Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Joe's Camouflage - Frank Zappa

This is the fifth album in the Joe's Corsaga that started with Joe's Corsage (covering pre-Freak Out! recordings from The Mothers circa 1965-1966) in 2004 and seemed to conclude with 2008's Joe's Menage (cassette tape produced by Zappa, recorded from 1975 Virginia). This covers the band that rehearsed in the Summer of 1975 but never toured. This band is consisting of the following Napoleon Murphy BrockRobert "Frog" CamarenaDenny Walley, Novi Novog, Terry Bozzio and Roy Estrada. I've seen everyone's name on releases before except Novi. This is, I believe, her first Zappa contribution being released. She contributes viola and vocals on this album. I looked her up and she contributed to various other artists album such as Carly Simon and was on some tracks off Purple Rain and Around the World in a Day. Some of the tracks here were present on Joe's Menage and probably because they were rehearsed for the tour that "never happened".
  1. Phyniox (Take 1): This opens the album, and it's neat. This is probably the best song here. It's very interesting and reminds me of Cruising For Burgers from the Zappa In New York album.
  2. T'Mershi Duween: This track made it's first appearance on 1988's You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2. That recording predates this one by about a year or so. I do like this song, and I think it's got a fun feeling to it, especially after the prior track. I'm digging the viola, and Terry's drums. It has an ump-pah-pah feeling to it. This is pretty cool track.
  3. Reeny Ra: This is possibly the best track to follow it up, and it has that old Mothers of Invention feeling to it. My guess is because Roy was there, but this is a fun song. It reminds me of The Blues Brothers.
  4. "Who Do You Think You Are": Here they are playing some song I can't think of. You can hear them talking, and laughing. I guess it's good they're having a good time. That's probably the most important part right?
  5. "Slack 'Em All Down": This is just them talking. It's really kind of in between talking that would be on Playground Psychotics or something like that.
  6. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?: Later released on ZINY this track is a fun track. I enjoy this track and when I found out this would be on the album I was kind of excited to see what it was. This doesn't have a very good quality sound to it. The vocals are too quiet and it's sounds like the guitar was direct and everything else wasn't. I do kind of like the whole different vibe to it. The song reminds me a little of Society Pages. This isn't that band, with a country twang to it. But you know, if it was better sounding I'd be much appreciative, thought I believe they released the best quality they could. I like that guitar, I think it's a Spanish guitar. This is probably one of the best song on the album. And it's neat to have a woman singing on this track. Just like Bianca on Philly '76.
  7. The Illinois Enema Bandit: Another ZINY track, and again spiked my curiosity. This doesn't really sound like the album version until Brock starts singing. The arrangement sounds much more laid back and probably rehearsal sound. Usually Ray sings the song, so it was kind of nice to hear Napi sing it. This isn't as exciting as the LP version, or really any other version I've heard. The first track I heard off this was Any Downers? and that was kind of a let down. I guess this version is OK, it's only 6 minutes verses 11. So I guess I can deal with it for it's length once or twice. Novi sounds like a little mouse who hasn't hit puberty. I do like the whole vocal part, with no instrumentation. It's at the ending of the song. There isn't a solo, but there doesn't really need to be one in rehearsal.
  8. Sleep Dirt - In Rehearsal: I couldn't believe this was here, there are only one version of this track, Sleep Dirt. So I was kind of interested in hearing this, since the only other times it's somewhere is on Playground Psychotics and it was quoted in the track "Don't Eat There" from 1971 and it was the album version on The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa from 1987.
  9. Black Napkins: Originally from Zoot Allures, an album I did not to long ago. I think that this is kind of the way that it's always done. I do kind of wish there was a viola intro to the song, esp this was the only time a person played viola to my recognition on a Zappa release. I like the synths in there, but you know there isn't really anything here I'ven't heard before. This song kind of seems like a really long 8 minutes.
  10. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance: This track finds itself from WOIIFTM from 1968. The track is older than that, an instrumental recording on 1996's The Lost Episodes is from 1963. This is the version that's essentially on FZ:OZ and Joe's Menage. It's got a reggae feeling to it. I can get down with track, possibly the first track that I truly like. Thought it's nothing special. It's the best track here.
  11. Denny & Froggy Relate: This is kind of an interview set up, where they play I'm The Slime in the background. It's actually kind of neat sounding with the violin, but it's only 31 seconds.
  12. "Choose Your Foot": This is essentially the same as "Slack 'Em All Down". A dialogue dominant track. A field recording type thing.
  13. Any Downers?: This is essentially the same version as the one on the bootleg I heard recorded claims to be from around 1973. This version, well honestly, it's actually a pretty boring 6 minutes. The ad lib in there is kinda funny, and the "Are you holding any Denny" and his response is kinda funny, but beside that its kinda anticlimactic. There's a solo but the song is still a little too long and doesn't reach the same heights as the album version. The lyrics are slightly different too. But you know the song just kind of drags on a little. I do think its a good song, just I don't think the 6 minutes is really justified.
  14. Phyniox (Take 2): This is kind of the same thing as the first take, though I enjoy the second a little more. It's better put together in my opinion. 
  15. "I Heard A Note!": This isn't anything special, it's just kind of field audio, thought there isn't really much of anything in it, other then a few words. I don't really think that this was necessary to be on the album other than to have some rehearsal dialogue, which there isn't much in this recording.
Overall I have to say that this album gets a 4/10. I kind of was thinking about this and what it should be. This is essentially a better sound quality version of Joe's Domage, but with the Summer 75 band instead of the 72 band. You know, I think it's Ok, but I think that if this band were to tour, It may have been a little different. Not entirely different, some of my favorite tracks might be different, but you know. It's probably better the way it happened, fate worked itself out. Look forward to next month were I do THE Captain's classic and a Zappa classic, both of which were released in March. Another hint, they were ten years apart. I'd give this a listen or two.... that's probably it though. The only thing that saved the score was the fact it was rehearsals and that second and third tracks.

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