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Frank Zappa - Just Another Band From L.A. CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.08 | 124 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Frank Zappa: Just Another Band from L.A. [1972]

Rating: 5/10

Just Another Band from L.A. is Frank Zappa's second live album. Like his first, Filmore East, June 1971, it suffers from a simple flaw: a lack of balance. This album relies heavily on performance pieces and comedic storytelling, to the point where the music is put into the background. The reason why Zappa's humor works is because it is often combined with intense musical sophistication, the latter of which is not particularly present here. That's not to say that the humor doesn't work; however, many of the jokes and references, while topical during the time this was recorded, don't really manage to connect with modern listeners.

"Billy Mountain" is probably Zappa's signature rock anti-opera (even though I like "The Adventures of Greggary Peccary" more). This is a side-long piece consisting mostly of spoken-word storytelling. I absolutely love the zany story here, but it doesn't stop the song from being fairly uninteresting on a musical level. "Call Any Vegetable" is a shortened and altered version of the suite from Absolutely Free. There's nothing very interesting here, and it lacks the humor/storytelling that Billy has. The comedy rock continues with "Eddie, Are You Kidding?", a slightly doo-woppy track with vocal interplay. "Magdalena" follows in the same vein; yet again, there's nothing particularly notable here. I like the vocal harmonies, but the humor falls rather flat. "Dog Breath" is a short slowed-down medley of a few tracks from Uncle Meat. Zappa plays a solid solo near the end, creating the most musically interesting moment on the album.

This is definitely one of Zappa's weaker live albums. However, it does possess characteristic Zappa charm that prevents it from being completely mediocre. And despite the fact that it's not very musically engaging, "Billy the Mountain" is a still a Zappa classic. For the most part, though, Just Another Band from L.A. is much too focused on humor, and this humor doesn't even manage to always hit the mark. This isn't a terrible album, but it is probably the weakest live Zappa recording from the 70s.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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