Frank’s Little Houses

For the Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention fan, there is almost always a particular album which they refer to as that album which “hooked” them as long-term fans. For me, that album was the 1970 release, ‘Burnt Weeny Sandwich‘, and in particular the more than 18 minute composition, “The Little House I Used To Live In” which functioned as the centerpiece of that album. Zappa’s 1969 solo release ‘Hot Rats‘ might have ensured my long-term Zappa fanaticism, yet ‘Burnt Weeny Sandwich‘ solidified it. When I first heard the movements and compound meters of “Little House“, my musical universe was never quite the same ever again.

The following are some of my favourite live versions of Zappa’s and the Mother’sLittle House” for your educational and listening pleasure. You’ll no doubt notice that this composition reached it’s height during the 1978 touring year:

LHIUTLI – Capital Theater, Passiac, New Jersey, 13 October 1978 (Late Show)

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LHIUTLI – Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany, 15 February 1978

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LHIUTLI – Family Dog, Denver, Colorado, 3 May 1968

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LHIUTLI – Folkets Park, Malmo, Sweden, 5 September 1978

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LHIUTLI – Lawrence University Chapel, Appleton, Wisconsin, 23 May 1969

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LHIUTLI – Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York, 21 September 1978

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LHIUTLI – Palladium, New York City, New York, 27 October 1978 (Early Show)

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LHIUTLI – Palladium, New York City, New York, 28 October 1978 (Early Show)

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LHIUTLI – Palladium, New York City, New York, 29 October 1978

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LHIUTLI – Palladium, New York City, New York, 31 October 1978

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LHIUTLI – State University of New York, Stonybrook, New York, 15 October 1978 (Early Show)

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27 Responses to “Frank’s Little Houses”

  1. Leonidi says:

    The Little I Used To Live In from BWS is the greatest version, it simply can not be beat.

  2. Nowski says:

    Well, you can’t beat the version on the white album with the pencil on the front.

  3. jonnybutter2 says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    The Little I Used To Live In from BWS is the greatest version, it simply can not be beat.

    My vote is with Leonidi. The BWS version is the monster, for me. I remember wondering in those early days why no other live Zappa concerts sounded like that. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that the BWS version of the song is an edit…

  4. Dark Clothes says:

    There’s something very special about Burnt Weeny Sandwich. Many die-hards prefer it to Hot Rats, and I’m one of them. It’s the little album I used to live in, and still often visit.

  5. Nowski says:

    Agreed. Burnt Weeny Sandwich was the album I used to play for my friends when I was trying to make them true believers.

  6. Ken Duvall says:

    Yes, Burnt Weeny Sandwich did it for me also !
    And I also really love Uncle Meat and Hot Rats….

  7. urbangraffito says:

    I’ve never quite understood why FZ 1988 band never performed “Little House I Used To Live In” especially since Zappa had that fantastic horn section which really could have made it the quintessential version of that composition. I guess we’ll never know now. The closest I imagine that piece being to what might have been played by the 88 band is the version on Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1997).

    While I’ll never know why FZ decided not to perform this piece with his last few ensembles, either, I’m lucky that some exceptionally talented musicians have taken up, and in some cases, recorded the piece: Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1997); The Grande Mothers Re: Invented in São Paulo, Brazil, on May 16th, 2010; Struber Z’tett’s Les Noces De Dada – Plays Zappa Live; and Zappa Plays Zappa live in Isreal, 2010.

  8. Slap says:

    My $0.02….

    My first FZ purchase was Zoot Allures (mainly ‘cuz it was the only FZ that store had in stock at the time….) back in ’76; I had been exposed, through friends, to Rats, WakaJawaka, the Wazoo, Apostrophe, Over-nite and Cruisin’. I was under-informed and somewhat confused at the seemingly unrelated range of FZ things I had been exposed to.

    Then I heard Uncle Meat — and basically, the whole code opened up for me. For whatever reason, whether I was simply ready for it, or the fine Columbian, I couldn’t say — but the narrative thread of that album and the manner in which all of those disparate elements were woven together suddenly made deep, visceral sense to me. It connected the dots, and ever since, it all clicks.

    (I had a roughly similar experience with the Captain; Shiny Beast was the code-cracker for me.)

  9. Nowski says:

    This version is beautiful too (even though the sound quality isn’t the best): Bogus Pomp Low Budget Semi-Acoustic Orchestra

  10. Nowski says:

    …and you just got to see this: Little House I Used to Live In edited to classic disaster movie clips.
    Turn on HD, go fullscreen and enjoy. It’s very well done in the spirit of FZ. ZFT didn’t approve apparently, but what the heck.

  11. urbangraffito says:

    Thanks for those, Nowski, especially the version by Bogus Pomp. It’s become nearly impossible to find their videos online lately (Project Object videos, too). Seems Gailzilla has been successful in her maniac mission to have removed every version that doesn’t meet her tastes from YouTube. Sad. Because these two bands have performed some of the most unique versions of FZ compositions I’ve heard.

  12. Nowski says:

    You’re welcome. Bogus Pomp generously offers access to some of their fine performances at this site.
    Maybe hints such as these will attract the carnivores? If so, feel free to remove my comment.

  13. Dark Clothes says:

    The version from Deutschlandhalle 0215 1978 is of course famous for yielding the magnificent Sheik Yerbouti tango – which goes to show that the edges between Zappa’s “serious music” and “horrible sell-outs” are in the least very fuzzy. (And that’s coming from someone with “some sympathy for the Crank Zapatalist view of Zappa as a cynical capitalist”.)

    That same concert also yielded Rat Tomago from the solo in The Torture Never Stops. It’s also notable because of the repeated remarks to David Bowie “ground control to Captain Tom”. That’s what Frank said, not Major Tom. I guess Bowie was in the audience that night, although I can’t say if he had already passed the not to Adrian Belew.

    Perhaps was Belew’s outstanding playing during Wild Love in this concert that convinced Bowie that he needed him in his band.

  14. Dark Clothes says:

    Pardon the typos!

  15. DC Boogie says:

    Here’s the whole story about Bowie and Belew, which my friend and associate recounted with so many factual errors and spelling mistakes:

    http://elephant-blog.blogspot.com/2007/05/anecdote-646-part-1.html

  16. Nowski says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    …especially the version by Bogus Pomp. It’s become nearly impossible to find their videos online lately

    .
    Actually there are quite a lot of Bogus Pomp videos around at the moment, for who knows for how long.

  17. gooey miles says:

    BACK IN 68 I TRADED A FRIEND THE YARDBIRDS GREATEST HITS FOR FREAK OUT AND I WAS ON MY WAY.

  18. Slap says:

    I was fortunate enough to have seen the Stage tour, with Belew. At the time (prior to my semi-obsessive tracking of FZ sidemen’s non-FZ activity), I had no idea who he was. When the show opened, I noticed DB’s core rhythm section (Alomar/Davis/Murray) right off. Then the full force of the sound hit me, and I was utterly dumbfounded by the hair-raisingly glorious and crazed tones coming from this odd-looking guitar player. I almost gave up any idea of ever picking up the guitar again — everything he played was fresh, and startling. (And what a frigging live band this was — with Roger Powell from Utopia on keys, and Simon House from Hawkwind on violin — I highly recommend the LP of this tour.)

  19. Dark Clothes says:

    I used to have the Stage cassette – God knows where it is now. I think I’ll take your advice and buy the CD, Slap! Wish I had seen Bowie in when he was in Oslo in 1978 – if I’d only been a coupla years older…

  20. Slap says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    I used to have the Stage cassette – God knows where it is now. I think I’ll take your advice and buy the CD, Slap! Wish I had seen Bowie in when he was in Oslo in 1978 – if I’d only been a coupla years older…

    I feel incredibly fortunate to have attended that show, to be sure — especially since I’ve never really had another solid opportunity to see him.

    Of his live bands, there are many I’d like to have seen over the years (talk about somebody with an ear for raging fretboard work….!) — but the one I really regret never having the chance to see was the Station to Station band, with Tony Kaye on keys and Stacy Heydon on screaming guitar. The new reissue includes the entirety of that band’s legendary Nassau Colosseum show, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I mean, the remix of the original album is clean and gorgeous, but the inclusion of 2 CDs of that band is near-priceless; the glimpse of DB regaining his strength and purpose after his mausoleum years in LA is worth the price tag (I found mine for about $30 US.)

    The Glass Spider tour is worth looking into, if only because of the mind-blowing guitar antics of that tour’s guitarist, a guy named Frampton or something…..

  21. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Nowski:

    You’re welcome. Bogus Pomp generously offers access to some of their fine performances at this site.
    Maybe hints such as these will attract the carnivores? If so, feel free to remove my comment.

    Thanks for letting others know about Matt’s site. The content, though, is a bit dated. I’d like to see some of BP’s more recent shows make an appearance there, too.

    A quote from Nowski:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    …especially the version by Bogus Pomp. It’s become nearly impossible to find their videos online lately

    .
    Actually there are quite a lot of Bogus Pomp videos around at the moment, for who knows for how long.

    Finding any videos on YouTube, lately, is like a game of russian roulette, especially videos that are Zappa-related. Here one week, gone the next. I used to create a lot more posts with YouTube content but they were just too unreliable.

  22. Dark Clothes says:

    Good to have a fellow Bowie fan here, Slap! I did get to see him on the Sound+Vision tour in 1990, and it was a good concert, in spite of the suit :-) Unfortunately I couldn’t get a ticket for the Norwegian Wood show in 2004, but I did cycle past the outdoor venue in Frognerparken just a few moments after the infamous lollipop incident, and heard Bowie screaming at the audience: “I only have one good eye, you fucking idiot, you could have blinded me!!”

  23. Dark Clothes says:

    The lollipop incident:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsfSLzPp1io

    It’s true – I was cycling through the park and heard this from outside the fence as it happened…

  24. Slap says:

    Thanks fer the nod, DC. Yep, Bowie fan since Diamond Dogs woke me up when it was released. A little late to the party, I know — I had been living in a fairly socially-backward area at the time of Ziggy and Aladdin Sane, and professing an interest in performers who were perceived and referred to as f**s (insert slang term for cigarette (UK) or homosexual (US)) would likely result in, at a minimum, being treated with a great deal of suspicion. (Texas in the early 70s makes today’s Texas look like a liberal paradise….but that is quite another area of conversation inappropriate for this forum.) Wasn’t until I moved to an area where there was more tolerance (mid-Atlantic) that I started exploring things based on whether or not I liked the music, not what makeup the performer chose to wear. Diamond Dogs had just been released, and I have been hooked ever since.

    My tastes run all over the map, however…..!

  25. Dark Clothes says:

    I got into Bowie in the Berlin period of Low, Heroes and Lodger (from the era around the debated 02115 1978 Deutschlandhalle concert) but I agree that Diamond Dogs is a fabulous album, as well. Bowie has some misses, but the majority of his stuff trancends rambling rawknrawl in a big way, just as Zappa does!

  26. DC Corrects says:

    0215 1978

  27. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Slap:

    Thanks fer the nod, DC. Yep, Bowie fan since Diamond Dogs woke me up when it was released. A little late to the party, I know — I had been living in a fairly socially-backward area at the time of Ziggy and Aladdin Sane, and professing an interest in performers who were perceived and referred to as f**s (insert slang term for cigarette (UK) or homosexual (US)) would likely result in, at a minimum, being treated with a great deal of suspicion. (Texas in the early 70s makes today’s Texas look like a liberal paradise….but that is quite another area of conversation inappropriate for this forum.) Wasn’t until I moved to an area where there was more tolerance (mid-Atlantic) that I started exploring things based on whether or not I liked the music, not what makeup the performer chose to wear. Diamond Dogs had just been released, and I have been hooked ever since.

    My tastes run all over the map, however…..!

    I can well appreciate what it is like to live in a “socially-backward” area, Slap, growing up in what many would refer to as the “Texas of the North” where for the longest time the only radio station played both kinds of music: Country and Western!

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