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JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A.

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Frank Zappa Just Another Band From L.A. album cover
3.14 | 97 ratings | 14 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Live, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Billy the Mountain (24:47)
2. Call Any Vegetable (7:22)
3. Eddie, Are You Kidding? (3:10)
4. Magdalena (6:24)
5. Dog Breath (3:39)

Total Time: 45:22

Lyrics

Search FRANK ZAPPA Just Another Band From L.A. lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar & vocals
- Mark Volman / lead vocals
- Howard Kaylan / lead vocals
- Ian Underwood / winds, keyboards, vocals
- Aynsley Dunbar / drums
- Don Preston / keyboards, mini-moog
- Jim Pons / bass, vocals

Releases information

1973 LP Bizarre MS-2075 / Rykodisc #RCD 10515

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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FRANK ZAPPA Just Another Band From L.A. ratings distribution


3.14
(97 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (34%)
34%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

FRANK ZAPPA Just Another Band From L.A. reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The finale to the Mothers albums that feature Flo and Eddie is a live outing that takes you to the edge of your seat, especially with the opening epic Billy the Mountain. Zappa and his cohorts are musically brilliant while Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman offer witty and relentless comedic stabs at the audience/listener.

Billy the Mountain opens the album, and what a way to open it. A 24 minute epic about a mountain who goes to New York with his wife (who is a tree that is attached to Billy's shoulder). There are some really great musical bits as well as some great comedic interplay between Kaylan and Volman. Next up is an old Mothers favorite hailing from Absolutely Free, Call Any Vegetable features some great musical interplay and some dynamic unison vocals. Are You Kidding Eddie? is one of the new songs on this album, and it is a musical venture with some funny vocal parts. Magdalena and Dog Breath round out this album and both are musical masterpieces.

Overall, there is not much I can fault this album with, other than the sound could be a little better. If you want some great Mothers material that is post-68, this is the album to go for. 4/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#60815) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
3 stars Just Another Band From LA is the final installment in the 'Flo & Eddie' era of Zappa's work. I for one never cared to much for this time. There are some memorable stuff, but overall, nothing spectular. But enough about that. This album is dominated by Billy The Mountain. A twenty four minute epic, that covers alot of ground. While this epic does contain some good parts, I would have preferred more instrumental sections. For one thing I'm not a fan of the vocals, I just don't like 'Flo & Eddies' voices. And not that i usually let those things hurt albums, the vocals seems to dominate the era and this album. I don't really understand why this song is marked as a Zappa classic, although it is impressive memorizing all those lyrics. It contains too many parts that seem to go nowhere and focus on 'humor' and storytelling. There are good melodies and percussions, but not enough for me. Call Any Vegetable really picks up the pace. An awesome rendition of the Absolutely Free highlight. Musically its top notch, and their are some really good lyrics as well. Top it off with a very cool little guitar solo from FZ and you have yourself a wonderful song. Eddie, Are You Kidding? is a short more doo-woopish song. Certainly a more vocal based song, and it doesn't really contain anything that impresses me (although slightly funny). Magdalena is an upbeat song, with a neat vocal (and guitar) line. Also, musically this song is excellent as well, with an fantastic little change in the middle which is really impressive on the percussive side of things. One of my favorites of the album. Finally Dog Breath closes the album in grand style. Continuing the instrumental prowess side of the album (including a top notch guitar solo), the band gives a great performance of one of my favorite songs from Uncle Meat. I also find the vocals a bit better on this song.

All in all, this is an uneven album to my ears. A good farewell to Flo & Eddie, but overall an effort that falls a bit short, especially in Zappa's catalouge. To be discovered at the end of your Zappa journey, IMO. A solid three stars.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#84493) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

The above lines from Billy the Mountain shows well what this incarnation of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention were about. Fun and more fun, but of course the music was great too and cleverly composed as well. Lots of Frank Zappa fans complain about the singing from Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman but Iīve always enjoyed their vocal approach and funny commetaries on and off stage. This is pivotal to the question of how much you will like this album as Just Another Band From L.A. is dominated by the singing from the two former Turtles frontmen. The rest of the band is more or less like the one playing on Fillmore East, June 1971. Frank Zappa on guitar and vocals, Ian Underwood on Winds, Keyboards and vocals, Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Don Preston on keyboards and mini-moog and Jim Pons on bass and vocals.

Just Another Band From L.A. is a live album recorded live in Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA on the 7th of August 1971 and it was released on the 26th of March 1972. The album consists of five songs. Three new ones in the 24:47 minutes long Billy the Mountain, Eddie are you Kidding? and Magdalena and two re-worked Mothers of Invention songs in Call Any Vegetable from Absolutely Free and Dog Breath from Uncle Meat. To those of you who donīt know Frank Zappa he primarely play rock with avant garde tendencies.

Billy the Mountain starts the album and itīs such an excellent track. Hilarius ( and weird)lyrics and an overall great humour, brilliantly composed and above all brilliantly played. Billy the Mountain has all the ingredients that makes Frank Zappa so unique. The lyrics are about a mountain who has a small wooden wife growing of off his shoulder. He is drafted for the US army but refuse and then the trouble starts which includes Billy and his small wooden wife Ethelīs trip to Las Vegas, the destruction of Edwards Air force base and a fantastic superhero called Studebaker Hawk. Does this sound crazy to you ? Well it better. Donīt be fooled here though as Zappa of course mixes some more serious opinions with all the fun and weirdness. For example there is a critique here of the US governments fear of communism. At least thatīs how I see it. Billy the Mountain is one of my favorite Frank Zappa tracks.

Call Any Vegetable is a re-worked version of the song that first appeared on The Mothers of Inventionīs Absolutely Free. This version of course features the dominant vocals from Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman but Frank Zappa also contributes to the general madness of this song and the strange lyrics about vegetables. I think itīs a great re-worked version where there is also some great brass included.

Eddie, Are You Kidding? is a very vocal dominated song and itīs here that Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman really show what they are capable of. Itīs such an enjoyable song with lots of great vocal harmonies. The humour of the lyrics are of course great too.

Magdalena is another great song. Some might say that the lyrics are a bit insensitive to the subject of incest, but done the Zappa way it will always offend someone and itīs intended to. I still think that there is a grain of seriousness to the song that you shouldnīt ignore. Again the vocal work is astonishing.

Dog Breath from Uncle Meat has been given the Rockīnīroll treatment and has ended up being a really powerful tune. Some great guitar soloing from Frank Zappa makes this song excellent. Itīs very different from the original. The musicianship is just excellent throughout the album. You can feel that this incarnation of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention were at their peak. The performance is thight but as always with Zappa there is room for improvesation.

The sound quality given that this is a live recording is good for the time. Itīs not the best Iīve heard but it has itīs charm and itīs certainly better than the sound quality on Fillmore East, June 1971.

This would be the last album with Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman still in the band. This version of the Mothers of Invention would be disbanded after Frank Zappa was pushed of the stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London in December 1971 by a member of the audience who alledgedly claimed that Zappa had been sending eyes at his girlfriend ( of course he was. He is a rock star. What did the idiot expect ?). Zappa was severely hurt when he hit the concrete floor of the orchestra pit and suffered damage to his head, back, leg, neck as well as a crushed larynx. Upon recovery this caused his voice to drop a third which is clearly heard on his first vocal performance after the accident which is Overnight Sensation. He would also have problems with his back and leg for the rest of his life.

This was not the only reason for disbanding The Mothers of Invention though. Just a week before Zappaīs accident in London all of The Motherīs gear was destroyed in fire that started while on stage at the Casino de Montreux in Switzerland. The fire not only destroyed The Motherīs gear but also burned down the entire Casino. The famous Deep purple song Smoke on the Water was written about this event as Deep Purple actually were present at this concert. So in addition to his accident Zappa didnīt feel it would be economically safe to continue. Zappa would of course do other things in his downtime from The Mothers of Invention ( Waka Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo).

This is not an essential Frank Zappa album but itīs a really excellent album and the best testimony to the incarnation of The Mothers of Invention which had Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman as lead vocalists. I think itīs more than worth the 4 stars that I will rate it.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#179569) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Well, at least half of this is fairly amusing, thank goodness. This is yet another live album featuring Flo and Eddie on vocals, and once again Frank puts their juvenile intonations of his work (and on side one, of one of his surreal comedy skits) ahead of the performance of the rest of the band. On the second side, this (as usual) isn't really a good thing. "Call Any Vegetable" is changed to allow for more interplay between Flo, Eddie and Zappa as they throw some semi-clever lines back and forth, but it's not really an improvement on the original. "Dog Breath" is made worse, I'd say, by letting them sing some new lyrics (and sheesh, Flo and Eddie sound a hundred times worse than the assorted Mothers did on the studio version on Uncle Meat), though I must admit that the energetic wah-wah solo Frank puts in the middle is a nice touch. As for the two new songs on this side, well, they're not exactly worth repeated listens. "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" isn't funny (at all) or particularly memorable, and "Magdalena," a rather explicit tale of a man lusting for his daughter (Frank, you already told this joke in "Brown Shoes Don't Make It") and giving into his incestual urges, isn't enjoyable from a music perspective either.

The first side, however, keeps giving me some light chuckles with each listen, even if plotwise it's rather stupid (the plot can be found in many places on the web, but for the purpose of adding some length to this review, I will re-tell it). "Billy the Mountain" tells the tale of a mountain (named Billy, naturally) with a tree (named Ethell, who is his wife, I guess) growing out the side of him. Over the years, Billy had appeared on thousands of postcards, and finally, one day, his royalties check comes in the mail, making him rich. Billy and Ethell decide to uproot and go on a vacation to New York, and in the process of trekking across the country they accidentally keep destroying residential spaces and military air bases. To save the country, the government trumps up charges against Ethell of being a communist and a witch, and drafts Billy into the military. The would-be hero, Studebaker Hoch, who is sent to deliver this order to Billy (and who is able to fly into the air to speak "face to face" with Billy by a means involving flies and maple syrup), ends up getting seriously hurt when Billy laughs at him (Billy has a cliff for a jaw, you see). The ending moral, of course, is that, "A mountain is something you don't want to f*&k with."

Yup, this is stupid, and yet it has a certain "suck you in" quality to it that much of the other Flo and Eddie material simply lacks. Some people don't like the way that it so deliberately namechecks so many icons and places of contemporary (circa 1972) American culture, saying that this aspect severely dates it (especially since the references tend to focus mostly on, you guessed it, L.A.), but I don't think these references date the piece anymore than all of the cultural references found in 40's and 50's Warner Bros. cartoons date those pieces. They're not the focus, they're just a nice extra layer that somehow makes the whole thing at least kinda tasty. At least, I think so.

All in all, then, this isn't exactly an album I'd recommend hunting night and day for, but the first half is intriguing in its own perverse way, so you could certainly afford to grab it if you're a real Zappa-phile and you see it used. This incarnation of the band did a lot worse, after all (and thank goodness, this was the last Flo and Eddie album. Huzzah).

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#291974) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars An album that returns to the early madness of the first Mothers era, and (IMHO) is a solid step backwards after Rats, Chunga and Weasels. This second version of the mothers is normally more impressive, with Preston, Dunbar and Underwood, but they rarely show the extent of their talents on this album. Released in 72, with a comics Studebaker-riding-on-hamburger artwork inciting potential fans rnto look up Meat and Ruben albums, but my advice is to look up the Zappa solo albums of that same era, instead of stinkers like this one.

Opening on the sidelong 25-mins Billy The Mountain, but we're far from an "epic" here, as we deal with a typical Zappa-esque humorous (if you fancy it), but it's mostly a big bore, AFAIAC. Lots of nearly grotesque moments, coupled with downright-weird passages and dumb Monty Python-like sketches, but relatively little music? to think that frank never smoked a doobie or dropped LSD or drugs other than tobacco and coffee, I'd hate to think what tracks like these would sound if he had done these substances. The flipside is indeed a bit more enthralling with the Vegetable, with those slight doo-wop choruses and yodelling rutabagas, but we're definitely not in Rats or Chunga land. Kidding Eddie fares no better with the grotesque music and Magdalena fails to arouse my curiosity. Only the closing Dog Breath does show some rather incredible drumming, keyboards and guitars, though. This is the only track of the album that would be worthy of Chunga's Revenge.

Indeed, just as bad as 200 Motels or Uncle Meat, LA Band is best avoided if you're looking at a proper music/price return, and I'm about to ask the Archives' owner to reimburse my rental of this album. At least, now I know why I ignored this album for years and even 15 years after my first listen, while writing this review, I wondered why I chose to give it a second chance.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#296949) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars As much as I love Billy The Mountain, I just cant give this album more than three stars. Sure Billy is inventive and hilarious, but the sound quality is pretty bad for an album of it's time, and a lot of the jokes are now dated. But on the other hand, if you like The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary on the "Studio Tan" album, this one is a must, just to get the back story on Billy & Ethel.

The second side of the album is good, too, but suffers from the same sound quality issues. Call Any Vegetable is a better arrangement than the "Absolutely Free" original, helped quite a bit by the zaniness of Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan). Eddie Are You Kidding a piece Volman and Kaylan wrote with Frank, is a silly doo-wop styles song about a suit salesman. But it manages to be funny as well. Magdalena would probably not been released if it was written even a decade later. It's actually sort of funny in a weird way, if you can get past the repulsine incest theme. If it had more of a payback from Magdalena to her pervert father, the song might have fared better. And Dog Breath on this album rocks!

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#404759) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 21, 2011

Review by 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.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#443857) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 07, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Just Another Band From L.A. is just another Flo and Eddie-era Mothers album. Without the classical experiments of 200 Motels, the Hot Rats-tinged air of Chunga's Revenge, or the "life on the road" concept of Fillmore East, the album lacks cohesiveness. Oh, sure, there's Billy the Mountain, a sidelong rock opera dominated by Flo and Eddie's narration and vocal talents, which is a bit of fun but slightly overlong and doesn't really go anywhere. But the second side is just a grab-bag of material with nothing really connecting it together... beyond the limp, uninspiring performance from the band, which simply isn't as tight as the original Mothers lineup, or future Mothers lineups... or, come to think of it, more or less any other touring band Zappa put together in his career.

Ultimately, I think the basic problem with the Flo and Eddie lineup of the Mothers was that Zappa never quite worked out a way to integrate them into the music, though he makes a good start on Billy the Mountain - it's just a shame that they overshadow most of the instrumentalists on that track. It always feels like it's "the Mothers, featuring special guest stars Flo and Eddie" as opposed to the pair being fully integrated members of the group. Either way, it's often cited as a low point in Zappa's career, and whilst I share Zappa's view that people who deride all of his band lineups aside from their favourite (said favourites usually being either the original Mothers of Invention or the Mothers lineup which existed from Overnite Sensation to One Size Fits All), I do think that out of all of the phases of Frank's career this ranks as one of the less successful ones.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#486377) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars Billy The mountain - 24 minutes of pure funny music, is a great moment in Zappa's career. The remainder of this short (5 tracks, 45 minutes) live album is good, not as good as the side A, but very interesting, especially Dog Breath. I really love this album, a very interesting document about the ... (read more)

Report this review (#162965) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Billy the mountain No fine instrumental passages, just sloppy vocals from Flo and Eddie. The melodies aresub par, as well. Could have worked if you saw it on the stage, but otherwise not much. 0 stars Call any vegetable A live version of an older Zappa tune. Here, the vocals work well and ... (read more)

Report this review (#133924) | Posted by Peto | Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To anyone who is familiar with it, "Billy the Mountain" is the track to talk about. It tells a story about none other than Billy the Mountain. Billy (and is lovely wife Ethel) journey through out the US because he recieved payment for all those photographs he had posed for. Some where in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#75285) | Posted by Michael Coia | Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another live album with Flo & Eddie (they do best this way), this is an excellent, but overall doesn't do much more than Fillmore East (except in sound quality). Billy the Mountain starts off this show, a 25-minute rock story of a mountain's adventures with his wife is completely funny and inter ... (read more)

Report this review (#38717) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 06, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first song I ever heard by Frank Zappa was Billy the Mountain when I was ten years old. I did not know what or who I was listening to, but it was so amazing that it stuck with me for four years until I stumbled onto Zappa on my own. Researching him I found out that he did the song Billy th ... (read more)

Report this review (#36680) | Posted by | Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars this live record is dominated by the 24-minute Billy the Mountain, and this is just its majot blemish. I mean, this track, featuring Flo and Eddie on vocals, is one of those zappa-things that you probably had to watch performed on stage, and it is a bit weak and, let's say it, tiresome on reco ... (read more)

Report this review (#29709) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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