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Frank Zappa - Joe's Domage CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



1.85 | 54 ratings

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2 stars 1971 ended badly for the MOI and for Zappa in particular. During the Montreux festival in December the festival hall burned down, remember Smoke On The Water, and the Mothers lost all their material. Two weeks later during a concert in London Zappa was pushed off the stage by an angry audience member and spend the first part of 1972 in a wheelchair. Good news: during this period he composed some of the most amazing music of the JR field, for a small big band JR orchestra : Waka Jawaka and for a bigger ensemble : The Grand Wazzoo. The two records were released in 1972 and Zappa organized a small tour in September 1972 (eight dates only: check out the excellent 2CD set of the Boston concert!

So far, so good : prior to the recording of Waka Jawaka the band rehearsed this highly complicated music as Zappa put it himself in the last track until "it feels natural" to enter the recording studio. Joe's Domage presents the rehearsals of this famous record. and one might say, especially in regard to the titles: Wow, lots of unreleased jam sessions in hiFi quality .not really!!

First: the band did not rehearse in a recording studio and apparently without a recording facility and my guess Zappa himself recorded the rehearsals on his trusty Uher portable tape recorder, but while the recorder works OK in quiet passages it starts to distort as soon as the amps and the drums come in. The overall sound quality is bad!

Second: the Waka Jawaka material is composed and arranged for a small orchestra and this recording dates apparently from an early stage of the rehearsals. The musicians have no score, but maybe just a lead sheet and often Zappa just plays the melody line on guitar for the concerned instrument. To make it a little more presentable most tracks contain a rough form and then a part of the arrangement. Still in some cases mainly The Frog Song which is the working title for It Just Might Be. you listen to some slow and painful birth of a musical structure : play - stop -explanation - play -stop and so on for 17 minutes !!!..we are not talking here about new material or major variations but the rehearsal of written out music that was to be released the same year. These recordings are of hardly any particular interest and I am quite sure that Zappa himself would have never released these recordings.

The only interesting tracks IMO are tracks 8 & 9, a rehearsal of Think It Over, a song from the musical comedy Hunchentoot that Zappa never finished, but some of the parts were integrated in other records. Think it Over was renamed The Grand Wazoo and released as the title track of the same record and the main interest here are the vocals, being so far the only sung version of this song and the track contains an interesting solo by Zappa.

Under the line: this material is really not worth being released on its own. It would have made a nice third CD for the Vaulternative Wazoo 2CD Boston 1972 concert release as a document. As a release on it's own without any further infos on the cover it could be a huge disappointment for someone who doesn't know Zappa's catalogue. For collectors and hardcore fans acceptable for the others: buy in priority Waka Jawaka and The GrandWazoo.

Alucard | 2/5 |


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