Saturday, February 18, 2017

Little Dots - Frank Zappa

So Gail Zappa died, and handed the vault over to Ahmet and Diva. Since her passing in October 2015, we have gotten a total of 9 releases in the course of 12 months. Now I'm not going into the, she's evil and wanted to fuck over Frank. Why? Because it's pointless, there's no need for that. What I will go into is the fact we finally have gotten lots of albums out. One of which, Meat Light, I was hoping to see the light of day. This is official release number 108, and is sort of a sequel to Imaginary Diseases. All of these tracks were taken from the petite Wazoo tour, so Fall 1972. I'm kinda curious to see what comes if this, and I vaguely remember hearing about this before Gail passed. Like months maybe, or maybe it was around when she passed.... Who cares. I also want to say if all goes well this year I'll have like 10 Zappa reviews out, and the ten are almost completely done.
  1. Cosmik Debris: Years ago I heard a bootleg taken from around this time (Fall 1972) and it had Cosmik Debris on it. Now one of my favorite things about Frank is before and after a song is released, there often are different versions or arrangements of it. Since I had heard the version from around this time I kinda figured what it might sound like. The biggest difference is this sounds much bigger, and big band oriented and there isn't those little motifs to accompany the lyrics. It's not bad, but it's kinda stripped back a bit and not as fun. The performance is pretty solid though. The solo also works fine, but it's not the best solo I've heard for this song. But I like the tone, but that's probably because of the audio quality. It's fine.
  2. Little Dots (Part 1): Sitting at just under 11 minutes this is actually very neat. There is a weird sort of avant-garde jazz/free jazz feeling to the beginning and even the bass solo feels like it could be in the style. There feels like its more rocky than jazz but I still like what I'm hearing. Also the playing could be free improvisation but I also feel like the notes aren't crazy enough or all over the place enough to be that. There is some sort of logic to the notes. And the drums have a consistent rhythm. I love the steel drum, played by Jim Gordon, that comes in, nice touch if I'm being honest. It goes back to the bass and the bass feels like its playing something from maybe Apostrophe (maybe an early idea for the title track). Its a nice calmer feeling than the previous two. The way it sounds also remind me of the way that song sounds. A calm guitar solo comes in and its quite. Maybe its just the quality but everything sort of seems quieter. There is some okay playing and the guitar also remind me of the track before alluded to ('). Though I also wanna say Zombie Woof's solo comes too. I like the song and like that it was released. Yeah the solo goes a bit long but for the most part it ain't too bad for a sort of sketch. It kind of just sounds like jamming or them trying to re create it like. There is some horns that come in at the very ending before the track segues into the next. The horns are a bit odd but I wish that would have happened longer than the solo. 
  3. Little Dots (Part 2): This is a straight blues number. Like fucking slide guitar blues rock. This is also over 10 minutes, about 11 1/2. I do like this but I don't get why it was cut into two parts. Why not make it one track unless it was supposed to replicate the way it was to be on vinyl. This track hits pretty hard and I am passed because I'm drawing a blank on what this reminds me of. If it wasn't for the driving force of the band I'm positive I would have lost interest but the playing on guitar is pretty consistent for this long of a solo. The the only other solo on record that is this consistent for this long maybe something off Joe's Garage. I like the horns then getting time to shine and love the wah on the guitar. It sounds so fucking good. Its so wet like it... Maybe I should use that analogy. But the horns are a nice touch to add a new flavor. They also have some nice soloing and sound super damp, like i think its a trumpet solo (kinda sounds, at times, like a wet fart). This track is kind of losing some of its steam at the 8 minute mark, like enough to were I kinda almost don't wanna listen any more. But the tracks almost over so trudge on. There there a riff that comes in and I like it. It isn't the greatest ever but it works as a sort of vehicle to take the track to its ending. Another solo plays over it and its for sure Frank because I know that playing, and it...... It isn't doing much here for me. So the slide was probably Tony playing.  But the track almost feels like its slowing down at one part. Like it was manually slowed down. The guitar sounds kind of terrible here its hard to make out with the other instruments and this sounds chaotic a bit but unintentionally so. Its okay I mean is skip the last solo and maybe cut the track down 3 minutes but it isn't too bad. Then of course it comes back to the word sort of Gregory Peckary "busy making them" part. 
  4. Rollo: This track includes all three sections of Rollo (Rollo, The Rollo Interior Area and Rollo Goes Out). I don't think I've ever heard all of the track before on a bootleg. I've heard the official releases and the bits played on Yellow Snow off On Stage 1 and Chicago '78 (which isn't all of it but it's a lot of it). The thing that took my by surprise was, I cant believe I never heard the lyrics to this song. Also a vocal version exists, and for whatever reason the melody made so much more sense. Like I feel like it was supposed to have words sung to it. Not taking away from other versions or usages of it, I was just like yeah I get this. It seems so weird to hear Rollo played as a bluesy number. Like I like, but its weird to wrap my head around this honestly. I didn't think I would be thrown surprises like this from the Vault anymore. Its a fun song and the story is pretty goofy. Is listen to this track and the next track for certain of any two. This also has my favorite version of the interior and I love the solo of this. Its a great vehicle for soloing. The vamp here is fucking great and the solo works very effectively. Like its out there enough to work well with what hes doing on the guitar. Even the sort of vamp change doesn't hurt anything. I love the horns coming in and I can't believe a full version of this hasn't been released sooner. This has a sort of weird thing happen I can't exactly explain before going back to the regular feeling song. It feels very 20th century to me. I really like this though. There's a lot of good shit in the song waiting for you. And this is the first track here that didn't feel a bit long.
  5. Kansas City Shuffle: I can't be the only one, but do I hear some Anything You Wanna Do in this progression. Now yeah, what you fucking stupid its a twelve bar blues progression (or something similar to that) of course it sounds similar. No like I actually hear the backing just with a different band and no vocals. And I can actually sing the song over it, so this is actually a nice little treat for me. This is also the best song on the album, and easily the most accessible. I really like the trumpet and the guitar's strumming pattern works quite well. Also killer solo, really he did a great job here. The band is working quite well together and this would be like single material. Or if this band had a live album come out, this should have been on it.
  6. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 1): Here we are, at the last two part song. This first half sits at just under 9 minutes (8:58) and opens with dialogue. Frank implies they make something up, so it might be improvised music. This opens very odd, there is a creeping feeling to it, and it has some nice steel drums that kind of make it even more off. This is what I would consider avant-garde jazz. It also sounds as if it's based off Rock a bye Baby, but perverted in a manner similar to Bebop Tango.... but more. I think this definitely wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I'm eating this up. It's a bit subdued, but I love it. The way the track is building and growing makes it feel like it's worth the wait. There is a section where I feel like it should be a bit louder and chaotic, but it works. I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and I'm drunk and ready to pass out but not quite there yet. The hinge of blacking out. I also really dig that bass line, and the trumpet here reminds me of Bebop Tango. I almost wonder if this is quoting it or was a predecessor to it.... though it was performed originally around this time. It also, towards the end, reminds me of The Grand Wazoo.
  7. 'Columbia' S.C.' (Part 2): The second half sits at 16:41, the transition is quite apparent, but it isn't bad. Like you can tell this is a different section, and it feels very secret agent-y. The way it was edited has nothing to do with me knowing. I really like the guitar and I am a bit surprised he would have done something like this to be honest. Like they could be soloing over a James Bond vamp. I could see someone saying this is long, but unlike the other longer track, this kind of feels like it's paying off. This is actually a really cool track and there is some great shit that happens here, honestly one of the most exciting solos I've heard from Frank like ever. Where the fuck was this on Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar? Like This could have so easily replaced any track on any of those, with the exception of maybe Deathless Horsie, Heavy Duty Judy and Canard du Jour. And listen to those drums...... AGH! This really is worth the 16 minutes. I also like the ending quite a bit, and it's surprising he didn't do more with this band. They have some chemistry at times. I'm sure it would have even furthered if he spent more time, but then again I wouldn't have gotten the albums that follow, so... who knows.
Overall I have to give this a 8/10. While there were lower points... I gotta say this was the best album released this year by the ZTF. I wish the audio was better, but its not the end of the world, especially considering some if the shit Joe Traver's had to do to preserve/transfer the tapes. I will always be a Zappa fan, the thing is the more I listen and the more I learn about music the more I love his music. The older I get the more intelligence I gain the more I love and find humor in his lyrics. I also think if you dug ID you'll dig this. Give it a shot.

While in reality they'll never see this, I just wanted to post what I'd like to hear from the Zappa vaults. (Note: I understand things are in different stages of availability so they might not be able to recover it, but I just wanna say this). A live concert from 1966, 1967. 1969 (with Lowell George). If possible live stuff from the early pre-Mothers days. Another guitar solos album, maybe the whole Pauley Pavillion show, and the whole Auditorium Theater show on Mothers Day 1974. Another Petite Wazoo compilation and show (Bebop Tango). A concert from the 88 band, or at least an album that contains '88 versions of older songs. A concert from 82 and the July 22nd, 1984 show with Johnny Guitar Watson, George Duke, Denny, Bruce and Aynsley and Napi. Maybe a show from the Beefheart tour. I'd also be interested in more Yellow Shark material if possible. And also The Rage and The Fury album. That's all I can think of atm, but yeah stuff I think would be cool to hear.

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