Best (or Worst) FZ Covers – The Four Directions perform “Lonesome Cowboy Burt”

Jeff and Diane of The Four Directions perform “Lonesome Cowboy Burt” at the Bolton Street Theater in NewCastle, Australia – complete with trumpet and harmonica solos, as well as an improvised tap interpretation. I kid you not. Personally, I don’t know whether this cover belongs as one of the best, or worst FZ covers I have ever heard. They certainly deserve marks for nerve and enthusiasm, though. For bookings or info please contact their agent [], or contact Diane []. I dedicate this post to Gail.

Call Any Vegetable – 1970 versus 2006

One of the fantastic advantages of the advent of current technologies such as YouTube and the Internet, is it allows one to compare and contrast particular songs – in this case, Frank Zappa‘s “Call Any Vegetable” – with particular groups and bands of completely different eras: FZ‘s 2nd MOI band’s vaudeville-style with that of Dweezil’s Zappa Plays Zappa. Merely just a cover? Or an improvement on the original? Zappa Plays Zappa‘s clip is from their DVD/CD released in 2006 of two shows filmed and recorded in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, respectively. While the two Vaudeville Mothers clips (the complete audio) and the edited version, both from the “Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 6 Nov 1970” show. Personally, I’ll always have a bias toward the earlier versions. Still, Napoleon Murphy Brock does one hell of a rendition.
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The Sonic Beauty of Igor Stravinsky

After a long week beset from all sides with city sounds and industrial rhythms, there is nothing more soothing to my ears and mind than the sonic beauty of Igor Stravinsky‘s compositions. Listening to the following three clips, one can easily understand Frank Zappa‘s affinity for this man and his music:
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Best FZ Covers: Battle of the YouTube Muffins, Or, Some People Like Cupcakes Better…

I’m really not certain which of these groups belongs in a compilation of best FZ covers – each has something different and unique in their version of Frank Zappa‘s Muffin Man that the other two groups do not. Give them a hearing and decide for yourself. MazMyth at LMCS Auditorium on January 9, 2009; Zappa Plays Zappa at Villa Arconati, July 15, 2008; or Pappa Plays Zappa at The Upperfloor (known as Stalloftet) in Hamar, Norway, August 3, 2008:
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Best FZ Covers – Panzerballett

Panzerballett is one of the most interesting and totally eclectic bands that I have had the joy of coming across in recent memory. Music critics call their sound “an innovative mixture of jazz, funk and metal, crossing complex polyrhythms with metal guitar riffing, funky grooves and jazz improvisation.” Like the best work of 1970s Brecker Brothers combined with hints of Return To Forever and Funkadelic‘s Maggot Brain, Panzerballett has created a unique heavy metal/ funk/ jazz fusion hybrid of their own design. In doing so, they’ve created Zappa covers just as unique.
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Best FZ Covers – Delicious Band Research Kitchen

If I were to compile an awesome compilation of Frank Zappa covers, I would begin with this band, Delicious Band Research Kitchen, and these three Zappa covers – “Uncle Remus” (above), “Wonderful Wino” and “Find Her Finer” (both below) – which they performed at ‘Les Fils de l’Invention’s FZ festival’ (Sons of Invention) in Paris, France on July 5th, 2008.
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OJAI Music Festival 2010

OJAI Music Festival artistic director Tom Morris and Doug McLennan of discuss the programming for the 2010 Festival including works by Frank Zappa, Messiaen, Boulez, Stravinsky, and Indian Ragas presented over four days from Thursday, June 10th to Sunday, June 13th.

The World of Zappa symposium featuring speakers Gail Zappa and Ian Underwood are scheduled on Friday June 11th, between 11a.m. and 2:15pm. Concert by the Ensemble Modern in the Libbey Bowl at 8p.m. (June 11th).

For complete Festival details, click here.

Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part III

In the prior two installments of the Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix, tracks focused on the improvisational abilities of Frank Zappa and those of the individual members of his various bands (through solos). In part three, though, I’ve focused primarily on Frank Zappa‘s guitar work. Track for track, from 1976 to 1984, Zappa is ripping hot, giving the musically educated listener an ongoing guitar workshop. For the non-musician, slip those headphones-to-oblivion back on and prepare yourselves for some sustained guitar therapy as only Frank Zappa can deliver.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.