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Zappa advice

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by progmanjum, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. progmanjum


    Feb 17, 2009
    I enjoy Zoot Allures and Imaginary Diseases....What else should I look into? Not into the quirky stuff like Yellow Snow, so instrumental albums should be a safe bet.
    And just out of curiosity..would Frank compose the music for all instruments, or did band members get to contribute.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Check out Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. But bear in mind that you will never get Zappa without the "quirk" - that's part of the deal with Frank. You enjoy Zoot Allures but not Yellow Snow?
  3. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    If you have Netflix there is a great Zappa Rockumentary available. It covers a lot of the music writing and contribution from various musicians. Pretty fascinating. Frank wrote almost everything by hand. Some of the musicians still have their charts from the sessions.
  5. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    Zappa did compose quite a bit but I'm sure that players like George Duke had a say in determining what they played. Yellow Snow aside, I think that era of Zappa was the best, personally. Aside from Apostrophe, which I think you have, other's from that fusion-y era were Over-Nite Sensation, Roxy & Elsewhere (live), and One Size Fits All--all of them worth your while.
  6. Apostrophe was the first album of his I got into.

    But Blessed Relief, the last track on The Grand Wazoo, is phenomenal.
  7. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Roxy and Elsewhere remains a very high watermark for live ensemble work.

    Still love the early stuff too - Frank knew what he was doing right out of the box. Lumpy Gravy has some great stuff on it...as well as some silliness.
  8. gravesbass

    gravesbass Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    Endorsing Artist: MesaBoogie-SpectorBass-Dunlop-EMG Pickups-Darkglass-Hipshot
    What He Said................ Roxy & Elsewhere is a work of art.
  9. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Hot Rats is a good call. Chunga's Revenge. Sheik Yerbouti. One Size Fits All.
  10. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Check out the live show 'Does Humour Belong In Music'. Probably some of the most accessible/playable of his stuff.

    Worth it just to see Scott Thunes at his most awesome best :)
  11. Jazz from Hell is probably not for you then hahaha. It's all Synclavier music and it can get pretty dense at times but still so awesome! +1 to Sheik Yerbouti and Hot Rats. Joe's Garage is a great one and Overnite Sensation is always good. If you're looking for instrumental music that is pure Frank, check out his album "Guitar vol. 1 and 2" it's all instrumental music heavily featuring Franks guitar work, tons of classic Zappa style solos.

    Oh and I almost forgot. There was a very cool album released called "Zappa picks" and it's a compilation of some of Larry LaLonde's (primus) favorite Zappa Tracks.
  12. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Weasels Ripped my Flesh & Uncle Meat - the song King Kong is a classic
  13. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    love the early 70's stuff , but the 60's era stuff is fantastic in its own right. I would recomend "freak out" and "hot rats" for starters.
  14. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    If you don't want the crazy well Frank is the crazy. But you might want to check out Shut up and Play yer Guitar and Shut up and Play yer Guitar Some More. Joe's Garage is great and well there is just so many...
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Just picked up A Token Of My Extreme DVD (some of which has been previously available).
    I would 100% recommend this for a Zappa-noob.
    The concert does have some claymation things goin' on (cool enough in small doses but, for me, it detracts from seeing the band).
    The video is sharp & the sound is very, very good. I am hoping the Roxy DVD (maybe due out in late 2013?) is able to look/sound this good (the Roxy clip/extra on the Over-Nite Sensation/Apostrophe DVD is OK...definietly not in the same league a ATOME for sound/video).

    Anyway- there is some humour & quirkiness...but the band is tighter than a nun's crotch.
    The band is a scaled-down version of his early/mid-70s group:
    FZ- guitar
    Tom Fowler- bass (solid)
    Chester Thompson- drums (solid)
    George Duke- keys (awesome)
    Ruth Underwood- percussion/mallets (a kick-ass musician)
    Napoleon Murphy Brock- vocals/sax (what an entertainer!)

    I have watched "Montana" several times...Murphy Brock scatting those vocals is incredible.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Go see Zappa plays Zappa. Dweezil does a great job playing
    his Dad's music and the band is HOT!!! He even gets a few of the old guys
    to tour.
  17. This. A had the pleasure of watching zpz open for dream theater at merriweather post a couple years ago, and up to that point I had never heard
    a single zappa song before. By the end of their set, I couldn't believe what I had been missing. Not only did they perform the songs incredibly with the utmost virtuosity, but they looked like they were having as much of a blast as the crowd was. It stands as one of my most memorable live music experiences and I couldn't recommend seeing them more :hyper: if ever you get the chance. Dweezil does his father proud.
  18. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    Uncle Meat: Bizarre and fascinating, mostly instrumental, very much a product of studio overdubbage, and WAY ahead of its time

    Hot Rats: Forget Bitches Brew. This came out at the same time, and sounds much more like fusion as we know it. Possibly because Tom Scott liked it so much he hired the rhythm section for the L.A. Express. If you're a fan of early SNL, you'll recognize the opening vamp from "Peaches En Regalia"; they used to play it when they cut to commercial.

    Burnt Weenie Sandwich: Also mainly instrumental; sounds like Uncle Meat-style pieces played live.

    The Grand Wazoo: Like a large-band version of Hot Rats. Waka-Jawaka is similar to Grand Wazoo, but not *quite* as good, IMHO.

    One Size Fits All: A vocal album, but the writing is so intricate and the lyrics so obtuse that for me it works more like instrumental music. Also my all-time favorite album by anyone ever!

    Bongo Fury: Like Zoot Allures, this is a simpler, bluesier side of Zappa.

    Studio Tan: The side-long "Adventures of Greggary Peccary" might be too quirky for you, but "Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra" and "RDNZL" would be right up your alley, and are fully worth the purchase price.

    Sleep Dirt: This one's very jazzy, but for some reason oft-overlooked. It was once completely instrumental, but vocals were overdubbed onto three tunes on the CD version. Still recommended. IIRC, Zoot Allures was originally supposed to be a double album, and these tunes were supposed to be on it.

    Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life: If you're only going to have one vocal-oriented Zappa album, this is the one to get. Contains some of his best songs, done live by the 88 tour band.

    Make A Jazz Noise Here: Like Best Band, but mainly instrumental. Lots of bizarre conducted improvisation, some beautiful solos from the whole band, and some VERY creative use of the Synclavier in a live concert context. Incredible. Not as accessible as Best Band, but with a much longer shelf life.

    Wazoo: Live versions from the Waka Jawaka / Grand Wazoo era. Includes an instrumental version of the aforementioned "Greggary Peccary".
  19. ProgRocker


    Mar 25, 2011
    Joe's Garage.
  20. bobicidal


    Mar 28, 2013
    San Jose, CA
    +1 for this one.

    Also the Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life

    Soft spot for Broadway the Hardway, too