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Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere CD (album) cover

ROXY & ELSEWHERE

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.40 | 234 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of Zappa's most delightful albums: a glorious mixture of jazz-rock, operatic prog and something that can only be called 'Zappa-esque cabaret'.

As jazz-rock, this is superb, one of the best efforts in the genre, with sophisticated team playing and many first-rate solos by George Duke (on keyboards), Don Preston (on synthesizer), Zappa himself (on electric guitar), Chester Thompson (on drums) and particularly Ruth Underwood (on vibes). The sudden stops and starts, hilarious tempo changes and manic virtuosity displayed on 'Don't you ever wash that thing?', for example, have to be heard to be believed. And the good news is the playing never grates on the ear.

As operatic prog, ROXY AND ELSEWHERE is just as adventurous. 'Cheepnis', for instance, is a six minute 'mini-opera' which takes earlier examples of the genre (such as the Who's hugely enjoyable 'A Quick One') to a totally new level. 'Cheepnis' also prefigures the massive choruses and madcap humour of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - but at incredible speed, with superior band playing and, of course, without sentimental bombast. At first glance 'Cheepnis' seems to be about third-rate monster movies... Only Zappa could take a line such as: 'I ate a hot dog / it tasted real good / then I watched a movie / from Hollywood' and make it rock like hell.

And for all those who still believe Zappa was merely a clown with a dirty mind, there's 'Village of the Sun', a lovely tribute to the town where our Frank played R&B in the 1950s, brilliantly sung, with great sensitivity, by Napoleon Murphy Brock.

P.S. Although earlier reviewers have pointed out this was originally a double album, it is now available on a single CD, which is very good value indeed.

P.P.S. Many of the same compositions are also available on a later live album, YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON ANYMORE VOL. II, where they get played at even crazier speeds (in Finland!) but in my opinion ROXY itself is still unsurpassed.

fuxi | 5/5 |

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