Author Topic: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #39 - 'The Perfect Stranger'  (Read 40710 times)

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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #350 on: February 01, 2016, 10:54:49 AM »
Thanks for responding. I feel roughly the same about Big Swifty. As with most of Zappa's longer jam tracks, there's no actual finale. Later he reinvented the idea of playing long solo's by putting them in the middle of actual songs (like The Torture Never Stops or Inca Roads) or at least more memorable instrumental tunes (like Black Napkins or Pound For A Brown), but this one is not really what it could've been for me too.
It's cool to see you still consider this 'early Zappa stuff'. I mean it's only 6 years later than Freak Out!, but it already is his 15th album. For me the early stuff ends with Hot Rats, but mainly because I consider 1974 the end of his truly great works.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #351 on: February 01, 2016, 11:06:13 AM »
It's all relative, I guess.  This is certainly a more mature work than Freak Out! or even Hot Rats, but it's still got that experimental, groundbreaking, finding-your-way feel which I associate with anyone's "early" work.  Also, since I consider the mid-70's stuff (which we're fast approaching) the prime era, everything before that, to me, is "early".  Perhaps "transitional" would be more appropriate.  It does seem to have more in common with The Grand Wazoo than Hot Rats.  But that's a big word and I don't know how to spell it.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #352 on: February 01, 2016, 11:14:02 AM »
 :lol Yeah I agree. It's clearly transitional considering the amount of discussion on this album.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #353 on: February 01, 2016, 11:46:43 AM »
Oh yeah, I was going to mention that I once saw this album in a store, and the price sticker on it (the fancy kind with a brief description of the product) said "WakaJawaka/HotRats".  I was simultaneously impressed that someone knew that the cover art referenced an earlier album and disappointed that they somehow thought that that somehow made it unoffically an alternate title or something.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #354 on: February 01, 2016, 12:15:47 PM »
Haha, actually, that was how Zappa referred to the album in interviews in 1972. Like it was a part two of Hot Rats.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #355 on: February 01, 2016, 02:23:33 PM »
I wondered about that.  I mean, if whoever did the cover art just thought that putting "Hot" on one faucet and "Rats" on the other was clever, or if it was really meant as a reference to the earlier album, implying a connection.  If Frank says that the albums are meant to be connected, then maybe he talked to the guy that did the cover art and it was included.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #356 on: February 01, 2016, 02:44:50 PM »
As I understand it from the booklet the Hot and Rats idea was from Sal Marquez. About the connection, you could read this:

https://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/The_Complete_History_Of_The_Few_Last_Weeks_Of_The_Mothers_Of_Invention

The band is constantly called THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION/HOT RATS/GRAND WAZOO. As if Waka/Jawaka is called Hot Rats.
It also states this:

"2. "Big Swifty"
This piece (which comprises all of Side One of the HOT RATS Waka/Jawaka album)"


Allmusic.com has this in their review of the album "Waka/Jawaka was Zappa's second solo album and is occasionally referred to as "Hot Rats II" " Though I have to say there's no source, and I disagree with the bulk of the review.
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Offline Podaar

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #357 on: February 01, 2016, 02:58:44 PM »
Waka/Jawaka (the song) is one of the sides of Frank's music that I really enjoy every time I hear it. It's funny though, I never seek it out. If it didn't come on during giant shuffle listens, I'd never hear it. In fact, to hear it more often I need to change it's classification on my NAS so that it will show up when you choose the Jazz genre.

Anyway, the rest of the album is okay, I guess. The only part of Big Swifty that get's my attention is when the trumpet and guitar are soloing (sort of) at the same time. Admittedly, that's a huge section of the song.  :lol A brilliant section though.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #358 on: February 01, 2016, 03:48:31 PM »
Not trying to sidetrack, but I was late for 'Just Another Band From LA'.  Had a friend that played this quite often in the '90s.  Listened to the CD today for the first time in about ten years, and laughed for many reasons.  Thanks for the thread.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #15 'Waka/Jawaka'
« Reply #359 on: February 01, 2016, 03:58:38 PM »
Better Nate than... I mean, better late than never.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #360 on: February 04, 2016, 04:36:44 AM »
Official Release #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
(Released 12/1972)




Background Information:
Recorded and composed in the same period as Waka/Jawaka, stylistically the same as that album and the band is mostly the same. In other words: this is part two of Waka/Jawaka.
The difference is that this album doesn’t feature two long solistic tracks, but only one, leaving more room for compositions.

The Album Itself:
The LP starts off with For Calvin, while the CD version changed the order of the first two tracks. For no apparent reason.
The Grand Wazoo, the title track (possibly named after the French word for ‘bird’: ouiseau) is a track a la Big Swifty or Waka/Jawaka. A theme, a bunch of solo’s (the first time a trombone is really apparent in Zappa’s music) and an ending.
For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) is a track that’s partly bizarre, partly cocktail music and partly impressively orchestrated rhythmic whatchamacallit. It was actually written for Calvin Schenkel, Zappa’s cover artist, who picked up two hitch-hiker on his way to work, but they we’re too drugged out to get out of the car.
There’s a massive story on Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus in the artwork, but none of that seems to have anything to do with the song. In terms of style, this song comes close to the next couple of highly successful albums.
Eat That Question and Blessed Relief are both great, mostly overlooked tracks. They are among the most melodic pieces of Zappa’s work, massively more emotional than most of his work.


Essential Tracks:
For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)
Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus
Eat That Question
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #361 on: February 04, 2016, 06:31:30 AM »
One of the glaring, obvious aspects about this album is that Zappa used probably the most musicians up until that point on a studio recording, barr the orchestra used on the 200 motels sessions.
And a large part of the instrumentation is acoustic. The ensemble is the largest Jazz/Fusion band Zappa worked with up untill that time. incorporating the likes of Sal Marquez, Tony Duran and Bill Beyers on woodwinds together with well known stalwards as George Duke, Aynsley Dunbar and Don Preston, he created a sound on this album that only be described as 'huge'.

The music is Zappa at his improvised best, were it not that all the notes had been written out in advance. It combines jazz, blues and classical music with sometimes hilarious results. I still regard Grand Wazoo as one of FZ's finest achievements. It manages to be both impressive and playfull at the same time. A live concert with this ensemble that was recorded in september 1972 was finally released in 2007.

Also, the cover art by Cal Schenkel is once again fantastic.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #362 on: February 04, 2016, 07:23:19 AM »
I picked this one up back in the day, when I was foolishly trying to collect all Zappa/Mothers I could find.  There was no Internet, no real way to even know how many there were, but I gave it a shot.  So I've listened to this one many, many times over the years and really like it, although I usually skip "For Calvin".  It just doesn't work for me.  But the "pure" instrumentals are very good.  I can definitely hear the resemblance to Waka/Jawaka, but since I didn't have that one until much later, it's not as ingrained into my psyche.

I like starting the album off with the title track, because I like it better.  I actually heard "The Grand Wazoo" on the radio one time, on the local NPR Jazz station, WDCB.  On Sunday mornings, they loosen the reins a bit.  It was a surreal experience, actually.  Sunday morning, on the way to church, I turn on the radio just as "The Grand Wazoo" is starting, and naturally I assumed I'd fired up the iPod instead by mistake.  No.  CD?  No.  It's the radio.  Wait... this is... Zappa!  On the Jazz station!?

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #363 on: February 04, 2016, 08:50:44 AM »
I've always tied this one up with Waka in my head. The differences are bigger than I thought, though. I like this album way better, actually. It's one that I overlooked.
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Offline Podaar

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #364 on: February 04, 2016, 09:04:29 AM »
I don't have this one and I haven't listened to it since way back when Nihil threatened to start this thread. I'll give it a few spins over the next few days.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #365 on: February 05, 2016, 09:19:17 AM »
I fell a little behind on this thread. Going to listen to Waka and The Grand Wazoo later, thoughts to follow. I'll probably throw on some posthumous albums from this era, as well. They're well worth the listen.

Also:
The Grand Wazoo,  (the first time a trombone is really apparent in Zappa’s music)

Might I point out "Would You Go All The Way?" from Chunga's Revenge? George Duke on trombone.

I think he also played some on 200 Motels, you can see him in the movie as well.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #366 on: February 07, 2016, 02:39:46 PM »
I fell a little behind on this thread. Going to listen to Waka and The Grand Wazoo later, thoughts to follow. I'll probably throw on some posthumous albums from this era, as well. They're well worth the listen.

Also:
The Grand Wazoo,  (the first time a trombone is really apparent in Zappa’s music)

Might I point out "Would You Go All The Way?" from Chunga's Revenge? George Duke on trombone.

I think he also played some on 200 Motels, you can see him in the movie as well.

Yeah that's true. I remember the footage, forgot about that. But this is the first time it's really in the centre of the attention. Bruce Fowler would take up that task later.
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #367 on: February 10, 2016, 10:48:05 AM »
Whew. The "Wazoo era" came during a bit of a busy time for me, sorry for not posting sooner.

This is my favorite Zappa from here out until the early 80s. IMO, just about every album released for the remainder of the 70s is a classic FZ album, in one way or another, and it's the strongest and most consistent run of material he released.

It all started after Frank was pushed off stage with the Flo and Eddie band, ending that band. Frank supposedly did some soul searching, and listened to a lot of jazz. What resulted was a prog-jazz big band ensemble, and in the middle of the jazz-rock/fusion explosion that Frank himself pioneered; along with Miles Davis, Gary Burton, and Larry Coryell, in the late 1960s, which he may not have thought of because he was just fusing all kinds of musical styles and jazz with rock happened to be one of them. But by the time Hot Rats came around, he had gone deep into the genre, creating an early jazz-rock classic.

So in comes Waka-Jawaka. Frank took the Hot Rats concept and applied it to a big band, multiple instruments. This was first covered on Hot Rats actually, with Son of Mr. Green Genes, but here Frank goes further. On Waka-Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, the jazz element is raised a notch or two.

W-JW starts with the fusion classic Big Swifty, one of Frank's most recognizable pieces. This tune would grow a bit more composed, but the original is great. If you're a fan of the Miles Davis albums of this time period you will likely enjoy this tune (and title track.) Great electric piano here, tons of horns.

Next up is Your Mouth. The two middle tracks were always overlooked by me, and only recently have I begun to appreciate them. Your Mouth is a bluesy track, and the next tune is It May Just Be A One Shot Deal, a song that is weird (I know right?) for Zappa, only because the composition feels choppy, but I really like the major-key parts and there's some interesting things going on in this song. It did become the title of a posthumous album "One Shot Deal" which has a few tracks recorded during this era.

The title track, like Big Swifty, is a big prog-jazz-fusion track, but is a more tightly composed tune. Unfortunately, this is the only real appearance of this song (there is a alternate take (or remixed version, I forget which) on QuAUDIOPHILIAc), as I believe it was never performed with the Wazoo bands, and was not brought back for the 88 band. This tune has some great synths (first to appear on a Zappa album?) just like most prog/jazz albums from this time. This tune feels like it should end a minute or two earlier, but the album is short anyway, so it's not a big deal.

The follow up, The Grand Wazoo, is just a better album. Every tune here is awesome, even Calvin. This was also a song I overlooked for years, but I've come to really appreciate it, and it contains a lot of cool parts, including Greggary Peccary teases (the mammoth epic was performed during the Wazoo tours, more on that in a bit). I like starting the album with this song, like the original vinyl, as that is how Frank originally wanted it (unless I listen to the CD itself) I also think the album has better flow that way, not to mention I find it funny using that as the first track because it scares off the "weak" listeners, and invites those seeking adventure with music. After Calvin, the title track comes in and it's like "we made it!" because the rest of the album is gold.

The Grand Wazoo is one of Frank's best jazz-rock tunes, and was only performed in this era. Lovely horns, a colorful arrangement of prog, jazz, and rock, with a little funk on the side. Some of Frank's best guitar here. This era is when Frank started getting 'better' at guitar.
Cleetus is a funny little tune, this is comedy music. The music sounds funny. Nothing wrong with that and damn does it sound cool.

Eat That Question is a classic jazz-rock tune, George Duke is all over this one. A little march at the end, some fanfare. This song rocks.

The album ends with one of Frank Zappa's most beautiful tunes, Blessed Relief. A slow, relaxed tune that allows the listener to reflect, as well as hear Frank rip your heart out, and George Duke reach into your soul, and whoever is playing trumpet (Sal Marquez?) plays a nice solo too. This song alone makes it a masterpiece, and yet, it doesn't really reflect the overall sound of the album, yet it does. I don't know. The Grand Wazoo is a great album, a masterpiece even. One of my favorites for sure.

Good posthumous albums to check out from this time:
Wazoo - live album of the Grand Wazoo band
Imaginary Diseases - live album of the "Petitie" Wazoo band
Joe's Domage - only for completists, features rehearsal of Wazoo tour material

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #368 on: February 11, 2016, 05:25:44 AM »
Thanks for your response, great read! And you're right, both, but Wazoo mainly, are great albums. Synths had been a part of Zappa's arsenal for a couple of years though, I believe on Chunga for the first time, but Fillmore has a great Moog solo.
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #369 on: February 11, 2016, 07:26:23 AM »
I must admit to my shame, that besides the Grand Wazoo, I wasn't familiar with the Waka/Jawaka and Studio Tan material until I purchased the 'Lather' three discc set. Before that I wasn't too much into the 'jazzy/wanky stuff, but those tracks proved me wrong. Greggary Peccary was pretty gooffy, but a tour-de-force nonetheless.  Not to jump ahead too much tho.
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Offline darkshade

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #370 on: February 11, 2016, 10:47:28 AM »
Thanks for your response, great read! And you're right, both, but Wazoo mainly, are great albums. Synths had been a part of Zappa's arsenal for a couple of years though, I believe on Chunga for the first time, but Fillmore has a great Moog solo.

Haha, you're right. Chunga's again. What an underrated album.

I must admit to my shame, that besides the Grand Wazoo, I wasn't familiar with the Waka/Jawaka and Studio Tan material until I purchased the 'Lather' three discc set. Before that I wasn't too much into the 'jazzy/wanky stuff, but those tracks proved me wrong. Greggary Peccary was pretty gooffy, but a tour-de-force nonetheless.  Not to jump ahead too much tho.

Well, this is the era that Greggary Peccary first appeared live, so you're not exactly jumping ahead. This piece was worked on all through the 70s until completed on Lather/Studio Tan, though that version was never performed live, I think. There's a few pieces on later albums that first appeared in this era: Regyptian Strut, Greggary Peccary, Rollo, Approximate (the Wazoo version gets real funky!) and tunes that never appeared on a Zappa album (which can be found on Imaginary Diseases)

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #371 on: February 11, 2016, 03:43:55 PM »
I've only listened to Zoot Allures, so I guess I'll have to wait a while to join the discussion.

Also: I know Zappa was prolific - but 16 albums in only 7 years? My God!

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #372 on: February 11, 2016, 04:01:34 PM »
I've only listened to Zoot Allures, so I guess I'll have to wait a while to join the discussion.

Also: I know Zappa was prolific - but 16 albums in only 7 years? My God!

Or you can listen to a lot of great music and join the discussion!  :D
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #373 on: February 12, 2016, 10:24:58 PM »
I've only listened to Zoot Allures, so I guess I'll have to wait a while to join the discussion.

Also: I know Zappa was prolific - but 16 albums in only 7 years? My God!

Or you can listen to a lot of great music and join the discussion!  :D

Well, I'm still sort of hypnotized by The Astonishing, so maybe later. Luckily,a couple of stores around my area have some of his albums (mainly his earlier ones), so I might pick one or two up.

I've been meaning to do so for a long time. I think this will be the year.

Meanwhile, I'll read through the thread - I think I might learn a thing or two.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:14:30 PM by SebastianPratesi »

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #374 on: February 13, 2016, 04:15:16 PM »
Sebastian,

You can listen to every album mentioned so far (except 200 motels) on Spotify.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #375 on: February 13, 2016, 04:43:43 PM »
Listening to Imaginary Diseases. What a great album. One of the best posthumous albums, easily, maybe THE best. What I forgot is that Farther O'Blivion (not to be confused with Father Oblivion from Apostophe (') which is a completely different song) is actually the other "half" of The Adventures of Greggary Peccary, which was essentially 'merged' with the arrangement from the Wazoo era. It has some of the "New Brown Clouds" parts as well as other themes, but this version has a beautiful tuba solo (yes, tuba) and this album overall has a lot of great jams, probably the "jammiest" Zappa album. Been a while since I've heard some of these albums. This discography thread has been great, and has been mostly moving at a great pace.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #376 on: February 13, 2016, 05:04:52 PM »
Sebastian,

You can listen to every album mentioned so far (except 200 motels) on Spotify.

Thanks for the heads up! I'll check them out then.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #377 on: February 13, 2016, 07:13:36 PM »
Got busy too. I love both the Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums. Among his best, a shame we didn't get more material from that period.
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #378 on: February 14, 2016, 07:57:09 AM »
Got busy too. I love both the Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums. Among his best, a shame we didn't get more material from that period.

Check out Wazoo and Imaginary Diseases, especially the latter, for more material.

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #379 on: February 14, 2016, 08:11:31 PM »
I listened to The Grand Wazoo today, CD version, all the way through.  Still love it.  Still not a big fan of "For Calvin" but it was okay.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #380 on: February 15, 2016, 01:43:47 AM »
I'm loving the fact that there's more response now that there's more time to listen to this album. I will write up Over Nite very soon, maybe I'll leave that one open for a bit more than a week too.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #381 on: February 15, 2016, 07:54:19 PM »
Whenever I am in the mood for some Zappa, The Grand Wazoo is one of my go-to albums of his. Just a great listen from start to finish. :hat

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #16 'The Grand Wazoo'
« Reply #382 on: February 15, 2016, 09:23:11 PM »
Whenever I am in the mood for some Zappa, The Grand Wazoo is one of my go-to albums of his. Just a great listen from start to finish. :hat

Agreed, it's just one of those albums. A lot of 'those' albums are coming.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #17 'Over-Nite Sensation'
« Reply #383 on: February 18, 2016, 11:40:53 AM »
Official Release #17 'Over-Nite Sensation'
(Released 09/1973)




Background Information:
The first 7 years of Zappa’s career had been quite the rollercoaster. Starting as a teenage combo, ready to show the world what real music and entertainment was, disbanding that combo when times were getting better, struggling with the new band, being thrown off stage, and spending the best part of a year in a wheelchair, Zappa was now all better again. He was ready again to show the world how pop music should sound. It is quite clear that this record (and the simultaneously recorded follow-up Apostrophe) were among his most hit-ready of his career.
In contrast to the early Mothers, Zappa now could use a band able to sight read his music, and perform it with a certain flair as well. His own guitar playing had improved as well, and he was confident enough to put it in the center of the attention at times.
The sound of the record is crisp, very modern and defined, the band sounds great, and a really notable addition are the background vocals. Zappa needed some background vocalists on this record, his then road manager (probably Marty Perellis) suggested Ike and the Ikettes. Ike Turner was adamant that they would be payed 25 dollars per song. Zappa apparently added that he wrote quite difficult music, and that an hourly wager would be better, but Ike wasn’t going to change his mind. In the end Ike decided he didn’t like the music at all, and the group shouldn’t be credited.
Lyrics wise, this record focusses mainly on sex, but with a couple of crazy lyrics and I’m The Slime being the only political song on this.

The Album Itself:
Although this album is stylistically homogenic (which is still a rare thing for Zappa) it does feature a lot of stuff that Zappa was known for. Blazing guitar, funny lyrics, great arrangements. The album is short, at under 35 minutes, but all 7 tracks would become Zappa classics.
Although the album wasn’t praised by the media in the 70’s it would later be named one of Zappa’s best albums.

Essential Tracks:
I’m The Slime
Zomby Woof
Dinah-Moe Humm
Montana 
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
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Offline Podaar

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #17 'Over-Nite Sensation'
« Reply #384 on: February 18, 2016, 11:58:25 AM »
An absolutely essential album, in my book, with only "Fifty-fifty" being the slight dip in the proceedings. Classic, classic Frank!