Pygmy Twylyte – Five Versions

I was going through my Zappa collection the other day, and I noticed I had quite a few versions of Pygmy Twylyte. The first four are covers by Tribute/Cover Bands, and the fifth is one of my favorite proto-versions from 1973, Texas:

Ed Palermo Big Band (Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 21 Sep 2006)

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Quintette Gaucher (Quintette Gaucher Plays the Music of Frank Zappa)

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Project/Object (Visualite Theatre, Charlotte, NC, 5 Jan 2002)

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Great Googly Moogly (Fasching, Stockholm, 15 Mar 2007)

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Frank Zappa (Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, TX, 26 Oct 1973)

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How do you think these later versions match up to the earlier version performed by FZ’s own band?

10 Responses to “Pygmy Twylyte – Five Versions”

  1. jane23 says:

    i like the zappa version best
    because it sounds like zappa
    same tune
    but only zappa sounds like zappa
    who woulda thunk?

  2. punknaynowned says:

    edpalermo– I always like his arrangements that I’ve heard, especially horns even incl what I hear her as ‘horn liberties’
    quintg– the head’s a little fast (probably the drummer),great bass sound; improv section is a great overall interp of zappaesque ‘mathrock’, like moe would do it say
    P/O– best in accurate overall sound for a coverband and it’s not just the comforting vocals of NMB filling that huge space, wish the mix of the instruments were more present
    GGM– best room sound/live capture, from 1:20 on is good for minimalist achievement
    Austin– well, real soon I notice George and then Ruth, yea that’s chester and nappy, thta swishy rhythm I think Geore is fritzing on is bewitching. Not to sound gay, but an organ with an itch. Oh, and there’s frank with that guitar. Yeah, there’s no real comparison.

  3. Mike says:

    Of the covers, I’m partial to the Palermo version. Now if we could just get Franks guitar in with Ed’s band!

  4. Robert says:

    The P/O version comes closest to the FZ original, not only because Nappy is with them but rather verve-wise. I even prefer this FZ version over the one released on Roxy with all its overdubs & stuff. Kinda shows what Ruth, George & Chester had in them at the time.

  5. Roscoe Bledsoe says:

    I actually prefer these in the order they are posted–last being the favorite obviously. Don’t forget the ’73 Austin also features Ralphie on drums (not just Chester), and Bruce Fowler helping out on the ‘bone of course.

  6. Hugh says:

    They are all enjoyable in their own way, but when I hear Frank on guitar on ’73 Austin, for me, this makes their song rise above the rest.
    Having said that, I’ve seen Palmero’s Big Band and they are always a lot of fun live. Nappy with (I believe) Ike Willis on PO, all I can say is I would pay to see Murphy sing with a group consisting of kelp & or seeweed!
    As for the rest, if you play Frank’s music you’re okay in my book, and they all do a fine job with the song (one of my favorite tunes, btw). Keep it coming! I wish one of these bands played in my neighborhood bar. I would get of the house more often!

  7. Disciple of "Bob" says:

    I’ve tried really hard to like the Ed Palermo Big Band. They are great musicians, and I am really glad that they put so much talent and earnest effort into playing the music of FZ. However, there’s something about their typical arrangement style that reminds me (weirdly, I know) of the Ray Conniff Singers. That brings back horrible memories of my mother’s musical tastes, especially around Christmas. My mother absolutely personified every single American Middle-Class White Person Christmas cliche imaginable.

    I liked where the Quintette Gaucher version was going until it suddenly turned into Weather Report. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Weather Report, but it was pretty jarring. I sort of liked the Holdsworth-sounding guitar chording during the last 60 seconds. I don’t look at this as an FZ cover, but more of a jam with a big FZ quote at the beginning.

    I really like the GGM version, except that the lead vocalist hit every note EXCEPT the right ones during the first line of lyrics. (“Hold it, hold it! We can’t possibly start the song off like that! Good God, that’s inexcusable… What happened to you last night?”)

    I have never seen P/O, but I did see the first ZPZ tour, and I was pleasantly surprised that Napoleon still sounds damned good. It was clear that he doesn’t have quite the range he used to have, but still… very impressive. He must surely be 60-something by now? Too bad ZPZ didn’t do a version of Titties & Beer wherein THE DEVIL takes a break from arguing over contractual particulars and orders ROOM SERVICE, ya know what I mean?

    And of course, the real thing is the real thing.

  8. ken duvall says:

    I like the Palermo version…
    And I would like to mention that I was at the Princeton show in ’73,
    and the version with Kin Vassy had Frank laughing his ass off…

  9. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Disciple of “Bob”:

    I’ve tried really hard to like the Ed Palermo Big Band. They are great musicians, and I am really glad that they put so much talent and earnest effort into playing the music of FZ. However, there’s something about their typical arrangement style that reminds me (weirdly, I know) of the Ray Conniff Singers. That brings back horrible memories of my mother’s musical tastes, especially around Christmas. My mother absolutely personified every single American Middle-Class White Person Christmas cliche imaginable.

    I, myself, really enjoy the Zappa covers of the Ed Palermo Big Band. That said, one must acknowledge that Ed Palermo’s arrangements are heavy on the horns, and in particular, the woodwinds. Admittedly, some people just don’t go for reeds (I don’t know why). I just can’t get enough of them (#2′s, #3′s)….

  10. darms says:

    Not interested in grading these, they’re all good, really. That said -
    Ed Palermo Big Band – the absolute essence of “Pygmy Twylyte”.
    Quintette Gaucher – cooks, but envisions Frank reincarnating as the bass player…
    Project/Object – good cover
    Great Googly Moogly – good cover
    Frank Zappa (Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, TX, 26 Oct 1973) – the one, the only, it’s the guitar that’s the closer, but compare the ‘spontaneity’ of the various (non-guitar) licks to those of the other versions, kinda like the “attack speed’ of a MOOG ADSR vs other synth’s envelopes…

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