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Thread: Frank Zappa

  1. #46
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    My favorite Zappa's albums are those which I remember from LP times: Apostrophe, Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All, Roxy and Elsewhere, Bongo Fury, Zoot Allures, Zappa in New-York, Joe's Garage...

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    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Somebody already uploaded the entire Dance Me This album on YouTube. I listened to about 20 minutes of it. It starts off beautifully with some joyful, upbeat music featuring sampled vocals and an extremely brief guitar solo. I wasn't as enthusiastic about Wolf Harbor.

    Anyway, in my opinion, the Zappa's waited entirely too long to release this recording. It just doesn't have the same impact as hearing Jazz From Hell 28 years ago. YMMV.
    Yeah, it doesn't make any sense that it wasn't released around the same time as Civilization Phaze III, as far as I'm aware it was 100% complete at the time of Zappa's death. It's just silliness on Gail's part to hang onto it until she could release it as the 100th album, as if that matters. I thought we'd left the curse of the 9th behind us, but it seems as though it has just expanded into other permutations.

    As for the album itself, Wolf Harbor was pretty intimidating at first and I thought it was merely okay, as with the rest of the album. Part of the problem with a first time listen is that the tracks are all contiguous, there are no gaps, so it's 50 minutes of non-stop Synclavier, which can be an endurance test for the ear on the first go round. I've listened to it a few more times today, and my opinion has completely changed, not only is Wolf Harbor a masterpiece (yes, I used the dreaded m-word) but the album itself is well worth considering as one of Zappa's finest. It's just a shame the sanctimonious claptrap that proliferates from official quarters has held it back from the public for so long.

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  4. #48
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Has anyone got advice on the Läther set? I was wondering if it holds together as an album well and is about as faithful to Zappa's original concept as it's likely to be or whether the four original albums which made up the bulk of it (Zappa In New York/Studio Tan/Sleep Dirt/Orchestral Favourites) are better as separate entities while bearing in mind that Zappa didn't sanction the release of the last three at the time due to a dispute with Warner Bros?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

  5. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Has anyone got advice on the Läther set? I was wondering if it holds together as an album well and is about as faithful to Zappa's original concept as it's likely to be or whether the four original albums which made up the bulk of it (Zappa In New York/Studio Tan/Sleep Dirt/Orchestral Favourites) are better as separate entities while bearing in mind that Zappa didn't sanction the release of the last three at the time due to a dispute with Warner Bros?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    Lather is worth getting, some of the versions on that set are vastly different from the individual records, and there are tracks that aren't on any of the individual albums. From what I recall, only "Black Page No. 1" is on Lather, whereas on ZINY, you get Manx Needs Women-Black Page Drum Solo-Black Page No. 1, however the songs from Sleep Dirt (e.g. "Spider of Destiny") are instrumental on Lather, and in my opinion, they're better off this way.
    I bought the both the set and individual albums, and in my opinion, they are both rewarding. But then I'm quite a big enthusiast, so maybe I would think that.

    I would certainly consider getting Studio Tan and ZINY, as the running order in Studio Tan is more pleasing, and there's stuff on ZINY that's not on Lather.

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  7. #50
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I would skip Lather and get the individual CDs. First of all, the current edition of Lather has a couple less tracks than the older, out of print edition. And the beautiful instrumental Flambay is in truncated form on Lather. It's much more satisfying on the 2012 edition of Sleep Dirt, which has been restored to its original all instrumental format. And the beautiful acoustic guitar title track is not on Lather.

    The only advantage to Lather is that you get to hear FZ as "bogus temporary disc jockey" when he played the whole album on the radio back in '77. And if you're going to buy a copy, get the out of print edition with the cow on the cover. It has the full Lather guitar solo. The only complete album on Lather is Studio Tan. And as mentioned the track order is different, and Greggery Peccary isn't even on the same CD as the other tracks.

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  9. #51
    Senior Member Florestan's Avatar
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    I had a Zappa album in the 1970s where one whole side was a story called Billy the Mountain. I remember it being a hilarious story, though now I only remember bits and pieces. Have no recollection what might have been on the other side. Or maybe the story was both sides.
    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    There are no long Wagner operas. Only short attention spans.

  10. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I had a Zappa album in the 1970s where one whole side was a story called Billy the Mountain. I remember it being a hilarious story, though now I only remember bits and pieces. Have no recollection what might have been on the other side. Or maybe the story was both sides.
    Just Another Band From LA


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  12. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post
    I really need to hear this album badly:

    Best to get it on vinyl which I have (US copy) but I'm trying to track down an Aussie copy which has a reversed sleeve cover, with the Sgt. Pepper's parody on the front- reversed from inner sleeve
    th.jpg
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
    and I need the knits, the double knits!

  13. #54
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    Might be a controversial opinion, but I actually preferred the '80s remix of WOIIFM. I think "Who Needs the Peace Corps" sounds so much better with the new bass and drums, as do many of the other tracks. I don't think "Mom and Dad" benefitted at all from that treatment, though.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-gGe5GbQac

    Also, sounds like my information about Lather was way out of date!

  14. #55
    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Has anyone got advice on the Läther set? I was wondering if it holds together as an album well and is about as faithful to Zappa's original concept as it's likely to be or whether the four original albums which made up the bulk of it (Zappa In New York/Studio Tan/Sleep Dirt/Orchestral Favourites) are better as separate entities while bearing in mind that Zappa didn't sanction the release of the last three at the time due to a dispute with Warner Bros?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    For me, Läther is one of Zappa's greatest albums. It has examples of his work in pretty much every area he explored and functions as one long album with total cohesion, though it also works perfectly well as four separate albums. The 2012 remaster is the best commercially available edition, the 1996 release has unnecessary bonus tracks that serve no purpose whatsoever other than slightly extend to the duration, necessitating a third disc where the original tracklist fits perfectly well on just two. Unfortunately the 2012 release persists with the three disc set-up, but apart from that it has a superior mix to the '96 release so works out better overall.

    Add.: As for the albums that came from it, I second Starthrower's recommendation of the 2012 edition of Sleep Dirt, but I think the rest of the albums are pretty weak in comparison to Läther proper.

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  16. #56
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    As somebody who has listened to Frank Zappa since I was about 14 (I graduated from high school in 1972), I have to say that I've never heard another self-taught composer who could approach what he could do. For example, I think of some of the pieces on The Yellow Shark, and it amazes me that he had no true formal music training. Have any of you heard an autodidact that could approach Frank's abilities?

  17. #57
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluecrab View Post
    I have to say that I've never heard another self-taught composer who could approach what he could do. For example, I think of some of the pieces on The Yellow Shark, and it amazes me that he had no true formal music training. Have any of you heard an autodidact that could approach Frank's abilities?
    No, but there are quite a few members here who brush off Zappa as some rock star who wrote a few orchestral pieces. The truth is, he was a serious composer before he became a rock star. You can find old interviews and chamber music concerts of Zappa's on YouTube (Mount St Mary's) and you'll see he already had a lot of knowledge and compositional abilities as a 22 year old.

    [YT]v=rwoTPS8gbJM[/YT]

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  19. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluecrab View Post
    Have any of you heard an autodidact that could approach Frank's abilities?
    Salvatore Sciarrino

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    I'm not impressed by anything but an autodidact.

    One of the most interesting aspects of Zappa was his experience with law enforcement, when he made the 'dirty' tape for the undercover cop. This caused him to lose the Cucamonga Studio, and pretty much shaped his whole attitude towards society, people, and free speech. Songs come to mind which reflect this: Brown Shoes Don't Make It, and Who Are The Brain Police?

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