Author Topic: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #39 - 'The Perfect Stranger'  (Read 40749 times)

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Offline DebraKadabra

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #455 on: March 16, 2016, 10:51:05 PM »
Love this record.

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

OH MY GOD yes. Nailed it.

Anyhoooooo... back to Apostrophe (') briefly. Good good record, but I believe I actually prefer the YCDTOSA Vol. 1 version of Yellow Snow MUCH better than the studio version, and UNLIKE Cy I LOVE the poetry vamp. :lol Favorites:  Yellow Snow suite, Cozmik Debris, Stink Foot.

NOW.

On to the beautimous... spectaculous... Roxy & Elsewhere. I cannot say more glowing things about this album other than it's probably not only one of my favorite live records of all time, but that it's also probably in my Top 50 somewhere. Speaking of that.... :lol

Anyway, my one VERY small complaint about Roxy is how The Bebop Tango seems to be cut short towards the end (where Frank gets everyone to stand up and dance to George Duke's twitchy keyboard playing/singing, then the song just jumps to the band jamming at the end--at least on the Ryko rerelease) but trust me... VERY minor complaint. Turn on the bubble machine... God, is that a cheap bubble machine... Jazz is not dead; it just smells funny. :lol :lol :lol

I also love how Napoleon Murphy Brock is in EXCELLENT form vocally on this record, and More Trouble Every Day... mmm. Tasty. I could gush on and on about my love of this album but y'all get it. Do any of you love monster movies? I LOVE monster movies. I simply adore monster movies and the cheaper they are, the better they are. :lol

Smoke THAT?
Have I ever lied to you? (Frank laughs) Have I ever seen you before?
I don't even know you! I don't even know what that is, and you want me to SMOKE it??!!!
:rollin

Favorites:  Screw that, the whole album is so killer. :biggrin:

Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #456 on: March 17, 2016, 03:23:01 AM »
^^^^

All of that.  :biggrin: All the more vexxing, that a mere two years later Frank disbanded this fabulous ensemble.....  :facepalm:
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

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #457 on: March 17, 2016, 07:59:46 AM »
Haha, I laughed out loud reading the Bubble Machine thing. That's a great part. And even more awesome seeing the actual bubble machine, after all those years.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #458 on: March 17, 2016, 09:23:42 AM »
Absolutely!  And it was indeed a cheap bubble machine. :lol

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #459 on: March 17, 2016, 12:13:26 PM »
Apart from quoting Zappa all the time in my classes (I'm a sorta high school music teacher), I'm trying to quote him as much as possible during shows too. I remember a gig where there was a smoke machine standing right between me and the bass player. And the think was a much a smoke machine as a 80 year old cigar smoker with a cold. So I turned to him and said 'God, is that a cheap smoke machine', and he just stared off, knowing that it must've been Zappa. 
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #460 on: March 17, 2016, 12:24:01 PM »
There is no wrong time for a Zappa quote!

Offline DebraKadabra

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #461 on: March 17, 2016, 11:04:00 PM »
Haha, I laughed out loud reading the Bubble Machine thing.

BOOYAH! :biggrin:

There is no wrong time for a Zappa quote!

As long as it isn't destined to take the place of a mudshark in your mythology. :lol

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #462 on: March 17, 2016, 11:17:55 PM »
Plook me now!

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #463 on: March 18, 2016, 12:29:06 AM »
Fick mich! Du miserabler Huhrensohn!
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #464 on: March 18, 2016, 01:01:16 AM »
Why does it hurt when I pee? Ouch!
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #465 on: March 19, 2016, 01:34:34 AM »
So no more on one of the best live records of all time, one of the highlights of this Discography thread? I'm already looking into the next one, and I'd like to mention that I've bought Electric Don Quixote yesterday. A Zappa biography, and though most of it seems to tell the same story as every other Zappa biography (it's a biography), there could be some fun facts in it.
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Offline DragonAttack

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #466 on: March 19, 2016, 10:27:58 AM »
Going back an album, I gave 'Apostrophe' a spin last week.  It brought back good memories of listening to it in the early 90s with friends, and the constant references we'd make to it at work, as well as when we'd be out in the snow. ;)   Always thought it was from the late 70s/early 80s because of the amount of times I heard it. 

Listened to the Roxy for the first time while semi-watching hoops Thursday night after reading your comments.  A fun and amazing ride.

As is this thread.  Thanks.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #467 on: March 19, 2016, 11:49:00 AM »
Going back an album, I gave 'Apostrophe' a spin last week.  It brought back good memories of listening to it in the early 90s with friends, and the constant references we'd make to it at work, as well as when we'd be out in the snow. ;)   Always thought it was from the late 70s/early 80s because of the amount of times I heard it. 

Listened to the Roxy for the first time while semi-watching hoops Thursday night after reading your comments.  A fun and amazing ride.

As is this thread.  Thanks.

Thanks for the kind words! I love doing this :)
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Offline Mosh

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #468 on: March 22, 2016, 10:18:42 PM »
Speaking of Roxy I just got an email from ZFT and apparently they're showing the Roxy Movie at the Denver Alamo Drafthouse tomorrow night followed by a Q&A with the guy doing the upcoming Zappa doc! I go to school right by the theater so I'm gonna try my best to make it down and I will definitely be reporting back. Very excited  :metal
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #469 on: March 22, 2016, 10:36:26 PM »
Since time machines don't exist yet, the next best thing is to see a concert vid of these guys on the big screen.

Offline Mosh

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #470 on: March 22, 2016, 11:48:07 PM »
My thoughts exactly.

I want to ask the documentary guy a question but I haven't thought of anything. Any ideas?
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #471 on: March 23, 2016, 12:56:40 AM »
Well, I'd love to know if he is allowed to release stuff that digitalizes that's now in the vault. The main goal (apart from making the doc off course) of the kickstarter, is digitalizing everything that's in the vault. But that won't be very useful if it isn't then released. I'd love to know if, and how much and by what rate everything will be released.
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Offline Mosh

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #472 on: March 23, 2016, 07:36:41 AM »
That's a really good question, I wonder the same thing. I think it would be really cool to have something like a digital museum, where you can pay a premium and then stream it. Like a Zappa spotify.

But I might not be able to ask that because there was a huge blizzard last night and the city is totally shut down.  :( I'm not sure what the status of the movie is, but if they go on with it I probably won't be able to go. I guess it'll just have to be Roxy on the small screen tonight.  :corn
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #473 on: March 23, 2016, 08:22:28 AM »
Bummer.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #474 on: March 24, 2016, 03:36:49 PM »
Was going to update today, but didn't manage to. See you guys next week for One Size Fits All!
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Offline Mosh

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #475 on: March 26, 2016, 08:46:38 AM »
So I saw Batman v Superman last night and during the credits I noticed two familiar names: Bruce and Walt Fowler! Doing further research finds they've both done orchestrations on a ton of movies. Didn't know that.

www.imdb.com/name/nm0288670/
www.imdb.com/name/nm0288812/
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #19 'Roxy & Elsewhere'
« Reply #476 on: March 26, 2016, 08:07:35 PM »
That's pretty cool!  :tup

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #477 on: April 05, 2016, 10:21:49 AM »
Official Release #20 'One Size Fits All'
(Released 06/1975)




Background Information:
This was to be the final Mothers Of Invention record. The Roxy line-up (Napoleon Murphy Brock on vocals, Tom Fowler on bass, Ruth Underwood on percussion, George Duke on keys and Chester Thompson on drums), in all their glory. Recorded between December 1974 and April 1975, this music was recorded over a year after the Roxy performances. The songs however were songs that featured in the tour, and had been (re)recorded in the studio at the end of the tour (there were no shows between December 1974 and April 1975, apart from one New Years Even show in Long Beach)
One Size Fits All sits in between Apostrophe and Roxy on the musical complexity scale. This album has both the intense, extremely fast runs (ending of Inca Roads, for example) and the groovy solo’s (Po-Jama People). Zappa tried once again to make his complex music appeal to a bigger audience. According to Rolling Stone, Zappa even said “You could actually dance to this record”. And dance you can.

The Album Itself:
The record starts off with Inca Roads, one of the thoroughly arranged songs Zappa has ever released. It’s incredibly well organized. Florentine Pogen and Andy are a couple of tracks that are stylistically similar to the Prog Rock fest that is Inca Roads.
San Ber’dino, Po-Jama People and Can’t Afford No Shoes are all three country rock type tracks. The acoustic piano is apparent, vocals are important and they feature Captain Beefheart (credit as ‘Bloodshot Rollin’ Red’) on harmonica. Apart from the long guitar solo in Po-Jama People, these three tracks are more song-like, in terms of structure too.
Evelyn, A Modified Dog is a strange narrated story over an ‘odd-time-signatured' piano. It’s possible to think that Zappa was mocking the world of Prog Rock, with their bizarre stories, odd time signatures and weird breakdowns.
The remaining two tracks are Sofa No. 1 and Sofa No. 2. These songs had been featured ever since the Flo and Eddie days, with the German language featuring a lot in the shows of that band. These two tracks make the album more of unity, which is very rare in Zappa records, the reprise at the end will, again, please the Prog fans. Fun fact: SOFA is actually an anagram of the first letters of One Size Fits All.


Essential Tracks:
Inca Roads
Po-Jama People
Florentine Pogen
Andy
Sofa No. 2
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 06:59:12 AM by Nihil-Morari »
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #478 on: April 05, 2016, 11:50:58 AM »
Ah, take me back to where it all began...

Summer of 1974 for me was the summer between elementary school and junior high.  At the time, all I had was an AM/FM clock radio, but it was my gateway to new worlds.  Late at night, I could tune in AM broadcasts from hundreds of miles away, and often did, just to hopefully catch them saying where they broadcast from.  Detroit, Toronto, Manitoba... and many places I'd never even heard of.

FM didn't have the range, but had better audio quality.  I figured that out very quickly.  The local FM station had "The Midnight Album Hour" when they'd play a new album at midnight, all the way through, without commercials.  And the expansion of my adolescent mind continued.

One Size Fits All was the Midnight Album one night.  Thanks to Deep Purple's song "Smoke on the Water", everyone had heard of Frank Zappa and the Mothers, but the number of people who had actually heard them was much smaller.  That night, I became one of the privileged second group.  I still remember hearing "Po-Jama People" and being blown away by it.  To this day, I still use the expression "Hoy, hoy, hoy!" for nothing in particular.  There are just certain situations which call for it; you just have to know.  I also remember "Evelyn, A Modified Dog" and those glorious chords, and the sudden ending "Arf! she said".  I finally tracked down the sheet music last year some time, and performed "Evelyn, A Modified Dog" for a friend of mine and his girlfriend at her house.  There aren't that many people who could appreciate a live performance of that song.  A few weeks later, I played the opening arpeggio (which is just a wacky E7) leading into a song in A in church.  I know, it was only the opening arpeggio, but it has a very specific structure to it, and I nailed it.  It doesn't matter that I was the only person in the room who knew it.  I played Zappa in church.

The album itself.  I love it, though that is largely because of sentimental value.  I agree with Nihil-Morari's "Essential Tracks" but I'll play this one all the way through every time.  Overall, I like this one better than Over-Nite Sensation, its sibling of sorts, though nothing will ever top Roxy & Elsewhere because I just love the energy of and craziness of live performance, and hearing Frank introduce the songs and talk about them a bit is awesome.  But this one will always have a special place for me.  You always remember your first time, and this one came at the perfect time, at the dawn of my musical, mental, and physical maturity, all rolled into one.  It is literally true that part of who I am today is because of this album.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 04:37:56 PM by Orbert »

Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #479 on: April 05, 2016, 03:26:25 PM »
A few weeks later, I played the opening arpeggio (which is just a wacky E7) leading into a song in A in church.  I know, it was only the opening arpeggio, but it has a very specific structure to it, and I nailed it.  It doesn't matter that I was the only person in the room who knew it.  I played Zappa in church.

Brilliant! :lol

This is probably my favourite Zappa album, and it holds a lot of great feelings.  Every time I play it it reminds me of driving around in my first car, sun shining, windows down, blasting the shit out of Inca Roads and enjoying the weird looks from people on the street.  Fantastic album. 

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #480 on: April 06, 2016, 04:09:03 AM »
This album was an instant favourite of mine. All the songs on it are amazing. Inca Roads is increddible with that eerie keyboard sound evoking landing spaceships and a guitar solo that was lifted from a live recording from a tv special. Florentine Pogen has some fantastic vocal work by Brock and Duke. Pojama People is just stanking nasty groove. Andy has breathtaking vocals in the fast parts 'is there anything good inside you, if there is I really wanna know' with the response: Something....anything.... San Berdino has to be my favorite of all of them. The story harkens back to the early days when Frank was running a sound studio making 'specialised audio recordings' . One day he was commisioned to make a fake pornographic recording by a guy he later realised must have been an under cover cop. So he hired the help of a cute redheaded lady, set up the mics, and they  went about jumping around on the matress and making 'sex-noises' (or so he claims). When he finished the tape and went to the guy to do the transaction he got busted and spent ten days on a misdemeanor  in 'Tank C' of the San Berdino county jail. His description of the circumstances were very real. Topping the fine song off were some excellent flame vocals of one of his musical idols, Johnny Guitar Watson. I actually love Sofa n# 2 because again some fantastic vocalising by Duke and the entire athmosphere of the song. Evelyn, a modified dog, finally is a great 'out there' piece probably improvised at the piano one day.   
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Offline Mosh

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #481 on: April 07, 2016, 11:00:38 AM »
While my story isn't as cool as Orbert's, this was also my first Frank Zappa album. I had recently gotten into the likes of Dream Theater, Rush, and Genesis and had a craving for more "challenging" music. One name that frequently came up was Zappa but I wasn't really sure where to start, there was so much material out there. I somehow came across Inca Roads and it was exactly what I was looking for. Fast forward a few weeks and I came across One Size Fits All at a music store and picked it up immediately. The album blew my mind, it was unlike anything I had ever heard. The songs were catchy, FZ was using chords that I didn't hear often but I really liked (I'd later learn that it was the Sus2 chords that grabbed me), but there was a jazzy complexity that was both satisfying and different from what the proggers were doing. I was instantly a Zappa fan and began the ongoing quest of hearing as much Zappa music as I can get my hands on.

The album itself, while maybe not the strongest effort of this era, still holds a special place for me obviously. I don't think it would be a stretch to call this the proggiest Zappa album. Inca Roads is a long tune but apart from the solos, it's pretty tightly composed. Even the solo sections had a bit more going on than what you typically get from Zappa (usually some sort of blues vamp). There's also Andy, which has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. The buildup toward the middle of that song is very reminiscent of Genesis. No improvised sections in there either, it's all very tightly composed.

The synthesizer sounds on this also really contribute to that proggy sound as well. They seem to replace the horn sections in a lot of places, giving an almost Rick Wakeman vibe. And of course the overdubbed guitars in Sofa are very reminiscent of Queen.

Worth noting that this is an early example of Zappa's extensive use of xenochrony, the technique of mixing and matching various recordings to make a new recording. Inca Roads is almost all xenochrony, with the basic tracks and George Duke's solos being from a TV appearance (later released as A Token of His Extreme), and the guitar solo being from the Helsinki Concert later released as You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol 2. I remember the first time I listened to that album and having my mind blown when I realized the guitar solo was the same one on OSFA. This was the recording that Frank alluded to in the liner notes. Cool stuff.

Po-Jama People is a song I often forget about, but it's currently playing now and I'm loving it. At the time I was interested in the complex proggy stuff like Inca Roads, so I wasn't very interested in the bluesy Po-Jama People at first. i've definitely come to appreciate it more.

Recently though when I listen to One Size Fits All material, I don't usually put this album on. I'll go for The Helsinki Tapes or The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. Token Of His Extreme is good too. I often mention how the studio albums mostly contain material that was done better on a live album, and this is no exception, but I think OSFA is one of the better studio albums. Using basic tracks from live recordings was a very good idea and a lot of the studio overdubs really give the album a special flavor that you won't get with a live disc. It reminds me of We're Only In It For the Money, another album that still holds up even with a lot of the material being reproduced live many times.

The only song here I never really cared for is San Ber'dino but there is still some cool stuff there. Mostly Johnny Guitar Watson and the vocal harmonies.

The Sofa songs are cool, although it's hard to beat the New York version with the horn section.

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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #482 on: April 09, 2016, 12:51:58 PM »
Great to hear people liking this album. Are there followers of this thread who hadn't heard this one yet?
BTW, I believe I once read that Zappa was recording this album at the same time as 'the follow up', but since Zoot Allures is next in the discography, it couldn't have been that one, right? Or could it?
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #483 on: April 09, 2016, 12:59:45 PM »
Isn't the next album Bongo Fury? That would make more sense, since it is material from the previous tour/band. Zoot Allures is a brand new band.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #484 on: April 09, 2016, 01:25:22 PM »
Ah sorry yes, I meant Bongo Fury. Makes sense now  :lol Though Bongo Fury isn't exactly a Roxy band album, it's an easier link to the last couple of records.
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #485 on: April 09, 2016, 01:28:36 PM »
Yea, it's a bit more transitional as far as the lineup goes. According to Wiki, the studio tracks are from the same sessions that produced OSFA.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #486 on: April 18, 2016, 12:37:06 AM »
So it appears that more weeks does not mean more discussion  :lol I believe I'm also getting less busy, so let's get this thing going again at 1 album a week.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #487 on: April 18, 2016, 06:37:42 AM »
Were you waiting for more discussion to spontaneously happen?  I guess I didn't understand how it's supposed to work.  :|  When I do discographies, I just kinda let discussion runs its course, and if things seems to have fizzled out, move on.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #20 'One Size Fits All'
« Reply #488 on: April 18, 2016, 06:48:11 AM »
Were you waiting for more discussion to spontaneously happen?  I guess I didn't understand how it's supposed to work.  :|  When I do discographies, I just kinda let discussion runs its course, and if things seems to have fizzled out, move on.

Well, I thought that I'd take 2-3 weeks for more popular albums, so that people could catch up if they'd only want to participate in those albums. (Apart from the fact that I didn't have the time to continue  :big grin: ) Moving on to Bongo Fury today or tomorrow.
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Re: The Frank Zappa Discography Thread - #21 'Bongo Fury'
« Reply #489 on: April 18, 2016, 07:00:50 AM »
Official Release #21 'Bongo Fury'
(Released 10/1975)




Background Information:
Partly recorded on tour in 1975, and partly recorded in the studio during the One Size Fits All sessions, this is a remarkable album. Firstly because it features lifelong Zappa friend/nemesis Don van Vliet a.k.a. Captain Beefheart on vocals, secondly because it’s the last of the Roxy-band albums.
Don van Vliet was a childhood friend of Frank, and there are tapes as old as 1958 of those two jamming. And while both were incredible musical talents, their characters clashed a lot. Like Zappa, Captain Beefheart was known to expect a lot from his fellow bandmates (possibly more in a dictatorial way than Zappa ever did), and it’s imaginable that these two couldn’t work together for long. In a Bongo Fury special in Prog Magazine (ed. 57) Mike Barnes cites an interview with Zappa by the BBC ‘Don had the ability and inclination to sign any piece of contractual paper shoved under his more without comprehending what these papers said […] it was at that time that I put him in the band to do the Bongo Fury tour’.
That piece has a number of great quotes from those days, including one from Denny Wally: ’Rehearsals with Don were not your average rehearsals. His attention span was about a second.’ The relation between Zappa and Beefheart soon got worse when they spent a lot of time on the road. Their love for music was the only thing keeping them together from time to time. In the end, just before Zappa died, they made up by playing each other records they listened to as teenagers down the phone.

Another important name on this record is Terry Bozzio. The cute little drummer would become a long Zappa collaborator, and would turn out to be one of the biggest discoveries Zappa made.

The Album Itself:
This album is more bluesy than a regular Zappa record. The sound of Beefheart’s voice makes it a one of a kind record in Zappa’s entire discography. The result is that it’s a bit of an acquired taste record, and does not really fit in the rest of the Roxy era. Yes, the band is roughly the same, and yes, there are songs that don’t feature the Captain, but overall this album is stylistically different from say Apostrophe or One Size Fits All.
This record however does contain a couple of songs that were used on later tours. Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy was played later on as well as Advance Romance, but most of all Muffin Man became a regular concert closer in later tours, often featuring a maniacal solo by FZ.
There are two songs on this record that are spoken word pieces written by Captain Beefheart, ‘Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top’ and ‘Man with the Woman Head’.



Essential Tracks:
Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy
Advance Romance
Muffin Man
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Nihil-Morari is generally considered the resident Zappa person.