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Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.06 | 158 ratings

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3 stars Live Zappa?

Yup, music culled from the archives of live Zappa, into neat little compilations. This is the you can't do that on stage anymore series. It happens to kick off with You Can't do That on Stage Anymore Volume 1, and that's what this review is about. As a side note with the series on a whole, is that it loses something when the songs are all from different sets, it just doesn't flow as nicely. But I digress. On to the tracks!

If you've seen One Size Fits All, with the whole sofa motif (ie, album cover, and 2 songs off the album) and wondered where it ever came from, the early tracks clue you in on the origin. Interesting stuff, and it made the sofa tracks off of One Size Fits All sound better.

The Mammy Anthem, a decent enough solo from the ill-fated Thing Fish follows. The Mother's era let's make the water turn black medley is a higlight for me, I just like how they put the instrumental spin on the songs, a nice upbeat peppy, almost marching band like, sounds of the songs.

I Wish I could say the same thing for Tryin' to Grow a Chin, which just fails due to the poor vocal impersonation of Bozzio. Without the voice, the song is almost nothing despite the fact the rest of the music on the song is spot-on.

Two Over-nite Sensation songs make it onto the album I'm the Slime and Zomby Woof, at various points. Both are pretty good, even though the I'm the Slime sounds markedly different than the album version. As a note on all Zappa live material, he takes stuff on his albums are changes it around a whole bunch, so even if you've heard the song, you've haven't heard it live.

Disc 2 has a bunch of simple 80's Zappa and the like, think You Are What You Is, but the better tracks off of it made the cut, Dumb all Over and Heavenly Bank Account, so I'm good with that. Plastic people, off of Absolutely Free, and a decent version of the Torture Never Stops, off of Zoot Allures, also made the cut. It also has The Deathless Horsie, see wicked Zappa guitar soloing, and the odd spoken track The Dangerous Kitchen. The bad thing about the latter though, is that it sounds like he's really bored with it, and likes he's just slogging through it to get it over with. Disc 2 ends with Sofa #2, which ties in with the earlier sofa tracks nicely.

Favorite track off of the album? No contest: DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW!

Glorious, magnificent, splendid, and it's good too. The whole Yellow Snow suite, mixed with infamous audience participation, including some poetry readings, during the course of 20 minutes. I love this version, and the improvs on it work. What live albums should sound like, in a nutshell.

Verdict? Okay/Good, but not great. With over 2 hours of material, there just simply aren't enough stellar songs to keep interest the whole time. I've also heard much better version of some of these songs in other spots. If this was a cohesive live performance, this'd be forgiveable, but it's not.

I think I got it at just the right time; after I got a whole bunch of other Zappa albums first. Certainly not one of your top priorities in the Zappa collection, but tracks like Don't Eat the Yellow Snow have merit enough to check it out later.

cookieacquired | 3/5 |


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