Author Topic: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #39 - 'The Perfect Stranger'  (Read 40716 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #315 on: January 17, 2016, 07:34:20 PM »
Whoa, I got confused for a minute.  I was expecting Just Another Band from L.A. next, as it's from August 1971, but I'd totally forgotten that it wasn't released until 1972.  In my head, Just Another Band from L.A. is next after Fillmore East, being recorded only two months later.

I saw 200 Motels, the movie, sometime in the late 70's when I was in high school.  A special midnight showing at the local theater, back when it was a bit more common to do such things.  This was the same theater than had The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Friday and Saturday night at midnight for years.  Sometime during the summer, they ran 200 Motels on a weeknight, and I went and saw it with Chris, lead guitarist from the band and one of my best friends.  It was amazing.  I loved it. Part of that, perhaps a large part, was due to completely frying our brains on combustible intoxicants beforehand.  When I rented it on video many years later, sober, I could barely get through it.  I honestly don't remember much about the music, but the visual spectacle was great.  "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" still cracks me up.  And "Centerville -- A Really Nice Place to Raise Your Kids Up".

I don't remember if I've ever heard the album.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #316 on: January 18, 2016, 01:13:08 AM »
You should check out the album, Orbert! It really surprised me. I've seen it named a 'peripheral album' in Zappa's discography, but I'd like to rename that as a mostly overlooked album. Like you said, I was expecting Just Another Band. This doesn't really feel like part of the discography if only because you never see it on CD in shops or online. It's an island, but a very good one. I'm going to hunt down one of those Ryko editions second hand and listen the hell out of it.
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Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #317 on: January 18, 2016, 05:18:18 AM »
What can one say about 200 Motels? Other than it has a bizarre/almost incomprehensible storyline for the totally un-initiated to Zappa´s universe or music, it has some fantastic songs and singing on it and it was ´a nightmare´ to make, according to Zappa´s own words. It´s a pretty unique feature, in that its subject matter ´touring can make you crazy´ has probably never been more adequately visualised. The movie has a hypnotic, trippy quality to it due to all the spacy visual effects. Its probabyl a wonder the movie and sountrack exists at all, given that the intended leading character (Jeff Simmons, bassplayer) exited the project right before shooting, (there is a hysterical recording of the event during reading-rehearsal sessions on Playground Psychotics, which I have mentioned a couple of times before and is really bonafide goldmine for this era Mothers) bizarrely to be replaced by Ringo Starr´s chauffeur, Martin Lickert, who happened to play enough bass to not embarass himself but was nice looking, so, ok...the original director storming off the set after another ´difference of opinnon´ about artistic/moral aspects of the shooting, the immensely tight shooting schedule due to limited budget (of Zappa´s own money) and the fact that the orchestra was on a union time-clock (meaning, they were itching to be off to a nearby pub, returning worse for wear). That, plus some bizarre performances of the band, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Motorhead Sherwood and some groupies/nuns, made it a pretty long watch for me personally.

There are some great songs and moments in there though, besides the aforementioned songs I would also mention a pretty rawcous rendition of ´Magic Fingers´ which is absolutely rocking. It has to be said that anytime the band does come in between all the classical orchestral stuff, it sounds awesome.  Flo and Eddie are the absolute stars of the movie, and never sounded better. Especially the Finale, Strictly Genteel, is classic Zappa at it´s best, even Theodore Bickel gets his shining moment.

For the full story, try to get the Ryko double cd release which contained an excellent expansive liner notes booklet. 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 07:00:23 AM by Cyclopssss »
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #318 on: January 18, 2016, 06:54:37 AM »
For the full story, try to get the Ryko double cd release which contained an excellent expansive liner notes booklet.

Oh dammit, I saw a copy on discogs, 40 euros including shipping, for a second hand album that I already own on vinyl. But I just had to have it  :)

I agree with you on the contrast between rock stuff and classical stuff. While the recording isn't that great, the band really sounds powerful, maybe because of the orchestra. I really begin to like this record!
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Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #319 on: January 18, 2016, 07:02:53 AM »
Yeah, I understand it´s out of print? Anyway, TRFZ book is a great reading companion on any of these stories. Including to court appearance where an ancient judge had to sit to a reading of the lyrics to ´Penis dimension´ and ´Bwana Dick´, apparantly.
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Offline DebraKadabra

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #320 on: January 18, 2016, 05:57:10 PM »
Hmm... much like Orbert, I'm more familiar with the movie than the soundtrack. I'm actually more familiar with the stuff about 200 Motels that landed on Playground Psychotics because the stuff on there is hip deep in the Flo and Eddie years.

Now that said... yes, the movie is disjointed and weird but Frank intended for it to be that way. I may have to rewatch it very soon.

Offline Pragmaticcircus

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #321 on: January 18, 2016, 06:58:55 PM »
I've got the movie which is a hilarious abstract, absurd masterpiece and the soundtrack is a great addition to get to really hear the orchestral music of the movie. This is one of the many things that make me love Zappa so much!!  :metal
And I love the inclusion of Holiday In Berlin as conceptual continuity in the film score, awesome stuff!!

Still, I can't wait till you get to Orchestral Favourites and later LSO, for the orchestral stuff!!
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Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #322 on: January 19, 2016, 01:25:29 AM »
The whole 'Redneck eats'/'Lonesome Cowboy Burt' part is so absurd, it's hilarious. Jimmy Carl Black played a fantastic stereotypical redneck cowboy, which is a joke in itself, seeing as he was 'the indian of the group'.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #323 on: January 21, 2016, 10:01:55 AM »
Got my order already. The booklet of the Ryko release is indeed a great read! It's a really detailed description of the recording. Impressively detailed. Stuff like, 'the solo soprano arrived on Sunday, January 24th', is remarkable considering it was in 1971, 26 years before that was written.
Anyway, great to read how much Zappa wanted to control the entire process, and how he came up with shooting on tape, and transferring to 35mm film, something that hadn't been done before, and went on to become standard within 10 years.

It is strange to read that after this the band went to record the Fillmore album, one that we've already discussed. Anyway, we'll be moving on to Just Another Band soon. Looking forward to it, Billy The Mountain is one of my favorite Zappa pieces.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #324 on: January 23, 2016, 02:20:42 AM »
In the meantime, these two things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRCe5L1imxg
The Turtles, aka Flo and Eddie before they joined Zappa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aFRBbnF-ag
A 1971 Dutch (subtitled) documentary on Zappa, mainly at home, but with a couple cool live clips from 71.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #325 on: January 23, 2016, 07:22:09 AM »
French Horn!  Cannot unsee Flo and Eddie while watching The Turtles now, and they do look more like guys who'd parody that kind of song than guys who'd actually sing that kind of song.  So bizarre.  But fun.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #326 on: January 23, 2016, 07:26:31 AM »
French Horn!


Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #327 on: January 23, 2016, 07:30:15 AM »
Eddie, are you kidding me?
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #328 on: January 23, 2016, 07:35:59 AM »
No, my friends, I am not kidding!

Offline darkshade

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #329 on: January 23, 2016, 05:20:27 PM »
Flo and Eddie are like the 60s/70s Tim and Eric, if you guys are familiar with them. I listened to Disconnected Synapses today, and that's what I thought. Also, that album has a cool 30 minute version of King Kong.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #330 on: January 24, 2016, 09:25:23 AM »
Flo and Eddie are like the 60s/70s Tim and Eric, if you guys are familiar with them. I listened to Disconnected Synapses today, and that's what I thought. Also, that album has a cool 30 minute version of King Kong.

Never heard of them, sorry. And though I know a lot of Beat The Boots I, I believe I never really listened to the Beat The Boots II material. I found a great looking copy of BTB I on vinyl btw, 175 euro's. Which isn't expensive, but it is a LOT of money.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 Just Another Band From L.A.
« Reply #331 on: January 24, 2016, 09:28:53 AM »
Official Release #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
(Released 03/1972)




Background Information:
The second album that consists of live material of the Flo and Eddie band. After recording 200 Motels in Januari 1971, the band went on tour. In June they recorded the Fillmore East album, and after releasing the soundtrack to 200 Motels, Zappa decided to release another live album of the same tour. The band is just as much on fire as they are on the Fillmore East record, but there are two things that make this album stand out.
Firstly there is the sound quality, whereas Fillmore East sounded (and looked) like an upgraded bootleg, this sounds way better.
Secondly, this album includes Billy The Mountain, only performed on this tour, and an incredible tour de force.

This album was released after this version of the Mothers was disbanded.
It started with The Mothers performing in Montreux, Switzerland. Some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground. The entire band lost their gear. Zappa proposed to go back home, and call off the rest of the tour. The rest of the band didn’t agree, and after 4 called off shows, they we’re back on track in London.
There the band awaited more disaster. Zappa got thrown off stage by an angry guy claiming that he gave his girlfriend ‘The Eye’. He fell down into the orchestra pit, resulting in a broken leg and ankle, a fractured skull and spinal damage amongst other things.
Zappa would be in a wheelchair for the next nine months, but the band didn’t know what the status of the band officially was.

“There was a flicker of hope when Zappa released the year old live album Just Another Band From LA, but only a flicker. "The group that we were in was now done," Volman reflects. "Emotionally, spiritually and morally, it had now run its course and Frank wasn't going to go backwards, he could only go forwards." Although Dunbar, Preston, Duke and Simmons would all be involved in Zappa’s next project, "he brought in a whole different energy and his next album, Waka/Jawaka, became a wholly instrumental thing, a distinct 180 degrees from where we were. There was nothing funny about it, there was no comedy, there was no satire, there was no tongue-in-cheek pop, and there was no ‘Happy Together’. There was nothing.””

So this was really the sign off album of this band.


The Album Itself:
Side A is a 24:42 song, and that was just because one side of vinyl wouldn’t fit anymore music. It was Zappa’s take on rock operas, with narrative and a surreal plot. Though this is possibly the worst (or ‘least best’) of the three versions that are officially released, it’s a great track. Instead of using Flo and Eddie to make sexual jokes, he used them to check out local bars and people in the places where they would play that night. Billy The Mountain then changed from night to night, always aiming to be funny for that specific audience.
Side B is more or less a collection of the best tracks that were included in the setlist, but weren’t released on Fillmore East. Album number 91, Carnegie Hall, is a full show of this era, including everything this band is great at.


Essential Tracks:
Billy The Mountain
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Offline darkshade

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #13 200 Motels
« Reply #332 on: January 24, 2016, 03:01:44 PM »
Flo and Eddie are like the 60s/70s Tim and Eric, if you guys are familiar with them. I listened to Disconnected Synapses today, and that's what I thought. Also, that album has a cool 30 minute version of King Kong.

Never heard of them, sorry. And though I know a lot of Beat The Boots I, I believe I never really listened to the Beat The Boots II material. I found a great looking copy of BTB I on vinyl btw, 175 euro's. Which isn't expensive, but it is a LOT of money.

Tim and Eric are comedians, they're on Adult Swim, on Cartoon Network.
https://lmgtfy.com/?q=tim+and+eric

I've only heard a few Beat The Boots, from I, II, and III, some of which are of better quality if you download the actual show's soundboard off of zappateers.com

The one's I've heard are:

The Ark
Electric Aunt Jemima
Disconnected Synapses
Piquantique
Swiss Cheese/Fire
Saarbrucken 1978
Beat The Boots III (disc 3)

They are essentially more Zappa, containing original material not found on any of Frank's albums, live or studio. Sometimes full songs, sometimes different arrangements, sometimes improvisations, etc... Definitely not necessary to check out until you have most of Frank's albums, mostly because it is probably better appreciated once you are familiar with most of Frank's tunes, not to mention some sound great (especially if you get the show from Zappateers), some sound lousy, and anywhere in between. However, if you like a particular band of Frank's, digging deeper into live recordings opens up a whole new world of Frank Zappa, as if his main discography of 100 albums wasn't big enough.

Offline darkshade

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #333 on: January 24, 2016, 03:34:56 PM »
Just Another Band From L.A. is one of my least favorite Zappa albums. But it's not bad, I just don't reach for it often. I've never gotten into Billy The Mountain much, even as I listen to it while I'm typing. It has a bass line during most of the narration that reminds me of the middle quiet part of Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The epic has cool parts, but IMO is a mess of a composition. Zappa rarely wrote very long tunes, and I like most of them, but this is his first one, and it feels very disjointed. Flo n Eddie are all over this track, and their voices can get annoying after a while.

The rest of the songs are a mix of 60s Mothers classics Call Any Vegetable and Dog Breath, which are great renditions, especially CAV, which is the best part of the album for me, it rocks. There's also 2 more new songs. IMO not the best songs Frank ever made. "Eddie..." is more high pitched F&E vocals. The other song Magdalena is actually cool musically, and has some cool parts, and might be one of Frank's "fastest" songs. This has to be the one Zappa album that uses way too much falsetto singing.

This did mark the end of the Flo and Eddie era, as Nihil covered the back story behind this album well, leading into the next era. Zappa getting pushed off stage is probably the biggest turning point in his career as it changed the direction of his music dramatically, and for me, is where Frank Zappa's discography really gets going. One thing about this era of Zappa is how much less of his vocals are represented compared to the 60s Mothers or later bands. Another is how I find the humor dry, unfunny, or hammed up too much. His best work was yet to come, and may not have come to fruition if Frank didn't have a shitty week back in December 1971.

Other albums of this era include Playground Psychotics, Finer Moments (great posthumous album, mostly instrumental, features 60s Mothers as well, and was originally intended to be released in 1972), and the posthumous album Carnegie Hall.
Flo and Eddie (along with other bands of FZ) pop up on the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore albums as well.

We're pretty deep into this now guys. If you're going to drop out, now's the time, but keep it mind, you're missing arguably the best stuff Zappa made, starting with the next album: Waka-Jawaka.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 05:24:26 PM by darkshade »

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #334 on: January 24, 2016, 06:02:29 PM »
I am still reading every single review.    I'm worried that if this ceases to be a "discussion", that the reviews will stop happening.   But I absolutely love reading them.  Don't most of these threads get archived?  Because they become great resource material when it's time to go CD shopping.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #335 on: January 24, 2016, 11:14:09 PM »
I love this album.  I had picked up both Fillmore East and this one early into my Zappa/Mothers experience, and listened to them for hours.  It never occurred to me that "Billy the Mountain" is a song, so calling it an epic, while fitting, is also misleading.  To me, it took the insane stage antics of Flo and Eddie to the logical conclusion.  A story, with spoken parts, musical parts, and parts acted out on stage (as on Fillmore East), but an epic song?  Debatable.

I still remember listening to this one in the basement of the computer lab where I used to work.  After "Magdalena" finished, this girl named Kimberly poked her head around the corner with a bizarre smile on her face, asking me what in the heck that was.  She was completely disgusted by the lyrics (which I hadn't even considered were probably not safe for work), but somehow amused at the same time that such music even exists, thus she was practically laughing as well.  My mission to spread unusual music to the world scored another minor victory.

Offline Podaar

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #336 on: January 25, 2016, 08:39:50 AM »
I love this album! The humor and insanity of the Flo & Eddy line-up are on full display and are fantastic to me.

We used to put this album on during pretty big house parties back in the day. It was amusing when the ending of "Billy the Mountain" would roll around and you'd have a whole house full of drunks singing along with, "A mountain is something you don't want to fuck with, you don't want to fuck with...don't fuck around!"

And like Kimberly, in Orbert's story above, I find the lyrics to "Magdalena" funny but wrong. It helps if I think of it as satire that destroys the thought processes of incestual perverts. I remember having a difficult time wrapping my brain around the rhythm of the section that goes, "I work so haaaard, don't-you-under...stand, makingmaplesyrup for the pancakes of our land." Of course, the next line is completely absurd and hilarious.

Anyway, good memories and while it's not the most accomplished of Frank's albums, it's certainly a fun live album.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #337 on: January 25, 2016, 11:37:42 AM »
One time we were listening to the local Classic Rock station, and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was reaching its inevitable conclusion.

After the final "Doo doo doo doo doo... dit doo doo doot" the DJ came on and "Ah yes, Studebaker Hawk, who was born next to the frozen beef pies... wait, I'm thinking of a different song.  Never mind."  We just looked at each other and started cracking up.  I had to call the guy and congratulate him on the awesome reference that I'm sure few people got; but those who got it, appreciated it.  So I did, called and told him it was a great reference, and he goes "Oh fuck, I'm gonna need a truss!"  Ah, the 80's.

Offline Podaar

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #338 on: January 25, 2016, 11:44:14 AM »
 :lol

"You saw what just happened to the guy with the flies."

Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #339 on: January 26, 2016, 02:05:46 AM »
Great live album! Love the 'short songs section' on here, Billy the Mountain is something I really have to be in the mood for. (there are some great variations out there). My faves of the shorter songs would be 'Eddie are you kidding?' and 'Magdalena'. Totally forgot about the Carnegie Hall versions!
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #340 on: January 28, 2016, 01:42:50 AM »
I am still reading every single review.    I'm worried that if this ceases to be a "discussion", that the reviews will stop happening.   But I absolutely love reading them.  Don't most of these threads get archived?  Because they become great resource material when it's time to go CD shopping.

Well, discussion or not, this has become like a marathon for me too. I really want to finish this. Thanks for the compliment  :)
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #341 on: January 28, 2016, 01:44:05 AM »
Great live album! Love the 'short songs section' on here, Billy the Mountain is something I really have to be in the mood for. (there are some great variations out there). My faves of the shorter songs would be 'Eddie are you kidding?' and 'Magdalena'. Totally forgot about the Carnegie Hall versions!

Carnegie Hall is one of the best! It really is one of my favorite Zappa records of all time. Despite it being so ridiculously expensive.
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Offline Pragmaticcircus

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #342 on: January 29, 2016, 12:56:18 AM »
Again, another masterful album of music from Mr ZAPPA. By the way, I watching 200 motels as I write this  :rollin
"The thing that kills me is all these bands that use huge words in their lyrics, 'I'm swimming in a vortex of apathy.' I'm like, 'What?' I don't walk up to a friend and go 'That's a stylin' looking vortex of apathy you've got there pal. I was swimming up a river of deceit myself."
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Offline DebraKadabra

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #343 on: January 29, 2016, 08:42:59 PM »
JABFLA is really hit and miss for me, especially Billy The Mountain. I MUCH prefer the version on Playground Psychotics. JABFLA, while good, just really didn't stick out for me like many of Frank's other albums. Your mileage, as always, may vary. *me shrugs*

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #344 on: January 30, 2016, 12:36:28 PM »
I really adore Billy the Mountain, though this is the only arrangement of it I've heard. So I think it bodes well that people think the others are much better. I think JABFLA might be my favorite of the Flo and Eddie years, but that's not saying too much.

I've been spinning the mid-70s god-tier Zappa quite a bit in anticipation. Though I'm excited to give Waka and Wazoo another listen as well.  :)
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #345 on: January 30, 2016, 12:39:51 PM »
I really adore Billy the Mountain, though this is the only arrangement of it I've heard. So I think it bodes well that people think the others are much better. I think JABFLA might be my favorite of the Flo and Eddie years, but that's not saying too much.

I've been spinning the mid-70s god-tier Zappa quite a bit in anticipation. Though I'm excited to give Waka and Wazoo another listen as well.  :)

To me those are two in-betweeners, as I've never been a real fan of Zappa's fusion stuff. Waka/Jawaka coming soon!
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #14 'Just Another Band From L.A.'
« Reply #346 on: January 31, 2016, 03:54:36 AM »
Official Release #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
(Released 07/1972)




Background Information:
The follow-up to Hot Rats, 3 years after Zappa did his first fusion type album. After Frank had been pushed off stage he was stuck in a wheelchair, unable to tour. He had had enough of the comedy rock he was playing and wanted to make another instrumental album.
Sound wise this album gets close to Hot Rats. A lot of improvisation, extended solo’s, and heavy themes. Overdubbing makes the sextet on this album sound like an entire bigband. So while it doesn’t have the sped up type overdubbing that was used on Hot Rats it does use a lot of regular overdubbing.


The Album Itself:
The record opens with a sidelong jazz piece called Big Swifty. It starts off with a rhythmically challenging theme and then locks itself in a 4/4 groove with multiple solo’s over it. Most notable are Sal Marquez’ trumpet solo and Tony Duran’s slide guitar solo. The ending was originally a Zappa solo, but Sal Marquez wrote it down and arranged it for trumpet, Zappa told the press in 1972.
“The restatement of the theme is actually derived from a guitar solo on the album which Sal Marquez took down on paper. […] After he'd written it out, we proceeded to over-dub three trumpets on it, and, presto! An organized conclusion for "Big Swifty.””

Though Zappa doesn’t say anything about the special in the title track, it appears to have had the same treatment.

Side two consists of two shorter tunes (with vocals!) and another jam-track. The two short tracks are fun songs, and musically closer to the jazzy stuff than to the short fun songs Zappa used to make. These actually show what was coming next. Funny ánd challenging, not just one of the two.
Your Mouth has been covered by Macy Gray, a female soul singer. It’s not that easy to find, but it’s great to hear a Zappa song being sung by a great female vocalist.
The title track is notable for a great Moog solo by Don Preston.

Essential Tracks:
Big Swifty
It Might Just Be A One-Shot Deal
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #347 on: January 31, 2016, 07:01:13 AM »
This is yet another album which falls into the "I have it and have listened to it but really don't remember a lot because it was a while ago and damn Frank has so many albums" category.  I'll try to get in a listen or two in the next few days.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #348 on: February 01, 2016, 04:40:32 AM »
This is yet another album which falls into the "I have it and have listened to it but really don't remember a lot because it was a while ago and damn Frank has so many albums" category.  I'll try to get in a listen or two in the next few days.

Both this one and The Grand Wazoo have been like that for me too. Mainly because I know them to be fusion/jazz type records, and I'm not really fond of that.

BTW, updated the opening post for direct links to album reviews.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #349 on: February 01, 2016, 10:24:17 AM »
Okay, so I did get in two listens over the weekend.

"Big Swifty" is interesting.  I'm not a huge fan of Frank's fusiony instrumental stuff, but as with pretty much all of his work, it's hard to deny that the musicianship is top-shelf, and the composition and arrangement are excellent.  If I ever wondered what a 15-minute mashup of big-band, avant-garde, and atonal jazz-blues-rock electric guitar would sound like, this is pretty much it.  Great stuff, just not my bag.  I spend most of it listening and thinking it's building up to something which never really pays off, or waiting for something "catchy" or recognizable as a theme, something hummable, and that never really happens either.  It would make interesting background music for a twisted dinner party, but I'm sure Frank would not like to hear that his music is best used as background music.

I was familiar with "The Adventures of Greggary Peccary" (from Orchestral Favorites) first, and Greggary works for "Big Swifty and Associates".  It was fun hearing the "Big Swifty theme" here.  Greggary also has an encounter with Billy the Mountain, and you get Billy's theme as well.  Conceptual Continuity.

The songs were more accessible, but since I was listening while working out, I wasn't exactly sure where one song ended and the next began.  I assumed that the countryish sounding tune was its own thing, but it turns out that it was part of "It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal" so that was wacky.  I liked it; it was a cool jam.  The rest... well, it's early Zappa stuff.  To my ears, it sounds more experimental than his later work, with a bit more feel like he's still trying to find his feet as well.