Warning: You’re about to enter a zone heavy with nostalgia. Take with a very large grain of salt.
In the late 70s and early 80s (yes, when Dinosaurs roamed the city streets wearing Walkmans and eating veggieburgers) – when a Zappa tour was an almost regular (if not annual) occurrence, and a Zappa fan might expect sometimes multiple releases from the maestro, and my own rabid obsession with the Mothers of Invention (and all things Zappa) was at least at a somewhat manageable level – myself and my fellow freaks had devised a method of determining the level of freakdom of a given Zappa fan by what albums they had in their collection.
Continue reading “Grande Mothers Re:Invented Embark On EU Tour”
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).
Continue reading “When Do We Get Paid? – Jimmy Carl Black”
The Grande Mothers feature Zappa alumni, Napoleon Murphy Brock (lead vocals, tenor sax, woodwinds and choreography), Don Preston (vocals, keyboards and transformations), and Roy Estrada (vocals, bass and pachuco falsetto), along with musicians Chris Garcia (drums, percussion and vocals) and Miroslav Tadic (electric guitar and all the difficult Zappa licks). Over the last few years they have toured to enthusiastic audiences in the US, Canada, Great Britain, as well as various stops in West and Eastern Europe showcasing their special blend of musical mayhem, virtuosic playing, bizarre humor, and as always, their playful love of the music, itself, and each other. And the feeling is contagious and infectious (or so was the sensation when they performed in my little neck of the woods last year).
Just don’t just take my word for it, though. Listen to the interview with the group (first clip). Watch them perform “Pygmy Twylyte” at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead, UK on the 12th March 2008 (second clip). Or perform “Peaches en Regalia” at the Sugar Nightclub for Victoria’s JazzFest ’08.
What do you get a Zappa fan for Xmas who has everything (okay, well, mostly everything, then)? There’s always Freak Out ale, or a ZPZ DVD? Or perhaps even the latest offering of FZ-related merchadise from Barfko-Swill.
Myself, after enjoying my serving of Don Preston’s Vile Foamy Ectoplasm which I ordered from CD Baby earlier this year, along with Napoleon Murphy Brock’s After Frank: 1st Movement (featuring Gregarious Movement), and Jimmy Carl Black’s Where’s The $%&§#@’ Beer? I ordered three more Crossfire Publications titles from CD Baby:
The first-ever Bunk Gardner solo album! It’s All Bunk! spans Bunk’s first sessions with Bud Wattles And His Orchestra (1959) to a live track with The Grandmothers in 1981. In between are post-Mothers improvised recordings done with his late brother Buzz and bassist John Balkin, and melodic pieces with the late Andy Cahan. More than half of these tracks have never been released in any form. In tribute to Buzz Gardner, Buzz’s My Love Has Gone is also included.
Download-only release! In early 2002, former Mothers Of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black gave his old bandmate, bassist Roy Estrada, a call to find out if he was interested in recording an album of blues favorites and originals. Roy was completely into it and it was the first time they had recorded together since 1970. They were joined by UK guitarist Mick Pini, who had played with JCB in blues bands over the years. Recorded in Germany, the album contains the title track that Roy Estrada co-wrote and originally recorded with Little Feat. That song is presented as part of a medley and on its own for the first time. Roy also sings Little Richard’s “Directly From My Heart To You,” which Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention released on the album “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.”
The Grandmothers — Dreams On Long Play (Revised Version)
Download-only release! This edition of The Grandmothers was assembled in Austin, Texas in 1988 by Jimmy Carl Black with guitarist/vocalist Roland St. Germain, violinist Linda Valdmets, woodwind player Gerald “Eli” Smith and bassist Ener Bladezipper. “Dreams On Long Play” appears in its revised version here. For some reason, the band was unhappy with it and re-recorded most of the album (the original version is available separately). Regardless, this edition also features the bonus tracks “Taco Soup In 7/4,” covers of Frank Zappa’s “Let’s Make The Water Turn Black” and “Lonesome Cowboy Burt,” the unedited version of “The,” an edit of “Waiting” and a brilliant cover of The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus.”
Check out these and other Crossfire CDs at CD Baby and, perhaps, bring a smile to that Zappa-fanatic near you (and, no, I’m not receiving payola…sniff, sniff…I just dig the Crossfire catalog). The three audio tracks offered as samples are: “Qualude To Chaos And Fine”, “Slinkin’ Around”, and “Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Live at KUT)” respectively.
Note: If anyone feels we are infringing their copyright, contact us and we will remove the item in question.