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Frank Zappa - Piquantique - Stockholm 1973 CD (album) cover


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Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have listened ZAPPA's work mainly from the years 1968 to 1979, and I think this is the best live recording from that timeline. The eight-piece orchestra (including JEAN-LUC PONTY) brings forth a massive wall of fast, chaotic and extremely witty fusion jazz rock. Every minute of the album contains dozens of things to listen, but the greatest moment of it is "Redunzl", which is also the best version of this title that I have ever heard! I'm sure that this kind of music by Frank would please many fans of challenging prog rock! No "titties and beer" stuff here.

All of the songs are instrumental, but Frank does some talking, for example he taunts the audience as they can't clap properly to the backbeat of the song. I got this album from the "Beat the boots" vinyl box set, which I got as a Christmas present from my mother (Thanks ma!). I have also seen some CD versions being sold from these "beated booties" separately, and this concert is included in the collection of Tikkurila's music library in Finland.

If you liked "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" album or "Hot Rats", you should try this one too! The sound of the recording isn't so bad in quality that you wouldn't hear all instruments or notes, but this isn't a record for serious audiophiles I guess.

Report this review (#41147)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars For Every Zappa fan who want's to experience a full show of Zappa's genius and otherworldly music there is a site where you can do this. But Piquantique - show is a very fine example of his extreme. If you want something very good take a spin or two but for something completely new and better check out zappateers. Eetu, kannattaa tutustua zappateersin tarjontaan, kaikki show:t on täysin vapaasti ladattavissa!
Report this review (#67602)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This Stockholm concert from 1973 saw Frank Zappa's band in transition, somewhere in between the subversive vaudeville of the original Mothers of Invention and the juvenile obscenities of later albums. No theatrics, no biting social commentary; just a lot of killer instrumental music, with a stronger Jazz-Rock Fusion slant than on other Zappa recordings.

Be aware that it's an unreconstructed bootleg, released by Zappa with no cosmetic cleanup whatsoever, in a novel attempt to kick the legs out from under the illegal music market. But it doesn't take very long to become acclimatized to the iffy sound quality, honestly no worse than the original audience might have heard in 1973. And the music itself is often spectacular enough to allay the concerns of even the strictest audiophile.

The group at the time was an octet, featuring electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and the husband-wife woodwind-percussion team of Ian and Ruth Underwood. But the entire band is incandescent, galvanizing a trio of shorter, energetic numbers in between the two extended standout tracks; the 11+ minute Dupree's Paradise (sadly abbreviated by an unfortunate fade out during another torrid Ponty solo), and the near 21-minute workout of Father O'Blivion.

The title to the latter track is just a flag of convenience, as it bears little resemblance to the studio version from the yet-to-be-released 1974 Apostrophe (') album. Instead, it's a twenty minute orchestrated jam (not an oxymoron in Zappaland), highlighted by astonishing solo turns by Ponty, Bruce Fowler on trombone, Ian Underwood on clarinet (or is that an oboe?), with a truly jaw-dropping tuned percussion turn from Ruth. All of it builds to a breakneck syncopated climax, which Zappa then insists the band repeat because (not surprisingly) they muffed a few of the notes!

More astonishing still is Zappa's own assessment of this band, as quoted by biographer Barry Miles: "I was amazed they could even relate to each other, they were so boring." Existing videos don't exactly contradict him (I direct your attention to YouTube: search the files for Opopoppa Special). It's true this particular group was not as anarchic or visually exciting as the original Mothers. But a more virtuoso bunch of players never shared the same stage.

It's a shame a more professional recording of this gig has never surfaced, or the original Swedish TV broadcast from which the bootlegs were first taken (at least I don't think they have: can any Zappa heads confirm this?). The sound quality here rates no higher than two stars at best, but the performance is easily in the 4+ star range, giving the album a solid three-star average rating.

But for true Zappaholics (and I'm fast becoming a charter member), it's never less than essential listening.

Report this review (#231969)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars If the recording quality of this album had been better, this might be a five star release. This was recorded from a TV broadcast, and not very well. The sound is flat, and in mono. But the band was one of Zappa's best, at a time when Frank's musical composition skills were at their peak. With George Duke, Ruth Underwood, Tom and Bruce Fowler, Ralph Humphrey and Jean-Luc Ponty, this was an incredible lineup.

The material for the (originally bootleg) release was selected out of the concert set. It seems to have been chosen well. At the time, and for years to come, only RDNZL would be available on official Zappa releases. All of the tracks are instrumental fusion pieces, all with that Zappa complexity.

The song listed as Father Oblivion is actually a blend of the Big Swifty musical arrangement used in The Adventures Of Greggary peccary and The Be-Bop Tango.

For the Zappaphile, this gets four stars. For the general prog fan, alas, only three (because of the sound quality).

Report this review (#435606)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Here we have another bootleg that was released legally as an official release and it is also the last disc in the Beat the Boots Collection Vol. I. This one is the best of the collection in my opinion, not only in sound (even though it is still below par for FZ releases but better than the others) but also in content and band line up. If you are determined to at least own one bootleg, then this should be the one. However, don't look for vocals on this one, it is completely instrumental except for some comments from FZ to the audience. Most of this was recorded in Skansen, Stockholm, 21-Aug- 1973 as part of a Sweedish television series and apparently there is a video out there which contains the complete performance of "Dupree's Paradise" (the performance on this recording unfortunately is cut actually goes on for about another 10 minutes). Track 4 is the odd track on this recording because it was recorded from this show. The linear notes claim it was recorded in Sydney about a month before, but this is incorrect. According to, it was recorded at The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA in December of 1973. I don't know why this track was added, but the volume is obviously lower than the rest of the recording.

Once you get used to the sub-standard sound of this recording, it is really quite easy to listen to, unlike many other untouched bootleg recordings. It starts out with "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque" on the first track but quickly changes to "Kung Fu". The second track, you'll find yourself warming up to the lower recording quality as you hear a great version of "Redunzl". But things really get great in track 3, Dupree's Paradise. George Duke really kicks some major butt on this track. There is a section where FZ has some fun with the audience and tells them they will continue playing despite the cold weather. Anyone that has tried to play keyboards with cold hands will be amazed that George Duke could play at all. Great stuff. Track 4 again is the odd short track, but it doesn't take away from the entire disc, so at least it fits in as filler between the two long tracks. Track 5 is listed as "Father O'blivion" but this is should have been listed as "Farther Oblivion" (note the difference?). "Farther Oblivion" is obviously a completely different composition than the "Father O'blivion" track from "Apostrophe(!)" that for quite a while was not released anywhere else. However, you will hear a lot of themes throughout this track that were later expanded into songs of their own. I have to mention that Jean-Luc Ponty is simply amazing on both tracks 3 and 5. FZ might have commented that this line up may not have been the most cohesive line-up but I do believe they were one of the most talented.

So this bootleg not only has historical value, but it has quality value too. Yes it is a bootleg, be warned of that, but it is one bootleg that I would recommend to most anyone interested in prog insturmental. I would have to say this would be an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, if you can find it. Oh by the way, if you can find the bootleg "Oppopoppa", it is also struck from the same recording and has the full version of "Dupree's Paradise" along with "Montana" and a slightly longer version of "Farther Oblivion".

Report this review (#492348)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2011 | Review Permalink

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