Who's talking at the beginning of Zappa's "The Gumbo Variations"? Does Sugarcane play organ too?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ParloFax, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    At the beginining of the '87 remix of this track from "Hot Rats", we hear the dialog below, where some of the lines are attributed to FZ, while I don't hear his particular voice at all (extracted from the famous "fz lyrics" site) :

    >>FZ:
    Take two
    How many bars?
    FZ: Uh . . . Why don't you count it off?
    Alright
    FZ: You start . . . You three start together on this
    Alright
    One . . . Two . . . One, two . . .<<

    Wouldn't that be Ian Underwood instead of FZ here? And Zappa would be the voice heard replying in the back instead?

    Also, since this piece sounds to me like it was recorded all live, can we reasonably assume that Sugarcane Harris is the uncredited organ player for the introduction and the entire section where Underwood is busy soloing on the tenor sax? Then, after that, that he takes over at the organ for Sugarcane's violin solo?

    I think that the latter does play organ on another Zappa song from this timeframe... I can't recall which one it is...
     
  2. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Forum Resident

    I don't think it was recorded all live, as Zappa was an overdub master by this point, and they were in the studio so why would they need to do it in one perfect live take? Especially the guitar and sax combo at the start, I would say Zappa overdubbed his guitar after the Underwood sax solo was laid down. Even the extended version sounds like your had some edits in it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  3. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Of course that's possible. But then the guys would be playing over "no melody" during all this time... They're not even riffing... The other option sounds lots more fun to me...
     
  4. Rne

    Rne Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malaver
    It's always sounded like Frank to me, but I might be wrong. It doesn't sound like Ian, that's for sure.
     
  5. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pre-Rainbow accident, I realize Zappa's voice was higher in pitch than post-... You would hear a particularly high-pitched talking Zappa in concert, for instance when he got a bit excited (Lennon-Ono in NYC). But in the studio, when he speaks to one of the Magic Band guys on "The Blimp", he's much more recognizable.

    Yes, Ian sounded more soft-voiced. He did so much on this album though, this just could have imparted some authority to his speaking voice...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  6. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    Sugarcane Harris is credited with organ in the studio version of "Chunga's Revenge."
     
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  7. Rne

    Rne Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malaver
    I still think it sounds like Frank.
    Ian should have a monument just for all his playing in Hot Rats. At least he got a big picture in the inner sleeve (almost as big as Frank's portrait)!
     
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  8. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    I guess the tambourine at the beginning is an overdub at least, as I don't think it could have been played live by any of them at the same time as their other parts. Or perhaps FZ played tambourine and overdubbed the guitar.
     
  9. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Forum Resident

    Oh, I know the live in the studio would have been amazing, but it just sounds too perfect for everything to have been done at once. Just based on the dialogue, it would seem like the first take didn't have the drums organ and bass starting all together. In fact, now that I think about it, Ian played all the sax and organ parts, so there is no chance it was a live take.
     
  10. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You are sure of this?

    There is so much interplay going on in there...
     
  11. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, I had forgotten all about that tambourine, definitely busting my all-live theory...
     
  12. Rne

    Rne Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malaver
    [​IMG]
    Ian can play gong too!
     
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  13. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    On the subject of jams and overdubs, I was surprised to learn from the Crux of the Biscuit release that FZ's guitar solo from "Apostrophe" was redone.
     
  14. mr.steelydan

    mr.steelydan Member

    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    I am 100% positive that most of these "lyrics" are indeed FZ (you mean Hot Rats ). However, I think it would be better to represent these "lyrics" more like:
    FZ: Take two
    Somebody A: How many bars?
    FZ: Uh . . . Why don't you count it off?
    Somebody B: Alright
    FZ: You start . . . You three start together on this
    FZ: Alright
    Somebody C: One . . . Two . . . One, two . . .

    although to me it sounds more like:
    FZ: You start . . . You three start together on the right
    Somebody: One . . . Two . . . One, two . . .


    But I am not a nativ speaker, so .... :)

    BTW does anybody know songs (by other artists) that use a similar drum-bass pattern as Gumbo showcases at 13:45-14:24. I would think this is some sort of regular drum-bass interplay jazz standard?
     
  15. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    Location:
    clifton park,ny
    on a related note, does anyone know the location(s) of little house I used to live in from burnt weeny sandwich? I can't find any reference anywhere of shows with sugarcane from 1969.
     
  16. jwoverho

    jwoverho Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mobile, AL USA
    Ian is an amazing musician as is the other Zappa Underwood, Ruth! I've heard that both of her and Ian's children are classical musicians as well. No surprise there!
     
  17. Rne

    Rne Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malaver
    Sugarcane solo in "Little House" was recorded in a studio.
     
  18. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    From listening now I think FZ says "you three start together on this" and someone says "alright" in response.
     
  19. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Imagine a guy doing all woodwinds (excepting perhaps bassoon and oboe?) and all keyboards, including organ and synthesizers, AND being apt at ripping a tenor sax like that over a "Shotgun" style exercise of several minutes...
     
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  20. mr.steelydan

    mr.steelydan Member

    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    Makes sense, but I really can not here the "this". Maybe, the "alright" response and FZ' "this" partly overlap.
     
  21. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    One thing certain here is the guy saying "All right" and doing the countdown (and who is probably the one playing the tambourine simultaneously) has a voice quite lower than the other one.
     
  22. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    Location:
    clifton park,ny
    thanks. I've always wondered about that. I saw sugarcane a couple of years later with Harvey mandel. great players.
     
  23. Rne

    Rne Forum Resident

    Location:
    Malaver
    I should check it, but I'm almost sure that that spectacular segment of "Little House" (Don Preston's piano solo is simply extraordinary) comes from the same session that also produced "Directly From My Heart To You".
     
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