The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger is the earliest known demo reel by the group who would later become known as The Residents. With contents dating from around 1969, it is among their earliest known recordings, although, similarly to their many other tapes from the years between 1967 and 1972, it is not acknowledged by the band as being part of their official discography.
Since 2013, the band have considered all of their recordings up to the release of Meet The Residents to instead be that of a different, loose group of friends and collaborators, retrospectively referred to as The Delta Nudes (one of the four names used by the band on the Santa Dog EP in 1972).
This reel represents the first recorded use of a number of motifs that would be represented by the band in many of their later works. With a length of 38 minutes, it includes the band's first known recorded attempt at covering The Rolling Stones' Satisfaction and also features versions of George Gershwin's Summertime, The Beatles' Let It Be, and a version of House of the Rising Sun (popularized around the time of the recording by The Animals).
As the reel mostly consists of loose, improvisational jams and studio banter, there is no definitive track listing, as a number of the tracks do not have known titles. However, known tracks include:
- Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards)
- Let It Be (Lennon-McCartney)
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger
- Summertime (G. Gershwin)
- There's The Place For Me
- House of the Rising Sun (traditional)
- The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger (Reprise)
- Ecological Blues
For decades the existence of The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger and Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor were known to fans through a mention in Matt Groening's 1979 article "The True Story of The Residents", and whether these titles represented only single tracks or entire unreleased albums was debated amongst fans.
The existence of these reels was confirmed when a number of short snippets of tracks from both were released by an anonymous fan, who had attained them through unknown means. Both reels later became available on a limited series of bootleg CD-Rs, though it is said that what has been circulated as Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor does not represent the entire tape.
It is said that these reels 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. To date, only an excerpt of the title track has been released officially from this tape (on the ERA B474 and The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss compilations).
Tracks dating from the same era but which do not feature on this tape can be found on ERA B474 and The Delta Nudes' Greatest Hiss, suggesting the existence of further demo reels otherwise unknown to the wider public.