Title - Gingerbread Man: pREServed Edition [3CD]
Artist - The Residents
For those not in the know, formed in the early 1970s, The Residents have been charting a unique path through the musical landscape for almost fifty years.
From far-out, experimental recordings to highly conceptual, innovative multi-platform projects, the band refuses to stand still, and continues to move in several different directions at once.
Produced with The Cryptic Corporation using archival tapes supplied by the group themselves, this brand new Gingerbread Man: pREServed Edition 3CD package (out now via Cherry Red Records) explores and expands the classic 1994 album another series of character studies, as first explored on the Freak Show project alongside the contemporary Hunters OST recording, an instrumental suite composed to accompany the 1995 TV show of the same name.
Disc Two also includes, in full, the previously unreleased Fat Boy tape, a collection of material compiled by the group in early 1994 and either adapted and incorporated into Gingerbread Man and Hunters or quickly forgotten ... until now!
CD 1: Gingerbread Man
1. The Weaver
2. The Dying Oilman
3. The Confused Transsexual
4. The Sold-Out Artist
5. The Ascetic
6. The Old Soldier
7. The Aging Musician
8. The Butcher
9. The Old Woman
10. Gingers Lament
11. The Gingerbread Man (Live Ginger, 1997)
12. The Aging Musician (Live Ginger, 1997)
13. The Old Woman (Live Ginger, 1997)
14. The Sold-Out Artist (Live Ginger, 1997)
15. Gingerbread Man Suite (Live Ginger, 2001)
16. The Old Woman (Live Ginger, 2011)
17. The Confused Transsexual (Live Ginger, 2013)
Over the years, the Residents style has evolved from very avant-garde to more cleanly orchestrated works. Ergo, you could say that Gingerbread Man is much more polished than older albums like Fingerprince and such, but like most material from the Residents, it still has that dark, wonderfully eerie trademark to it.
Each track (except for the ending epilogue) is about one of nine characters and follows a common format: 1) a short instrumental introduction that includes a recurring, catchy melody, 2) a verse sung by the character that poetically sums up their pain and exhaustion with life, and finally, 3) spoken comments and thoughts from the character set to music (the liner notes to the CD explains the story behind each character).
I know one criticism people have had about this album is that all the songs sound too similar, which is fair enough, but I honestly think the repetition purposely fits here to make a musical/opera kind of format; where each chapter of the story begins with the same catchy melody.
I mean, scores for musicals tend to do this and it works for them, so why should not work for this highly imaginative concept album; and it does, trust me on that!
Simply put, Gingerbread Man reveals how bitter and twisted some people can become in their eternal chase of the dreams they cannot achieve. As we hear the doomsday babble of all 9 characters, Ginger keeps reminding us: Run, run, fast as you can, you cannot catch me, I am the Gingerbread Man!
This really is one of those albums that the less I say the better and that I myself was pleasantly surprised by it all.
Its quirky and strange, but it all goes along together well. It flows like that of a river, smooth and at a brisk pace. But when you take a closer look you see what the river really holds.
Some things, perhaps some of the expanded material noted below, are better off left unsaid, but moreover, the album (and now as an expanded whole), is an experience where one should not really listen to the tracks individually; but experience them collectively as a magnificent journey of space and time that transcends multiple ideas and people.
CD 2: The Fat Boy Tape
2. Last Ton
5. Devise LP
6. Mood I
7. Blues for Twos
8. Burn 3
9. Malice Timba
11. Cod Rack
12. Little Thoughts
13. Trail Mix
15. Laughin Waters
17. Uncomfort (2)
18. Warm Pallet
20. Weep No More
21. Black Forest
23. Robber Baron
30. Dunlap #2
32. Big Jumble A
33. Gingerbread Man (The Complete Instrumental
All tracks Previously Unreleased
CD 3: Hunters
1. Hunters Prelude
2. The Deadly Game
3. Tooth and Claw
4. The Dangerous Sea
5. Rulers of The Deep
6. Track of The Cat
7. The Giant Grizzlies
8. Dawn of The Dragons
9. Eye of The Serpent
10. The Crawling Kingdom
11. The Savage Pack
12. Hunters Reprise
Prelude to The Teds
14. I Tried to Cry
15. The Cry of A Crow
Remastered, expanded, packed with previously unheard music and pREServed for future generations this is The Residents as we have always wanted to hear them, and the latest in a series of archival reissues that will continue throughout 2021 and beyond.
Oh, and look out for forthcoming Wormwood and Icky Flix sets, as well as a number of special vinyl releases.
The Residents will, of course, be resuming their sure-to-be-smash Dog Stab world tour the moment normality is resumed.
Official 3CD Purchase Link