1967 US Original on Buddah (Red)
The US release has always been thought to have been in September 1967, but a ‘New Action Albums’ feature in the 19 August 1967 edition of Billboard lists Safe As Milk which may indicate an earlier release date.
The inner has weird artwork and photos, along with the words “MAY THE BABY JESUS SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND OPEN YOU MIND” and “CAUTION: ELECTRICITY MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH” – it also contained the 4″ x 15″ Bumper Sticker folded inside.
Apart from the band, with Ry Cooder pictured separately in profile, Bob Krasnow (plus wife and kids), Hank Cicalo, D.J. Tom Donahue and Richard Perry are some of those also included on the inner sleeve but many of them are unknown characters who may (or may not) have worked for Buddah, one of whom is brandishing a copy of The Beatles ‘Sgt. Peppers’ album (released in June 1967).
- Mono on Buddah (red label) BDM 1001
- Stereo on Buddah (red label) BDS 5001 – early editions of US Goldmine Album Price Guide had this is down as (E) ie Electronically Re-chanelled Stereo, but later editions list it as (S), True Stereo
- Stereo on Buddah (rainbow label) BDS 5001 – possibly a second pressing with a different label, pictured below.
A note about the releases listed above from Chris Perry, with sleeve / label scan:
This is a copy of Safe as Milk which I presume to be an original US issue. It is on the rainbow Buddah label, catalog number BDS 5001. There are some peculiarities, however. The record cover lists the mono number (BDM 1001), and the upper left front cover has a sticker indicating “stereo” adhered to it (covering, I presume, the mono catalog number). I purchased this item sealed and am certain the shrinkwrap is original, as it has a ’60s-period price tag from K-Mart on it, indicating a price of “2 for $1”. However, it did not have the bumper sticker or inner sleeve inside when I opened it. My guess is that it’s actually from a second issue of the record, made up from extra parts left over from the initial issue which would’ve included the sticker and inner sleeve. They probably had some mono jackets left over, put stereo pressings inside, and slapped a “stereo” sticker on, long after the bumpersticker supply was depleted. The presence of a cut-out rivet in the cover (visible in the scan) supports this idea. Things like this happened all the time. Not necessarily a true variation, I suppose, but an interesting sub-variation.
1967 or 68 Australian Original on Astor PLP 1249 Stereo
Gold and black sticker on the front cover, ‘Astor Goldengroove Series’.
1968 UK Original on Pye (blue label) NPL 28110 Mono
The original UK release was in February 1968. The front cover was more yellow than other releases while the back cover was in black and white. There was no bumper sticker and no weird inner sleeve!
1969 UK Re-issue on Buddah 623171 in 12 track Stereo
1969 UK Re-issue by Pye on Marble Arch MAL 1117 Mono (10 track)
A budget reissue came out in March 1969 with I’m Glad and Grown So Ugly missing.
1970 UK Re-issue as Dropout Boogie on Buddah (black label) 2349 002
Reissued on the budget 99 label in July 1970 – here is where the repackaging/renaming of SAM started – I guess the weird title Safe As Milk was viewed as a problem by the record companies.
- The first pressing with only 10 tracks, the Marble Arch MAL 1117 issue, had a different matrix number – this was the version sold in the shops in the first weeks – the cover listed all 12 tracks and caused endless confusion.
- Standard 12 track version – cover as above
1970 US Re-issue on Buddah BDS 5063
This was the famous Buddah reissue with the Langdon Winner quote about the forgotten classic of rock ‘n roll history from his “I’m not even here I just stick around for my friends – The Odyssey of Captain Beefheart” article in Issue 58 of Rolling Stone featured prominently on the front. Radio plugs were broadcast featuring this quote.
This version had been remastered in a very unsatisfying way. The lead guitar suddenly disappears during the second stanza of Dropout Boogie and the fade in to Abba Zaba is completely botched. Not as nice as Buddah 5001.
1970 US Re-issue on Buddah (rainbow label pictured below) BDS 5063
1970 or later US Re-issue on Buddah (purple label) BDS 5063
Same number but Purple Buddah label.
1970(?) German Release as Plastic Factory on Buddah (rainbow label) 2318 014
New “chicken coop” cover – rename and redone cover which is actually quite attractive – I guess the photo represented the new title and not the possible environmental concern of the original Safe As Milk name.
1970 French Release on Buddah BD60017 (brown label)
Cover with the Langdon Winner quote. Distributed by Disques Vogue (“Distribution VOGUE P.I.P.”). Vogue factory inner sleeve (made of brown wrapping paper; no plastic; big “Vogue” logo printed on it and tips for careful handling of records). And here’s the best thing about this issue: the record is made of thick red (shine through) vinyl! (Thanks to Sven Kratzsch for the quality photos).
There is also a translucent yellow vinyl version too (Thanks to Claudius Huenerwadel for this information).
1970 French Release on Buddah (rainbow label) 921024 in Super Group Series 921024
Features the excellent Cannes Beach Publicity Shot from the 1968 MIDEM Pop Festival on the cover. Although it’s the Majic [sic] Band apparently!
1972 Mexican Release on Buddah 21007, stereo, as Plastic Factory
Features a very colourful gatefold sleeve. The banner along the top of the front cover says “Serie Rock Power: La Nueva Genercion Electrica”. The sleeve opens, rather bafflingly, onto a faceless person and an army of marching wooden figures. This is an exetremely rare version (a copy on Ebay in 2002 sold for about USD250).
The “the following tone is a reference tone…” piece that usually begins side two is not included on this pressing.
Although the song titles are in English on the cover, on the record labels they have been translated into Mexican. So, we have:
- Si Lo Hago
- Zig Zag Errante
- Boogie Desaparecido
- Estoy Contento
- Camino de Ladrillos Amarillo
- Abba Zaba
- Fabrica de Plastico
- Donde Hay Una Mujer
- Crecido Tan Feo
- Niro de Atoro
1976 German Re-issue as GOLD ROCK on Buddah 201.719 (Rainbow)
The front cover features a 1972 photo – probably off the German TV Beat Club appearance – and Gold Rock title in photo of embroidery work on gold satin. Back has notes in German covering period up to 1975 and says Im Vertrieb der METRONOME RECORDS Gmbh, Hammerbrookstrasse 73, 2000 Hamburg 1 * Made in W.-Germany
1978 German Re-issue on Buddah (purple label) 6.23171 AF
Cover states TELDEC >> TELEFUNKEN-DECCA << Schallplatten-GmbH., Heussweg 25, 2000 Hamburg 19 (Western Germany)
1981 UK LP Re-issue on PRT, catalogue number NCP 1004
Licenced by Precision Records and Tapes Ltd. Made in England
1985 UK Re-issue on WEA 252 260-1
19?? Dutch release on Buddah (rainbow label) HBDS 5001
Cover as US with Vervaardigd in licentie door N.V.Bovema on back bottom right. Note that number is the same as US original release with H (=Holland?) added.
1984 US Re-issue on Buddah BDS 69005
198X UK CD on Castle Classics CLACD 234
1990 German CD on Repertoire Records RR 4035-C
The text of an article printed in this release is available.
1992 Canadian CD on Buddah/Karma Sutra BKS 5001 New York, N.Y.10001
CD says MASTERED BY NIMBUS
199? US CD on One Way Records OW 29088
Also includes all of the I May Be Hungry… outtakes minus Safe As Milk take 5 and Flower Pot. The front cover is faithful to the original (see scan of CD back cover, below):
1999 US & UK CD Reissue on Buddha
Featuring six Mirror Man out-takes which were previously available on I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain’t Weird, and also Korn Ring Finger, never before available.
1999 Japanese CD on BMG Funhouse BVCM-35051.
1999 SVLP122 Vinyl reissue on Simply Vinyl
Featuring the same remastering and bonus track as the 1999 Buddha CD listed above. See separate vinyl reissue info page.
2009 UK CD on Revola Records CRREV271.
A reissue of the remastered 1999 version complete with extra Mirror Man out-takes at a nice price.
2009 Japanese CD on BMG BVCM-35626
A reissue of the remastered 1999 version with Mirror Man out-takes but packaged as a mini LP. The thick card cover includes the picture inner sleeve and a mini version of the bumper sticker. Also comes with a booklet with an article in Japanese plus lyrics to all songs in Japanese and English. To my ears the sound of the CD is even better than the 1999 Buddha issue.
This is also available as a ‘Promo Box’ which includes the Mirror Man mini LP as well as a chunky box packaged to look like the original SAM release to keep both albums in:
Safe As Milk / Mirror Man combinations
These two albums have been combined and re-ordered in various combinations over the years. See our full info about Safe As Milk/Mirror Man combinations.
Help us out
If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.