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Frank Zappa Roxy By Proxy album cover
4.55 | 54 ratings | 3 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. "Carved In The Rock" (3:42)
2. Inca Roads (8:21)
3. Penguin In Bondage (5:52)
4. T'Mershi Duween (1:56)
5. Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat (4:14)
6. RDNZL (5:23)
7. Village Of the Sun (3;24)
8. Echidna's Arf (Of You) (4:00)
9. Don't You Ever Wash That Thing (5:28)
10. Cheepnis - Percussion (5:24)
11. Cheepnis (3:35)
12. Dupree's Paradise (15:12)
13. King Kong / Chunga's Revenge / Mr. Green Genes (9:13)

Total time 75:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- George Duke / keyboards, vocals
- Tom Fowler / bass
- Ruth Underwood / percussion
- Jeff Simmons / rhythm guitar, vocals
- Don Preston / synthesizer
- Bruce Fowler / trombone, dancing!
- Walt Fowler / trumpet
- Napoleon Murphy Brock / tenor saxophone, flute, vocals
- Ralph Humphrey / drums
- Chester Thompson / drums

Releases information

Zappa Records ZPCD166

Liner notes by Ruth Underwood

Thanks to darkshade for the addition
and to Evolver for the last updates
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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Roxy By Proxy Music

FRANK ZAPPA Roxy By Proxy ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

FRANK ZAPPA Roxy By Proxy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars The splendor of this album was almost obsured by the clumsy handling of this release by the Zappa Family Trust.

For years , the ZFT has been teasing us with hints and rumors of the eventual unveiling of the legendary Roxy video footage. With more and more statements that the video was near, this album was marketed as a hint of things to come. So just put it out there already.

First, in order to fund the Roxy video project, licenses were sold to investors, who were to receive master copies of the album and packaging, with the rights to sell their own copies. At the end of last summer, fans who could not afford the high cost of the investment could pre-order the album from the web site (sort of a slap to those who wanted to recover their investment).

Then came a comedy of missed release dates, where a week or so after every announced shipping date, a new schedule was announced. Investors and pre-order customers vented their frustration at and other fan sites.

Finally, in March, the disk shipped. Luckily for the ZFT, ratings are for the actual product, not the circumstances around the realease.

To many of us, Roxy & Elsewhere is one of the pinnacles of Frank Zappa's career. The band he assembled, featuring Ruth Underwood, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey, Tom and Bruce Fowler, George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock was possibly the most impressive of FZ storied touring groups. And the original Roxy album, although heavily overdubbed, is a stellar work of genius.

This album, taken from the two Roxy shows in December 1973 has some of the same titles as the classic album, but the overlapping tracks are mostly from alternate shows. At most, there may be a few edited sections that FZ spliced in the Elsewhere album.

Of interest to Zappaphiles: "Inca Roads" is somewhere between the loose, light version as heard on "A Token Of His Extreme" and the "One Size Fits All" fusion wonder. A percussion-only "Cheepnis" gives a view of the inner workings of that song. And a rollicking medley of "King Kong", "Chunga's Revenge" and "Mr. Green Genes" closes the set.

The above tracks, and the overall amazing performance, tempered by the oh so slightly deteriorated tone of the tapes, and the flurry of other recent releases of this lineup would have been cause for a four star rating.

But this album is boosted by possibly the best liner notes ever written. Ruth Underwood has resurfaced and supplied twenty pages of in depth analysis of each song and performance. Her detailed descriptions of what it was like playing these almost impossible works, the interplay between FZ and the band, and between band members themselves, gives a rare, but highly emotional glimpse of the experience of this incredible group.

Reading along as the music is playing is as close as you can get to being on stage at those historic shows.

So 5 stars it is.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I've got eleven live Zappa albums so far and this is without question my favourite. More on why that is later. The songs here are taken from the Roxy shows in LA on December 9th and 10th and unlike the "Roxy And Elsewhere" live record there is no "elsewhere" on this one. These shows happened after a year long World tour by Zappa and his mates. Jean-Luc Ponty left in the summer of 1973 while Ian Underwood left in November. Enter Chester Thompson and Napoleon Murphy Brock to help fill out the lineup. I should mention that these particular live versions haven't been released until here on this recording. What is the appeal for me here? Well for one it's the jovial mood of the concerts. Frank is so into this and in great humour. He seems to be having so much fun along with the rest of the band. The audience is also very much into this as we can here them react many times throughout this recording to what is going on. Also the music itself for my tastes is perfect. I kept thinking how uplifting the music is, and how I just feel so good everytime I put this album on. It takes me back to a much different time in my life even though I wasn't there(I was 12).

"Carved In The Rock" opens with Zappa saying "Hello folks!" Then he introduces the band before telling the story behind the song "Inca Roads". He mentions Chariots Of Fire and Extraterrestrials as these high pitched spacey synths sounding like theremin play in the background. This is what consists of track one, no music yet. "Inca Roads" wasn't officially released until the 1975's "One Size Fits All" album so here we get an early look at it and it is quite different from the studio version as it is slowed down here, especially early on. George Duke is on vocals and it's pretty funny when he laughs in the middle of singing. These guys were having too much fun. The pace does pick up 2 minutes in and we get lots of percussion as well. It's freaking amazing 3 1/2 minutes in with the keyboards as the the vocals have stopped. Check out the bass as well. A horn solo after 5 minutes then the fast paced vocals return 6 1/2 minutes in. When the song ends Frank talks about how great it is living in Hollywood because of all the perverts. He says perverts make ordinary people look good. This is an intro of course for "Penguins In Bondage". Man this is good with those funny lyrics and "lights out" playing while Frank almost speaks the lyrics. Nice guitar solo 2 minutes in that is the start of a killer instrumental section. Man! The vocals are back 4 minutes in.

"T'Mershi Duween" is a "bongo number" as Zappa describes it. Other instruments join in around 30 seconds. A cool but short tune. "Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat" has such a feel-good vibe to it throughout. Lots of percussion and the crowd roars it's approval before 2 minutes. "RDNZL" has so much going on and the horns remind me of CHICAGO. The guitar arrives just before a minute and solos. Nice. Listen to the avant horns 3 minutes in and i'd call the vocals avant as well(haha). Some crazy keyboards too. "Village Of The Sun" is dedicated to John and Nelly Wilson and it's another feel good song. "Echidna's Arf(Of You)" features honking horns, percussion and so much more as the guitar comes and goes. "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing" is incredible with the turn on a dime instrumental work on display here. A trombone solo after 1 1/2 minutes and it ends with Frank saying "Watch Ruth all during our program". And he goes on about it for a while. Check out the electric piano 4 1/2 minutes in then the drum solo a minute later as this song blends into "Cheepnis-Percussion" with the talents of Thompson, Humphrey and Underwood. Huge applause when it ends then Zappa explains that that was actually "Cheepnis" then they play the full band version next with vocals. It gets pretty crazy late.

"Dupree's Paradise" is fantastic and the band is having so much fun. It kicks into a solid groove before 5 1/2 minutes. Nice flute solo after 7 minutes then a bass solo follows. Awesome stuff. Check out the drum fills here as well. Frank solo 10 1/2 minutes in and i'm feeling really good. Horns are back 14 minutes in. After the song ends Frank introduces the band once more as they leave the stage. They come back out and Zappa says "Alright we're going to play "King Kong" for ya, it's also hooked up to "Chunga's Revenge" and the ending of "Mr. Green Genes". He then tells Ruth to hurry up and she says "no" as they banter. Man this is such an impressive instrumental. Some excellent guitar starting before 5 minutes and I love the prominant bass as well.

So while many will call this inferior to "Roxy And Eleswhere" I will have to strongly disagree. But then there's no accounting for taste is there?

Latest members reviews

4 stars "Roxy & Elsewhere" remains my fave Zappa live release of all times. The line-up represents perhaps the most skilled crew of hired hands with great abilities Zappa has ever assembled. This follow up release contains elements of the original album with a markedly different song selection. Tunes t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1163644) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Sunday, April 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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