The Grand Wazoo

matrix number MS 2093What to Get: The 2012 CD, but beware, some people have had trouble playing it.

Summary: The theory goes as follows: the vinyl is a dry mix. In the mid 1980s, Zappa transferred the tapes to digital and added some reverb; this is the version found on the 1986-era Ryko CD. In 1990, he added some additional processing and treble, as well as swapping the first two tracks so that the album began with "The Grand Wazoo" instead of "For Calvin." This version was released on both the Zappa Records CD and the 1995 Ryko CD. The 2012 UMe version reverts to the dry vinyl mix, but still swaps the first two tracks. Whew. 

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: The vinyl or 2012 CD will please most people, but there's some lingering fondness for the version found on the previous CDs (especially those wedded to the album's original track order who don't believe in CDRs and the like). [completist's guide]


  • Test pressing (Columbia / Santa Maria MS 2093)
  • Original vinyl (Bizarre MS 2093 in the US, December 1972 (repressed in 1973); Reprise K44209 in the UK, January 1973)
  • Canadian vinyl (Bizarre/Reprise MS 2093, gatefold cover with a black maple leaf in the upper-right back corner)
  • French vinyl (Reprise 44209)
  • German vinyl (WEA Reprise 44209)
  • Dutch vinyl (Reprise REP 44 209, matrix number 31450)
  • Japanese vinyl (Reprise P-8306R)
  • Mexican vinyl (Gamma GX01-587, with the inner spread story in Spanish)
  • Argentine vinyl (MusicHall 50-14.052, with the inner spread story in Spanish)
  • Uruguayan vinyl (Warner Brothers - record pressed in Uruguay, cover imported from the US)
  • Brazilian vinyl
  • Australian vinyl (Reprise MS 2093, 1973 - "more or less unaltered")
  • Cassettes (Bizarre M 52093 and Reprise 444209)
  • 8-track (M 82093)
  • Reel-to-reel tape ("Bizarre-Reprise Records RST-2093C", 7.5 ips)
  • The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 9999-2, December 1987)
  • Original CD (Ryko RCD10026 in the US, September 1986 (imported into Australia by Festival Records and re-stickered Ryko D40707); Zappa Records CDZAP31 in the UK, September 1990; VACK 5033 in Japan)
  • IRS 970.731 CD (?)
  • 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10517, May 16 1995; VACK 5124 in Japan, renumbered 5259 in 1998)
  • Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1216, October 24 2001 - Bizarre inner sleeve; sticker included)
  • 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3849 August 28, 2012)

Track Titles

  • On an old reel-to-reel tape, "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus" was called "The Legend of Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus".

Test Pressing

matrix number MS 2093From Erik Alberius:

This is a test pressing of the Grand Wazoo album by Frank Zappa released in 1972. As far as I know, this is the only copy - no others exist. I bought it at the Record Finder on 258 Noe Street for $25. It is probably worth millions and millions of dollars by now. :)

Reel-to-Reel Tape

This package had an insert with liner notes, and the track list was:

1. For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)
2. The Grand Wazoo

3. The Legend of Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus
4. Eat That Question
5. Blessed Relief

Note "The Legend of Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus", which is usually known only as "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus".

Dutch Vinyl

  One time I was out by Anza driving with Katy to look at some desert property that was for sale real cheap and right in the middle of nowhere came across Elliot Ingber hitch-hiking.

Cal Schenkel,, July 2000

From Harry de Swart:

My LPs of Apostrophe (') and The Grand Wazoo have a German sleeve (made in Germany by Kinney Music), but have a Dutch label (made in Holland by NV Negram-Haarlem), and that's the way I bought them.

Original CD

The original European Zappa Records CD was re-sequenced, with tracks 1 and 2 flipped around. The original American CD, on Ryko, had the vinyl track order, but the 1995 CD flipped tracks 1 and 2 once and for all, just like the Zappa Records release. (There was a rumour that "For Calvin" was shortened on the CD, but it wasn't true.)

From Pat Buzby:

I do know that The Grand Wazoo is missing the musician photos from the original album, and that Waka/Jawaka is missing the FZ photos. Boo! [Now he's happier, because Ryko restored them in 1995! And UMe probably kept them in 2012! - Ed.]

1995 CD

(There was a rumour that "For Calvin" was shortened on the CD, but it wasn't true.) Official statement from Ryko:

New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork. Frank flipped tracks 1 and 2 around, so that the title track is first. Louder dBs than first Rykodisc CD.

From Cal Schenkel:

The tray art is a laser print incorporating sketches from the preliminary drawings for the album cover.

From A Reader:

This CD has much more high end than the original Ryko CD. I suspect it matches the "UMRK Digital Remix" found on the 1990's Zappa Records disc [Ed: Can anybody confirm this?] Otherwise, it stays in near-perfect sync with the 1980s Ryko disc, suggesting that it is from the same digital transfer of the analog master tape.

Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)

Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000 copies each) of Zappa CDs in paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and "bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had "proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold" cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.

We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors items, not new remastered editions.

Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you know if this happens.

From Biffy the Elephant Shrew:

The lyric sheet for The Grand Wazoo presents only the first verse of "For Calvin" ... there are hardly any lyrics on the whole album; you'd think they could squeeze the other lines in there!

2012 UMe CD

Mastered by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley & Sangwook "Sunny" Nam from the original analog master. Reverts to the vinyl mix. Note that some have reported trouble playing and ripping the disc (this has been encountered on US copies, but not UK copies, apparently). Be careful and keep your receipts. This is a pressing defect and will presumably be remedied on future copies.


  • Any details on cassette versions?
  • Any details on 8-track versions?
  • Any more regional peculiarities?
  • Any points to make about the Old Masters version?
  • Any more release dates?
  • CD variants. Wuh happen?

Additonal Informants

  • Neil in the UK
  • Phillip A. Freshour
  • Biffy the Elephant Shrew
  • Marcelo Gasiˇ
  • Richard Kolke
  • John Henley
  • JWB
  • Gonšalo
  • Mexpressings

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 20:02

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