One Shot Deal — Huh?

A friend finally lent me a copy of the latest ZFT release, One Shot Deal, for review the other day. Although it is always great to hear Frank Zappa, no matter what the excuse, my first reaction upon listening to this compilation was: Huh? What? Why? To any long time listener of FZ (right down to the rabid collector and completist), the tracks on this compilation will all seem quite familiar.

“Bathtub Man” sounds like many of the boogie/jams from the Roxy period (FZ was an obsessive recordist) which found their way onto the bootleg circuit via their road manager, Marty Perellis, who sold many 73-74 soundboard tapes to eager fans. The same can be said for “Space Boogers” and “Hermitage”. I kept getting this feeling that I’d heard these pieces before, or efforts quite like them, from the myriad of brilliant individual solos to be found on so many of FZ’s field recordings from that period of his career.

“Trudgin Across the Tundra” is an early instrumental proto version of the familiar FZ classic akin to the proto versions of Greggery Peccary found on the Wazoo release. “Occam’s Razor (On the Bus – Original Solo)” is one of this compilation’s gems, and the reason that freaks like me collect so many bootlegs and field recordings: to hear the original solos. I first heard “Heidelberg” (opening solo to Yo Mama) on the second disc of the four disc, fan made compilation bootleg, Apocrypha, and again on the cassette tape, The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa, though sounding far superior here.

“The Illinois Enema Bandit” is yet another version of this FZ standard. Probably the weakest point on this compilation is “Australian Yellow Snow”. I have heard better bootleg versions from this tour. The sound, itself, in this recording is really a substandard mix for what is supposed to be an official release. Too often the background vocals nearly drown out FZ’s lead vocals, and the audience chatter becomes very distracting. Perhaps the ZFT are attempting to dumb down our listening standards so they can begin selling us anything with a FZ stamp on it, no matter the quality? If there is one reason, though, for purchasing this CD, “Rollo” is that reason. Wow. I never tire of hearing that song.

Getting back to the premise of this post, though, what was the point of this release? There doesn’t appear to be any, at least none that I can fathom. There is little, if any, conceptual continuity going on. Instead of piecemeal compilations like this one, how about further sequels to the Stage series with complete liner notes? Or the Complete Audio History of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention? Like, Duh?

52 Responses to “One Shot Deal — Huh?”

  1. gnarly artly says:

    I still like the cover 🙂

  2. Herr Mann says:

    you call yourself compleetist butt you dont buy? you some kind of uggly anti-antartic canadia people or something. SHARME ON YOU. ekscuse bad typing as the keyboard is infereor produkt.

  3. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Herr Mann:

    you call yourself compleetist butt you dont buy? you some kind of uggly anti-antartic canadia people or something. SHARME ON YOU. ekscuse bad typing as the keyboard is infereor produkt.

    Herr Mann, if you happened to be paying attention for the last year or so, you’d already know the answer to your question.

  4. Herr Mann says:

    so you are anti-antARTIC??? get job and reel life. yew is looser than lost sole. i no. i ben ther to. get life now!

  5. completist also says:

    Heard this today…….and I have the distinct image of GZ vacuuming the studio floor and seeing a bin bag full of tape snippings, shouting Joe Travers in from the (cover band) rehearsal next door and asking him to put the cutting room floor bits back together. “There’s the next album, think of a title Joe,” she says and goes on with her vacuuming.

  6. Balint says:

    One Shot Deal – höh?

    Hm, very much the same with me as with Urbangraffito: a brotha just lent me a copy to listen to. Okey, then two (3?…) things:

    1. There is very good music on this disc. The songs are good: Bathtub Man is all righ, some good solos (might not be the greatest one though), but fun. But what I really like is the way these tunes follow each other: a nice segue to Space Boogers, which is a tiny audio-madness, to Hermitage, a collective, controlled improvisation. If one not listens carefully, migh be mistaken that these tracks are from the same imaginary show. Then comes – again with a nice connection – Trudging’ Across the Tundra, which is one of my favorites. A long, relaxed one, with playful and colorful bass, nise solos – great! Etc. But: there is the Other Thing:

    2. What is the intent behind this CD? From Occam’s Razor the tunes just follow each other, with no reason (I dont like the way the two “big solos” meet). Why “Enema Bandit”, again? Why Rollo – again?… I understand the meaning of the YCDTOSA series, the quadrophonic album – but dont see the reason behing the compilation of this. I just remembered Urb’s compilation at Muxtape: a fan-tas-tic one! Anyway, who was OSD assembled by? FZ? When? Why? It would be good to know (information, again…).

    My main problem that again we have a release with tiny snipplets from huuuuge shows (1975, UCLA, Petit Wazoo) – why not release something that is a WHOLE? Will there be some 3-4 other CDs with Revised Music and Dog/Meat on?… The same with the Sydney show: I like this track here, but the WHOLE SHOW is just amazing! And: why only 50 minutes here? I just can’t tell… And the listenners heart breaks.

    Anyway, at one point I just thought that it can be a good album for beginners: a little bit of everything: some bluesy stuff, some improvisational fun, some super solos, some vocal madness… A kind of a collection, a “sample”, as Dweezil said once (but a “sample” of what?). But then some information would have been fine: when was it assembled, why, etc. etc. And: where to go forward (hey, remember: it’s business!). But there is a third thing:

    3. After listennig to it a few times in a row, the music just brought me away. I said already I liked the first block, Occam is sharp, long, rich, Heidelberg is magic (why right after another solo??? – okay, now ONLY the music!), there’s another good solo in Enema Bandit (with the fine rhythm-change in the middle), Yellow snow is fun and nice, and I tend to understand that Rollo is the finale of this Nanook-stuff. Well, all in all, a good ending.

    So, all in all it is a fine CD, with fine tunes, with wonderful solos, a good thing to fill the air around with.

    Err, but…

  7. peter says:

    I am very happy with it. You guys are waaaaay too nerdy for me.

  8. andre says:

    sounds like an andre review using some else material and then trash the efforts yippy KUR the new outlet from MR.ANDRE TRASH A LONG WHATS NOT HIS —

  9. Maroual says:

    Pay attention to the words Urban: “The rights of the copyright owner do not include the right to lend copyright material.” – http://www.copyright.org.au/pdf/acc/infosheets_pdf/G054.pdf
    😉

  10. Paul Sempschi says:

    I downloaded the fucker three weeks ago, glad to say that I didnt piss away money on it, though it doesnt really give me a right to complain too much (I guess time wasted listening to/downloading it). It’s not bad as a freebie but I find it just doesnt gel well as a complete entity. I can understand if they wanted to do a Lost Episodes sort of thing and compile some special moments and various nuggets but here we just have borderline cacophony for the first 4 tracks, another version of Enema Bandit (*yawn*) with no interesting or noteworthy variation an edit of “Yellow Snow” (was this FZ’s edit? If not, what’s the point, there is room on the disc for the whole thing!) and a heavier edit of an already released version of “Rollo”.
    “Occam” and “Heidelberg” are a move in the right direction, IMHO and pretty much justify the release. DOWNLOAD, steal, borrow or RIP a copy but whatever you do, dont buy this garbage, you’ll only encourage them to produce more of these mediocre ‘compilations’.

  11. Chuck says:

    The material on it is all pretty good… it just doesn’t add up to anything. Its not particularly special or different and the CD is very short with very little substance. I’ve listened a few times and it is already on the forgotton stack probably not to be listened to for a long time. This is not what FZ albums are about where they remain on high rotation with enough substance to keep them interesting year after year.

    Dweezil and Gail seem to think solos are somehow gold and are all just as worthy as actual written material. Maybe they should reread the section on them in FZ’s book where he states a few are succesful and the rest are crap… maybe a bit too extreme a judgement, still they should take it on board.

  12. brett says:

    A quote from Chuck:

    Dweezil and Gail seem to think solos are somehow gold and are all just as worthy as actual written material. Maybe they should reread the section on them in FZ’s book where he states a few are succesful and the rest are crap… maybe a bit too extreme a judgement, still they should take it on board.

    Well, Frank also said, in relation to the guitar solos, that “written music in no way assures the pedigree of musical quality of what’s being played. Just because it’s written on paper doesn’t make it any better or worse than any other kind of music” (1982, Guitar Player Magazine.) Anyhow, these solos are great (he chose them for release in different forms), so what’s your point?

  13. Balint says:

    just one more thing: this record – with all of its good music – is more about what is NOT on it (at least to me). Especially with Yellow Snow: Father O’Blivion is tottally missing with its fine, fast istrumental passage, Sal Marques’ vocal (!). One might say, that it is on YCDOSA vol 6., but no: that one is the slow version. Hey, on a 50 minute CD there would have been some place for it…

  14. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    I would just like to urge anyone remotely interested in this or any release for that matter, to buy the damn thing, instead of downloading it which is, what’s that word again, illegal. C’mon, as Zappa-fans we owe it to ourselves to set a better example than that…

  15. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Maroual:

    Pay attention to the words Urban: “The rights of the copyright owner do not include the right to lend copyright material.” – http://www.copyright.org.au/pdf/acc/infosheets_pdf/G054.pdf
    😉

    I know. Urban is a very, very bad man (but one thing he is not, is a liar).

  16. Clark Gwent says:

    Like the example the ZFT (and FZ hisself) set when not-paying certain of the ex-Mothers?

  17. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Clark Gwent:

    Like the example the ZFT (and FZ hisself) set when not-paying certain of the ex-Mothers?

    Frank Zappa paid his musicians a salary while they played for him. Did they deserve a cut in the royalties? Perhaps. But almost every ex-Mother went on to perform fantastic music in their own right. Did FZ deserve a cut in their royalties?

  18. Paul Sempschi says:

    Perhaps if they were recording/selling his compositions but not when they’re producing their own stuff. What is curious is Frank’s disregard for the publishing rights of his band member’s compositions (he retains or retained publishing rights to solos). It was only when he lost litigation re:taking credit for what he only inspired and NOT created did he give them a publishing credit, Ponty’s woes as well as Flo and Eddie come to mind. Yet, there are a ton of moments that still exist on his discography where the true composer is not given his publishing credit nor royalty (Eg. “Lonesome Electric Turkey” which is just Don Preston freaking out on a moog).
    Check out Barry Miles’ bio, it paints quite the portrait of Frank’s dubious business practices, especially during the Herb Cohen years. Furthermore, arent the muscians on the record are still entitled to royalties? I know the ex-Mothers went to court over this when the YCDTOSA series started coming out.

  19. Paul Sempschi says:

    Also re:illegally downloading Zappa music

    The boycott aside, Gail releasing an album with scant information and incredibly limited availability, that’s just asking for people to download it. I’ve been down that road of trying to get a copy of a Zappa records release, it became an ordeal worthy of a Kafka novel. But I put up with it because I cared about the music, much like a lot of fans put up with a lot of crap by and for that franchise. However, when the crap became a personal attack from the franchise (ZFT) against the fans, how is one to resolve their love of Zappa music with their unwillingness to support the current regime?
    Starve them out, I guess or at least do what you gotta do to hurt em how you can, via the pocketbook. I feel as a disgruntled Zappa fan who still wants and craves the music that this is my only recourse (yeah, I signed the petition).
    If they a)sell the tapes to a company who is more credible and sane or b) release the Roxy DVD, then I’ll start buying the Zappa brand again.

    Though as an aside, I dont agree with anti-music downloading laws, so how does one go about repealing such laws? Go about it the way they went about getting prohibition killed, just keep breaking the law, numbers are the key, people- remember, the Law adapts itself to commonplace behaviour, rather than dictates it.

  20. braxtophiliac says:

    Go bury your heads in that fuckin’ east-german coastal city. Download every single future FZ release. Judge the quality of the material by listening to shitty, mini-gap riddled, 128 K mp3 files on your poor low-fi equipment, the one you play your holy zappateers’ audience recs and VHS transfers on. Don’t pay for nothin’. Wear your hair in a bun. Snort the 1001th bootleg version of ‘Sharleena’ if your brains aren’t in the condition to decode instrumental music.

    READ ALBUM CREDITS BEFORE POSTING FALSE INFORMATION about who edited what. (But hey, forgot you downloaded yours, so you have to ask your buddy who bought his and is reluctant it to lend it to you, ’cause he paid and you didn’t)

    Don’t forget to bring your mint-conditioned 1969 original pressing of MOTHERMANIA to Bad Döberan and jerk off on it with your friends.

    Mind you, the reason this release doesn’t sound EXACTLY like a super-juxtaposed, FZ-organized production is that The Man has died 15 years ago.

  21. Iggy says:

    Grow the fuck up Paul, dont be such a baby. If you dont want to buy it fine, get a life and stop posting your hissy fits about that hair brained boycott! God, you Zappa fans just piss and moan, it’s really embarassing and disgusting. You cant find the material? Then learn to like The Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Yanni or some other crap that sold out to corporations who make it easy for you to find AND safe to listen to. If you want to be an adult and listen to something challenging and dangerous, something where you MIGHT get your feelings hurt, then go out and buy the goddamned record and act like a man about it!

    “Oooh, the ZFart hurt my feelings…” it’s just disgusting and I’m tired of it- Paul, Andre, all of you…

  22. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Paul Sempschi:

    Go about it the way they went about getting prohibition killed, just keep breaking the law, numbers are the key, people- remember, the Law adapts itself to commonplace behaviour, rather than dictates it.

    Paul Sempschi, you make an important central point that some others in this thread just don’t seem to grasp: we are not new to listening to FZ and the Mothers. We have bought and paid for the complete FZ catalogue, in several different formats, and have quite frankly earned the right to be perturbed with the present business practices of Gail Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust. They are short sighted and foolish if they believe a brand new fan base is waiting in the wings for ZPZ to amaze and dazzle them. We are the fan base. And they alienate us at their own risk. I will buy One Shot Deal second hand, if and when I find it. But until Gail and company come to their senses (and actually release something equal to Frank Zappa’s stature), they will never lay their eyes on my credit card number again. So there. Call me an asshole.

  23. George says: