Author Topic: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #39 - 'The Perfect Stranger'  (Read 40783 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #420 on: March 02, 2016, 06:37:39 AM »
Part two of Over-Nite Sensation, or something like that. Written mostly during the same sessions, stylistically similar and commercially successful.
Although parts of this album date back to the Hot Rats sessions (Excentrifugal Forz) and the Grand Wazoo sessions (Uncle Remus and Apostrophe), most of the album was written and recorded simultaneously with Over-Nite Sensation.

Over-Nite Sensation was a Mothers album, Hot Rats was a Frank Zappa album, The Grand Wazoo was a Mothers album, and this was a Frank Zappa album.  There's a huge amount of overlap in the musician lineup, often the same actual band, and of course Frank wrote and arranged nearly every note.

What, therefore, is the difference between a Mothers album and a Frank Zappa solo album?  Did Frank ever come out and define that for us, say what kind of rationale he used in deciding how to categorize it?

Offline Cyclopssss

  • Vocal Dinosaur pre-heat combustable
  • Posts: 2991
  • Gender: Male
  • Connoseur of love
    • my coverband
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #421 on: March 02, 2016, 06:41:42 AM »
Wow, never even thought of that! That's a good point!
From the ocean comes the notion that the realise lies in rhythm. The rhythm of vision is dancer, and when you dance you´re always on the one. From the looking comes to see, wondrous realise real eyes....

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #422 on: March 02, 2016, 11:28:05 AM »
Part two of Over-Nite Sensation, or something like that. Written mostly during the same sessions, stylistically similar and commercially successful.
Although parts of this album date back to the Hot Rats sessions (Excentrifugal Forz) and the Grand Wazoo sessions (Uncle Remus and Apostrophe), most of the album was written and recorded simultaneously with Over-Nite Sensation.

Over-Nite Sensation was a Mothers album, Hot Rats was a Frank Zappa album, The Grand Wazoo was a Mothers album, and this was a Frank Zappa album.  There's a huge amount of overlap in the musician lineup, often the same actual band, and of course Frank wrote and arranged nearly every note.

What, therefore, is the difference between a Mothers album and a Frank Zappa solo album?  Did Frank ever come out and define that for us, say what kind of rationale he used in deciding how to categorize it?

I don't believe I ever read an interview with him explaining that. It is a good point actually. Especially in this period it seems totally random. Maybe Darkshade has a clue?
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Cyclopssss

  • Vocal Dinosaur pre-heat combustable
  • Posts: 2991
  • Gender: Male
  • Connoseur of love
    • my coverband
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #423 on: March 02, 2016, 01:41:41 PM »
I know there were problems with the production/ or distribution company somewhere around that time, Bizarre/Straight? Could that have something to do with it?
From the ocean comes the notion that the realise lies in rhythm. The rhythm of vision is dancer, and when you dance you´re always on the one. From the looking comes to see, wondrous realise real eyes....

Offline KevShmev

  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 30958
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #424 on: March 02, 2016, 08:50:46 PM »
Love this record.

That bass line that kicks in when the vocals start in Father O'Blivion is freaking sick.  :hefdaddy :hefdaddy

Offline darkshade

  • Posts: 2536
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #425 on: March 04, 2016, 01:36:45 PM »
Aposstophe is a Zappa classic. I always liked the Yellow Snow suite and Cozmic Debris, but didn't get into side 2 much until years later. The title track has Jack Bruce from Cream on bass, and that track rocks.

Part two of Over-Nite Sensation, or something like that. Written mostly during the same sessions, stylistically similar and commercially successful.
Although parts of this album date back to the Hot Rats sessions (Excentrifugal Forz) and the Grand Wazoo sessions (Uncle Remus and Apostrophe), most of the album was written and recorded simultaneously with Over-Nite Sensation.

Over-Nite Sensation was a Mothers album, Hot Rats was a Frank Zappa album, The Grand Wazoo was a Mothers album, and this was a Frank Zappa album.  There's a huge amount of overlap in the musician lineup, often the same actual band, and of course Frank wrote and arranged nearly every note.

What, therefore, is the difference between a Mothers album and a Frank Zappa solo album?  Did Frank ever come out and define that for us, say what kind of rationale he used in deciding how to categorize it?

I don't believe I ever read an interview with him explaining that. It is a good point actually. Especially in this period it seems totally random. Maybe Darkshade has a clue?

Marketing?

The 60s Mothers are the only "real" Mothers of Invention to me. After the 60s Mothers broke up, it's been all of Frank's bands. Not that Frank didn't basically write all the music back then either (he did, mostly) but the band was a band of peers, with Frank as the leader. After that it was always Frank Zappa and The Mothers, instead of The Mothers of Invention. I file all Mothers and Zappa under "Frank Zappa" in my music folder, because it's all Zappa.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #426 on: March 04, 2016, 02:02:03 PM »
So no real definitive answer.  That's kinda wacky.




Anyway, when I was little, my uncle (whose name was Howard, not Remus) had a little jockey statue on his front lawn.  Whenever we'd visit, I always liked seeing the little jockey statue on the lawn.  One year, when we got there, someone had bashed him in the face, taking off part of his nose and exsposing the bare cement.  By the next time we visited, it had been painted over.

Years later, after exposure to Zappa, Apostrophe, and "Uncle Remus", I wonder if that's what had happened.  Someone tried to knock the jockey down, but it was cemented in place quite firmly, so they only succeeded in damaging it.

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #427 on: March 05, 2016, 02:06:22 AM »
 :lol

It's pretty obvious btw that I don't really like the tracks that haven't got an awesome live version in addition to the studio track. Most of Zappa's stuff got better live, including this album. Yellow Snow, Cosmik Debris and Stink Foot all three are among the best stuff Zappa has ever recorded, mostly, for me, because of the live versions on later albums. Excentrifigal Forz and Apostrophe both don't really seem like 'live' songs, but I guess Uncle Remus must've been played on a tour, right? But I guess it wasn't because of all the other awesome material from that period.

EDIT: Apparently it was played ONCE during the 1973 tour, listening to a bootleg now, and I guess I can see why it didn't fit in that tour. It seems George Duke would segue in and out of it during Dupree's Paradise. You can hear that in the only complete version there is to find:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22ge_9s2dXo
Great to hear them going back into Dupree's Paradise after 'I'll Be Gone'

https://globalia.net/donlope/fz/songs/Uncle_Remus.html Furthermore it was performed with Captain Beefheart on the Bongo Fury tour, and a couple of times in 1988, but I don't think I'm interested in Bobby Martin playing George Duke's piano parts on that 80's keyboard.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 02:14:19 AM by Nihil-Morari »
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #428 on: March 05, 2016, 03:18:07 AM »
BTW Orbert, this is a quote by 'Foggy G', in a book called 'The songs that were played 'we're only in it for the touring''
(For those of you who care again- inspired by this song, we use to drive around Beverly Hills while in high school, and knock all the jockeys off the rich peoples lawns. In your honor, George and Frank!)

Was that statue by any chance in Beverly Hills?  :o
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #429 on: March 05, 2016, 07:18:24 AM »
Nah, it was in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.  A nice little middle-class neighborhood, certainly not "rich" or upper-class.  My dad said he'd gotten it as a joke.  My Uncle Howard had a nutty, eccentric side to him.  On the garage door was a huge, beautiful 3-D rendering of the family name ("Moy"), the Chinese character.  It was sweet.  And the jockey on the lawn.  I didn't realize for many years that it was a jockey.  I just thought it was a statue of a little man.  Five years old, I had no context.

Offline darkshade

  • Posts: 2536
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #430 on: March 07, 2016, 05:58:46 AM »
I'm a little surprised by the lack of discussion on one of Frank's most popular albums.

On the topic of live versions, I always thought the studio version of The Yellow Snow suite was the best version, though I find live versions pretty great, and unlike the studio version, includes Rollo -the finale. I forgot why Frank didn't include it on Apostrophe. It was played by the Wazoo bands, 73 band with Jean Luc Ponty, and later bands...

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #431 on: March 07, 2016, 06:26:48 AM »
I'm a little surprised by the lack of discussion on one of Frank's most popular albums.

On the topic of live versions, I always thought the studio version of The Yellow Snow suite was the best version, though I find live versions pretty great, and unlike the studio version, includes Rollo -the finale. I forgot why Frank didn't include it on Apostrophe. It was played by the Wazoo bands, 73 band with Jean Luc Ponty, and later bands...

I'm not sure WHY he left it off, but I read that he did decide it at the final moment. It's not like the album was nearly full or anything  :lol
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Podaar

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 6981
  • Gender: Male
  • My wife is a cabriolet
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #432 on: March 07, 2016, 09:15:38 AM »
I was 12 years old and was hanging out at my buddies house when I first heard the "Yellow Snow Suite". I used to enjoy sitting in the living room and playing chess against his Dad (Chuck) who would ruthlessly stomp me every chance he got. Chuck had the best stereo I've ever heard and it included those iconic Bose 901 speakers. It was a real treat to listen to music at their house.

Anyway, we had the radio tuned to the local FM Album station "Stereo X", while Chuck was schooling me, when frozen wind began to blow. I remember Chuck getting a strange look on his face and leaned back in his seat while he listened along. He wasn't a very demonstrative fellow so he just sort of smiled at the humorous lyrics until Frank burst forth with, "He was delighted as it stiffened, and ripped right through his sock." Chuck guffawed! I'd never heard him laugh out loud like that. It made a huge impression on me.

The very next day, the Apostrophe (') album was sitting on the top of console when we came home from school.

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #433 on: March 10, 2016, 09:41:21 AM »
I love reading stories on how you guys got to know Zappa's music, and I expect to read a lot of them in these couple album discussions.
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #434 on: March 10, 2016, 11:41:07 AM »
I've got a few stories coming up.  I don't know how interesting they'll be, but I'll share them.

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3558
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #435 on: March 10, 2016, 10:00:30 PM »
Wow I've missed a ton.

I have fond memories of both Overnite and Apostrophe.

Overnite was one of the first albums I bought on vinyl (the other was Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes). It was my second Zappa album overall, I remember seeing the cover and thinking it looked familiar. I came home and was delighted to learn that this was one of the more popular Zappa albums and around the same era as One Size Fits All, which was the first album I heard by Frank. For the next month or so I listened to this non stop. I love how accessible yet complicated all the tunes on here are. It's a sweet balance that I don't think Zappa ever hit again. Take Montana for example, great catchy blues rocker and then out of nowhere you get that Ikettes bridge. That blew my mind! I also really dig the Fifty Fifty instrumental section in particular. You can tell the band had a lot of fun on this one in particular. There's a few songs on here that were performed live quite a few times later on, but I can still come back to these studio versions and enjoy them a lot. The only song I can't get into is Dinah Mo Humm, a classic example of the humor overshadowing the musical content a little too much for my taste. I also find Dirty Love to be a bit overlooked when discussing this album. Great tune.

Apostrophe is an interesting one for me. I remember picking it up and expecting my mind to be blown again with something comparable to Overnite. Even though these two albums come from similar sessions and band members, I think they're two completely different animals. Overnite has a particular sound to it and everything sounds really unified. Apostrophe is much more deviant though, especially on the 2nd side. There's a lot of different material here. Leftovers from Hot Rats, a jam with Jack Bruce, and a rare tune penned by someone other than Zappa (George Duke's Uncle Remus). Because of this, Apostrophe was a bit of a grower. It used to lose me after Cosmik Debris, but now I can appreciate the rest more. My favorite part is still The Yellow Snow Suite and Cosmik Debris, but that Apostrophe jam always tickles my eardrums too.

And once again, these are two Zappa studio albums that have several songs that are vastly improved live. Montana (although the original probably holds up the best out of these IMO), I'm the Slime, Cosmik Debris, and Stinkfoot are the big ones that come to mind. On the other hand, I haven't heard any live versions of Camarillo Brillo that beat the original for me.


You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3558
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #436 on: March 10, 2016, 10:05:20 PM »
Part two of Over-Nite Sensation, or something like that. Written mostly during the same sessions, stylistically similar and commercially successful.
Although parts of this album date back to the Hot Rats sessions (Excentrifugal Forz) and the Grand Wazoo sessions (Uncle Remus and Apostrophe), most of the album was written and recorded simultaneously with Over-Nite Sensation.

Over-Nite Sensation was a Mothers album, Hot Rats was a Frank Zappa album, The Grand Wazoo was a Mothers album, and this was a Frank Zappa album.  There's a huge amount of overlap in the musician lineup, often the same actual band, and of course Frank wrote and arranged nearly every note.

What, therefore, is the difference between a Mothers album and a Frank Zappa solo album?  Did Frank ever come out and define that for us, say what kind of rationale he used in deciding how to categorize it?

I don't know but personally I get more of a solo album vibe from Apostrophe than Overnite. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Overnite material mostly the same lineup throughout with the addition of extra vocalists on certain songs? Apostrophe on the other hand switches up the instrumentation a bit more. You have the power trio on the title track, the Frank/George Duke duet on Uncle Remus, and whatever the lineup is on Excentrifugal Forz. Plus all the guests he brought on for it (even some original Mothers make an appearance).  So to me Apostrophe sounds like a blend of different groups and material while Overnite sounds more like a unified band effort.
You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #437 on: March 10, 2016, 10:47:16 PM »
That makes sense.  Looking at the track listings and credits more closely, the Zappa solo stuff is more like you might see on anyone else's solo albums.  Leftovers, unique appearances by guest musicians, oddball stuff, etc.  The Mothers albums do seem to be more ensemble efforts.  But with Frank basically in charge of everything, he would assemble things as he saw fit.  Eventually, we'll see that he abandoned The Mothers as a concept, and it was all Frank Zappa music.

Offline darkshade

  • Posts: 2536
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #438 on: March 11, 2016, 07:12:38 AM »
That makes sense.  Looking at the track listings and credits more closely, the Zappa solo stuff is more like you might see on anyone else's solo albums.  Leftovers, unique appearances by guest musicians, oddball stuff, etc.  The Mothers albums do seem to be more ensemble efforts.  But with Frank basically in charge of everything, he would assemble things as he saw fit.  Eventually, we'll see that he abandoned The Mothers as a concept, and it was all Frank Zappa music.

I believe the next 3 albums would be the last ones labelled Frank Zappa & The Mothers.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #439 on: March 11, 2016, 10:27:09 AM »
It makes a certain amount of sense.  Even by this point, The Mothers was whatever group Frank decided it was.  The original lineup was already a distant memory, the Flo & Eddie lineup a more recent memory but still clearly a different band, and now we have the group often referred to as "the Roxy" band, but again it's pretty different from any previous lineup in terms of character.

It's kinda like what Robert Fripp does with King Crimson.  He does solo stuff, he collaborates with people, but only certain groups are called King Crimson.  Fripp has gone on record saying that the group must have certain characteristics (none of which I can recall now, though most people could probably guess some of them) in order for the band to be "worthy" of the name King Crimson.  I just wondered if Frank had ever come out and said what he saw as the difference between a Mothers album and a solo album.  It seems that we've pretty much worked it out, and it's nothing surprising, but a word or two from the man himself would've been cool.

Offline Ultimetalhead

  • The Mighty Masturbator
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
  • .ay rof dab s'ti dna...
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #440 on: March 11, 2016, 11:55:01 AM »
God I love Apostrophe. It's easily one of my favorite albums of all time, let alone Zappa. The Yellow Snow Suite is pure money. Zappa's solo on Cosmik Debris is possibly my favorite he's ever thrown down. The tempo change into 4/4 right after the solo is sexier than hell. The title track is a massively sick jam as well. And that's not even mentioning Uncle Remus which has to be George Duke's finest moment.

I could seriously gush about this album all day. It's fucking timeless.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?
LOOK AT THIS AWESOME SHIT AHHHHHH

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3558
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #441 on: March 11, 2016, 12:01:25 PM »
And I would argue that the Roxy band was Zappa's last with a distinct style and core personalities. After that everyone was a lot more interchangeable. Something that was lacking in his later work IMO.

You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #18 'Apostrophe (')'
« Reply #442 on: March 11, 2016, 12:17:23 PM »
Good point.  Another reason why the later music was all Frank Zappa, whereas The Mothers was a band (okay, a couple of different bands) with a distinct sound.

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #443 on: March 15, 2016, 12:45:59 PM »
Official Release #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
(Released 07/1974)




Background Information:
Three legendary shows in the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood (and a couple of ‘elsewheres’) capture the energy and extreme musicianship this band had. The last two albums were greeted positively by the press and the fans, and Zappa was on a roll in terms of touring. Although this album was only released 10 months after Over Nite Sensation (and only 4 months after Apostrophe) not a single track of either of those albums was used on this live album. Amazingly, after 9 albums in the past 5 years, Zappa came up with a double album of mainly unreleased material, which shows his incredible work rate. After two records of semi-radio-friendly prog rock (Zappa style), it could’ve been wise to record a live album either of those tracks, or at the very least in that same style. However, Zappa being Zappa, he chose to do it all differently, and most songs on this live album is among the most difficult stuff he has ever recorded. Partly because the band were testing each other out, increasing the tempo of certain songs each night, making stuff like Echidna’s Arf (which is difficult enough in its normal tempo) impossible to play.

The Album Itself:
There’s a nice mix of funny and difficult on this album. It seems Zappa took the funny bits and topics of his last two albums, and put them into really difficult pieces. Tracks like Dummy Up reminisce of the Flo & Eddie stand up comedy, while Village Of The Sun could’ve been on Ruben & The Jets (well, not stylistically, but more in terms of feel).
The album has a couple of tracks that seem to be halfway funny and difficult, songs like Penguin In Bondage, and Cheepnis are both very laughable, but incredibly difficult to play.
And then there’s the big biceps showers, the sixpack-on-the-beach of Zappa-music. Echidna’s Arf (Of You) and Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing? are two extreme pieces, but back to back they never fail to amaze. The theme of the Be-Bop Tango could very well be the most dense piece of writing in Zappa’s oeuvre, he even announces it as a ‘hard one to play’ (and that is saying something!).
There was however a breather in this show, and a very wonderful one. Son Of Orange County/More Trouble Every Day is a ballad in every way, which is very rare, even in Zappa’s incredibly massive output.

Essential Tracks:
Penguin In Bondage
Echidna’s Arf (Of You)
Cheepnis
Son Of Orange County
Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen’s Church) (essential part is from 1:00 - 5:00)
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #444 on: March 15, 2016, 02:22:01 PM »
Sitting in my friend Chris' room after school smoking non-tobacco, he pulled out his brand new copy of Roxy & Elsewhere and we listened to it.  My brain has never been the same (and it wasn't because of what we were smoking).

We'd already played together in the school bands since fifth grade (four years earlier) and a few crappy garage bands, so despite not exactly having a huge amount of experience in the area, I think even then we had a decent understanding of what it's like to play live music, and how extraordinarily difficult this music was.  I was into Yes, Genesis, and ELP; he was into Mahavishnu Orchestra and others; but impressive as all of those groups were and are, we agreed that The Mothers still took it to another level.  They intermixed insane musicianship with sketch pieces, and were brilliant at both.  They combined horns, electric guitars and keyboards, and tuned percussion, and flowed seamlessly from unison runs to harmonies and syncopation and back again over and over.  There was clearly a reason why they were called "The Mothers".

I soon picked up my own copy of Roxy & Elsewhere, and to this day it's my favorite Zappa/Mothers album.  I've always had a rule about only playing LP sides at a time, and when I eventually got the CD (thanks, Nancy!) I ripped each "side" together into a single track, so I have never actually listened to individual tracks from this album, and likely never will.  The intro patter by Frank that introduces each side is great, and is as much a part of the performance as anything else.

I was thrown for a loop just recently, having bought The Roxy Movie blu-ray for myself for Christmas.  Chris and I always marvelled at how amazingly the band could turn on a dime, and it seems that some of it was editing magic.  But in a way, I traded one marvel for another, because the editing on this album is almost flawless.  It's always bugged me just a little bit how you can hear the splice coming out of the solo and going into the end of "More Trouble Every Day".  But that's literally the only flaw in a full CD, a double LP worth of music.  The edits in "The Be-Bop Tango (of the Old Jazzman's Church)" is truly flawless.  Hearing the raw footage was eye-opening on mutiple levels.

Okay, I'll stop for now.  I cannot say enough about this album.  It's a freaking masterpiece, and always the one I recommend as the starter point for someone looking to get into Zappa/Mothers.  Not just because it worked so well for me, but because I'm positive that it'll work for anyone (anyone with the potential to get into Zappa/Mothers, that is, which sadly is not everyone).

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #445 on: March 15, 2016, 03:20:23 PM »
Totally and completely agree with you. A masterpiece, and one that I will recommend to anyone. To me, this is the definitive highlight of Zappa's records. (Well at least the ones that he himself put out, after his death there have been some great great releases too)
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3558
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #446 on: March 15, 2016, 07:22:43 PM »
I'm listening to Roxy as I type this.

I might've mentioned this on here before, but I don't really have the connection to this album that most Zappa fans have. Not to say it's bad, but I heard The Helsinki Tapes first which contains most of the material on Roxy and more. So when I finally got to Roxy, it felt like a lesser version of what I already heard. So this,
Totally and completely agree with you. A masterpiece, and one that I will recommend to anyone. To me, this is the definitive highlight of Zappa's records. (Well at least the ones that he himself put out, after his death there have been some great great releases too)

is more how I feel about The Helsinki Tapes. I think the big kicker for me is of the unique tracks on both albums, I'd take the ones on Helsinki. Stuff like RDNZL and (imo) the definitive Inca Roads.

With that out of the way, Roxy is still a great album. It's still the Zappa band. The slower versions of these songs took some time to get used to, but IMO a lot of music loses something when sped up too much, and this material is no exception. So once I finally got used to the new tempos, I started noticing a lot of new things to appreciate about these tunes, especially Village Of the Sun. In general this is something I love about Zappa's music, no matter how many times he records a song, there's always something new to take from it. He never played the same thing twice. Compare this to a band like Dream Theater who strive to sound as close to the album as possible, which is admirable in its own right, but lacks the zaniness and unpredictability of a Zappa show.

On the other hand, I still feel like Don't You Ever Wash That Thing drags a little bit, although the solos on this recording are awesome.

I really like how the vinyl version of this album is divided. Like Orbert, I can't really imagine listening to it any other way. It's like each side is its own suite. Everything flows together really well.

It really can't be said enough, the musicianship in this band was incredible. They could play impossible written music but were also pros when it came to improvisation. They really fused together what you'd expect from the top musicians in the jazz, rock, and classical genres. Listening to this stuff never fails to blow my mind. This time around I'm really appreciating the rhythm section. There are a lot of killer bass lines and drum fills on this album.

I love how seamlessly Oh No goes into Trouble Every Day. Very interesting revamp of those songs.

Overall, a very fun album that deserves its legendary status, even if my go to album for this band is YCDTOSA 2.






You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #447 on: March 15, 2016, 09:32:39 PM »
The one you heard first and/or are most familiar with is usually the one that sounds "right" to you.  I have You Can't Do That On Stage Any More, Volume 2 (The Helsinki Concert), and while it's great, I feel like by time they got to that concert, they were so comfortable with the music they there were literally seeing how fast they could play it, and sometimes messing around just a bit too much, which is interesting, but usually I'd rather they "just play the song".  The songs are amazing as they are; sure it's impressive playing them super fast, but
Quote
IMO a lot of music loses something when sped up too much, and this material is no exception. So once I finally got used to the new tempos, I started noticing a lot of new things to appreciate about these tunes, especially Village Of the Sun.

That actually sounds to me like an endorsement of the Roxy recordings over the Helsinki recordings.  Or am I misunderstanding?

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3558
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #448 on: March 15, 2016, 11:06:06 PM »
Quote
IMO a lot of music loses something when sped up too much, and this material is no exception. So once I finally got used to the new tempos, I started noticing a lot of new things to appreciate about these tunes, especially Village Of the Sun.

That actually sounds to me like an endorsement of the Roxy recordings over the Helsinki recordings.  Or am I misunderstanding?


I think it's more that when I listen to the two versions, I appreciate them differently. When I hear the insanely fast Helsinki recordings, I'm mostly in awe of the sheer technicality and chaotic yet precise nature of them. When I listen to the Roxy recordings, I can appreciate the musicality a little bit more. The melodies, the rhythms, the way the horns and rhythm section are interacting with each other. That there's more to these songs than musical acrobatics. Not that the Helsinki recordings are devoid of any musicality or the Roxy recordings aren't impressive, but that's just what sticks out to me more when I listen to them.

It's hard to say which of the two versions of each song I prefer because they both bring different strengths. But that's one of the best parts of Zappa, we can talk about two albums with a large overlap in material but they're still completely different.

You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #449 on: March 16, 2016, 01:07:56 AM »
Seeing Stage 2 being mentioned makes me think of how many great stuff there is to come. I instantly thought of Roxy by Proxy and Roxy the Movie, but Stage 2 is another great recording of this band.
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Cyclopssss

  • Vocal Dinosaur pre-heat combustable
  • Posts: 2991
  • Gender: Male
  • Connoseur of love
    • my coverband
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #450 on: March 16, 2016, 04:30:27 AM »
A lot has been written about this album and to this day, it remains one of my very favourite Zappa/Mothers albums.
Others have already mentioned the increddible musicanship and abillity of the band and the difficult material.

I wanna talk about how many times my jaw dropped to the floor when I first played this record. Pooooiiiing....'She's just like a pinguin in bondage, boy.... oh yeah, oh yeah...oh!'

Wait...WHAT!? That was my reaction, in a nutshell. How does one even think of something like that for a subject for a song? Pygmy Twilight...similar. Dummy up....too many jokes to mention.
The awesome fantastic atmosphere on Village of the Sun. When this band does slow down and play gentle, it really shines in my opinion, the same with the version of Son of Orange County. The way Napoleon Murphy Brock sings the lyrics on that one, 'and in your dreams...you can SEE yourself....SAVING the world..' It doesn't get any better. I dont'have to point out the out-of-this-world-ness of the next two tracks. Seeing it being played on the finally released movie is a pleasure. The whole Cheepnis Pre-amble coupled with the song always had someting magical in my mind while I listened to it. I could actually SEE Frunobulax destroying the world in my mind's eye. This version of Trouble Every day cemented its position of favourite for me. Bebop Tango is something that was never all to special for me, just a bit of 'fun' to be had. Watching that part on the dvd made me cringe a lot of the time. I guess you had to be there. Roxy and Elsewhere is something to behold. 


From the ocean comes the notion that the realise lies in rhythm. The rhythm of vision is dancer, and when you dance you´re always on the one. From the looking comes to see, wondrous realise real eyes....

Offline Nihil-Morari

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5328
  • Gender: Male
  • Check out the Zappa Discography thread!
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #451 on: March 16, 2016, 05:28:51 AM »
Bebop Tango is something that was never all to special for me, just a bit of 'fun' to be had. Watching that part on the dvd made me cringe a lot of the time. I guess you had to be there. Roxy and Elsewhere is something to behold.

Can't you appreciate the crazy theme of the song? It's actually a pretty old theme, first played as a tango in the middle part of Farther O'Blivion. But it is totally mental, and, like I said, in my opinion among the most difficult and 'out-there' stuff Zappa has written.

There's actually an entire study on the Be-Bop Tango, I've gotta look that up somewhere. It's about all the crazy rhythms and most of all the bitonality in most of the parts that, apparently, makes this stuff even crazier.
The FZ Discography Thread! https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=44650.0
Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.

Offline Cyclopssss

  • Vocal Dinosaur pre-heat combustable
  • Posts: 2991
  • Gender: Male
  • Connoseur of love
    • my coverband
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #452 on: March 16, 2016, 07:13:35 AM »
I like the pedestrian beat part of the song, with Duke singing the notes and the audience having to dance to it, but the latter part 'anything you wanna do' is a bit too simple for my tastes. It sounds like a throw-away part. Or maybe it's just improvised, that might explain it. I do however, appreciate the fun that comes across from the track. I just would have loved a good version of 'Dickie's such an asshole' or even 'Cozmik Debris' in its place. The versions from that periods that are on YCDTOSA are fantastic, as are the 'outtakes' I'm the Slime, Big Swiftie,  Ruthie-Ruthie, Babbette, Smell my beard, The booger man and such, which I all prefer to Bebop Tango.
From the ocean comes the notion that the realise lies in rhythm. The rhythm of vision is dancer, and when you dance you´re always on the one. From the looking comes to see, wondrous realise real eyes....

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #453 on: March 16, 2016, 07:18:31 AM »
I'm just the opposite.  Not only is the whole thing a great buildup, with the pedestrian beat, but then he gets the audience up on their feet and they're expecting to try to twitch around, and instead he hits them with some heavy R & B, perfect to dance to.  The concert ends with everyone dancing.  I love it.

Also:

"George, make them dance"

Dit!

"No, no..."

Offline Pragmaticcircus

  • Classical Composer, Avant prog guitarist , musical artist, music fan, producer and much more....
  • Posts: 531
  • Gender: Male
  • The man wants his coffee ☕
Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #454 on: March 16, 2016, 09:45:12 PM »
One of the finest live albums of all time.  Is that an understatement?  :laugh:
"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."
- Devin Townsend
"poop" - Ziltoid
Prog for life, all hail metal, I'm very Avant Garde,  God give me back my razor, and all that shit!