Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

Happy birthday Ron Kane (1958), Ian Anderson (1947) and Ronnie Spector (1945).

FRANK ZAPPA

Frank Zappa, American guy, guitarist – former leader of The Mothers of Invention.  That’s what I want to talk about today, on my birthday!

I did not start with “Freak Out”, though I certainly heard it before “Absolutely Free” came out.  Actually, the first one I listened to with any kind of mind at all was “We’re Only In it For The Money”, which rolled out in 1968, when I would’ve been 10 years old (that August).  Please do not underestimate how important these LP’s are to me!  They are deeply & permanently – in me.

My sisters (only one of whom is still alive) were who played them to me, when I was a child.  These LP’s got in before any walls were up.  I have my late older brother to thank for lots of stuff, but it’s my sisters who played me Frank Zappa, while they were babysitting me.

I have mono & stereo pressings of these albums, and they are among my most important possessions.  Other records have been stolen from my collection, but, thankfully, not these ones!

I have no idea why the ZFT has never particularly allowed any audiophile pressings / platings, apart from those Au20 gold discs that Rykodisc did a few years ago.  There is a DTS DVD in 5.1, but only one.  And at least 2 albums were done in 4.0 (“Apostrophe” & “Overnite Sensation”, both of which would sound GREAT in 5.1, 4.0 etc.)  MFSL did one album, too – as a gold disc.  A very careful mastering of any of the first decade of Mr. Zappa’s music would be most welcome, around here.

And I additionally searched out most of Mr. Zappa’s 45’s.  I have lots of them now.

The Turtles

Happy Birthday Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) (1944); Jim Pons (of The Turtles) (1946); R&B singer Al Green (1946) and Jimmy Destri (member of Blondie) (1954).

The Turtles

I remember liking them as a young person.  I wasn’t a fan until Flo & Eddie joined Frank Zappa’s band – then I could appreciate their talent!  BTW, Howard Kaylan’s book (“Shell Shocked”) is amazing!

CD                BEST OF                                                                                               RHINO US                 R2 71027     1992

10 TRKS stereo CD collection

 

LP                 GOLDEN HITS                                                                                     WHITE WHALE US   WWS 7115  1969?

11 TRKS stereo LP collection

LP                 GOLDEN HITS mono                                                                          WHITE WHALE US   WW 115       1969?

11 TRKS mono LP collection

 

LP                 GREATEST HITS                                                                                   RHINO US                 RNLP 160      1982

14 TRKS stereo LP collection, label innersleeve

 

7″                 GRIM REAPER OF LOVE / COME BACK                                            WHITE WHALE US   WW 231       1966?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve; promo

 

7″                 GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN / THINK I’LL RUN AWAY             WHITE WHALE US   WW 251       1967?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

CD                HAPPY TOGETHER – VERY BEST                                                        SHOUT US                DK 37488     2004

14 TRKS stereo CD collection

 

7″                 HAPPY TOGETHER (Jpn) (PS)                                                            LONDON JPN           TOP-1138     1967

2 TRKS with pic sleeve

 

7″                 LET ME BE / YOUR MAW SAID YOU CRIED                                     WHITE WHALE US   WW 223       1965

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 LOVE IN THE CITY / BACHELOR MOTHER                                        WHITE WHALE US   WW 326       1969?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 SHE’D RATHER BE WITH ME                                                             WHITE WHALE US   WW 249       1967

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 SHE’S MY GIRL / CHICKEN LITTLE WAS RIGHT                               WHITE WHALE US   WW 260       1967?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 SOUND ASLEEP / UMBASSA THE DRAGON                                     WHITE WHALE US   WW 264       1968?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 STORY OF ROCK AND ROLL, THE                                                      WHITE WHALE US   WW 273       1968

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″                 YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN / RUGS OF WOODS & FLOWERS     WHITE WHALE US   WW 254       1967?

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

Frank Zappa re-issue LP’s

Happy birthday to Mr. Frank Zappa (1940) and Russian bad guy Joe Stalin (1879).

My heart nearly skipped a beat when Universal Japan scheduled a NEW SET of Zappa kami (paper) sleeve CD’s. But it was short-lived, and the series got cancelled quickly. Saved myself a couple hundred bucks, right?

 

“Finer Moments” was a FZ 2LP set that I knew nothing about. Even says it’s an “Official Release” (#94). But there didn’t appear to be a CD of it, then. So, I bought one.

 

Next I probably saw a new 2LP re-issue of “Roxy & Elsewhere” – a good FZ album, on many levels. Definitely a “new package” of an old favorite. Even says it’s an “Official Release” (#19). New mastering. So, I figured…better get a copy.

 

Probably the last new FZ LP I got was “Apostrophe”. For a single LP, it was a tad expensive. Totally re-designed rear cover, 180g LP, New mastering. I bought one anyway.

 

“Overnight Sensation” was not a difficult choice. The original US LP’s always seemed to have a mastering flaw, by where the LP didn’t sound great. The new Universal LP re-issue sounds great. Rear cover completely re-designed.

 

“Uncle Meat” 2LP re-issue must’ve been inexpensive, somewhere. Spine and rear cover totally re-designed. New mastering, 180g LP’s, nice printing – the booklet! An easy no-brainer for me.

 

“Freak Out” took some deciding, on my part. Most of these LP re-issues have been from “as good as possible” tapes, so I approached it via that avenue. Cover seems a little bit blurry. Really good 2LP set! It’s from original tapes, so it doesn’t have the ‘digital’ sound of the older CD.

 

I do not know where entire shows of older bands come from, but they’re here! There are 3 or 4 FZ ones, but only one I bought was “The Mothers Of Invention – Wollman Rink, Central Park, NY August 3rd 1968”. So this is a bootleg, right? Sound isn’t 100%. Perhaps not even a professional recording?

 

I hope Dweezil Zappa & Co. re-issues more quad (or 5.1) FZ, as we know Mr. Zappa mixed several albums to quad, way back when. “Apostrophe”, “Overnight Sensation” – any others? “Grand Wazoo”? A 5.1 “200 Motels”?

Roxy – The Movie

Happy birthday Ray Collins (singer of The Mothers Of Invention) (1937).

Recently, while in Portland, OR I had the option to buy the new Frank Zappa album, “Roxy – The Movie”. I selected the CD + Blu-ray version and bought it at Music Millennium (a store very much like Rhino Claremont).

 

First off, this is NOT “The Roxy & Elsewhere” double LP nor is it the “Roxy By Proxy” recent CD; it’s a whole new kettle of fish! It will be easy to find, if you look for it this year, but – no guarantees after 2015!

 

I have heard for decades that they (The ZFT = Zappa Family Trust) have TONS of unsynched / unsynchable footage of the December 1973 Roxy shows by Frank Zappa & The Mothers. Someone who used to work for Mr. Zappa told me that.

 

However, what wouldn’t have been possible even 5 years ago is now…commonplace? That someone with a computer can, in fact, synch up unsynchable footage? Well, that’s true. And someone did synch up a whole bunch of Roxy footage! And it doesn’t look bad at all, if you can forgive some absent pixie dust, and Mr. Zappa’s usual warning about stuff being “live” and “not overdubbed”.

 

It is heavily mightily “synched” – when they don’t know what to do, something goes to soft focus or the backs of heads. And, I must say, Pamela Miller never looked better!

 

There’s an 11 track CD that comes with the movie, though the 5.1 mix of the movie audio will likely suggest that I watch the movie again, as opposed to play the CD. The packaging says Mr. Zappa mixed the whole thing to quad in 1974…

 

And it’s the first Frank Zappa blu-ray disc! Let’s hope they have more waiting in the tank, ‘cause this one was fun. “Dub Room Special”, “200 Motels”, “Baby Snakes” can all be re-sold to Zappa fans, anxiously awaiting further blu-ray releases. But what will they do?

 

Certainly they don’t seem to be hurrying to release any more DVD-A releases, like the powerful “Quadraphiliac” (or thereabouts). Mr. Zappa himself did, in fact, mix lots of his 70’s work into quad, so one thinks it could possible that the ZFT lets go…but at this point, it seems somewhat unlikely.

Roxy & Elsewhere

Happy birthday to Dino Valenti (born 1940)

Roxy & Elsewhere” by “Zappa / Mothers” (Discreet / Warner 2DS 2202) Dated 1974

 

Recording of this double LP spans December 10th, 1973 – May 8th, 1974. Many of us bought it towards the end of 1974. My U.S. copy states “Promotion Not For Sale” on the labels of the record, and has a large pink Warner Brothers sticker on the cover, “Promotional Copy – Not For Sale”. “Cheepnis” has yet to be tinkered with.

 

The next copy I found was a British pressing, essentially the same as the US copy, but manufactured in Great Britain. Different serial # K 69201 too.

 

Next comes a German pressing of this 2LP album, Discreet DIS 89200, with a few cover differences; it seems like all the colors are a bit lighter on this issue? The sleeves inside have other Warner Brothers LP’s pictured.

 

For sheer perversity, I also own a New Zealand pressing of this 2LP, on Reprise – no less! 2RS 2202, no Discreet labels for NZ! Cover colors are altered again, much more grainy, considerably less ‘red’.

 

For my money, the nicest pressing of this 2LP set is the Japanese Discreet / Warner issue, P-5173/4, Yen 3,400; LP has a lyrics insert, which includes a designation of Zappa / Mothers Group members #1 – Group #9; however, it looks like this 2LP has a 1975 issue in Japan (even if it is January). And the discs are super clean sounding, easily as good (or better than) the U.S. original copy. On the back of the obi (the paper band), it pictures 3 other Frank Zappa LP you could purchase in Japan in 1975, Warner era stuff.

 

The assorted compact discs are also rather amusing: the original issue of this title came on CD via Barking Pumpkin Records, via Rhino. It was eventually re-issued by Rykodisc in 1995, and again by Universal Music in 2012. As far as I know, all of the CD versions have the re-worked “Cheepnis”.

 

If you want more Roxy Theatre, you can always buy “Roxy By Proxy” from Zappa’s website; I agree with the liner notes to that CD, Frank would never have released it. But it is completely different from “Roxy & Elsewhere”, so you know what to do.

Roxy By Proxy

Roxy By Proxy

Happy birthday Ronnie Lane of Small Faces (1946)

Frank Zappa / The Mothers – Roxy By Proxy (Zappa Records, mail-order CD)

Listened to this ‘new album’ last night.  It’s completely 100% alternate performances from December 1973, recorded Live at The Roxy, in Hollywood.  Extensive liner notes by Ruth Underwood – extensive!  Perfect sound quality, 30ips 16-track recording – it does not have the sound that FZ himself mixed it, both Ruth and Gail say “It’s not something FZ would’ve released himself”; Gail refers to it only as an ‘appetizer’.  It does not sound “Sweetened” at all (a la the “Roxy” 2LP set).

GZ alludes to the fact that there will be a “Roxy Movie” at some later point, and that certain performances had to be “kept” for that project.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll finally get a decent Frank Zappa Blu-ray disc?  There was always some sort of trouble with who shot video at The Roxy, who owned the synch rights etc.

This CD is 75 minutes long, a decent recording, but not a great mix – still a lot more enjoyable than some of FZ’s later bands; Ruth’s liner notes are quite good, very enjoyable.  One of the better ZFT CD re-issues that were never issued before.

Zappa.com’s releases are always geared towards real Zappa fans – of course, but this one is really a quality release, and I’ve forgotten all about how they kept my money for so long without sending me anything – until recently!  3/18/14, to be exact!

February 2013 List

2-28-13          February 2013 List

Decca UK LP RS

Happy birthday, John Fahey!  (Born 1939).  On 2/28/70 the Frank Zappa “Hot Rats” LP charts at No. 9 in England.  On 3/3/73, the LP “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player” by Elton John charts at No. 1 in the US.  On 3/2/74 the Paul McCartney & Wings 45 “Jet” charts at No. 7 in England.  Happy birthday, Brian Jones!  (Born 1942).

2/27: Keith Richards busted in Toronto, Ont., Canada.

2/26: Happy birthday, Bob “The Bear” Hite (of Canned Heat), born 1945.

2/24:  Happy birthday, Paul Jones (singer of Manfred Mann), born 1944.  On 2/25/67 The Beatles double A-Side 45 “Penny Lane” b/w “Strawberry Fields Forever” charts at No. 2 in England.  Happy birthday, George Harrison!  (Born 1943).

Sorry I took the last few days off; had to – I was extremely busy.  Finally got an MRI on my left bicep!  Also looked in to my “retirement”.

My February 2013 List:

ALPERT, HERB – PASSION DANCE, DTS US CD 5.1 audio

ANDERSON, CASEY BAG I’M IN, ATCO US LP mono

ATOMIC ROOSTER DEVIL HITS BACK, NMC UK CD Collection

BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE, CAPITOL US CD re-mastered

BIG BEN BANJO BAND BIG BEN’S MINSTREL SHOW, EMI/COLUMBIA UK LP EZ  mono

BOO RADLEYS FREE HUEY, CREATION UK CD Single

BOYLE, GARY ELECTRIC GLIDE, GULL UK LP British jazz

BRUBECK, DAVE – TIME OUT, COLUMBIA US SA-CD non-hybrid, 3-channel; jazz

BRUCE, BAKER & MOORE AROUND THE NEXT DREAM, VIRGIN UK CD re-mastered

BYRNE, DAVID MAKE BELIEVE MAMBO, SIRE DE CD Single CD5

CHARLATANS ONLY ONE I KNOW, BEGGAR’S BANQUET US CD Single CD5

CLARK, ANNE – PRESSURE POINTS, TEN UK CD John Foxx

CLEAR BLUE SKY s/t, VERTIGO UK LP

COASTERS WAIT A MINUTE / THUMBIN’ A RIDE, ATCO US 7″

COLLINS, JUDY RECOLLECTIONS, ELEKTRA UK LP

COOPER, ALICE SCHOOL’S OUT, WARNER US 7″ W/PS

DEVIANTS PTOOFF!, UNDEGROUND IMP UK LP poster sleeve

DURUTTI COLUMN GREETINGS THREE, MATERIALI SONORI IT 12″ W/PS

FACES HAD ME A REAL GOOD TIME, WARNER US 7″ promo

FIELDING, JERRY / ORCHESTRA NEAR EAST BRASS, COMMAND US LP EZ

FOXX, JOHN NO-ONE DRIVING, VIRGIN UK 7″ W/PS

FRANKLIN, ARETHA – ARETHA’S BEST, RHINO US CD R&B

GABRIEL, PETER KISS THAT FROG, VIRGIN UK CD Single CD5

GABRIEL, PETER – SO (CLASSIC ALBUMS), EAGLE US BLU-RAY

GENERATION X s/t, CHRYSALIS CAN CD

HUNTER, IAN WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE, CHRYSALIS UK 7″ x 2 W/PS

JONES, TOM LEAD AND HOW TO SWING IT, INTERSCOPE US CD

KELLY, PETER HARD ROAD, RSO US 7″ promo

KHAN SPACE SHANTY, DERAM UK LP Steve Hillage

KING TUBBY KING TUBBY’S IN THE HOUSE, ROIR US CD

KING, JONATHAN HOOKED ON A FEELING, PARROT US 7″ promo

LIBERACE HAPPY BAREFOOT BOY, STATESIDE FR 7″ W/PS EZ

LUCIFER’S FRIEND s/t, BILLINGSGATE US LP

MacCOLL, EWAN / A.L. LLOYD BLOW BOYS BLOW, TRADITION US CD

MARTIN, GEORGE / V.A. IN MY LIFE, MCA US CD Jeff beck etc.

McKENZIE, SCOTT SAN FRANCISCO, CBS ES 7″ W/PS re-issue

MELVOIN, MIKE KEYS TO YOUR MIND, LIBERTY US LP EZ mono

MILLIGAN, SPIKE RECORD LOAD OF RUBBISH, BBC UK LP mono

MIXTURES PUSHBIKE SONG, SIRE US 7″

MONSOON WINGS OF THE DAWN, MOBILE SUIT UK 7″ W/PS

MORRISON, VAN / L. DONEGAN / C. BARBER SKIFFLE SESSIONS, POINTBLANK US CD

NIGHT SUN MOURNIN’, POLYDOR CAN LP

OLDFIELD, MIKE OMMADAWN, VIRGIN JPN LP

OSANNA MILANO CALIBRO 9, FONIT IT LP

PINK FLOYD UMMAGUMMA, HARVEST US 2LP

POCO s/t, CBS UK LP

PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN s/t, CAPITOL US LP

RELEASE MUSIC ORCHESTRA GARUDA, BRAIN DE LP

RENAISSANCE s/t, ELEKTRA US LP

ROLLING STONES SINGLES 1971 – 2006, R.S. US 45 x CD Single

ROZA, LITA SOMEWHERE – SOMEHOW – SOMEDAY, C5 UK CD

SABINE SABINE SKETCHES, EPIC/SONY JPN CD

SHANK, BUD PLAYS MUSIC FROM TODAY’S MOVIES, WORLD PACIFIC US LP jazz

SLY & ROBBIE / V.A. MANY MOODS OF…, SONIC SOUNDS US CD

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE EVERYDAY PEOPLE, EPIC US 7″ promo

TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI s/t, COLUMBIA SWE LP Jukka Tolonen

TIN TIN TOAST AND MARMALADE FOR TEA, ATCO US 7″

TOLONEN, JUKKA CROSSECTION, JANUS US LP Collection

TOLONEN, JUKKA TOLONEN!, SONET UK LP

V.A. – 14, DECCA UK LP ’65 mono

V.A. – HALLUCINATIONS PSYCHEDELIC OFF, ELEKTRA DE LP pic disc

V.A. – HANDLE WITH CARE, PROBE UK LP ’70

V.A. – SUPER HITS, ATLANTIC US LP R&B

V.A. – ULTRA LOUNGE – CHRISTMAS COCKTAILS #2, CAPITOL US CD

V.A. – VERVE REMIXED (Deluxe Box), VERVE US CDx4 box

WHO, THE MAGIC BUS, DECCA US 7″ promo-only

WHO, THE SEE ME FEEL ME, DECCA US 7″ W/PS

WILLIAMS, ROGER GREATEST HITS, MCA US CD EZ

WRIGHT, CHARLES / WATTS 103rd ST BAND EXPRESS YOURSELF, RHINO UK CD R&B

WYATT, ROBERT DONDESTAN (Revisited), HANNIBAL UK CD re-mixed, re-mastered

XTC HOMEGROWN, CANYON INT’L JPN CD

YAMASHTA, STOMU / RED BUDDHA THEATRE MAN FROM THE EAST, ISLAND UK LP

YELLO PINBALL CHA CHA, DO IT UK 12″ W/PS

YELLO RACE, MERCURY UK 12″ pic disc

ZAPPA, FRANK MOTHERMANIA, ZAPPA US CD re-mastered