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Frank Zappa - Road Tapes - Venue #2 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.41 | 53 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Many Zappaphiles, including myself, consider "Roxy & Elsewhere" one of the finest of Master Zappa's catalogue. And for years, we have been teased with the hints and rumors of expanded editions of that amazing album, and even the accompanying video. Well, the release has been announced, orders have been taken, and of course, the release date has been pushed back at least three times now.

The Zappa Family Trust has seemingly made it up to us by releasing, as the second in the Vaulternative "Road Tapes" series, a concert that precedes the Roxy concerts by about a year, but contains a similar lineup (minus Chester Thompson and Napoleon Murphy Brock, but adding Ian Underwood and Jean-Luc Ponty) and some overlapping material.

In the liner notes, Joe Travers laments the uneven quality of the master tapes, which were taken from three shows in two days at Helsinki in 1973. But he has done a splendid job cleaning them up, so even though there is a bit of unwanted distortion here and there, the instrumental performances are captured with reasonable clarity.

The recordings add to the Zappa lore with some different material. There is a medley of songs that includes The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, the rarely released Kung Fu, an early version of Penguin In Bondage, a few pieces from "Uncle Meat", and ends with RDNZL.

There is a very long version of Dupree's Paradise, with an opening renamed Your Teeth And Your Shoulders and sometimes your foot goes like this..., that includes a stripped down Pojama People in the middle. Following this is an improv, called All Skate, with a section where Frank adds the audience into the piece.

But the second disk contains the better treasures. Villiage Of The Sun contains an intro and out I have never heard on any other official release. Echidna's Arf (Of You) appears in a slower, less embellished format, and Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?, with fantastic solos from George Duke, Ponty, Bruce Fowler, and Zappa himself goes on for almost tem minutes.

And it gets even better. There is an amazing rendition of Big Swifty, followed by the best Farther O'Blivion I have ever heard.

It's enough to make me forget how long I've been waiting for "Roxy By Proxy".

An absolute must for the Zappa fans.

Evolver | 5/5 |


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