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Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere CD (album) cover

ROXY & ELSEWHERE

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.39 | 226 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This one rocks: dazzling arrangements, brilliant songs, a modicum of molten guitar licks and some clever stage banter. I'm partial to this lineup of THE MOTHERS: Ruth Underwood (previously "Presto"n) has never shined so bright -- "Echidna's Arf (of You)" is nothing less than stunning -- while Napoleon Murphy Brock gives the band a legitimate vocalist. Although the double elpee only presents nine works, collectively it's an overwhelming experience. "The Be-Bop Tango (of The Old Jazzmen's Church)" is enough to drain most listeners, filling every conceivable nook and cranny of side four with notes before devolving into one of Frank's audience participation pieces. Generally, the show (actually shows, which explains the elsewhere) balances between hot instrumental workouts and memorable songs. Not many listeners were left humming "Echidna's Arf (of You)" or "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing", but quite a few I'll bet have recalled bits of "Cheepnis", "Penguin In Bondage" and "Village of the Sun" over the years. Not all of Roxy is top-shelf stuff; "Dummy Up" is a forgettable poke at "higher" education and "Son of Orange County" is cute but could have been more fully developed. Still, "Roxy & Elsewhere" is no mere live placeholder; 90% of the material is new (Freak Out's "More Trouble Every Day" earns a fiery reprise) and the performance is as clean as "studio" albums like One Size Fits All.

Although Over-Nite Sensation is the best way to get acquainted with this version of THE MOTHERS (i.e., the mid-'70s Mothers), I'd rank Roxy right below it. I haven't heard Apostrophe yet, so I can't speak to that, but I'd certainly recommend this over One Size, Bongo and Zoot.

daveconn | 4/5 |

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