Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Road Tapes, Venue #3 - Frank Zappa

This is the third release in the, Road Tapes series released by the Frank Zappa family. It contains concerts, all thus far with The Mothers, and was started back in 2012. This recording finds itself from July 5th, 1970 and was recorded at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater, in Minneapolis Minnesota. The only part of this concert that's ever been released was the 9 minutes that make up Nancy & Mary Music off Chunga's Revenge. I once had heard a bootleg, parts, from the month, July 2nd (?) 1970. So its been years, but yeah. Basically the point is I can probably guess how this will sound, but let's be hopeful.
  1. Tyrone Start the Tape: I can assume, based off the past few releases, this is either a chat/rap or just tuning up. Like this probably isn't really a track, more of a thing left in to get you in the feeling of the show. A preamble if you may. And to my surprise, I'm correct.
  2. King Kong: Right off the bat we get Kong, which by now is actually pretty solid. While I enjoy the 60's performances, they weren't as together. By that I mean, it has parts that aren't as interesting. But to my surprise, this isn't the same exciting version I've heard on albums/recordings from this period. I mean it isn't terrible but it isn't mind blowing. It's more at the tempo of the original, maybe a bit faster, but not nearly as fast as it'd eventually become. I really like the keys in this one. In fact that might be my favorite part. 
  3. Wonderful Wino: I was glad to see this, and the next few tracks on the track listing. I like the performances of these tunes during this tour/era. This isn't half bad, I like the Bringing In The Sheers intro, but this performance, and the quality of the audio.... I could listen to Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! or Disconnected Synapses. I mean really, I was hoping this'd be awesome and it kind of isn't. 
  4. Concentration Moon: I dig this, but the second this started my heart sunk. I really should just be listening to Freaks & Motherfu*#@%!.
  5. Mom & Dad: This is another favorite of mine, but what is brought to the table. Nothing new.
  6. The Air: A great tune from Uncle Meat. Just listen to Playground Psychotics version.
  7. Dog Breath: This version isn't half bad, I kinda dig it. It's pretty fun. It isn't mixed with Uncle Meat or anything so it goes by pretty fast. 
  8. Mother People: This is another track I can dig, but I doubt I'll ever re-listen to it. I mean I'm open to other performances of this, but the Money versions so ingrained in me its almost like trying to make a better star wars than Empire or the original. 
  9. You Didn't Try to Call Me: Again, what's the fucking point. The ending is nice, but yeah I don't really see much of one. 
  10. Agon - Interlude: This is a selection from the Stravinsky composed Agon ballet. I really like when they played Petrushka in the song, and loved the Octandre but like what's the point. Why not release a Zappa covers Stravinsky and some of his other favorite composers album. That'd be much better and more interesting instead of giving us a load of bullshit that sounds terrible. Now on to the thing I've been waiting to hear, and it goes by so fast I couldn't make heads or tails. When I came back to hear it again, if I didn't know it was this before, I could easily mix it up for a little segue and not a Stravinsky cover or quote. 
  11. Call Any Vegetable: Better version's on Just Another Band From L.A. All thought I did like the Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin and the solos aren't horseshit. It's good enough, thought again the other versions better. When it gets to Soft-Cell Conclusion I think it's okay, but they best part is the solos. They really get into the jam, and to be honest, it's pretty freaking great. I'm not gonna lie. Everyone here is doing a great job, and I love the drums during that solo.
  12. King Kong / Igor's Boogie: Kong Returns, with Igor's Boogie attached to it. While I prefer this over the first attempt at a Kong this clocks in at about 22 minutes and it isn't half bad to be honest. Like this might be the first track I genuinely want to come back to. I don't want to get into too much detail, I would rather someone...... Maybe check this one song out on YouTube or something. Ian's sax solo is pretty interesting to me I don't know. This is realistically one of a few tracks I'll come back to. Also I like what I'm hearing from Ansley. Then there is this vocal thing and it goes into a Zappa solo, this is what I like to hear on a new record. While not completely new, it isn't the exact same thing I can find on something else. And if it is it's still solid in it's own right.
  13. It Can't Happen Here: Oh also, great right, this track is 3 minutes long and the first 40 or so seconds is the song and the rest is a preamble into Sharleena.
  14. Sharleena: This is a favorite of mine from the era, which I feel like is a solid tune. I like this live setting for the song, I really like the way the organ sounds. While were back to the noticeable lesser quality vocals (recording wise not singing) I wish it was louder. I don't know if you care to know this, but this was recorded the month following the studio version. The album version is dated June 1970, this is July 5th, 1970. I think its a solid rendition of the tune. I also like the guitar in it.
Now on to the second disc of the album. 
  1. The 23rd "Mondellos": This begins the second show and this just happens to be preamble basically.
  2. Justine: So I had to look up where this song was from originally, and it's a cover of the Don and Dewis track from 1958. Something I noticed when I looked it up was the fact that the Harris credited as a writer is Sugarcane Harris. So that made me wonder, while anticipating the record, is he on this thing. He very well could be, And to my dismay, this turned out to be a flop. It kind of was terrible to be honest. Kind cock rocky, but in a bad way.
  3. Pound For A Brown: I actually quite enjoy this version of the song. I mean it's not a far cry from other Mothers of Invention versions, but I still dig it. I like how it's kinda laid back and chill. While this isn't Zappa's most energetic or into it solo, I still like the tone of the solo.
  4. Sleeping in a Jar: I like the flow into this track a lot, it was seamless and I only knew because it said the track changed on my Last.fm iTunes scrobbler. This is a well enough jazzy version of the track, and I dig it. There are theses electronics that sound like they would be on an album, because of studio mess about's, but they aren't I dig those. Ansley starts up this drum patter I really liked
  5. Sharleena: Why the fuck have the same song twice, really. This is another version of the track. I mean this is basically the same as the album and the other version. So really it's like having the same track twice.
  6. "A Piece of Contemporary Music": Now I don't know if this is a joke or not, but it kinds reminds me of the Mario song at parts. But it also sounds like something that I really dig. I like the playfulness of it, and dig what's going on here. The track is pretty solid in my eyes. It's almost like a free formed Bebop Tango sort of. Or maybe a first attempt at something like that. Then there is a part that reminds me so fucking much of Desert Search for Techno Allah. This definitely is a proto Mr. Bungle piece. Just check it out your self.
  7. The Return of the Hunchback Duke: This piece also includes The Little House I Used to Live In and Holiday in Berlin. I don't think this is as good as the other long track, and I think maybe it's because of their singing that goofs it up. I mean I'd rather it just be an instrumental, but it isn't terrible. There are moments I hear something great, but far more that are just okay or average I guess.
  8. Crusing For Burgers: You know I don't know how I feel about this. I mean I really dig later versions of the track, but I mean I don't know if I'm feeling this version. It kinda feels like somethings missing.
  9. Let's Make The Water Turn Black: This is kinda faithful to the original, but I mean again, nothing really new here.
  10. Harry, You're A Beast: Same thing as the last track. If were being honest.
  11. Oh No/Orange County Lumber Truck: They managed to make an underwhelming version of those..,,... HOW! HOW!!!!! Really I've heard a fucking 20 minutes version of this on Road Tapes 
  12. Call Any Vegetable: Again, why have the same song twice. It's not even like its on different dates, it's kinda the same thing. The only real saving grace is here there's a sax solo instead of a guitar solo. But I mean, I guess that's a nice difference, but then why..... I just feel like the two inclusions were pointless. I mean it's a concert, but still. And sadly, I am kinda bored at this point. I just want this to end.
  13. Mondello's Revenge: Hey another talking track. Not really much else Going in to be honest. 
  14. The Clap (Chunga's Revenge): Okay, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. It's called Chungas Revenge, but the last tracks title hinted at that being Chunga's (alla Buffalo's Revenge). But I also know that there exists an percussion only track on that album that shares this title.  Wait, that intro got me, really it pulled me in. It sort of woke me up if were being honest. This isn't amazing, but you know fuck it, it's good enough and I dig it. While it's kinda lowkey, it mean other songs on this were to so it kind of sonically fits you know.
Overall I have to give this third installment a 6/10. To be honest there is no point in this being released. Other than the new tracks, there was no reason. I was excited to hear this, I was like maybe it'll be as good as the other ones. I was very wrong, in fact I decided to continue this review to tell people not to pay for this unless you absolutely need to. I will list now albums that have been released in that make this pointless basically (in order of release). Chunga's Revenge, Filmore East - June 1971, maybe 200 MotelsJust Another Band From L.A., You Can't Do That On Stage series Vol. 1, 3 and 6, Freaks & Motherfu*#@%!Disconected Synapses, Tengo Na Minchia Tanta, two tracks off At The Circus, Swiss Cheese/Fire!, Playground Psychotics, Carnegie Hall, Finer Moments and you know what, if you're so inclined listen to the fucked up John & Yoko mixes of songs off Playground Psychotics off their 1972 live album Some Time in New York City. I figured since I knew how I felt there wouldn't be much of a reason to hold off on this review. Maybe I'm being to harsh, I mean the instruments are the highlights, but then again I've heard better versions you know.

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