Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Frank Zappa - Roxy And Elsewhere - 320 CBR

This is Zappa at his musically most adventurous- from one of his most creatively fertile periods; the early 70s, where he produced great records like 'Overnite Sensation' and 'Apostrophe', which whilst being more accessible, the music hadn't suffered, and was probably more complex than his previous work in the 60s. This is probably his best live record, and one of the best live albums of the era. 'Penguin In Bondage' is Zappa in innuendo stance, something he would return to even more in later years (and even more explicitly) but the musicianship is quite outstanding, and would confirm why this period of The Mothers was widely regarded as the best musically, this particular line up housing many musicians who went on to other high profile careers, notably George Duke who has popped up in many a jazz fusion project, and Chester Thompson, who as everybody knows joined Genesis to play live with them, but had already joined Weather Report by the time this album came out. There are other Zappa favourites like Napoleon Murphy Brock, Don Preston, Ruth Underwood and Jeff Simmons (who actually released an album on Bizarre Records when that was up and running called 'Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up'), but the whole band play superbly, and Zappa gets a mindblowing guitar solo. This track leads into a funk/ jazz rock number 'Pygmy Twylyte' which is similar in tone to the songs on 'Overnite Sensation' with a hyper fiddly lead vocal part and should be complex enough to satisfy prog fans. 'Dummy Up' is one of Zappa's schtick routines and involves members of the band smoking 'collage diplomas' and a 'sock'. Whilst musically not very innovative, it does sum up the atmosphere of the Zappa concert fairly well, even if I don't care for these routines myself. The next song is another goodie- 'Village Of The Sun'- with some nice vocals and some relatively restrained musicianship for this album, and this track segues into 'Echidina's Arf (Of You) which is a frankly stupendous instrumental, with some nice brass work and typically ideosyncratic time changes, which is carried over into the next song, 'Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?' which is a showcase for musical dexterity and an apparently 'suggestive dance' from Ruth Underwood... 'Cheepnis' is one of Zappa's best songs of the era, and is about monster movies- as the man explains himself in a very funny anecdotal story about 'true cheapness' in films. I like most of this song, especially the part about the 'power point' which is superbly accurate in depicting the ridiculousness of such films...The music is as sharp as the lyrical content throughout. My personal favourite part of the record is Zappa's reinterpretation of three of my favourite early Zappa songs- 'Oh No'/'The Orange County Lumber Truck' is revamped as 'Son Of Orange County' and 'Trouble Every Day' as 'More Trouble Every Day'. All are completely revamped, and quite superbly. 'Son Of Orange County' has a completely slowed down rendition of 'Oh No', with scorching guitar work from Zappa, and 'The Orange County Lumber Truck' is given a brassier treatment than the original version. But the rendition of 'Trouble Every Day' never fails to amaze me, particularly the double drum part played by Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphrey, used again by Genesis when they played 'Afterglow' live when Chester Thompson joined them. The vocals are superb too, and you only wish there were more revamps on this record to the standard of these ones, and not so much of 'Be Bop Tango' which takes up 16 minutes; for me, more than half that would have sufficed... Yet, this is Frank Zappa, and there are all kinds of Zappa on here- rock Zappa, jazz Zappa, jokey Zappa, satirical Zappa and infuriating Zappa, making it an excellent introduction into his highly unique musical universe.
Yet again, links are in the comments.


Blogger said...

April 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Kovina Kris said...

Thanks! I've been looking for this great album.

April 4, 2007 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Woo Hoo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 4, 2007 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Woo Hoo said...

I've been looking for this wonderful album too. Thank You!

April 4, 2007 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Woo Hoo said...

I have some links I'd like to share with the blog owner, if interested. I keep reading about how people's links are being removed and find it kind of unnerving.

April 4, 2007 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!

can you be any more GAY?

April 5, 2007 at 2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reupload please!

April 7, 2007 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger super said...

Yes, please upload again! Pretty please...

April 8, 2007 at 11:32 AM  

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