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Thread: Frank Zappa recommendations

  1. #16
    Registered User S. Chivers's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Allen Rydell View Post
    Wow - you just summed up my whole Zappa block. I've not really been able to hear past it. The comedy vocal stylings don't help.

    Probably due to try again.
    Jeffrey, I know where you're coming from. I consider Zappa a genius (well, as close to genius as any 'pop' musician) but the sneering wasn't his finest attribute and the comedy tends to leave me cold. Do yourself a favour and pick up Hot Rats, Burnt Weeney Sandwich, Sleep Dirt or Orchestral Favourites; you'll be a richer man for it!

  2. #17
    Candy Goose: Beardmaster Aleck Bennett's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Allen Rydell View Post
    Wow - you just summed up my whole Zappa block. I've not really been able to hear past it. The comedy vocal stylings don't help.

    Probably due to try again.
    Definitely give the instrumental works a shot, and his orchestral works are also well worth exploring, especially if you're open to modern classical. The early Mothers works are less "jokey" than his later stuff, and more subversively satirical, though there are some of the comic vocal stylings you're probably wary of. The tone of the material makes them seem less overtly comic, however, and more ironic in their use.

    EDIT: And looking at Stuart's post above reminds me of why I should probably hit "refresh" before commenting.
    Last edited by Aleck Bennett; 08-17-2008 at 04:44 PM.

  3. #18
    All Shook Up Ian Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Chivers View Post
    Absolutely Free

    I realize that I haven't said enough about FREE, a record that doesn't really get talked about as much as FREAK OUT! or MONEY, but is very much it's own cool thing. Without the ability to con MGM into financing another big production right away, Frank decided to expand the band organically, adding kickass drummer Billy Mundi, the schooled insanity of keyboardist Don Preston, and sax stylings of Bunk Gardner and longtime cohort Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood. Thing is, all of these guys brought their own humor and sensibilities to the Mothers, and if nothing else, ABSOLUTELY FREE sounds like a guy starting to really get a grip on using a big studio with a medium-sized band, and actually having fun with it. Great, great record.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Chivers View Post
    I'm also inclined to recommend Uncle Meat, which is a bit patchy but contains some wonderful material.
    To me, the highlights of UNCLE MEAT represent the pinnacle of the original Mothers. They are going in such an original, futurist/traditionalist way here, it blows me away. However, to fully appreciate this era, it may be important to first check out live performances from Europe in '68, especially the Beat Club footage. No sped-up recording or massive overdubbing, just a band playing what can only be described as chamber rock, with the lovely "In The Sky" thrown in for good measure.

  4. #19
    Candy Goose: Beardmaster Aleck Bennett's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Miller View Post
    To me, the highlights of UNCLE MEAT represent the pinnacle of the original Mothers. They are going in such an original, futurist/traditionalist way here, it blows me away. However, to fully appreciate this era, it may be important to first check out live performances from Europe in '68, especially the Beat Club footage. No sped-up recording or massive overdubbing, just a band playing what can only be described as chamber rock, with the lovely "In The Sky" thrown in for good measure.
    Yowza. Any linkage on where one might be able to lay ones hands on such a thing? My Zappa video stuff was limited to VHS of BABY SNAKES, VIDEO FROM HELL and DOES HUMOR BELONG IN MUSIC?, and I wound up giving 'em away during my next-to-last move. Somehow I never found out that there was classic Mothers material from European TV.

    EDIT: Actually, I took a quick gander at the Auction Site Which Shall Not Be Named, and there's a Japanese disc featuring a 1967 promo film, a 1967 perf from The Bitter End, a perf from Colour Me Pop in 1968, and the Beat Club footage. I'm all over it. Thanks for the heads-up!
    Last edited by Aleck Bennett; 08-17-2008 at 10:30 PM. Reason: I spent money.

  5. #20
    All Shook Up Ian Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    That's the one! One of the finest purchases I've ever made.

  6. #21
    Safe As Milk Travis Sheldon's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    This post will add absolutely zilch to the Zappa convo or to the recommendations, but I'm buzzed on Gennessee and have to post.
    Anything Zappa with Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ike Willis, and/or George Duke is GOLD in my opinion.

  7. #22
    All Shook Up Ian Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    I've got Ike stories up the yin-yang (he lived in PDX off and on for years), but I have to say that George Duke is a personal fave. His vocal drum solos were nuts!

  8. #23
    Candy Goose: Beardmaster Aleck Bennett's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Allen Rydell View Post
    Wow - you just summed up my whole Zappa block. I've not really been able to hear past it. The comedy vocal stylings don't help.

    Probably due to try again.
    Inspired by this thread, I picked up the ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA dvd, and Jeffrey, I think this (along with checking out the instrumental stuff as I mentioned before) might be a good way to get around that stumbling block o' yers. As was mentioned upthread, it's Dweezil Zappa fronting a band of *insanely* talented musicians (including Zappa mainstays Napoleon Murphy Brock, Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio -- the latter two in more of an "extended guest" mode) and playing a great selection of Zappa's music; but as DZ sez in an interview in the supplements, he picked the songs in a very personality-determined way rather than choosing "fan favorites" because the more popular tunes tended to be Frank's more humorous songs. And since he's not up there pretending that he *is* Frank, it's best for those to remain in FZ's own voice (you kinda get the feeling -- in the interview and the performance -- that Dweezil just isn't that comfortable with Frank's humor, especially the more misogynistic bent that shows up in FZ's more comedy-centered material). I really enjoyed the hell out of it, and am exceptionally pissed that I missed the ZPZ band a coupla months ago when they dipped down Atlanta way.

    I'd say that this is a damned fine gateway drug into the harder stuff. Plus, hey! -- there's pictures and flashing lights! And a pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers!

  9. #24
    dog lover Todd J's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    This thread is a real treat to read. I appreciate the recommendations, I will check out the stuff I don't have, and certainly look into the Zappa Plays Zappa stuff as well. Thanks a bunch!

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