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Frank Zappa, where to start?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Carl Miller, May 31, 2007.

  1. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    I picked up Frank Zappa's, Apostrophe CD over the weekend for $3 at a garage sale and really like it...I've paid zero attention to Zappa for some reason and was thinking about trying to pick up a few used Zappa CD's next time I'm near the local used CD store...

    Problem is, his catalog is pretty big and while I like the All Music Guide as a reference, I don't often agree with their reviews. Any Zappa fans out there to point me in the right direction?
     
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Screenwriter

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    Wow - great question. I recommend starting with FreakOut and We're Only in it for the money by the Mothers and then checking out Hot Rats followed by Joe's Garage Acts I, II, III.

    This a slice across several phases of FZ and might give you an idea of some of the multitude of style he had.
     
  3. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    There is a great "highlights" CD, called Strictly Commercial that is a good overview. Besides We're Only In It For The Money and Joe's Garage, my personal favorites include Apostrophe (') and Over-Nite Sensation.

    "Watch out where the Huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow!"
     
  4. KurtEP

    KurtEP Supporting Actor

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    For a live flavor, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol I is pretty cool. I'd also add Sheik Yerbouti to some of the excellent selections mentioned above.
     
  5. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

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    If you liked Apostrophe, I suggest material from that period, ie Overnight Sensation, One Size Fits All, the live Roxy and Elsewhere and Shiek Yerbouti. You might also like Joe's Garage, although IMHO, with the exception of a few songs, it does not quite match the quality of the others I mentioned.
    Stuff made before this period, what little I've heard, was a bit more experimental and strange, but then again, I haven't heard half of it....
    Stuff after this period was more skechty, some great, some not so great, endless double albums consisting mostly of guitar solos (shut up and play yer guitar vols 1-9 or so...) so I kinda lost interest somewhere around Ship arriving too late, Zoot Allures etc.

    But you really have to listen for yourself, the output of a genious such as FZ is too complex and diverse to judge and recommend in a short post...
     
  6. Egbert Souse

    Egbert Souse Agent

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    The Leather album(spelled Lather on the cover,with a picture of a cow)is an amazing 3 disc set that covers almost all aspects of Zappas music,highly recommended.Also "One Size Fits All".For more mainstream appeal there`s "Hot Rats" and "Zoot Allures",but in my oppinion,you just can`t go wrong with any Zappa.
     
  7. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Screenwriter

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    Any of the above suggestions are good ones, particularly Mikael's because if you jump to the Freak Out or Fillmore East 71 bands, as great as they are, they are completely different bands/styles.

    I would recommend starting with the first two You Can't Do That On Stage volumes. The first is a sampler oh his overall career and the second is the complete Helsinki concert from 1973.

    The only period of Zappa I'm not crazy about are the 84 & 88 tours. The band is technically proficient, but I think they are a bit "thin" sounding despite such a large ensemble. I'm not a big fan of Bobby Martin or Chad Wackerman.

    I also recommend renting or buying the Baby Snakes and Dub room Special DVDs. There is a "Classic Album" DVD coming out about the recording of Apostrophe and Overnight Sensation that is supposed to have some Roxy 73 performances.
     
  8. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys. The only Zappa our local used CD store had was Hot Rats, so I picked it up...I hadn't read anything about it and wasn't expecting what I heard, but that turned out to be a good thing because it was all the more surprising.

    I'm definitely going to hit some of the suggestions here and pick up some more Zappa...really good stuff and you all weren't kidding about the diversity in his music. I'm wondering what took me so long to discover Zappa. Clearly I've been missing out on a lot of good and interesting music.
     
  9. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

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    Don't forget "Just Another Band From L.A.". Billy the Mountain is an operatic masterpiece.
     
  10. Fudge

    Fudge Auditioning

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    A bit late but...

    It's not on the usual list, but Studio Tan is a favorite. "The Adventures of Greggary Peccary" fully represents Frank's sense of humour, orchestral leanings and ambitiousness.

    Then you also have the fun, silly side of Frank with "Lemme Take You To The Beach", and two fine instrumentals that are great examples of how gorgeous his melodies could be and his awesome guitar skills.
     
  11. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I'm a huge fan of Zappa. That said, try to find the old "cheap Thrills" compilations. They offfer a really good variety of the different music Zappa did, from the more rock type stuff to the avante gard.
     
  12. mcintosh

    mcintosh Extra

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    I just recently received my SACD/HYBRID recording of their 2nd self entitled cd, Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Great band and horn section, featuring for you jazz lovers like myself, a young "Randy Brecker." With the classics "And When I Die", "Spinning Wheel", and "You Make Me So Very Happy", I was singing right along with them. A very clean and crisp recording using Mobile Fidelity`s GAIN2 technology.

    Definitely one to check out!! Next, "Shaft."[​IMG]
     

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