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Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere CD (album) cover

ROXY & ELSEWHERE

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.40 | 235 ratings

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Chris H
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Roxy & Elsewhere" is the Mothers' third live album release, and was/is far more successful that its predecessors "Live at the Fillmore East" and "Just Another Band From L.A.". This live show was mostly recorded over a set of shows at The Roxy in Hollywood, with some overdubs and tapes from two other settings thrown in. This time period is also where Frank Zappa was at his most comical, and his hilarity is apparent in many settings on this album including the openings to "Penguin In Bondage", "Village Of The Sun" and "Cheepnis". Not only was he hilarious, him and the band were also at a creative high point and they performed with an excellent set of jazz-fusion at the show, especially in the middle of "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" where Frank tells everybody to watch Ruth (Underwood), and the stage erupts in percussion, but quickly emerges into a piano-driven jazz number.

Napoleon Murphy Brock cannot go without mention when talking about this album. He contributes his excellent vocals and stage antics in "Village of The Sun" and "Cheepnis", while "Dummy Up features an excellent comedic interlay between him and guitarist Jeff Simmons. Speaking of guitars, FZ's work is nothing short of spectacular here, especially in the short, bridge song "Pygmy Twylyte", the connects together "Penguin In Bondage" and "Dummy Up".

Finally we've been amazed by 7 incredible songs, things take a turn for the worst. As the album starts to end, the quality of the songs start to drop. The last three songs, "More Trouble Every Day", "Son Of Orange County" and "Be-Bop Tango Of The Old Jazzmen's Church" are long, boring and sound very dated. "More Trouble..." and "Son Of..." are both newer versions of the older Mothers classics "Trouble Every Day" and "The Orange County Lumber Truck". These newer versions are mellowed out, boring renditions that lack enthusiasm. "Be-Bop Tango..." is certainly a musical extravaganza, with every musician participating. But it also lacks good direction, making everything sound sloppy and un-rehearsed.

After everything is all said and done, this is probably one of the better live Frank Zappa albums, although the ending is completely un-enthusiastic mess, and the concert is riddled with sound problems. You can even hear Frank calling for the sound guy during some numbers. "Brian? Turn me up a little bit!"

An excellent album if you want to hear Frank live, but just hearing isn't enough. In order to get the full "live" feel, this was one of those you needed to see with your own eyes. 4 stars.

Chris H | 4/5 |

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