Bad Zappa Songs, Anyone?

This is a guest post by Alan Wechsler from Albany, NY.
If you’ve written an article which you think would make for some interesting discussion, feel free to send it to us at hello[at] Perhaps we’ll even publish it!

Everyone knows how prolific Frank Zappa was as a composer. So it’s natural that such a great songwriter might have a few duds. I thought it would be fun to put a list together of his worst. Yes, it’s arbitrary and petty, but if you don’t like it you can grow your own green rosetta…
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The Grande Mothers & Guests in L.A.

On Saturday, April 25th, 2009 – in preparation for their Norwegian Tour – The Grande Mothers Re:Invented were joined by very special guests, Not Your Fathers Mothers String Quartet, for one performance only at The Music Recital Hall, L.A. Harbor College.
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Frank Zappa poltti näppinsä Suomessa

A finnish article about the ’74 show in Helsinki:

Zappa had in Helsinki, Finland two concerts on September 22, 1974 (famous Helsinki concerts, YCDTOSA vol. 2). Short concert review (“Voihan Zappa!” is on page 89). Before that on September 17 Zappa made a PR trip to Helsinki, described in the main article together with an interview (pp 24-31). The day before concert on September 21 Frank and Gail Zappa attended a wedding in Helsinki, which is included into the main article too. Their wedding present was a cappella performance of Approximate. A lot of funny pictures!

PS. Another nice article in English describing these events (and more) is Frank Zappa in Finland.

Nice article, it’s on (found on the site FZ in Hugrary).

Tweezer Glint: Finale – The Roxy Years 73/74 (Part III)

Welcome fellow KUR-meisters to the final installment of the Tweezer Glint series, “Tweezer Glint: Finale – The Roxy Years 73/74 (Part III)”. 120 tracks of raw, unbridled buffoonery amid some of the finest musicianship you’ll hear from this period of Frank Zappa’s career. For those among you who missed earlier installments of the Tweezer Glint series, do not fret, the entire series will be streamed again, in order, later in 2010. For now, enjoy this unique ensemble which played for that all too brief a period known as the Roxy Years – 1973 through 1974.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

The Boonx: Citizen D

And now for a shameless little plug, if you’ll indulge me:

… that was Flemish band The Boonx, as produced by my good friend and longtime musical compadre Franky Drappier, who also shot the video above – on a shoestring budget, I might add. Aside: at around the 1:40 mark you may ask yourself: do I know that voice?

The Boonx is, at its best, a 13 piece band whose spicy mix of soul and funk really shines when played live. Listen to more of their music here. Anyone interested in providing gigs (or record deals!)? They’d love to hear from you.

Frank Zappa’s Original PMRC Letters

PMRC Envelope

Newish niche blog Letterheady publishes letterhead designs from the rich and (in)famous. The site recently got picked up and linked to by everyone and their grandmother. In the process, it came to light they also had Frank Zappa’s letterhead featured. That’s when Joe Crawford aimed this tweet at KUR, saying we should “blog it!”

Ah, but you see: Letterheady’s source is in fact…
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Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, 1968 Mix

It’s completely understandable why many new and old fans alike skip over this particular title in the Zappa catalogue. Of all of Zappa’s official releases, it’s no doubt the most controversial among fans because it’s original version has never been officially released since Zappa reissued it in an alternate mix with newly recorded bass and percussion and added several vocal overdubs and heavily remixed the album in 1984. To many fans, including myself, they are now two distinct albums. Given that only the 1984 mix is made widely available does make any comparison between the two difficult at best. Still, periodically a vinyl rip of the 1968 recording does slip by the censors at YouTube, thus giving new fans an opportunity to hear the original recording in all of it’s doo wop glory – and a little bit of nostalgia for us older Mothers of Invention freaks. Take a listen to these tracks while they are still available:
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When Do We Get Paid? – Jimmy Carl Black

Since Jimmy Carl Black‘s passing, I have had the great opportunity to listen to much of the man’s post-Mothers of Invention recordings. Agree with me or not, JCB was a very unique musician in his own right. Many of his talents, I fear, were unfairly overlooked by a Frank Zappa wishing to distance himself from the original Mothers. Whether they are blues standards, or eclectic cover versions of Mothers of Invention or Zappa songs, JCB stamped them with his own unique identity. Along the way, he played with some of the greatest musicians you’ve probably never heard of (yet should). Now’s your chance (for at least a taste).
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