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Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.37 | 344 ratings

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2 stars I'm going to stick my neck pretty far out and say that ROXY AND ELSEWHERE hasn't been the album it's proclaimed to be. It has perks going for it such as it being a live album featuring mostly new tracks (at the time). It also has the Mothers tag making me assume that R&E is related to the Mothers of Invention era, my favourite Zappa period. A refurbishing of ''Trouble Every Day'' and the appearance of Don Preston are really the only ties to the Mothers here; most everything else that happens made my jaw drop for every wrong reason.

R&E more symbolises the unison-run technical jazz-pop and cheap 70's humour of the OVER-NITE SENSATION and APOSTROPHE albums that never fully made me happy. The slick jazz that permeates a good portion of the album make tracks like ''Penguin in Bondage'' and ''Son of Orange County'' practically unlistenable to me. Other times, Frank goes for funnies, but either I don't find it funny (''Cheepnis'') or a visual is needed (''Be-Bop Tango'').

At least this band flexes their instrumental muscles occasionally, but they mostly do these unison runs that drive me nuts; ''Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?'' is too long and has too many ideas to make it a great tune. I even get listless during ''More Trouble Every Day'', a jazzed-up, slower, slicker version of the raucous blues tune from FREAK OUT!; this version is too slow (I do see the point, though).

The only track I could enjoy the entire way through is the shortest track, ''Pygmy Twylyte''. It's very upbeat, mid-tempo and has great instrumental interplay (the whole album has the last stat, but this is one of the few times I notice). It's perfect aside from the ridiculously hideously bass vocals. That momentum gets ruined when it segues to ''Dummy Up'', a pointless simple extended jam to provide a platform for comedy, or at least what most people consider comedy. I never once considered smoking a high school diploma to be THAT funny.

It should be noted that this period of Zappa's career bothers me. I never found the jokes to be even snickerworthy, and the music is either too slow and stuporlike or complex and intricate to be complex and intricate, and ROXY AND ELSEWHERE represents those qualities in piles. The uniqueness of this live album and the skills presented are good enough to prevent one star doom, but stick with this only if you really love Zappa.

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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