazi Lady"; this track (as well as "Eloise") would later feature in the group's unfinished film project Vileness Fats. 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. "Kamikazi Lady" would first see official release in 1983 on the Residue of The Residents.
The tape 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 Dutch 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". It is not known specifically what Halverstadt's reaction was to receiving Baby Sex, however it is known that he did maintain a friendly correspondence with the group for some time after this, encouraging them to send him anything they were working on.
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)
Like their other recordings from between 1967 and 1972, Baby Sex is not considered by The Residents to be part of their official discography, however, unlike the rest of their earlier recordings, almost the entirety of Baby Sex has been later released by the band across a number of compilations - perhaps suggesting that the group consider it to be more representative of their later direction as The Residents than the ones before it.
The Warner Bros. Album and Baby Sex demo 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 earlier generation copies are derived from reels which 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.
Despite this, excerpts from Baby Sex have since become available on the Residue of the Residents, Daydream B-Liver, ERA B474 and The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss compilations, but otherwise has not officially been released in its entirety other than the aforementioned 1977 broadcast. Baby Sex is rumored for official release (at least in a limited issue, similar to the Record Store Day 2018 release of The W***** B*** Album) in 2019 as part of the group's pREServed reissue campaign.
- "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.
- An excerpt of "Cantaten to der Dyin Prunen" was released in the UWEB Snakefinger tribute, Philip Charles Lithman a.k.a. Snakefinger. The piece is also referenced in "You Yesyesyes" from Fingerprince.
- The long collage piece "Hallowed Be Thy Wean 1971" contains early studio recorded versions of "Kamikaze Lady" and "Eloise", both of which were later filmed for inclusion in the Vileness Fats film project. "Eloise" was also re-recorded in 1984 for Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?, and again in 2001 for Icky Flix.
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