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Frank Zappa 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly album cover
2.83 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. You Didn't Try To Call Me (3:12)
2. Petrushka (0:52)
3. Bristol Stomp (0:45)
4. Baby Love (0:47)
5. Big Leg Emma (2:09)
6. No Matter What You Do (Tchaikovsky's 6th) (2:41)
7. Blue Suede Shoes (0:53)
8. Hound Dog (0:14)
9. Gee (1:52)
10. King Kong (14:18)
11. It Can't Happen Here (9:18)

Total Time (36:11)

Line-up / Musicians

Frank Zappa / guitar & vocals
Ray Collins / tambourine & vocals
Roy Estrada / bass & vocals
Don Preston / piano
Ian Underwood / alto sax
Bunk Gardner / tenor sax
Motorhead Sherwood / baritone sax
Jimmy Carl Black / drums
Billy Mundi / drums

Releases information

July 1991 US Rhino Foo-eee R2-70542
July 1991 UK Castle/Essential ESMCD 961

Thanks to Richardw for the addition
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FRANK ZAPPA 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(4%)
Good, but non-essential (52%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANK ZAPPA 'Tis The Season To Be Jelly reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars This must be the earliest of Frank Zappa's 'Beat the Boots', the series of unauthorized concert recordings released by Zappa himself in a novel bid to cheat the illegal music market. It may even have some historical value, capturing the first and possibly best line-up of the MOTHERS OF INVENTION on stage in Sweden during a September 1967 gig.

The music, even more than on the band's first studio albums, is attractively schizoid. Listen to the opening medley as it moves effortlessly from Doo-Wop to Motown, by way of Stravinsky: a wild journey to be sure, but without any bumps in the road.

And at the same time it's remarkably sophisticated for its era, from when the complexities of Prog Rock were hardly a glimmer on the musical horizon. The first half of the only 36- minute long tape (Side One on the age-warped audio cassette salvaged from the closed stacks of my local library) is all fun and games, but it's during the second act when the band really shows its chops, and proves (not for the first time) that the Mothers of Invention was more than just Frank Zappa.

The nearly 24-minute 'King Kong' / 'It Can't Happen Here' reveals Zappa's debt to 20th century Russian classical music, and in retrospect shows just as clearly his own influence on the seminal Krautrock bands of the early 1970s (chiefly, the Dada cabaret act of FAUST). The semi-symphonic intro gradually transforms into a protracted Jazz-Rock jam (with some exciting saxophone work from one of the trio of horn players), before making a graceful transition to a typically atonal Mothers of Invention freak-out, with roots in the European classical avant-garde tradition.

This last half included everything from silly, synchronized Swedish vocals to unexpected instrumental breaks to what sounds like the buzz of a spinning short-wave radio dial, but make no mistake: nothing here is left to chance. Zappa was no doubt 'conducting' the nine- piece band in his trademark fashion, controlling every burst of supposedly wayward noise with a series of body gestures worthy of Leonard Bernstein.

As an added bonus, the sound quality throughout is surprisingly acceptable for an illegal bootleg. The abbreviated length and throwaway packaging are disappointments, but diehard Zappaholics may want to add at least another half-star to my conservative rating.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This album, originally prt of the first Beat The Boots set, is a fair recording, with some historical value for the Zappa collector.

While it's fairly slim on original Zappa material, it contains a medley of songs not ususally heard on Zappa albums. The Bristol Stomp, by The Dovells, is not bad, but this songs has appeared on other BTB releases. On the other hand, this may be the only time we get to hear The Mothers play Elvis Presley's Hound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes.

The real gem of the album is a fouteen minute version of King Kong. This was recorded in 1967, two years before it first appeared on record. The Zappa Wiki says that it is the earliest known recording of this monster piece.

The sound quality is fair. Surprisingly good for such an old recording.

I like it a lot, but can only give it three stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars This album is from an old bootleg that was released officially by Frank Zappa and was also included in the Beat the Boots collection I. This recording is from a live performance originally taped for TV but was aired only over the radio. The performance took place in Konserthuset, Stockholm, somewhere around 30-Sep-1967, but this date is debated. Apparently, FZ was sick with food poisoning during this performance, but since it was going to be aired, he carried on with the performance anyway. Somewhere in the middle of the performance, FZ left the stage because of his illness and the Mothers carried on without him. I'm not sure whether he came back on stage or not, but none of the shows that followed were cancelled due to his illness.

The recording quality is actually quite decent for a bootleg and considering the year. The bootleg has also been released under several different titles and with other recordings, many of these included bonus tracks. It was re-issued: as "Child's Play" with bonus tracks and a different track order, as "King Kong Ripped My Flesh", together with "Drowning Witch (Toxic Shock Part 1)" as a double CD set under the title "Thigh", and who knows how many other ways.

This is a fun and entertaining performance and shows FZ compositional prowress as he combines and flows from the Mothers original song "You Didn't Try to Call Me" to a rendition of "Petroushka" by Stravinsky to an r&b song to rock and roll without sounding choppy or disjointed. There are other instances of classical music being injected into rock music throughout the performance and you also get to hear the Mothers doing some snippets of Elvis. On side2, one of (If not "The") earliest recordings of the work "King Kong" takes up most of the side. Even this early you can hear the professionalism and seriousness of Frank Zappa and the Mothers' music. There are better versions of this composition out there, but this has a lot of historical value and it still sounds good. This flows into "It Can't Happen Here" which starts out like the version on "Freak Out!" but seems to degenerate as it continues, but this can be forgiven considering FZ's health. Anyway, not an album for first timers to listen to, not necessarily essential but it does have some historical value. I think Collectors and fans that know FZ's music would be mostly interested in this one. However, you can hear some hints of progressive experimentation on side 2, so proggers might be interested also, but make sure to explore other official Frank Zappa recordings before taking this one too seriously.

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