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Frank Zappa/Mothers Of Invention
"Roxy And Elsewhere"

© Rykodisc Records


track listing
  • Penguin In Bondage
  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • Dummy Up
  • Village Of The Sun
  • Echidna's Art (Of You)
  • Don't You Ever
    Wash That Thing?
  • Cheepnis
  • Son Of Orange County
  • More Trouble
    Every Day
  • Be-Bop Tango
    (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)

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    "Roxy And Elsewhere"

    1974's Roxy And Elsewhere featured most tracks from a concert at Hollywood's Roxy Theatre, in late 1973. The remaining tracks were recorded from a 1974 show at Chicago's Auditorium, and a Pennyylvania college concert, also in 1974. Frank Zappa's live performances were a sight to see, as many who had seen him reported. It is obviously heard on some tracks here on the Roxy album, that he featured a large orchestra, and since this concert was recorded in 1974, it was obvious that no rock star would even think of having such a large orchestra to back him up. Frank Zappa was a genius in his own right, as his music may have been strange to some, yet classic to others.

    His song titles and lyrics were just as "interesting." Like the opening track, "Penguin In Bondage" may have a somewhat humorous look at what may happen to some people's "behind closed doors" extracuricular activities, this song features some incredible lead guitar by Zappa.

    "Pygmy Twylyte" is a good look at how hard rocking Zappa can be, with his orchestra backing him up. "Dummy Up" looks humorously at drugs and education. "Village Of The Sun" has a more soulful approach. With the horns of the orchestra, it makes this song very interesting, how a rock star such as Zappa can illustrate Rock and Soul music together. And the horns sound outstanding on "Echidna's Art (Of You)," where it has a Blood, Sweat & Tears/early Chicago sound, mixed with Zappa's Rock style. This is quite the same for "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" where Zappa experiments in instrumentation with Rock and Jazz, and it is very unique in sound. It is easily determined that this is Zappa's own sound, and again, how interesting Zappa's love for Jazz is heard on this particular song, and future Jazz-based albums he would release.

    Zappa talks to the audience on how he enjoys monster movies, and how the B-movie concept is considered cheapness, as he discusses the movie "It Conquered The World" and how certain scenes just certainly looked cheap. "Cheepnis" is an unusual rock song, and it just shows how unique Zappa's music was -- strange, yet ahead of its time. "Son Of Orange County" has another strange atmosphere. Definitely Rock, yet it has some soulfulness in its own way, with amazing orchestration, and Zappa's guitar playing is outstanding.

    Watching the "unusual events" on television is the focus on "More Trouble Ever Day," pretty much violence on TV, and listening to unique's Zappa's lyrics and musical style, those who are familar with Zappa's music, will easily identify this song as a typical humourous Zappa composition. "Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)" takes another humourous, and what Zappa calls a "perverted look" at tango music. It is definitely off-Jazz, as only Zappa and his orchestra can illustrate. Clocking in over 15 minutes in length, it's an unusual look (and sound) on how Jazz music can be interpreted in a whole new outlook. To some, it may sound totally unusual, but then again, that's how Frank Zappa was.

    And with that, that's how Zappa's career was. An usual look at music, and especially Jazz. Frank Zappa took Jazz and created his own unique style to it. The Be-Bop Tango is a definitely example. That song to some, maybe considered the "least" one to listen to, yet the remaining concert is extremely exceptional. Most critics may agree that live albums are not as great as regular studio albums. However, Roxy And Elsewhere showcases Zappa as an extroadinary musician and orchestra leader. Most of Zappa's concerts has extended jams, as well as his "normal" humours style. "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" is a standout, and displays how Jazz can be intrepreted into a whole new direction, Zappa style. Zappa said it best during the "Be-Bop Tango," -- "Jazz is not Jazz, it just smells funny..." Frank Zappa was funny; unique is a better word, and after listening to his music, it just may sound uniquely funny too.

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