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Frank Zappa - The Dub Room Special! CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.00 | 44 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The late Frank Zappa's latest dvd release is a re-release of a classic video that was touted by Zappa himself as an extremely low budget project, and he could not be more right. It has a terribly home video quality that makes it feel a little more earthy and real. Taking place at a video studio in the greater LA area, Zappa tries to make use of the studio to make a video for his devoted fans. Sprinkled in between these short segments is footage from two different concerts in two different eras of Zappa's career. One set of concert footage is from performances at KCET studios in August of 1974. The line-up for that concert was FZ (guitar, vocals), Ruth Underwood (percussion), George Duke (keyboards, vocals), Tom Fowler (bass), Chester Thompson (drums), and Napoleon Murphy Brock (flute, tenor saxophone, vocals). The second show is from a video for Zappa's Halloween 1981 concert. The line-up for that show was FZ (guitar, vocals), Ray White (guitar, vocals), Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals), Ed Mann (percussion, vocals), Steve Vai (guitar, vocals), Scott Thunes (bass, vocals), Bobby Martin (keyboards, tenor sax, vocals), Chad Wackerman (drums).

The KCET footage shows the humorous side of Zappa very well, with a great rendition of Room Service. The comic interplay between Napoleon Murphy Brock and Zappa is hilarious, with them using ridiculously oversized phones to have a conversation about ordering room service. Expect from this set great renditions of Cosmik Debriz, which has a great extended solo section in which everyone gets a turn in the spotlight (same goes with Florentine Pogen), Stink Foot, which has always been a great live song, and Inca Roads, which has some great vocals from Brock and Duke. Of the 1981 footage, Stevie's Spanking is a fun song to watch mainly because of Steve Vai's stupendous guitar solo. If you notice as well, Tommy Mars looks like he gained a significant amount of weight since the Baby Snakes footage from 1977. Flakes is also a fun watch because of Ed Mann's great Bob Dylan impersonation (originally done by Adrian Belew on the Sheik Yerbouti album). But that's not all, there is also some nice Bruce Bickford claymation sequences, but they aren't nearly as good as the Baby Snakes sequences. And interspersed between all of that is footage from the Italian Riots in which Zappa gets into a wonderful conversation with Massimo Bassoli. And on top of that, there is the low budget Dub Room footage that shows Zappa at his zaniest.

Overall, this is an interesting dvd that has alot of things going for it. There's a nice array of special features, including a nice documentary about Moon Zappa and Valley Girl. Other than that, I can't really say there's much more to this collection. It's a great watch, and there are some really great performances, and some hilarious moments as well. Recommended for the Zappa fan, but I'm not sure everyone will find this set enjoyable. Not as good as Baby Snakes, and loads better than Does Humor Belong in Music?, I rate this in the middle of those two, a solid 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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