||From the Vault...
"You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5"
© FZ/Rykodisc Records
Year of Release: 1992
Here Lies Love
JCB And Kansas
On The Bus #1
Run Home Show/
Main Title Theme
The Little March
Where Is Johnny Velvet
Return Of The
Trouble Every Day
JCB And Kansas
On The Bus #2
Where's Our Equipment
FZ-JCB Drum Duet
No Waiting For The
Peanuts To Dissolve
A Game Of Cards
My Guitar Wants To
Kill Your Mama
Dead Girls Of London
Shall We Take
What's New In Baltimore
City Of Tiny Lites
A Pound For A Brown
(On The Bus)
The Black Page #2
Frank Zappa related sites:
"You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5"
Frank Zappa -- whether you liked him or didn't, you have to admit, he was a genius in his own right.
Zappa and his band constantly toured, and he would tape his many concerts. An amazing thing is how he conducted
his own concerts -- like a music maestro, conducting his own orchestra. His fans wanted to hear these performances,
especially if they were there, and enjoyed them. From that, the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Series
(YCDTOSA) came to be. One interesting webpage, on www.surfnetusa.com/3ofus/fzstage.html (which no longer exists),
stated that Volume 5 is considered the best Volume of the six.
For those who are not familiar with Zappa's music (who isn't?) -- well, his music probably didn't please everyone.
Some called him a novelty performer, and most of his music certainly was. But then there was another side, where
he incorporated his own kind of Jazz and Classical music. It is best summed up in the liner notes for this volume:
"This collection has taken more than 20 years to put together. It provides a comprehensive sampling of unreleased
live material with absolutely no over-dubs, and, in this set, a few unreleased studio cuts. Disc One of this set
deals with the early years from 1965 to 1968. Great care has been taken to ensure the best audio quality, however,
the selections on Disc One, though not exactly "hi-fi", have been included specifically for the amusement of those
collectors who still believe that the only "good" material was performed by these early line-ups."
Disc One comprises of Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention's live performances from 1967, 1968 and (mostly) 1969.
It's best to categorize the 25 tracks on Disc One, as Good, Interesting, and Weird.
Good Tracks: "The Downtown Talent Scout" is good "Frank Zappa Jazz", as its vocals (by FZ) sounds a bit
like the vocals on the late 1960s hit, "Quick Joey Small" by Kasenetz-Katz Singing Circus. "Here Lies Love"
has a bluesy jazz, as Lowell George provides the vocals. (He would later be famous as the original lead singer of
Little Feat.) "Frank Zappa Jazz" continues on "Return Of The Hunch-Back Duke." "Trouble Every Day"
is pretty good, as it resembles the psychedelic music of another 1960s band, Hawkwind. Frank Zappa displays very
good guitar leads throughout "Baked-Bean Boogie." He displays his talent on another musical instrument,
the drums, on "FZ/JCB Drum Duet." (JCB was a member of Zappa's band, drummer Jimmy Carl Black.) "No Waiting
For The Peanuts To Dissolve" (nice title) is a rocking song, and speaking of, probably the best track on Disc One,
is (great song title) -- "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama."
Interesting tracks: "Mozart Ballet" -- yes, the Classical Mozart piano. This song would have been better
to view as a video, because you hear the audience laughing, and other sound effects, such as snoring (!) So something
was going on, on stage. (Can you see how this album got it's title? Who knows what was going on stage during THIS
performance.) What kind of music is heard on "Run Home Slow: Main Title Theme/The Little March"? Likewise
the same question is asked on "Proto-Minimalism." Theme music, Experimental World Music, and Experimental
Music on "Meow."
Weird tracks: Zappa's music thorughout his career just sets it up in one word: WEIRD. Tracks such as "Charles
Ives," and the "Piano/Drum Duet" just gets a little weird for me to listen to. And even on "Chocolate
Halvah" -- If you're familar with Eric Clapton & Cream's "I Feel Free," "Chocolate Halvah" sounds like this
song, slowed down, as if you were on a bad drug trip. "JCB & Kansas On The Bus #1" and it's "#2" are more
comedy sketches as if Cheech & Chong were to have performed them. "My Head?" is also comedy sketched.
Another "novelty" is "Right There," as this track sure sounds like a sexual encounter, as I'm sure most of us
have said the title of this song during our moments of passion. "Where Is Johnny Velvet" is another comedy
number, where Zappa asks: "wanna come up and sing with us? C'mon..." "Where's Our Equipment?" showcases
Zappa's horn section, Psychedelia Rock is heard on "Underground Freak-Out Music" (that title pretty much
says it all). Comedy sketches return on "A Game Of Cards," and "German Lunch" a funny German comedy
Disc Two shows a much better side of Zappa, and his current band at the time. From the liner notes:
"Disc Two of this set is dedicated to the 1982 band. About half the material here comes from our ill-fated concert
in Geneva, Switzerland (which ended with a small riot). The 1982 tour itself ended with a much larger riot in
Palermo, Sicily a few weeks later. The '82 band could play beautifully when it wanted to. It is unfortunate that
the audiences of the time didn't understand that we had no intention of posing as targets for their assorted "love
offerings" cast onto the stage (in Milan they threw hypodermic syringes)."
"Easy Meat" is definitely Progressive Rock (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and "FZ Prog Rock". Very impressive
track. "Dead Girls Of London" keeps the typical Zappa humor going, "Should We Take Ourselves Seriously"
is more of a short jazzy novelty number. "What's New In Baltimore" has an almost smooth jazz meets FZ Rock
feel. Another quite impressive track; Rock Opera-ish too. "Frank Zappa Jazz," 1982 styled, has the impressive
instrumental "Moggio." Everyone familiar with Zappa's music is no stranger to "Dancin' Fool"," and
the "Frank Zappa Jazz/Rock" "RDNZL" is another classic. "Advance Romance" is another impressive Rock
track; Zappa has his band in fine tune, both musically and vocally. This continues on the next track, "City Of
Tiny Lites," a 10-minute number. "Frank Zappa Jazz" shines on "A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)";
the scattin' is George Benson-ish ("On Broadway") "Doreen" keeps it exciting, "Frank Zappa (Smooth)
Jazz" returns on "The Black Page #2." And lastly, "Geneva Farewell" is just FZ announcing to the
crowd, that the concert is over, with crowd noises. (There was a small riot going on.)
What's interesting were other musicians in Zappa's band. Disc One with the Mothers of Invention included
Lowell George (Little Feat) and Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience). Disc Two included guitar great Steve Vai.
Overall, Volume 5 of YCDTOSA is fantastic, and would be even more if the video for each song were
provided. Although (as mentioned on previous Frank Zappa reviews), sometimes the guitar solos can be a little
overwhelming/annoying. ("The Black Page #2") Other than that, the interesting "Frank Zappa Jazz" has always
been interesting, and his version of Jazz was truly unique and different than most contemporary Jazz and Smooth Jazz.
Listening to "Zappa's Jazz," you can hear all the basic elements of popular Jazz, but in the end, truly unique from
the common Jazz sounds we are so familiar with.
Zappa's live performances were classic. I never saw him in concert, but from those I know who did, said that he
was an absolute pure concert virtuoso. Conducting his full band, like a concert conductor would, no other Rock act
has done this, in the state of Rock & Roll Music. I'm sure there are many DVD videos/concert of FZ to enjoy and watch.
He was ahead of his time for most of his music, and he did have a tremendous sense of humor. Like any Rock fact,
he sang about the concepts of Rock & Roll: Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll. He left a legacy of music behind, and even
his children continue his tradition. It's interesting to hear his children, such as Dweezil Zappa, perform his
father's songs. Likewise, many musicians who were part of his band, and became famous on their own (Steve Vai,
for example), even performs a FZ tune or two in their own concerts. I'm sure they whipped up a few of FZ songs on
studio albums as well. (I was looking up on YouTube, "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama," and it's amazing
of how many people (both popular music artists, and non-popular, such as garage bands, and other bands putting songs
together), that they used FZ songs as part of their sets.
The concerts of Frank Zappa, especially in the YCDTASA are a treat. Yes, some performances are better
than others. Volume 5's Disc Two is the best of the two. God bless Frank Zappa. He was a true genius,
a man of his time, and his music will always live on.
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