Archive for December, 2009

Num País Tropical

Viva Daniela Mercury! Gentlemen: check out them legs…

Frank Zappa & the Mothers in Stockholm, 1973

One of my favorite performances by any Zappa ensemble is this particular performance by the early Roxy band (prior to the arrival of Napoleon Murphy Brock and Chester Thompson, and featuring Ian Underwood on woodwinds) at Soliden, Skansen, Stockholm, Sweden, August 21, 1973, which was originally divided into two Swedish television broadcasts (parts of which became the source for the bootleg, Piquantique). There are a lot of extended solos by each of the members of Mothers, making these clips very worthwhile viewing and listening.
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The Indian of the Group – Jimmy Carl Black

It was a year ago today (well, okay, a year and a month less two days)…

Born in El Paso, Texas, of Cheyenne heritage, Jimmy Carl Black‘s trademark line, “Hi Boys and Girls, I’m Jimmy Carl Black, and I’m the Indian of the group” followed him throughout his music career. On several Mothers albums he was credited as playing “drums, vocals, and poverty”. The last credit, “poverty” seemed to follow Black’s career as it did many bluesmen of his day like a curse.
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G-Spot Rehearsal, 1992

Jake’s review made me search the web for a while, and I’ve just run into the video above – it’s the rehearsal, the percussions seems to be a bit different, right?… And some more: a review of this week’s concert in the Los Angeles Times.

Zappa Night In Antwerp

Peter of United Mutations dropped me a note about the upcoming Zappa Night in Antwerp, which is to take place this Saturday:

Antwerp Zappa Night

Details:

Doors will open at 21.00 h, and the opening band, Shit-Gun, will take the stage shortly thereafter. Main feature will be the concert by Captain CheeseBeard & The 7 Sisters Of Prevention, and this will probably kick off at around 21.40 h. In the meantime, there will also be some video screenings, and there will be a little market where you might be able to find that one little thing that you have been looking for for so long…

Looks to be a very cool initiative! Oh, and did I mention there be free tickets? Sharl and I would love to attend but, well, you know

Frank Zappa, WFMT-FM Chicago, August 1968

Frank Zappa is interviewed by Studs Terkel in these two excerpts from his August 1968 interview on WFMT-FM Chicago. Zappa talks about his music, his lyrics, and the state of America in the summer of 1968:

Can You Play It Backwards?

Funny little anecdote about Zappa’s typical way of dealing with musicians. Act one goes like this:

Just to be sure that Mr. Piano had a fair chance at the reading part of the audition, Frank gave him 2 pieces of music to work on a week before the audition was to take place. One of these pieces is called “The Black Page” which was pretty dense with notes and a real challenge to play. Challenge enough that Mr. Piano kind of gave up learning it as precisely as needed and decided he was good enough to wing it during the audition instead.

Fatal mistake #1! Keep reading for a nice twist at the end.

(Via Paul Carr)

Sleep Dirt Variations

We are all quite familiar with the acoustical duet version of “Sleep Dirt” between Frank Zappa (acoustic lead guitar) and James “Bird Legs” Youmans (acoustic rhythm guitar) on the album of the same name, recorded at the Caribou Studios in Nederland, Colorado, in December, 1974. It is one of the most beautiful compositions in Zappa’s body of work.

The other day, while organizing music tracks, I happened across several versions of “Sleep Dirt” by other artists as well as a live version by Frank Zappa from 1975 which has an eerie resonance when one listens to these later cover versions.

Listen for yourself, then decide:

Sleep Dirt – Henry Kaiser & Mike Keneally
– Live at the Freight and Salvage, 2000.

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Sleep Dirt – Ed Palermo Big Band
– Iridium Jazz Club, NYC, NY, 12 Dec 2007.

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Sleep Dirt – Quintette Gaucher
– Quintette Gaucher Play the Music of Frank Zappa, 1996.

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Sleep Dirt – Zappatistas
– Jazz Festival, Frankfurt, Germany, 3 October 2003.

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Sleep Dirt – Frank Zappa
– War Memorial Gym, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 1 October 1975.

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