Christians have Christmas, Jews have Passover, and Muslims have the holy month of Ramadan. For a Zappa/Mothers freak like myself, though, no day in the calendar year is more important than Halloween. Frank Zappa and Halloween in New York City became a tradition onto itself in the 1970s and early 1980s. It’s no surprise that whenever he decided to release live albums and videos and DVDs, New York was the backdrop. If Los Angeles was his home, New York was his home away from home. It was where he seemed to let his hair down most, so to speak, and where he had the most fun with the freaks and denizens which were his fans.
To commemorate this particular Halloween, KUR-Meisters, I joined forces with the great Magic Fingers, and together we have compiled for you a massive Halloween mix entitled: “New York, New York” Zappa Style – KUR’s Halloween Mix.
While compiling the prior four installments of this mix – I was intrigued by the sheer energy, vitality, and variation Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention brought to each of their show’s encores. Traditionally, Zappa‘s contemporaries might toss out an occasional song or two to satisfy their audience at the conclusion of a concert. In contrast, Zappa‘s encores would sometimes morph into mini-concerts onto themselves – the maestro and the band often returning for two, sometimes three encores. Something truly incredible to hear, especially when compounded one show after another, one tour after another, one incarnation of the band after another.
Listening to these encores – some a little over ten to twelve minutes in length, others almost a full hour – it’s obvious that Frank Zappa and the Mothers had a special connection with their audiences as well as to the music, itself.
A wonderful way to end the Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix, n’est pas?
It’s that time of the month, fellow KUR-Meisters, when I dip into my personal, not-so-mythic, vault of Zappa field recordings to compile the latest KUR mix: the “Immaculate Voodoo Butter Mix – Part IV“. What is Part IV? Part IV is 200 tracks from the maestro’s last two touring bands, ’84 and ’88, beginning with a Rehearsal session from December 23rd, 1987. Why 200 tracks? 200 allows for the best performances of each respective tour to shine through…
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.
Part Two will certainly be a treat for both new and old freaks alike. New freaks will get to hear some Zappa standards in entirely unique and often extended versions while old freaks are reminded just how much of a showcase these songs were – not only for Zappa’s virtuoso guitar ability, but for every musician that played in his various ensembles (in this case, 1975 to 1982). Albeit, some of these audience recordings are more raw and raunchy than others (sound drop-outs, cut-ins, cut-outs, tape flips — all of which I have left intact), I have chosen only those that showcase exceptional ability, technical and creative prowess, as well as historical and educational value.
That said, place your headphones to oblivion back on – raise the volume a notch or two – sit back, let Frank transport you into another place, another time…