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Thread: Your Top Five Zappa Albums?

  1. #301
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    Agreed on the Zappa bassists, Fowler being my favorite overall. The short comeback of Roy Estrada was indeed unexpected, but maybe that had to do with the need of travelling to Japan and Australia with a small line-up possibly to reduce costs. Since this would definitely reduce the possibility of playing Zappa's most complex tunes that relied on expanded instrumentation, in order to play more simple tunes Zappa wound rather take someone who was fun to travel with: El Orejón.

    Lots of assumptions here, but who cares anyway. I'm probably wrong.

  2. #302
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I was thinking about that too...wait there's a bass solo here! I wonder how things like that were put out together on tour. I know Frank was notorious for making last minute changes, things like calling a band meeting and saying "You guys are all playing this music way too good. Starting tomorrow, we're doing an entirely new setlist!", but I wonder how things like that the different arrangements you hear in something like Let's Move To Cleveland happen. Does Frank say to Scott before the show, or during the intermission or whatever, "I want you to play a solo during ...Cleveland tonight" or is it a simple matter of Frank pointing to Scott with literally no warning, during the piece. The latter would have to keep you on your toes, especially if only happened occasionally. And how did he cue all the vocalists to sing the same thing, when there's different words in the vocal section each night? Did Frnak have some way of communicating to the other band members what he wanted the vocal phrase to be (say something written on a cue card, yo uhold it up, and every reads what they're supposed to sing), or did he say "OK, this is what we're going to do tonight..." before the set or what?
    I have read a few band members talking about how they had to watch FZ constantly in case he signaled them to play in 7, play reggae or ska or have someone play a solo. Not sure about the "Cleveland" vocal thing, maybe he talked with Ike and Ray during the keyboard solo.

  3. #303
    Quote Originally Posted by Conti View Post
    Agreed on the Zappa bassists, Fowler being my favorite overall. The short comeback of Roy Estrada was indeed unexpected, but maybe that had to do with the need of travelling to Japan and Australia with a small line-up possibly to reduce costs. Since this would definitely reduce the possibility of playing Zappa's most complex tunes that relied on expanded instrumentation, in order to play more simple tunes Zappa wound rather take someone who was fun to travel with: El Orejón.

    Lots of assumptions here, but who cares anyway. I'm probably wrong.
    It's possible. I have also read rumors Zappa wanted to help out Estrada for some reason.

  4. #304
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Go to 1:30:38 for the start of the "loops" segment (you can hear the loop malfunction and go silent for a second, before getting fixed) in decent 80's audience quality.

    Oh. That’s nice. Thanks for posting! Very melodic solo from Thunes.

    Regarding Roy Estrada: I think the less said about him, the better (though I do like his playing in the Magic Band).
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  5. #305
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, I've never paid attention to bass playing on Zappa, probably because there is too many things going on in his music in the medium and hi-freq dept. without having to pay attention to lower frequencies on top of it.
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  6. #306
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Heh. Yes, when Fowler broke his arm during a tour. And for the 1975 Abnuceals gigs and a few sessions in 1976, Dave Parlato from the 1972 Wazoo shows returned. He was also good.
    I think Frank talked about the deal with Youman in Guitar Player once. He said the band and the crew were playing touch football, and Tom ended up breaking his arm, so they got a guy (presumably Youman?) who played bass, while Tom pointed to the notes on a chart, with a pointer. Frank admitted it didn't really work, but it was all they could do at the time, short of actually cancelling or postponing the rest of the tour. He said after that he adopted a new rule: no contact sports on tour.

  7. #307
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    I have read a few band members talking about how they had to watch FZ constantly in case he signaled them to play in 7, play reggae or ska or have someone play a solo. Not sure about the "Cleveland" vocal thing, maybe he talked with Ike and Ray during the keyboard solo.
    Yeah, that's true, that's mentioned in a couple of the books, how Frank would conduct the band, using his own unique hand signals. I guess it would make sense that would extend to include solos.

  8. #308
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I think Frank talked about the deal with Youman in Guitar Player once. He said the band and the crew were playing touch football, and Tom ended up breaking his arm, so they got a guy (presumably Youman?) who played bass, while Tom pointed to the notes on a chart, with a pointer. Frank admitted it didn't really work, but it was all they could do at the time, short of actually cancelling or postponing the rest of the tour. He said after that he adopted a new rule: no contact sports on tour.
    There are tapes around of the shows when that happened. One dated 11/23/74 has a bassist named Mike Urso, who sounds lost. The next few shows have Birdlegs who did better and ended up on some of the studio sessions, but of course Fowler took back the job when his arm healed.

  9. #309
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    ^Interesting, I've never heard those tapes. Fowler says Zappa was infuriated with his injury and that he pretty much lost the gig because of that.

  10. #310
    The Grand Wazoo
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    Over-Nite Sensation
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  11. #311
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    You guys may like this ... my take on Sofa No. 3

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  12. #312
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    I went to pick up Who's Next on vinyl yesterday at my fav record shop in the Hudson Valley, and while perusing the used FZ LPs, they just got a bunch of used Zappa LPs in...some of which are my absolute FZ albums! All original pressings either on the Discreet or Zappa Records/Barking Pumpkin. I couldn't resist, so I picked up:

    Joe's Garage Act II and III (I'll have to get Act I on Discogs now...)
    The Grand Wazoo
    Roxy & Elsewhere
    You Are What You Is

    Holy shite does Joe's Garage sound the absolute best I've ever heard it. Barrow's bass/lower frequencies shine through in a way that my CD editions never did. Stunning.

  13. #313
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Holy shite does Joe's Garage sound the absolute best I've ever heard it. Barrow's bass/lower frequencies shine through in a way that my CD editions never did. Stunning.
    One of the finest analog recordings you'll ever hear.
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  14. #314
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    One of the finest analog recordings you'll ever hear.
    Agreed, and now I prefer it even more on vinyl.

  15. #315
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I went to pick up Who's Next on vinyl yesterday at my fav record shop in the Hudson Valley, and while perusing the used FZ LPs, they just got a bunch of used Zappa LPs in...some of which are my absolute FZ albums! All original pressings either on the Discreet or Zappa Records/Barking Pumpkin. I couldn't resist, so I picked up:

    Joe's Garage Act II and III (I'll have to get Act I on Discogs now...)
    The Grand Wazoo
    Roxy & Elsewhere
    You Are What You Is

    Holy shite does Joe's Garage sound the absolute best I've ever heard it. Barrow's bass/lower frequencies shine through in a way that my CD editions never did. Stunning.
    Who's Next is sick though. Just the intro to Baba O Riley could make old Frank a bit jealous.

  16. #316
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    Dusted off my vinyl copy of Onernite Sensation and gave that a spin a few days ago, thats definitely a fave! Others include:
    One Size Fits All
    Sheik Yerbouti
    Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
    Fillmore '71
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  17. #317
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    I've bought some more Zappa cds over the last week - Studio Tan, Meets the Mothers Of Prevention and In New York. It's the instrumental stuff I have grown to enjoy, as I find his humour of limited social value.
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  18. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piskie View Post
    I've bought some more Zappa cds over the last week - Studio Tan, Meets the Mothers Of Prevention and In New York. It's the instrumental stuff I have grown to enjoy, as I find his humour of limited social value.
    You certainly are getting a mix of both aspects on all of those. Studio Tan is one of my favorites. The humor part is fun and whimsical, with neither the mean-spiritedness nor the sexual gross-out factor that can turn listeners off, and the instrumentals are just beautiful. Mothers of Prevention does have some of that mean-spiritedness and sexual/scatological content, although the latter occurs in the stunning sound collage "Porn Wars," where it is relevant for once. ZINY is not one of Zappa's most exciting releases musically, though it has its moments. Fortunately, reissues restore the originally suppressed "Punky's Whips," which for me is the highlight of the album.
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  19. #319
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    1. Sleep Dirt (instrumental)
    2. One Size Fits All
    3. Uncle Meat
    4. Overnight Sensation
    5. Joes Garage
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  20. #320
    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    There are tapes around of the shows when that happened. One dated 11/23/74 has a bassist named Mike Urso, who sounds lost.
    Member of Rare Earth for about 5 years during the 70s.

  21. #321
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    You certainly are getting a mix of both aspects on all of those. Studio Tan is one of my favorites. The humor part is fun and whimsical, with neither the mean-spiritedness nor the sexual gross-out factor that can turn listeners off, and the instrumentals are just beautiful. Mothers of Prevention does have some of that mean-spiritedness and sexual/scatological content, although the latter occurs in the stunning sound collage "Porn Wars," where it is relevant for once. ZINY is not one of Zappa's most exciting releases musically, though it has its moments. Fortunately, reissues restore the originally suppressed "Punky's Whips," which for me is the highlight of the album.
    The double CD ZINY from the 90's has a tracklist miles ahead of what was on the original short double LP. (Some people don't like the sound quality, which is better on the 5 CD set the Trust issued recently, but that may be a bit much unless you're a serious fan.) Mothers of Prevention tried to look like a concept record about the PMRC but was basically a grab bag of various tracks he had sitting around (some early 80's rock stuff, some Synclavier pieces) but is worth it for the first releases of the instrumentals "Alien Orifice" and "What's New In Baltimore." The Synclavier pieces are good too.

  22. #322
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    ^^^ I really enjoy cd 2 of ZINY, obviously less keen on the humour on on the first part. Studio Tan was a pleasant surprise even though it was one I wanted to get. Mothers of Prevention has a good percentage if instrumentals which attracted me.
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  23. #323
    Studio Tan is one of my favorites, and I love "Greggery Peccary". Also, "RDNZL" is one of the most beautiful things FZ ever did, IMO.
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  24. #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Studio Tan is one of my favorites, and I love "Greggery Peccary". Also, "RDNZL" is one of the most beautiful things FZ ever did, IMO.
    Absofruitly. One of FZs masterpieces imo. Still blown away by Joe's Garage on vinyl....it sounds fresh again.

  25. #325
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    The double CD ZINY from the 90's has a tracklist miles ahead of what was on the original short double LP. (Some people don't like the sound quality, which is better on the 5 CD set the Trust issued recently, but that may be a bit much unless you're a serious fan.).
    I don't think it's the sound quality so as the mix, which I'm told is VERY different from the original LP release.

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