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FRANK ZAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Frank Zappa biography
Frank Vincent ZAPPA was born in Baltimore on December 12, 1940. When he was 10 years old, he moved to California with his parents. The first instrument he played was the drums. At that time, Frank ZAPPA really liked rhythm and blues music. But in 1954, ZAPPA found a copy of "The Complete Works Of Edgar Varèse, Vol. One". He was fascinated by the 'weird' avant-garde pieces and it was probably also ZAPPA's first encounter with atonal compositions, something that would later reappear in his own music. During high school, he played in several garage bands, but he didn't write rock and roll music himself until his early twenties. He began writing classical music at 18. Some of his early compositions he wrote for the B-films "The World's Greatest Sinner" and "Run Home Slow" (written by his high school English teacher). You can find the theme from "Run Home Slow" on the "The Lost Episodes" and "The Mystery Disc". From 1962 'til 1964, ZAPPA wrote several songs for different bands (You can find those songs on "Cucamonga" and "For Collectors Only"). In 1964 ZAPPA entered THE SOUL GIANTS. He renamed the band THE MOTHERS (which was a subtle abbreviation of 'motherfuckers') and soon after the band caught the attention of producer Tom Wilson. THE MOTHERS were contracted by the Verve-division of MGM and after they had changed their name into THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION (to satisfy some MGM Records executives, who thought the other name was too provocative), they released 'Freak Out!', the second double-album ever (after Bob DYLAN's "Blonde On Blonde") and also what is said to be the first concept album ever. This milestone contained a strange mix of rhythm and blues, satyrical lyrics and avant-garde dissonance. With this first edition of THE MOTHERS, Frank ZAPPA recorded a number of progressive rock masterpieces. All of his records from the sixties are fantastic, except for "Cruising With Ruben & The Jets", which is a satiric tribute to doo-wop music. Worth mentioning is the fabulous "We're Only In It For The Money", on which ZAPPA ridicules the hippie-culture in general, and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from THE BEATLES in particular. The entire sleeve of "We're Only In It For The Money" is a parody on that record. On August 20, 1969, ZAPPA disbanded THE MOTHERS. The most important members of the early MOTHERS OF INVENTION had been Frank ZAPPA (guitar, vocals, much more) Ray COLLINS (vocals), Jimmy Carl BLACK (the indian of the group, drums and percussion), Roy ...read more

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Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.07
$5.97 (used)
One Size Fits AllOne Size Fits All
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.13
$7.99 (used)
Shut Up 'N Play Yer GuitarShut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$10.00
$15.35 (used)
Over-Nite SensationOver-Nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.14
$8.98 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.13
$7.99 (used)
Uncle MeatUncle Meat
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.62
$13.58 (used)
The Grand WazooThe Grand Wazoo
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$9.56
$7.45 (used)
Absolutely FreeAbsolutely Free
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.13
$15.57 (used)
Zoot AlluresZoot Allures
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.08
$8.97 (used)
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FRANK ZAPPA shows & tickets


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FRANK ZAPPA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FRANK ZAPPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 464 ratings
Freak Out!
1966
4.08 | 389 ratings
Absolutely Free
1967
3.27 | 281 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.14 | 490 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.70 | 200 ratings
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.14 | 380 ratings
Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1131 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.92 | 295 ratings
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.76 | 294 ratings
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 241 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.03 | 162 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.92 | 351 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.30 | 650 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 444 ratings
Over-Nite Sensation
1973
3.99 | 490 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.32 | 621 ratings
One Size Fits All
1975
3.72 | 312 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.71 | 202 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.60 | 200 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.84 | 359 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
3.34 | 133 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
4.11 | 367 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.90 | 291 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.63 | 211 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.55 | 183 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.08 | 84 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.14 | 167 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.22 | 141 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.39 | 108 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.62 | 100 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.57 | 93 ratings
The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.25 | 105 ratings
Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.48 | 171 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
2.99 | 58 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.81 | 97 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.33 | 61 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.96 | 144 ratings
Läther
1996
1.98 | 48 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
3.28 | 33 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely (EIHN)
1999
1.89 | 34 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.97 | 31 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
2.16 | 26 ratings
Joe's XMASage
2005
3.48 | 25 ratings
Feeding The Monkeys At Ma Maison
2011
3.99 | 49 ratings
Läther
2012
3.09 | 13 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014

FRANK ZAPPA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 123 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.13 | 112 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.39 | 246 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.52 | 167 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.22 | 197 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.04 | 128 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.39 | 75 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.53 | 69 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.61 | 104 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.47 | 91 ratings
Guitar
1988
3.98 | 97 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.52 | 165 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.56 | 81 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.47 | 76 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.31 | 153 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.36 | 117 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
2.25 | 16 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.38 | 19 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.57 | 15 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.51 | 19 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.19 | 19 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.88 | 17 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.33 | 17 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
3.71 | 27 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
1.59 | 10 ratings
At The Circus
1992
2.07 | 13 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.49 | 13 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.23 | 15 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.07 | 10 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.87 | 11 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.53 | 10 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
2.88 | 38 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.66 | 70 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.84 | 65 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
3.81 | 92 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.25 | 66 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
4.11 | 43 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.84 | 29 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.52 | 50 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
3.84 | 56 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.61 | 37 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
4.08 | 43 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.05 | 54 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.56 | 35 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.14 | 23 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.13 | 37 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.06 | 46 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.77 | 24 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.37 | 28 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.29 | 19 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.69 | 25 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
3.64 | 11 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.54 | 18 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014

FRANK ZAPPA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.84 | 45 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.50 | 20 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.65 | 45 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.10 | 60 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.22 | 27 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
3.97 | 35 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
3.82 | 11 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.17 | 35 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.61 | 29 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.63 | 8 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.36 | 14 ratings
The Torture Never Stops
2008
3.17 | 6 ratings
Live In Paris 1980
2008
3.21 | 10 ratings
Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention: In the 1960's
2009
4.00 | 9 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013

FRANK ZAPPA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 32 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
3.60 | 47 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.82 | 40 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.76 | 36 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.92 | 80 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.57 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.71 | 16 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.58 | 93 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.14 | 16 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
3.60 | 10 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
3.67 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.23 | 27 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.25 | 47 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.68 | 29 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.32 | 19 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.31 | 24 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.89 | 37 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.07 | 15 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.93 | 23 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.08 | 16 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.89 | 8 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
2002
4.03 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 1
2002
4.20 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 2
2002
3.20 | 10 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.80 | 17 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.34 | 31 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.49 | 18 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.13 | 17 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
3.63 | 8 ratings
Understanding America
2012

FRANK ZAPPA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 7 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
3.78 | 9 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
3.86 | 7 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.21 | 5 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
3.60 | 5 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.45 | 17 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.29 | 7 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.50 | 4 ratings
WPLJ
1970
4.00 | 6 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.17 | 8 ratings
Montana
1973
2.70 | 9 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
3.00 | 5 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
4.30 | 10 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.00 | 8 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.33 | 8 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.83 | 11 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.20 | 5 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
4.33 | 3 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.84 | 9 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
4.50 | 2 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
2.67 | 3 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.75 | 4 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.38 | 8 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.00 | 7 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
5.00 | 4 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.17 | 7 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.46 | 5 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.09 | 7 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
4.17 | 5 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
4.12 | 6 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
5.00 | 4 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.00 | 1 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fillmore East, June 1971 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1971
3.17 | 123 ratings

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Fillmore East, June 1971
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first official completely live album that Zappa released was this one credited to the Mothers at Fillmore East. It's purpose was to spotlight a Mothers show and the concept was to illustrate life on the road, mostly in a humorous way. The album cover was meant to look like a bootleg type recording, but I'm not sure if the sound and production was supposed to intentionally sound like a bootleg, because it does, albeit on the better side of a bootleg. But definitely not up to the sound and production standards of the typical FZ live recording in upcoming years.

This album of course, is a representation of the Flo and Eddie years (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) who were formerly of The Turtles. This is, in my opinion, one of the most obnoxious times of Zappa history. I am not a big fan of their hijinx and the skits that they were a part of. I find them quite annoying. I can deal with the school-boyish humor, but I don't like their delivery. They always seemed to take the focus off of the music which is exactly the opposite of what FZ wanted, but they served their purpose by attracting certain listeners to the concerts.

This album is definitely not for those with tender ears or closed minds. It is mostly centered on the humor of the band at the time. There are only 3 short instrumentals here and everything else is mostly dialog. It starts out with the fusion number "Little House I Used to Live In" which more or less introduces the band to the stage. It's not a bad rendition of the song, but there are better versions out there. From there it goes right into the storyline of "The Mud Shark" which is FZ and the band narrating the mostly true story of the sexual hijinx of the band Vanilla Fudge as it was told to the band in an airport. Actually, VF was only involved with making a video of the incident. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin was also involved, but apparently only as a witness to the events. Richard Cole who worked with LZ claims he was the one totally responsible for what happened. Apparently, there is a hotel in Seattle where you can fish for sharks from your hotel window. Of course, just for fun, the musicians had to try it out. But there were some groupies in the room at the time, and when one of the sharks was caught, one of the groupies and Cole got involved in some sexual games that involved the mud shark, which is actually a Dogfish. I'm not going into anymore detail than that. Anyway, the 2nd track is FZ's recounting of the incident as it was told to him and then teaching the audience how to do the dance that he had made up. Flo and Eddie of course do their obnoxious brand of humor during the track.

The album goes on with tracks about rock stars and groupies and how the girls would only have sex with bands that had a number 1 hit. That is pretty much what the rest of the album is about, except for a few short instrumentals. Yes, it can get a little explicit, but that's not really the problem because it is Frank Zappa after all. The problem is the silliness of Flo and Eddie. It's just annoying and any semblance of enjoyable music is completely ruined by the duo. But that's my opinion because I know there are people that like their style. The humor is funny in a one-off sort of way, but for me, the delivery of Flo and Eddie is just annoying.

I don't enjoy this album much and only have it because I like collecting Zappa's vinyl. Everyone of the important tracks on here are on better live albums and if you want to hear these skits and humor, then it would be worth it to search them out. At least you get a better dose of FZ's more serious music with other recordings, this one is only for those who don't want to hear the serious side of Zappa. But, the sound quality just isn't that good here, and I'm not saying that this is not an important recording, I'm saying there are better options out there for the "not so serious" Zappa listener. Yes, it's Zappa's first foray into recorded concerts, and I guess I can excuse him for using it as a learning experience. But I don't recommend this album because there are so many better live albums out there that are better at documenting Zappa's live shows.

Just as an aside, during this same show that is recorded on this album, John Lennon and Yoko Ono joined the Mothers on stage for about a half an hour. If you are interested in hearing this strange part of the show, you can hear it on the live album "Playground Psychotics" which is a better documentation of life on the road and much better produced as far as FZ concert recordings go.

A lot of Zappa aficionados would probably disagree with me on this, but I can only consider this as a collector's item, only a little better quality than a bootleg, but not much. There are just so many much better FZ live albums out there for the casual or curious listener.

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 Zoot Allures by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 312 ratings

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Zoot Allures
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the Zappa band stripped down mostly to a rock quartet (and a quintet in some cases). There is no jazz or orchestral music here, it's all rock. It's also probably Zappa's darkest album. There are several concert classics that seen their first light of day on this (mostly) studio album.

I remember the first time I heard this album, I bought it looking for something that I though was as good as "Sheik Yerbouti", and bought this as the follow up, even though it was released 3 years earlier. I was disappointed. I've grown to appreciate it a little more now, but I still don't consider it one of my favorite Zappa albums. I think this is some of Zappa's worst vocals and he sings lead vocals on all but 2 of the songs (those songs are instrumentals). His vocals are kept subdued and kind of whisper-y so to me he just sounds like a grumpy pervert. The rest of the music is pretty good, but it is very dark, except for "Wind Up Workin" and "Disco Boy" which are a little more "cheery" I guess. The best tracks on this album are the instrumentals, and it's because of them that this is an excellent recording. If it was a completely vocal album like "You Are What You Is" then it would have been just as bad as that terrible album.

"Wind up Workin at a Gas Station" is one of the few tracks with several vocal styles which you tend to find on some of Zappa's better albums. The vocals are similar to doo wop harmonies, but this is not a doo wop song, so, there you go. Next is one of Zappa's best guitar pieces called "Black Napkins" I love this song and find it always tends to produce the best solos out of all of Zappa's instrumentals. It was named after the color of the napkins at a Thanksgiving dinner that Zappa attended where he describes the turkey as so full of preservatives that you could see them gleaming and some beat up cranberry material. The black napkins where the final stroke to the ridiculous dinner. But at least the song is great.....This song is actually a live performance in Osaka Japan on 2/3/76.

"The Torture Never Stops" is the first studio version recorded of the concert staple that is on an innumerable amount of live recordings out there. This version has the screaming girls on it who are actually Gail (Zappa's wife) and a friend. Zappa gets all the credit for this one except for the drum. This version has the keyboards more to the front than the concert performances tend to have, but still has a guitar solo, though more subdued than most of the concert performances. After that is the funny song about a blow up doll named "Ms. Pinky"

Side 2 starts out with "Find Her Finer" which I find annoying. Then we get another outstanding instrumental. First is "Friendly Little Finger" which involves the best full band line-up in Zappa's career and the only non-rock song on here, more of a jazz fusion with a guitar solo type track. The basic track was recorded in concert at Hofstra University on 10/26/1975 with FZ, Roy Estrada on bass, Terry Bozzio on drums, and the amazing Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer. The brass section was recorded at a different time and place, 2 years before at Bolic Sound in Inglewood with Ian Underwood on Sax, Bruce Fowler on trombone and Sal Marquez on trumpet on 6/1/1973. Frank used his technique of xenochrony where he takes a studio recording and edits in a solo or section from a completely different source or song, usually live in Zappa's case, and combines it all together, usually in songs that have tricky rhythms.

Next is another vocal about an alcoholic which I don't care for either. Then is the title track which is another excellent instrumental in the same vein as the one on side 1 which is also a huge concert staple. This one was recorded completely in studio. It all ends with the slightly brighter "Disco Boy" which is the single from the album and one of Zappa's most popular satirical takes on the disco movement.

This album was originally supposed to be a double album and included other Zappa greats like "Sleep Dirt", "The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution" and several others that appeared on other albums. The addition of those songs would have helped strengthen this album. One other song called "Night of the Iron Sausage" was also supposed to be part of the double album but it was never released. It was reportedly a very long guitar solo. Not sure how that would have added or taken away from the album.

So, the vocal tracks are disappointing here, but the instrumentals are stellar. That leaves me with a split decision on this album. I totally respect FZ's music and enjoy the humor on most of his comedy tracks, but I can't rate this album at 5 stars when I hate the vocal tracks. The instrumentals however are so good that it actually raises this from a 2 star album to 4 stars. That's how good they are.....and are actually essential tracks. So 4 stars here. Get it for the instrumentals.

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 Zappa Picks  - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.89 | 8 ratings

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Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a collection of Frank Zappa songs collected by Jon Fishman who is the drummer from Phish. Jon has his own warped sense of humor and belongs to another band that does satirical and humorous sketches and is quite inspired by Zappa's works. He is a pretty amazing drummer in his own right and proves that he knows what he is doing when Phish plays their own long jam songs. He is part of that gel that keeps that band at it's best. In the program notes of this album, Jon tells about the influence of these songs that he has picked and FZ's music in general.

This is a pretty decent collection and a lot of the selections are songs that don't appear on a lot of albums or were rarely heard. The collection starts out with a pair from "Apostrophe (')" which is one of FZ's most popular albums. The first one is a short vocal selection that is the track that leads on to the title track from the original album. It seems to be a strange one to start out with, but you discover early on here how amazing FZ's solos can be. This 2nd track is actually from a jamming session that included Jack Bruce from the band "Cream". Zappa mentioned in an interview that Bruce was hard to work with and that he was always busy.

Next up are 2 selections from the live Mother's album "Just Another Band from L.A." These tracks feature Flo and Eddie, the most obnoxious duo from any of FZ's line ups. "Magdelena" is a strange story involving incest and a Canadian family, but when asked where the story came from, it was said that it is just a song. Not a very good representation of Zappa's music, but I guess it shows the immaturity of the Flo and Eddie years. "Dog Breath" is another one that is rarely seen (just like the previous track), but this time, it's a better song. The rare thing about this version of the track is it contains the original lyrics, where usually this selection is instrumental.

Next you get 3 tracks from the excellent live album "Roxy & Elsewhere". "Cheepnis" is a rare track that only appears on one other live album, but this is the best version of it. It's a song that pays homage or makes fun of B-movie horror films. Good and rare song. "Son of Orange County" is also the version with lyrics, but is mostly a great guitar solo. "More Trouble Every Day" is an updated version of the "Freak Out!" song and is a much better version than the original. The Roxy sessions included two drummers and that is really apparent on this track. This is probably why Fishman was impressed with these tracks from that album. It seems most of the tracks on this collection have some impressive drumming.

"Keep it Greasey" is from "Joe's Garage" and takes on a different meaning when taken out of context as it is here. It spotlights a great guitar solo taken from a live version of "City of Tiny Lights". Then from "The Grand Wazoo" you get the mostly instrumental rarity called "For Calvin" which has a long backstory that I won't get in to right now. This track has a long avant-jazz instrumental passage from one of the best Zappa line-ups.

The next three tracks are from the excellent album "Sheik Yerbouti". The three tracks are actually one long guitar solo bookended by two short field recording tracks. The main track is called "Rat Tomago" and is actually a guitar solo taken from a live recording of "The Torture Never Stops". Again it is easy to hear why Fishman picked this one. Terry Bozzio is playing in what FZ called "a frenzy" which is something FZ always tried to reign in because of his extensive use of cymbals.

Next from "Waka/Jawaka" is the only version of "One Shot Deal" that I have heard. I absolutely love this song. It is one of the most out-of-place songs in Zappa's extensive compositions and sound like almost nothing else in his catalog of music. There is an almost avant-garde country sound to this track and it has an amazing steel guitar solo performed by "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow. Then from "Overnite Sensation" is the popular track "I'm the Slime" that features Tina Turner and the Ike-ettes singing the chorus. Last of all is the great "Sofa #2" track taken from "One Size Fits All". It is an appropriate closer.

Most of these selections are great, but they seem to lose something when taken out of context. All of the different line-ups represented here don't seem to flow together as well as they do when they are listened to on their rightful albums. But, I think the common thread here for the most part is the amazing drum work on most of the tracks and the sense of humor present throughout. Again, some of it changes meaning when taken out of context, but that is the danger you face with a compilation, which in most cases, only really flow well when you know what the compilation is trying to focus on. They mean something to the great Jon Fishman, so in that respect, they are very important. But to the regular listener, there isn't much in common overall. I have to give this a 3 star rating, even though there are some awesome tracks here, they just seem to lose their power when taken out of context.

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 Zappa In New York by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1978
4.22 | 197 ratings

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Zappa In New York
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Through editing and overdubbing, Frank Zappa managed to put together the best performances from a series of concerts recorded at The Palladium in New York City on December 26-29, 1976 (with a few overdubs recorded around April of 1977). The band at the time was one of the best line- ups in his history with Ray White helping on lead vocals, Eddie Jobson from Roxy Music on Keys, Patrick O'Hearn on bass, Terry Bozzio on drums, and the amazing Ruth Underwood on percussion and 'various humanly impossible overdubs'. Along with that they were joined by a good part of the Saturday Night Live band which included Don Pardo doing 'sophisticated narration'. The result was an amazing and talented back up band with a lot of comedy, jazz fusion and just plain fun. This album captures what it was like to attend a FZ show and is a great representation of his music and his concerts.

It starts out with one of the best examples of the classic FZ routine/tune 'Titties and Beer'. This track is based on one of Frank's favorite composers pieces'Stravinsky's 'L'histoire du Soldat' which is a the classic story of man meets the devil. Frank doesn't satarize it as much as he pays homage to it and updates it so that maybe his listeners will sit up and take notice or maybe investigate some of the classics on their own. It does give the song more meaning when you know the story behind the Stravinsky work. This is more of a routine with music that pushes the story forward quite well. Next comes a long instrumental based one of Zappa's older vocal songs called 'Crusin' for Burgers. In this version, the song is used more for soloing with the instruments playing the main theme at the beginning and the end. Next is a shorter instrumental with Zappa's entire band playing 'I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth' Where did this title come from? Apparently Zappa felt the jazzy sound of this song was something that could be played on the Muzak system (you know, mall and elevator music), so he figured with this title, that it would never happen. The versions on the vinyl and the CD are not completely the same.

Next is 'Punky's Whips' which is not available on the vinyl copy unless you can get one of the rare copies that were recalled. This is a routine based on Terry Bozzio's comment made about the drummer from a hair-glam band called Angel. Of course, FZ took TB's comment and blew it into comedic proportions and made this 10 minute track out of it. Again this is a routine backed up by a complex instrumental back up. There is a guitar solo in the middle of it too. The reason why the original vinyl was pulled was because Warner Brothers were afraid they would get sued by Angel, but FZ had already got permission from the Angel's drummer to use the song. WB pulled the album without Frank's consent. The song was restored to the CD version which was released later. Next is a not-so-great rendition of the much-used 'Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me?' which doesn't have anything spectacular about it. Following that is the song based on actual events that FZ heard about on the radio and probably one of the best versions of the blues based song 'The Legend of the Illinois Enema Bandit' with Ray White putting in a surprising amount of feeling while singing the story. This ends disc 1.

Disc 2 starts off with several shorter tracks. First is 'I'm the Slime' sung by FZ and Don Pardo. Very funny over acting by Pardo on this one. After that we get into some very excellent short instrumentals that are quite impressive considering the fact that most musicians cannot play these without proper instruction. 'Pound for a Brown' is a great fusion rendition of the popular FZ classic. 'Manx Needs Women' is a very short complex composition that flows into the 'Black Page Drum Solo' which is sequed into the full band version of 'Black Page #1'. The story behind 'Black Page' is that FZ wanted to take the original drum solo and turn it into a full band piece, so he made up a melody and replaced the percussion with instrumental notes for a full band. The finished score had so many notes on it that it was like a black page filled with notes. Hence, the name. Apparently, Ruth Underwood, having a music degree, broke down the score and taught the other band members how to play it all broken down into bits before anyone was able to play it at all. I still listen to this and wonder how in the world can anyone do this live. Quite an amazing feat.

After this, the band gets to rest a bit for the rock song 'Big Leg Emma' and then after that, the 'Sofa' theme gets the SNL Band treatment and it sounds good and much like music you would hear on SNL. Now, FZ has the band play another version of 'Black Page' after he explains the difference between the hard version and the easy version. The easy version (this one) slows down the melody and puts a disco vamp underneath it. It's still amazing, and now you get to hear it slowed down and it's still complex, but now you can hear just how complex it is.

After this, comes the classic 'The Torture Never Stops' without all the screamaing and hollering noises on this version, which is over 12 minutes long. The guitar solo (not sure if it's dubbed in or not, but I don't think it is) is really great in this version, doesn't seem as dark as usual, but is a nicer sound. The SNL Band help to liven it up too, especially on some of the hooks that are usually played by guitar in the vocal sections. Then you get two complex pieces meshed together in the 16 minute track 'The Purple Lagoon/Approximate'. The breakdown is like this: the first 17 seconds is an intro, from .17 to .37 is the Purple Lagoon theme, from .37 to 1.17 is the Approximate theme, from 1.17 to 15.23 are several amazing solos based around 'Pound for a Brown' on this version, from 15.23 ' 15.55 is a return to the Purple Lagoon theme with variations, then from 15.55 to 16.40 is the outro with crowd noises. I can't tell you much about The Purple Lagoon theme other than it is another complex theme, but 'Approxiamate' is usually done as the bookends with solos in the middle. The 'Approxiamte' theme is comprised of several scores written for different classes of instruments and instead of specific notes, the players are allowed to pick whatever notes they want in a specified range of notes. The theme is never ever performed the same way. As far as the solo section, you get a lot of brass, some guitar, percussion, keyboard and a trombone solo played through a harmonizer, which was a new gadget at the time. The interesting thing is the harmonizer is programmed in this instance to give a very dissonant interval throughout the solo making for a very unique sound.

So that's FZ in New York in a nutshell, at least the CD version. The vinyl version does not have all of the tracks as the CD version and some of the tracks vary in certain degrees. I have both versions and both are great. I highly recommend this one as a great example of FZ humor and amazing musicianship and composing talents. This also highlights the amazing lineup of the time. I consider this an essential addition to your FZ library as it shows why he is considered an avant garde composer and it proves that you can be entertaining and cultured at the same time. A warning though, this one is not for those with tender ears as it is quite explicit during the comedy routines. But, if you are not offended or 'deafened' because of whatever outside forces that are in your life, then you are really in for an excellent listening experience here and you can listen for yourself why FZ is a man that deserves to be respected in the music community. 5 stars.

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 You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
3.84 | 65 ratings

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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the last volume of the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series that Frank Zappa put together to represent some of his best live performances and to also collect some tracks that were not at that time available anywhere else. Volume 6 focuses on the comedy of his bands throughout the years. The tracks on this collection are collected from live performances through his career.

The first disc consists of humorous and shorter songs focusing on the vocals. The subject is all about sex and the bands on here are not afraid to delve into the most off-color and sexually explicit material and nothing here is sacred, so to speak. This material is not for the easily offended, so make sure you understand that before listening to this collection.

On the first track, FZ introduces the collection from an introductory speech made at a concert in Tallahassee, Florida on 10/9/1970. This was shortly after Jim Morrison was arrested for exposing himself and FZ and the band were confronted before going on stage by what he called "a redneck with a gun" saying that they had better not have any intention on exposing themselves. This is the oath they made up in answer to that performed on stage in front of a very excited crowd. It's a great introduction to the disc. This leads into the next spoken word track, "The Poodle Lecture". This helps explain the whole poodle controversy that is brought up time and time again in Zappa's music and concerts. After that you two songs, the famous "Dirty Love" that usually follows the lecture and then "Magic Fingers" that appeared on the rare album "200 Motels". Next is an audience participation track dealing with panties followed by a very mediocre version of "Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me" and then an interesting version of "Father O'blivion". More spoken word follows with FZ talking about what was a big hit at the time in the song "I'm in You" by Peter Frampton. It really irked him that anyone would think that it was a romantic song to have someone making love to a woman and whispering this phrase in her ear. He carries on about this for 4 minutes. Next, Ted Nugent gets blasted on the song "I'm So Cute" which he was deserving of, then there is a strange avant garde style vocal styling called "White Person". After this is more spoken word explaining what the song "Ms Pinky" is about and then that particular song is performed.

Another great progressive selection from "200 Motels" follows in the song "Shove it Right In". After this is a version of "Wind Up Workin' at a Gas Station" is performed. This song is special in the fact that it is a rare recording of Bianca Odin performing with the band. There are not very many recordings of her during her short stint with the band. Also, Eddie Jobson from Roxy Music is on keys here. Not the best version of this song, but it is valuable in because of it's rarity. Next is the hilarious audience participation track "Make a Sex Noise" followed by "Tracey is a Snob" which is mostly a jazz fusion instrumental with sex noises behind it which was one of Frank's favorite jokes. The next song is "I Have Been in You" which is Frank's answer to Peter Frampton's "I'm in You" just to show how ridiculous lyrics like this can be. I guess he figured if Framption could do it, so could he. Another song with sex noises follows, then we get four of Zappa's most well known songs about sex in some pretty decent renditions which ends with "Muffin Man". It's actually a great ending for the first disc which leaves you wanting more of the same, but it takes way to long for the disc to become consitently good and unfortunately, the last song doesn't play out, but just fades out which is very annoying.

Disc 2 is much better and has the better performances and a lot more instrumentals, something that was sorely missed on the first disc. There is a great version of "The Illinois Enema Bandit" which is followed by an amazing instrumental called "Thirteen" that has a violin solo by guest artist L. Shankar. This is a wonderful solo that just works so well after the substandard music on disc 1. For some reason, during the last section of the song, Frank edits to another concert that features a guitar solo, but I would have rather heard the rest of Shankar's performance. It's still a great track though. Patrick O'Hearn gets featured on bass on the next instrumental track called "Lobster Girl" and does a great job, then this follows into a slow blusey rendition of "Black Napkins" which has the distinction of the melody and main hooks being played by brass in the beginning. This is another amazing performance and is a nice way to present this instrumental. Frank edits to another venue in the middle of the song and the rhythm suddenly changes from the slow blues to a more reggae sound, but it is still a great performance so it all fits well.

Next, you get a rare performance of "Turning Again" which is a good track, but it pokes some fun at Jimi Hendrix. Right after the bit about Hendrix, Keneally messes up his guitar part which Ike Willis finds very amusing. There is another instrumental called "Alien Orifice" which is interesting enough, which is followed two songs from Joe's Garage; famous "Catholic Girls" and "Crew Slut". Then comes Adrian Belew singing lead on "Tryin' to Grow a Chin" from Shiek Yerbouti followed by the instrumental version of "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance." Next Lisa Pomeil, a soprano operatic singer and sister to the Ronco ad announcer does a strange song about her life, or at least she says it is. The country tinged "Lonesome Cowboy Nando" is great and it includes lyrics about a jellyfish that has something to do with FZ actually have a jellyfish scientifically named after him (hydrozoan P. zappai) by a Zappa-fanatic that just happened to be a scientist (look it up, it's true). The "200 Motels Finale" follows and then the entire series is brought to an amazing close with a non-orchestral version of "Strictly Genteel" which is an appropriate closer.

So, if you are into Zappa's humor, this is the collection for you. But, disc 2 offers plenty of great music for when you are feeling a little more intellectual, yet still has a lot of the same humor in it. The 1st disc suffers because of the lack of cohesiveness and not a lot of progressive music, just silliness, but it's still not completely terrible. The 2nd disc is worth the purchase alone, so the two together make a pretty good compilation. Just be ready for a lot of off-color humor. As far as recommendation, I would get volumes 1 or 2 before this one, but it has plenty to offer for the humorous Zappa fan. 3.5 stars, but we'll round it up to 4.

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 Lumpy Gravy by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.27 | 281 ratings

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Lumpy Gravy
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Although all the albums by The Mothers Of Invention are unfairly billed to FRANK ZAPPA as a solo artist these days, LUMPY GRAVY is the first true solo release that FRANK created during his spare time while simultaneously recording and touring with The Mothers. Unlike anything released before or after this is a strange album of orchestral, electric and music concrete with snippets of this and snippets of that all strewn together along with some serious period dialogue that is a great way to hear how the underground types spoke in 1967. Due to legal restrictions ZAPPA only conducted the orchestra because he wasn't allowed to actually play anything. Technically this is a concept that is supposed to tie in with the posthumously released "Civilization Phaze III" which was all recorded at the same time as "We're Only In It For The Money."

This strange avant-garde album was heavily influenced by John Cage and Edgar Varese musically but there is also some surf rock at the end. Basically there are two sound collage tracks where snippets of music trade off with strange noises, bursts of avant-garde sonic enthusiasm and dialogue between apparently stoned 60s counterculture types who seem to muse over strange quandaries and crack themselves up in the process. The album is one that i wrote off in the beginning as too weird like many others probably have but after exposing myself to the world of abstract classical music and more of ZAPPA's stranger albums i have to say that this one has grown on me past the point of being a collector's item only.

Although this will never be a daily listening experience it has some interestingly bizarre stuff going on that can deliver a new experience with every listen. I prefer to pull this out every couple of years just because it really does have a musical vibe unlike anything else i've heard. It's only a half hour long so doesn't overstay its welcome. It displays a lot of ZAPPA traits, namely his influence from the 20th century classical world as well as his zany sense of humor and and desire to experiment. It also displays his workaholic tendencies and his ability to improvise his ideas around the demands of the record industry which would eventually frustrate him enough to start his own label. Good but not great. Definitely not the place to begin your ZAPPA journey!

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 You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
3.66 | 70 ratings

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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Volume 5 (out of the 6 volume series of collected concert highlights of Frank Zappa's career) is once again a 2 disc set of over 2 hours long of music and hijinx of the band. This volume has a lot of music and field recordings that previous to the release of this collection, were not available except for a few of the tracks which were on bootlegs, not even on studio recordings. The two discs really don't have much to do with each other as far as band line-ups and music stylings. But the discs individually are focused on specific eras of the band, which was not the case in the haphazard 4th volume.

The first disc centers around performances from 1966 - 1971, most of which are in 1969. Typically, I am not a fan of the Flo and Eddie years, but fortunately, their obnoxious antics are reigned in for the most part and some of the field recordings are funnier than the concert skits. The disc has 25 tracks, so don't expect any long improvisational solos here. But you can expect all previously unavailable tracks and a lot of the material is completely original to this collection. The sound isn't too bad either considering the years that this material was recorded.

The disc starts out with an original song performed at the Fillmore in San Francisco in June of 1966. It is a good track that would have fit well on the "Freak Out!" album. It sounds similar to "Trouble Every Day" but it is not a copy. Next is sort of a avant garde instrumental track that has some audience participation called "Charles Ives". This was previously available from "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" but as a different version. Then you get a really good r&b song that was recorded at NYC in 1969. This song is called "Here Lies Love" and it was originally a b-side for "WPLJ" and when Lowell joined the band, it became a concert staple, but before this recording was not available on a studio album. This is probably one of their best normal songs from that decade. After that you get a short guitar and electric piano duet from The Ark in Boston from 7/8/1969. Then you get Ian Underwood soloing on piano playing "Mozart Ballet" and doing an awesome job, but while he was playing, the band was doing some silly ballet act on stage that apparently was quite funny from the audience reaction. All I know is that a rubber chicken was involved. This takes place in London on 6/6/1969. After this you get more on stage hijinx while the band plays a jewish/middle eastern sounding song while Lowell and George sing like a couple of operatic swamis. As you can see, the quality of the songs have suddenly begun to suffer because of the silliness. These things would probably be more meaningful if we could see what was going on on stage.

Frank Zappa loved recording almost every show and even secretly recorded conversations that the band would have with one another and then he would surprise them by putting these conversations on an actual recording. Needless to say, some band members would get pissed off about this. The next track is recorded while the band was travelling on the tour bus and features Jimmy Carl Black and Kanzus singing an old song called "Lovesick Blues" by Hank Williams. The rest of this disc continues in this same manner with some short fusion or avant garde type instrumentals, some stage hijinx, and some field recordings and skits. There are some great highlights but also some very strange additions. However Zappa fans tend to want to collect everything, so this disc does have a lot going for it in this respect. For Zappa beginners though, it would probably be very confusing and off-putting, so this is not one for the masses. Beginners would enjoy the version of "Trouble Every Day" and "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" which are both often heard on other concert recordings. The Zappa-philes however would appreciate the original songs at the beginning of the disc and also the hilarious skit "German Lunch" which features the band acting out going through customs in Germany. Very funny. There is a great drum duet featuring Frank Zappa and Jimmy Carl Black soloing together (sounds like an oxymoron....soloing together). There are plenty of great instrumentals and vocals and crazy field recordings spread throughout these 25 tracks that run for 70 minutes. I enjoyed it very much which is saying a lot for someone that typically doesn't like the concerts from this era.

The 2nd disc in my opinion is the better one as far as musicality is concerned. It, like volume 3, focuses mainly on the 1980s ,but specifically the line-up from 1982 for the most part. This particular lineup was not featured very often before the release of this collection, so, once again, this disc also has a lot of value for the Zappa fan. All the tracks on this disc are pretty good and proves that this lineup did a great job on their better days.

It starts out with a great version of "Easy Meat" that features a great heavy guitar solo from Frank and the track has been edited between three venues through it's 7 minute run time. A great song that was not available before this collection called "Dead Girls from London" comes next. Since the release of this collection, it became available also on the album "Buffalo". Next is another unreleased almost lounge sounding song done by Ray White called "Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?" bemoaning the choice of eating asparagus.

About half of this disc is recorded in Geneva, Switzerland on 8/1/1982, which turned out to be an ill fated concert (we'll discuss that later). The first verse of "What's New in Baltimore?" is the first of many of these tracks recorded at this concert. There is a nice instrumental in the middle and then the venue changes for the 2nd verse. If you listen closely, you can usually tell when Zappa would edit another venue into a track to make it more interesting. This usually worked well for Zappa's concert recordings in that Zappa always wanted the best representations of his concerts and would also explain why he was always recording everything. We stay in Geneva for the instrumental track "Moggio" and for a straightforward version of "Dancin' Fool" and then for the first part of the amazing rendition of "RNDZL" This version includes a rousing guitar solo from FZ recorded from Palermo, Italy on 7/14/82 and then a great keyboard solo (electric piano and synth) from Rome on 7/9/82. You can hear the edits, but they still flow as well as they can considering the change in venues. Ray White does "Advance Romance" justice and you don't even miss Captain Beefheart singing it this time around. The guitar solo is also stellar in this version.

Next comes "City of Tiny Lights" which is a personal favorite. This performance is culled from 4 venues throughout it's 10 minute run time and it works really well. This was always a great song to improvise off of and the band does great here. During the 2nd vocal part, you can witness (at least with your ears) how the band would follow FZ when he would conduct them with hand signals. This is apparent when you hear how the notes are held out for long durations by the vocalist and how the band always knew when to follow. You can picture Frank conducting this and all members of the band watching him closely. And they are all right on cue. This performance is amazing and the song alone is a essential FZ recording just for the fact of how the band followed him. The disc continues with a great jazz fusion version of "Pound for a Brown", a short unnecessary verion of "Doreen", a stellar version of "The Black Page" recorded from several venues and it finally ends up back in Geneva.

"Geneva Farewell" documents when FZ had to cut a great performance short because the audience kept throwing items on the stage and this was endangering other audience members and the band. FZ had previously warned the audience to stop doing this, but they continued. Finally, Frank stops everything and tells them that if they don't stop doing this, they were going to end the concert. The French interpreter relayed this message to the audience, however, he instead said that they needed to find the person that was throwing cigarette butts at the stage. He didn't say anything about the warning to stop the concert, and when more stuff ended up on the stage, FZ commanded to bring up the house lights and that the concert was over. This created a small riot which is what you hear the beginning of before the sound fades away. This is an important recording for Zappa collectors and raises the rating of the collection for that fact alone.

So overall, this is a pretty decent volume in the series. It is not the best and some of the tracks on disc 1 are not really great while others are. The 2nd disc however is pretty good all the way through even considering it was done in the 80s, it was with a great lineup that wasn't documented very often. There is a lot of value to the Zappa collector here, but I wouldn't recommend the 1st disc to those starting to listen to Zappa. Instead, from this series, I would recommend volumes 1 or 2 over this one. However, since this does have a lot of interest to Zappa fans and has some great recordings among the not so great ones, it still manages to get an excellent review. I quite enjoy this volume. 4 stars.

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 You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1991
3.47 | 76 ratings

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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Volume 4 of the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" is another mish mash of concert recordings and venues, sort of like what volume 1 was. However, this one seems to concentrate more on unique and novelty sessions. There are a lot of "not available anywhere else, at least not in this kind of sound quality" songs on this one, and that factor may entice a lot of hardcore FZ fans. But, the album is not very cohesive like volume 1 turned out to be. It is all over the place, though the sound quality throughout remains steady, the songs are enjoyable at best and boring at worst. The venues are also all over the place as well as the dates. Not much makes sense here, but there is a lot of strange performances that don't have a lot of explanation as to why they happened or what the circumstances are, and there isn't a lot of information about the performances either.

Disc 1 starts out with "Little Rubber Girl" which is a song similar to most tracks off of the first Mothers album "Freak Out!" It is also made up on the spot. It was recorded at the Palladium in NYC on 10/31/1978 and offers nothing new other than the only official recording of the song. We then go to Vancouver and jump ahead in time to 12/18/84, a whole different band line up, but a similar sounding song from "The Man from Utopia" called "Stick Together". This one is straightforward pop for the most part. Then we travel to California a few days later....12/23/84 for a performance of "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" and "Willie the Pimp", again fairly straightforward but more of a hard rock sound. "Pimp" is a very shortened version of the song without Captain Beefheart singing and it actually loses it's original charm without him. It's basically just another track now. Except for a short edit in "Montana" we remain in California through "Brown Moses" which is a boring track from "Thing-Fish" and not much is added to it live either. The next track is also from the same studio album and called "The Evil Prince" but it is recorded this time partly in Vancouver (same date as the previous Vancouver recording) and partly in London on 9/24- 25/84. Again, this is not a great track, however, there is a bit more drama and life to it than there is on the studio recording. It sounds just like a Broadway tune with lots of drama in it and the singing is actually very well done.

For the rest of this disc, the venues are constantly changing and the excitement of the live shows suffers for it. It is interesting that the excitement generated from hearing a concert in one venue can be lost when the venue constantly changes, but that is what happens here. We get a very short version of "Approximate" which was so well represented on Volume 2, but consider this another example of how that song can work. You get another short song in "Love of My Life" but then you get the excitement of some instrumentals, but they are solos taken from various places and mashed together in sequence. There are two solos on the track "Let's Move to Cleveland" and these are fairly decent with a tenor sax solo from Archie Shepp and an amazing piano solo from Allan Zavod (and I mean this guy is amazing). The excitement from these solos is soon brought down by the track "You Call That Music?" which is a bizarre sort of avant garde minimalist improvisation that just doesn't fit here, stuck between these solo tracks. Next comes "Pound for a Brown Solos" which doesn't live up to the previous solos, so the excitement is short lived. "The Black Page" is decent and has a great guitar solo that was edited in between the thematic passages that bookend the track. It is an impressive track, but it is available in many other varieties on other albums. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is a vocal routine that has lost it's meaning over time, at least that's what I assume here. It is simply two band members imitating some sports announcers and not very funny. "Filthy Habits" has another FZ solo and the disc is finished off with a version of "The Torture Never Stops". This version is unique from the many other versions in that it came from the "Bongo Fury" live sessions and is sung by Captain Beefheart. But it was left off of the "Bongo Fury" album, so it was not previously available, and I can understand why. His singing freshens up the song which is done as a blues number with some of CB's killer harmonica solos, but the background is a repeat of a Howlin' Wolf blues riff that gets repeated ad nauseum for almost 10 minutes.

Disc 2 starts out with "church Chat" which is simply FZ doing a vocal routine as a preacher asking for money. Next comes "Stevie's Spanking" which is a staple from that era featuring a naughty story of one of Steve Vai's sexcapades and a very long guitar solo by him first, followed by Zappa, followed by the both of them together. That's pretty awesome, but the solo is from a different show than the lyrical part of the song, and it's a show that is otherwise available elsewhere performed in Rome, Italy. After that you get several tracks performed in various places of some standard and straightforward songs, these are recording available on other live collections and really offer nothing unique. You do get a decent rendition of "Florentine Pogen" which is a rather challenging progressive rock song with changing meters and rhythms throughout. However, it is still a straightforward performance, but it is a marvel that it can be performed so well in a live setting. Now you get into some original material here with "Tiny Sick Tears", the funny "Smell My Beard" and the childish humor of "The Booger Man", but other than being performances you can't find elsewhere, there is nothing special about them except the humor. Another standard comes next with "Carolina Hard Core Ecstasy" and it is also quite straightforward. The remainder of the album though is actually the highlight in my opinion. There are a series of previously unavailable performances that, even though they are all short, are very fun songs that are well done. There is some funny audience interaction in "Are You Upset?" and then the rest of the album slips into the doo wop style from the 50s and 60s that Frank loved so much. This section makes up 6 songs under 3 minutes each that are played in this style and you can hear how much fun Frank and the band had making these. Just this section alone raises the bar from a collections only album to a good, but non-essential album.

The main reasoning behind the lower rating here is in the inconsistency of the music, the level of excitement that does not remain throughout the album and stays on the low side of that level more than anything. Most of the tracks don't have a lot of new material or "eyebrows" to offer like what we have seen from volumes 1, 2, and 3. Get one of those, and if you become a hardcore fan or collector, then you might want to wait until then to get volume 4. 3 stars.

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 Saarbrucken 1978 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1991
2.33 | 17 ratings

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Saarbrucken 1978
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Umph1348

5 stars I am writing this review in defense of this "album" and the Beat The Boots series in general... Quibbling about the sound quality of these performances shows a woeful lack of appreciation for what these releases DO represent... FZ decided upon these bootlegs (presumably due to volume of circulation and quality of performance or a combination of both). For whatever reason these were relased, they largely represent very nice snapshots of Frank and/or the Mother's incarnations at that moment in time. As a vinyl collector, the fact that these "boots" are available to me in wax is awesome... This "release" in particular is a lot of fun. I like many of these tracks and while this lineup isnt represenatative of the halcyon Duke/Ponty/Underwood et al variety... It is VERY compelling and interesting. I just spun this release on vinyl with decent cans and a headphone amp and thought that the 2.05 overall rating for this "album" and many others in the beat the boots series is woefully low... This is great FZ and deserving of a higher rating in is community.

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 You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1989
3.56 | 81 ratings

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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Volume 3 of the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series is a slight disappointment after the amazing volume 2 edition. This time, most of the tracks are culled from the 1980s. The line-up is obviously not as good as the line up that was present for the Helsinki Concerts on volume 2 and that is the main reason why this disc is not as good as the previous volume. The collection focuses on the road bands of the 1980s. You will notice on this collection that the songs here are mostly comprised of more rock oriented pieces than jazz pieces. The band was more of a rock-based band and had to rely on FZ's guitar solos more than the dynamic solos from the entire band in the volume 2 line up. However, this album is still enjoyable and has quite a large number of interesting episodes throughout. The band members were still good for the most part (Steve Vai for example), but were more fashioned to produce music that focused on the rock music of Frank Zappa.

Since this collection also concentrates on "eyebrows" that are put into performances to make them unique, let's talk about those a bit.

Zappa liked the concept of continuity in his music, that everything could be somehow tied together. When putting this collection together, he tried to emphasize that concept. On disc 1, the beginning of the collection focuses on love and relationship type songs. This starts out with "Sharleena" and features Frank's son Dweezil on the guitar solo. This track was recorded at Universal Amphitheater in California on 12/23/1984. The version is quite straightforward, but the guitar solo is very good. A shorter edit of this same recording was previously released as a flexi-disc in Guitar Player Magazine. Next we move to Chicago at the Bismarck Theater on 11/23/1984 for a version of "Bamboozled By Love" which is unique in the fact that the guitar solo is played over the main hook from Yes' big hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart". I'm not sure if this is a homage to Yes or just making fun of the song, but it works in a surprising way. The location remains the same until you get to "Advance Romance" where a small snippet of this recording switches to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on 12/18/1984 and remains there from 1:03 to 2:31 where it switches back to Chicago. During the performance, Zappa cracks up when the lead singer dramatically yells out "Hi- Ho Silver" several times through the song. This apparently becomes the secret word of the show.

The subject continues with more humorous songs mostly dealing with sex and humor. Next the venue moves to Paramount Theater in Seattle on 12/17/1984 for "Bobby Brown" and the Lone Ranger continues to be the target of humor through this song and Zappa has a hard time singing because he is laughing. "Keep it Greasey" continues these antics and flashes back and forth from Seattle to The Pier in NYC on 8/26/1984 and finally ending up there. The song ends up at The Pier and stays there through "Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me". At this point, the continuity shifts to travelling with "In France" which is recorded back in Chicago, same date as before. This track has a short harmonica solo in it. After some mostly substandard versions of these previous songs, we finally get to "Drowning Witch" where we finally get a great version of this song. Most of this recording comes from Chicago also, but that is after the 3:42 mark. Previous to that, it has been edited from various concerts 5 different times before it settles back to Chicago for the remainder. If you listen close you can hear the edits at 0:35, 1:57, 2:28, 2:40, and 3:42. It is kind of choppy because of that in the beginning, but the solo parts are more cohesive and quite impressive. The collection remains at Chicago from there all the way to the last track, but the performances become quite standard again with the exception of the excellent "Chana in de Bushwop" which is a lot of fun. The last two tracks on this disc are from "Joe's Garage" where you hear the band reference an incident in Utah. What happened there was the band that played the night before Zappa's show had messed around with a certain girl who ended up causing "severe discomfort" to 24 members of that group. Unfortunately, the word got to a few of Zappa's band members a little too late. This particular track is edited from 3 different venues.

On the 2nd disc, we travel back in time out of the 80's for only the first 2 tracks. "Dickie's Such an Asshole" is recorded at The Roxy in L.A, during the performances on 12/8-10/1973. It contains some unique audience specific instructions from FZ and Marty Perellis with the audience interacting. At the end of this track, there is a snippet of conversation taken from the dressing room at The Palladium in NYC on 10/31/77 where band members (and fellow famous prog artists) Terry Bozzio, Roy Estrada and Adrian Belew are talking about the suicide of the band's road manager after he took $10,000 from the tour money and lost it to drugs and gambling. He was found in the hotel room after he had cut himself up and bled to death. The band members were afraid of the stress of the tour that it would cause this to happen. Terry makes the comment that from all the drumming, he feels like he has been hitting his hands with a hammer which leads into Terry's three minute drum solo entitled "Hands with a Hammer" (see?....continuity) which was recorded in Osaka, Japan on 2/3/1976. This track was originally available on the famous booleg called "Eyes of Osaka", but here it has been cleaned up quite a bit. The continuity contiues into the next track "Zoot Allures" because the introduction is also from that bootleg. This was a very slow performance of the song and it is a shame that the entire perfomance from Osaka isn't here because it is awesome. Instead, the perfomance gets switched to Cap D'agde, France and moves us back to the 80's; 5/30/1982 to be exact. See, Frank had to get us back to the 80s somehow. It is obvious where this edit is because the music switches from that slow grind to a reggae beat which Frank used a lot of on his 80s tours.

From here, we go back to The Palladium in NYC on 10/31/81 for tracks 4 through 7. These are all songs from "You Are What You Is" which is not one of Frank's best albums. The collection suffers from these weaker tracks and there isn't a lot of "eyebrows" in this section of the collection. The performances are nothing really special at this point, but serve to move the continuity around from the topic of Hollywood and egoism to cocaine abuse. This moves us to track 8 "Cocaine Decisions" which for the first part of the track takes us back to Chicago, but eventually takes us to the famous show in Palermo, Sicily on 7/14/1982 and puts us right in the middle of the riots that went on during the show. You can hear FZ pleading with the audience to remain calm so they can finish the show and you hear the polizia speaking with the crowd and firing tear gas cannisters which you hear hitting the stage as the band plays on, finishes the song and moves on to "Nig Biz" through the riot.

From here, we go into the 24:00 long rendition of "King Kong". This track is culled from 6 different shows and is edited several times among these shows. Most of this is "King Kong" at it's best with some audience participation. In reality, the part with this participation is mostly taken from a performance of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow", but is added here as "King Kong". The references made about "Kindergarten" and the Garden Rap are pretty much lost because of the editing. The last track is "Cosmik Debris" continuing in the topic of the dangers of drug abuse and is culled from 3 different shows in 1984 but edited a total of at least 7 times whithin it's 5 minute length.

So, there is the lengthy breakdown of this volume of this collection, which many say is the weakest of the set. With all of the edits, it still flows pretty well and works to add a lot of variety in a period of time when there wasn't a lot of variety in the shows that FZ and his band were putting on. The thing that saves this collection is the continuity theme and the many special and unique shows and circumstances that are highlighted here. Those things give some value to this collection and raises it from 3 to 4 stars, but if you don't really care for the historic value of the performances, then I would pass by this one and search for volume 1 or 2. 4 stars, but only if you are a Zappa fan.

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