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Thread: Frank Zappa recommendations

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  1. #1
    dog lover Todd J's Avatar
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    Frank Zappa recommendations

    I really dig his guitar playing. I want to pick up some more albums or songs, but don't want a lot of the noisier (for lack of a better word, and with no disrespect intended) stuff. I love the ablums APOSTROPHE, BONGO FURY, CHUNGA's REVENGE, and I like much of the live stuff I have heard of FILLMORE EAST.

    I am looking for more, but not sure what. Any recommendations? Also, I saw on Amazon there are a number of songs titled KING KONG...is there one particular I should get? I like long songs.

  2. #2
    Registered User Marshall Crist's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    It sounds like you might want to check out WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH or OVER-NITE SENSATION. Personally, I really dig FREAK OUT and ABSOLUTLEY FREE.

  3. #3
    Registered User John G.'s Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    HOT RATS.

    Hands down one of the best albums I own.

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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gargo View Post
    HOT RATS.

    Hands down one of the best albums I own.
    Absolutely Hot Rats, also Roxy & Elsewhere, We're Only In It For The Money, Just Another Band from LA, and Have I Offended Someone? are good one to start with along with the previously mentioned Freak Out and Absolutely Free. Also don't miss the Zappa plays Zappa DVD just released featuring son Dweezil and an amazing band including Napoleon Murphy Brown performing almost 4 hours of Frank's music

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich K View Post
    Just Another Band from LA
    I second this, in relation to you digging FILLMORE EAST. Same line-up, with lots of Phlo and Eddie-isms, wild Dunbar drumming, and some of Frank's most gnarly-sounding guitar leads ever.

    However, I love just about everything he did circa pre-Mothers to OVERNITE (and I think that the run from FREAK OUT! to BURNT WEENY SANDWICH is beyond amazing and cool), which is no slight to anything later, just a personal preference.

    Which Frank would sneer at, no doubt.

  6. #6
    Candy Goose: Beardmaster Aleck Bennett's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    The above mentions are all great, no arguments from me.

    If you're looking for pure guitar madness, there's the two self-explanatory-titled albums Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar and Guitar, both of which excerpt solo jams from his live repertoire, and show off his dexterity to an ungodly degree. Despite the solos being removed from the context of the songs that featured them, they really stand alone as great semi-improvised works of their own. Beautiful stuff. I'd also suggest Joe's Garage as long as you're swimming around in the '70s stuff. Some don't rate it that highly, but I've always found it both moving and hilarious, with some of his best playing. If nothing else, check out the track "Watermelon in Easter Hay." (Although the version on the Guitar album does pretty much kick the studio version's ass.)

    As for "King Kong," that track's originally from one of my favorite albums of his, the double-album/unfinished movie soundtrack Uncle Meat. The song itself is more of just a slight melody (the track "King Kong Itself" is only 49 seconds long!), and got used by FZ all the time for any number of purposes, which is why you're seeing it so much on Amazon. It's a simple little thing, so it lends itself to being used as a bridge between songs, or extended out into a huge jam. For my money, my favorite (commercially available) version of the track is on the Rhino live album 'Tis the Season To Be Jelly (which was a bootleg LP of a 1967 Sweden show, but FZ bootlegged the bootleggers and had it reissued legitimately on Rhino). I think it's out of print now, but it's well worth searching out.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleck Bennett View Post

    As for "King Kong," that track's originally from one of my favorite albums of his, the double-album/unfinished movie soundtrack Uncle Meat. The song itself is more of just a slight melody (the track "King Kong Itself" is only 49 seconds long!), and got used by FZ all the time for any number of purposes, which is why you're seeing it so much on Amazon. It's a simple little thing, so it lends itself to being used as a bridge between songs, or extended out into a huge jam. For my money, my favorite (commercially available) version of the track is on the Rhino live album 'Tis the Season To Be Jelly (which was a bootleg LP of a 1967 Sweden show, but FZ bootlegged the bootleggers and had it reissued legitimately on Rhino). I think it's out of print now, but it's well worth searching out.
    Conceptual Continuity/"The PROJECT/OBJECT" at work!

    There are so many instances of this kind of thing in just the first third of this guy's career, it's mind-boggling. Among other things, I think his love for and use of tape-splicing is practically (don't laugh) mystical in the way it displaces and juxtaposes time. Or, to put it another way, that there is no reason that a good idea can't be used in a myriad of instances and in a myriad of ways.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Miller View Post
    Conceptual Continuity/"The PROJECT/OBJECT" at work!

    There are so many instances of this kind of thing in just the first third of this guy's career, it's mind-boggling. Among other things, I think his love for and use of tape-splicing is practically (don't laugh) mystical in the way it displaces and juxtaposes time. Or, to put it another way, that there is no reason that a good idea can't be used in a myriad of instances and in a myriad of ways.
    Oh, fuck yeah. It's amazing how much sheer control and manipulation of his entire body of work he could conjure up -- and we're talking about someone who was probably the most prolific musician of his time, with dozens upon dozens of studio albums and countless live shows and myriad unreleased works/collaborations and so on and so on -- and almost effortlessly pull incredibly disparate things together in some kind of unholy union of then and now. And I agree, it's close to mystical (though that's another thing FZ would sneer at...though sneering was pretty much his entire raison d'etre!) -- the attentive listener can just sit there and sift through the web of interconnectedness and revel in the evocation of things past merging with the present, while the fucker could still pull off making that happen at the same time he's composing vital, living music. It's just astounding. It's no fluke that his final written work (Civilization, Phase III) is essentially Lumpy Gravy 2 gone Synclavier crazy. Even the incredibly, absolutely WRONG "mix" of We're Only In It For the Money on that initial RykoDisc twofer with Lumpy Gravy somehow *works* as a late-period FZ "reconstruction" of the album. I've got 'em both, and though I listen to the original mix when I'm in the mood for that album, there's no way in hell I could part with that Ryko version because it's almost a completely different album (I'm convinced that the bass and percussion tracks weren't the *only* things fucked around with on that album).

  9. #9
    Registered User Marshall Crist's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich K View Post
    Just Another Band from LA
    I third it; a find this album insanely satsifying.

  10. #10
    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.

  11. #11
    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.

  12. #12
    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!

  13. #13
    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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