Getting into Frank Zappa

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by englishbob, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Thievius

    Thievius Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    This. So much this!
     
  2. WonkyWilly

    WonkyWilly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise, PA
    Indeed, and I think it was called "5 Songs" or something like that. It has been booted as "Orchestral Favorites Outtakes", even though parts of it are the same.

    It is also worth noting that there is a recently surfaced test pressing of the unreleased 1975 album after "One Size Fits All". It's basically "Studio Tan", but with "200 Years Old" in place of "Lemme Take You To The Beach".
     
    humpf likes this.
  3. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Sheik Yerbouti

    Still missing this. Doh!
     
  4. WonkyWilly

    WonkyWilly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise, PA
    The new remaster is awesome, and it matches the original LP content-wise.
     
    dlokazip likes this.
  5. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    The original is a well-regarded Robert Ludwig cut ... but I like the new one more.
     
    WonkyWilly likes this.
  6. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Three things to add here:

    1) I think Zappaphiles trying to "help" newbs get started, don't do them any favors by suggestions like, "get them all", or, "listen in order", or, "you're just gonna buy them all anyway". In this example, it is we who are the "pod people", and the curious who are running away from us...possibly because, from their POV at this particular moment in their discovery, they don't want to become us. But at the same time, they don't want to p*ss us off, because we're willing to help them. I mean, who wants to make fun of us, ask us an innocent question, and them come away scratching their heads at, The Perfect Stranger?

    I got my first listen to Zappa because my hippie freak brother and his buds used to sing all the funny ones in snoid-like voices...even they bailed out at Reuben & the Jets. Ya know what actually reeled me in? "Yippie i-yo-kai-yay..". "Montana" was smuggled onto the afternoon show at an AOR station 70 miles away, while I was figuring out how to position my dipole. And that's what did it: something immenently accessible, with a little bit of a smirk to it. And I got something I could actually listen to that didn't dare me to like it...and I picked up the rest along the way. And now my philosophy is: "Frank Zappa made 87 albums before he died...and I've got all 152 of 'em." Don't give 'em nested tuplets to start with, that's all.

    2) I think Frank's workflow changed from year-to-year, and that he never got back to that particularly world-beating run of creativity that started with him off the road getting mixed signals from fans, workin' it all out himself from his wheelchair. There was probably 8 years or so of brilliance sitting in his lap, during those three years when he had a lap in front of him. Having lived through this experience may have formed his ethic which led up to figuring out how to get the Lather-era material out there to the right audiences.

    And, 3), in response to,
    "Stiick-y....Stiiiick-y!...Stiiick-Y!...STIIIICK-EEE!..STIIICCKK-EEEE!...!!! :goodie::pineapple::laughup:
     
  7. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    I'm not saying that everything on Zappa albums is similar stylistically (obviously--we're talking about Zappa after all). It's rather that each album has an aesthetic and a sound--in terms of timbres, textures, etc., on a more abstract level. The Lather source albums all have that. Lather doesn't.
     
  8. Tom Schreck

    Tom Schreck Forum Resident

    First two CDs I got, around 1999-2000, were Hot Rats and Cheap Thrills. Cheap Thrills came with a Ryko insert laying out the whole discography. It fascinated me, and I was hooked!
     
  9. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Ludwig only works in digital now. His original mastering credit is inside the gatefold - but the new cut is by Bernie Grundman, I believe.
     
  10. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    And I'm not talking about materials coming from disparate initial sources. I'm talking about the the way they hang together as finished products. The DiscReet albums are cohesive in that way, just like Uncle Meat etc. Lather isn't. Lather is like Uncle Meat with "Tengo Na Minchia Tanta" included.
     
  11. WonkyWilly

    WonkyWilly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise, PA
    You are correct, I was wrong. Ludwig mastered the new CD, but Chris Bellman is responsible for the vinyl.
     
    Ben Adams likes this.
  12. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    Which doesn't help an argument that they weren't meant to be separate.

    Re the other than two, it doesn't matter that he hadn't don't albums where everything is in those styles. They're akin to, say, Lumpy Gravy and Ruben & the Jets.

    And Lather is akin to taking Lumpy Gravy, Ruben & the Jets, Roxy & Elsewhere, and Waka Jawaka, interleaving them, adding a couple tracks like "Big Leg Emma" and "Tengo Na Minchia Tanta", and claiming that was the initial idea.
     
  13. RudolphS

    RudolphS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro
    Zappa's discography is so diverse, I'd suggest you start at the beginning with debut album Freak Out and listen to them all in chronological order. Yup, that's much more than 10 albums but I guarantee, it's a wonderful trip, worth the effort, time and energy.
     
  14. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Ah yeah, Bellman. Grundman's done some of the others.
     
  15. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    [​IMG]
    I like Laaaaaather.
     
  16. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Uh, no.

    Läther hangs together as a finished product just as well as Sheik Yerbouti and better than Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Now, it doesn't flow as well as One Size Fits All, but what does?

    The worst thing that I can say about the flow of Läther is that its would-be side seven (the first three tracks of CD 3) is a bit clunky. I'm not sure it works as well as the other parts of the album.

    But, the rest of it just flows beautifully with each track complementing the next one.

    We will just have to agree to disagree.

    No. It's like taking the Capitol Lumpy Gravy and turning it into the Verve Lumpy Gravy.
     
  17. RudolphS

    RudolphS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro
    Early Funkadelic is at times somewhat reminiscent to The Mothers though:

     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  18. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    Uh yes.
    No it doesn't. Again, there is a similar aesthetic, set of timbres, set of textures, etc. to Sheik and Weasels.

    I'm not talking about going from song to another re sequencing. I'm talking about the palette used for the albums and the gloss applied to them, to use a visual art analogy.

    I want you to agree and not be wrong (that Lather was never meant as an album). I don't want you to agree to disagree. ;-)
     
  19. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Got still in shrink 2012 ShakeyerBooty remastered CD for $9.60 delivered to my door. Reckon that completes my Zappa CD collection for the for-sea-able future.
     
    boboquisp likes this.
  20. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    I'm not wrong. Läther works as an album in a way that you think it doesn't. Nothing will change that.

    Now, had Warner Bros. did what they were supposed to do and released ZINY, Studio Tan, Hot Rats III, and Orchestral Favorites in 1977 when Frank delivered the tapes, there wouldn't be a Läther and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    However, had Warner Bros. not prevented the release of Läther in 1977, then the other four albums would have been relegated to the same status as The History & Collected Improvisations of the Mothers Of Invention, the Just Another Band From L.A. double album, the Zoot Allures double album, Warts & All, Crush All Boxes, and Chalk Pie. In such a scenario, I have a hard time believing that you would not have liked Läther because you would not have had heard those other albums. I could be wrong about that, though. For all I know, you only listen to a Crush All Boxes boot and hate You Are What You Is.

    But, whether we like it or not, we have all these alternatives. Frank produced Läther. Frank produced Zappa In New York (well, not the bastardized U.S. Discreet abomination without "Punky's Whips", but all those other ones). Frank produced Studio Tan. Frank produced Sleep Dirt (as Hot Rats III). Frank produced Orchestral Favorites. All work as artistic statements. All are available. Ain't that great?

    You don't like Läther. That's fine. Don't listen to it. That's your prerogative. You listened to the other albums for x number of years. Your brain won't process the material any other way. There is nothing wrong with that. The rest of us will enjoy Läther. You don't have to. Again, ain't it great?
     
  21. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    That couch cover art always reminds me somehow of Pedro Bell's stuff.
     
    Beatnik_Daddyo'73 likes this.
  22. Frittenköter

    Frittenköter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    if you enjoyed that video, get the following:

    Burnt Weeny Sandwich (my favorite Zappa album)
    Halloween '77 (if you're just getting into Zappa, you shouldn't get the box just yet, that is for the fans who listen so carefully to each and every little detail and know the tunes by heart)
    Make A Jazz Noise Here (has a lot of that Roxy spirit thanks to the horns and extensive improvs)
    Road Tapes Vol. 2 (some distortion on the vocals, hence why it's in this series, but otherwise sounds really good and of course the performances might even be a hair better than those on the Roxy albums, which are of course essential, contains my favorite Big Swifty)
    Roxy And Elsewhere (a classic)
    Roxy: The Movie (bluray or dvd, get the best one you can afford, also a great mix by Bruce Botnick; don't get the soundtrack, that one is missing some stuff)
    YCDTOSA 2 (Roxy Mach-II, crazy-fast, crazy-accurate, utterly epic; the mix sucks though)
     
  23. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    You are. The issue is whether Frank intended the four albums to be four separate albums or whether he always intended them to be joined together as Lather, or alternatively, whether he didn't concoct the Lather story a couple years later.

    Re timbres, textures, etc., that is an objective matter which can be objectively demonstrated via oscilloscope data, analysis of arrangements, etc.

    I didn't say I don't like Lather. I said that I don't buy the Lather story, and that I think the albums work better in their originally intended, separate presentations.
     
  24. WonkyWilly

    WonkyWilly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise, PA
    Thanks to comments that Frank makes on the Halloween box, we now know that the 4 seperate albums came first, and Lather was a revision - probably a way to get WB to release it all in one shot. Then they went ahead and released the seperate albums after rejecting Lather.
     
    Terrapin Station likes this.
  25. Uncle Meat

    Uncle Meat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, Tx, US
    Uncle Meat... a world of its own....then the rest of it (well maybe Hot Rats as well, great stuff), I prefer early Zappa up to the 70s, and the rest not as much, though I am still digging in and some of the playing on the later records is pretty amazing...
     
    Jazzmonkie likes this.

Share This Page