Strictly Personal releases

US Vinyl Releases

1968 US Original on Blue Thumb BTS1

The first release on this label named by Don and set up by the producer Bob Krasnow who had also been involved with the production of Safe As Milk.
Very thick card gatefold sleeve. Two different issues (that we know of):

  1. Black label with silver lettering; banded; there are pressings with different matrix numbers:
    J-1-RE-1 (on both sides)
    BTS 5001 D-1 (side 1), BTS 5002 D-1 (side 2)
  2. Black label; unbanded

Jim Neher wrote to pass comment on the quality of the different releases:

Next to the black label banded version, the black label unbanded version sounds dull, and actually like it was copied from vinyl rather than from a master tape. On the banded version, the sound in “Safe as Milk” after the words “popup toaster cracklin” stands out sharply, sounding to me like a matrixing defect. (In the unbanded version, the top treble is missing, causing that sound to be blurred in as if it were deliberate.) I assume it is rare – my friend got it in New England in 1970. Even after being played to death, it sounds better than any other vinyl copy I have heard. It was a source of great frustration to me that he had good-sounding copies of Safe as Milk and Strictly Personal, and that I had to make do with inferior versions that were then in the stores. These were our two favorite albums, next to Trout Mask.

197? US Reissue on Blue Thumb BTS1. Thin card gatefold sleeve.

Blue Thumb had been taken over and the label now carries the additional text “A SUBSIDIARY OF FAMOUS MUSIC CORPORATION A GULF – WESTERN COMPANY”

Two different issues:

  1. tan label with black lettering; unbanded; there are pressings with different matrix numbers
    5001 BTS1-1C (side one), 5002 BTS1-1D (side two)
    5001 BTS1-1D (side one), 5002 BTS1-1B (side two)
  2. tan label banded

197? US Reissue on Blue Thumb BTS-8801.

By this time the label had been taken over by Capitol Records.
The label is similar to the earlier tan versions (without the ‘A Subsidiary of..’ details) but is much paler – closer to cream or ivory in colour. The album includes the standard gatefold cover but with a NEGATIVE version of the photograph inside!

Thanks to David Naughton for the scans of this one.

Additional comments on the quality of the different US Blue Thumb releases from Steve Froy:

I have a copy of the original black label banded release and the reissued tan label unbanded. There is a definite difference in sound quality between the two. The tan label unbanded sounds quite insipid in comparison to the other. The black label banded pressing has much more ‘presence’ and a significantly stronger bass response.

I also have a black label banded copy of the Canadian pressing which sounds better than most other versions.

UK Vinyl Releases

1968 UK Original on Liberty (Blue) LBL/LBS 83172

Gatefold yellow-brown sleeve, same as US issue, but on much thinner card. However, it looks like some of the earlier UK and European issues were released in thick US sleeves with the addition of a Liberty sticker on the back (see scan of example below)

  1. Mono Cover/Mono Record on Liberty (Blue) LBL 83172 (g/fold)
  2. Relabeled Mono Cover/Stereo Record on Liberty (Blue) LBS 83172 (g/fold)
  3. Stereo Cover/Stereo Record on Liberty (Blue) LBS 83172 (g/fold)

Thanks to Mats Hulden for these scans.

Additional comments on the Mono version:

Jymn contacted us to to enthuse about:

…the monster that is the mono version of this album. It’s the wildest, loudest, lowest, most terrifying album in mono.

1968 UK Original (Stereo Cover/Stereo Record) on Liberty (Black) LBS 83172

With same gatefold sleeve

1971 UK Re-issue by Liberty on Sunset SLS 50208

Standard budget Sunset reissue of Liberty in March 1971 – artwork different, ie photo of parcel, on rust coloured background.

Thanks to Simon Smith for this scan.

1979 UK Re-issue by Liberty on Rock File Series LBR 1006

Another budget issue in November 1979 with different again artwork.

I have seen this album sold as being “without phasing”. This is nonsense … the phasing is still there. The sound quality overall is very good.

1999 Strictly Personal released on Simply Vinyl.

The first ever audiophile vinyl version of Strictly Personal. See full Simply Vinyl Strictly Personal info.

Worldwide vinyl releases

1968 Canadian issue on Blue Thumb BTS 1

The Canadian issue is exactly the same as the original release however Polydor Records undertook the distribution. “DISTRIBUTION: POLYDOR RECORDS CANADA LIMITED” is printed on the bottom right edge of the front cover and on the inner sleeve below the other text. As can be seen below the label is black with “MADE IN CANADA” printed at the top and “POLYDOR RECORDS CANADA LIMITED” at the bottom.

Great sound quality on this pressing.

1969 South African issue on Liberty Records LYC 1152 (BTS 1)

The front and back of the sleeve are the same as the original release but it is not a gatefold. The track list has been added to the back on a blue label.

The record label is a black and white version of the UK one but says “LIBERTY RECORDS INC. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA”.

Thanks to Paul Dickinson for the photos of this unusual version.

1973 French issue on United Artists Records UAS 29540

Sleeve is similar to the Sunset and File series ones but is a different closer view of the parcel. Back has sleeve notes by Paul Alessandrini taken from 1972 Rock & Folk 64/65

1980 New Zealand Strictly Personal on MID 17 by EMI Records NZ

This has the same cover as the UK Liberty Rock File Series reissue with EMI Records New Zealand Auckland – Wellington – Christchurch P.O.Box 30849 Lower Hutt (P) 1980. Label is attractive Gold/Brown sunlight thru clouds and says MADE IN NEW ZEALAND. Inner sleeve clear plastic.

CD releases

1994 CD Re-issue by EMI, numbered 7243 8 29654 2 8.

Includes booklet with excellent four page piece by Mark Paytress

Gerry Pratt’s Review of this CD reissue:

Strictly Personal has been issued on CD in the UK by EMI (7243 8 29654 2 8) – it appeared in UK shops round here in mid July ’94. The packaging is really excellent – the CD booklet is like a mini version of the original 1968 gatefold sleeve with the 25th Century picture in the centre and all the right credits/dates intact. It comes with about 2000 word sleeve notes by Mark Paytress which are also pretty good. The Ry Cooder connection which appears in the adverts is due to a mis-reading of these notes – Mark was talking about Ry Cooder’s involvement in Safe As Milk.

It is a Budget CD and the sound is pretty well the same as the original UK 1968 issue (which was the best sound/pressing), the 1971 Sunset re-issue and the 1979 Rock File re-issue. It doesn’t claim to have been re-mastered even though the unphased version is extant in Culver City, LA (discovered by Roger Armstrong of Ace Records who told EMI about it).

I have tested it against the vinyl and there is little difference. Unphased tracks (like “Gimme Dat Harp Boy”) sound better and crisper while phased tracks (like “Mirror Man – Son of Mere Man”) sounded worse to me as the phasing is more apparent – I guess digitising adds emphasis to these effects. However the shocker for me was that on “Kandy Korn”, the last track, as the final crescendo is reached there is this wild yell in the background which definitely cannot be heard on the vinyl!

All together a pretty good release and I still think that someone may dig out the pre-phased version in some future release – it would be nice to hear this with the clarity of the UK Sequel “I May Be Hungry” CD which was taken direct from the November 1967 master tapes.

Strictly Personal outtakes and alternates

1991 Dutch CD RARE BEEFHEART VINTAGE ZAPPA on Disky Communications B.V. DCD 5217

Five “previously unreleased” tracks from the Strictly Personal sessions licensed from Kama Sutra Music Inc.

1992 I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain’t Weird

This CD contained 11 “unphased” tunes from the Strictly Personal sessions. View full I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain’t Weird info.

1999 Safe As Milk – reissue with bonus tunes. This and the following release contained all the I May Be Hungry tunes plus Korn Ring Finger.

1999 Mirror Man Sessions – Reissue with bonus tunes.

Help us out

If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.


  1. Do you know if Strictly Personal was released on 8 track? I’ve seen photos of most of the early albums but never SP

    – thanks

    1. I’m not aware of an 8 track version.

    2. I’ve been doing some research on this and have found out that SP was released on 8-track. At least twice! I’m hoping to get some info about Beefheart 8-track releases onto the site with the help of a collector (and ex-Magic Band member).

      1. Yes it was released on 8 track. Just added pic and info to Discogs…

        1. Hi, yes, most of his albums were released on eight track. I have info on them but haven’t got around to adding it to the site. One day soon …

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