Archive for June, 2016

Frank Zappa, Road Tapes, Venue #3 | Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN | 5 July 1970, Vaulternative Records, May 27, 2016

Frank Zappa, Road Tapes, Venue #3 | Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN | 5 July 1970, Vaulternative Records, May 27, 2016

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In today’s rapidly changing world, ziblings appear almost every day with some new promotional device.
Some of these devices have been known to leave irreparable scars on the minds of foolish old consumers.
One such case is seated behind this pages, yes, The Resentment Listener.

There is only one possible relief for scars such that: music. And I do hope there will be a lot of music from now on, before that Jabberwocky day when some sordid lawyer will suggest a cease and desist whatchamacallit that will silence the Big Note.

In the hope of a truly different outcome, let us get some blessed relief with a little known live period: Flo & Eddie, the 1970 embodiment.

Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan by Michael Hodsdon

Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan by Michael Hodsdon

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The Flo & Eddie Band, the so called FZ’s Vaudeville Band, is mainly known for two early 70’s releases (Fillmore East – June 1971, and Just Another Band From L.A.). For those who are familiar with the whole official discography, the body of such works grows with Playground Psychotics (a 1992 release). Also, you may want (and you should) consider posthumous releases, hence Carnegie Hall (a 2011 release). To complete the picture some tracks from YCDTOSA Vol.6 should be mentioned. However, with some very little exceptions (one of them strictly related to this release, later on this), all official recordings are from the 1971 Flo & Eddie Band, that was slightly different from that of the previous year: in 1971 Jim Pons and Don Preston replaced Jeff Simmons and George Duke.

The Mothers 1970, photo by Barrie Wentzell

The Mothers 1970, photo by Barrie Wentzell

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Charles Ulrich’s “FZ’s Vaudeville Band” pages are a good place to focus on differences between 1970 and 1971 in terms of repertoire. As it can be seen in the “repertoire by tour” chart, in 1971 vocal numbers increased (Magdalena, the Sofa suite, Billy The Mountain, etc.) while listening to concert tapes you will realize that in 1970 instrumental material had larger room and included one grand instrumental more: Chunga’s Revenge (originally known as The Clap). Mudshark is an example of a piece of music that in 1970 was an instrumental section of Little House, while in 1971 become a Vaudeville number (Fillmore East – June 1971). Flo & Eddie 1970 should be seen as a transition period, the missing link between the 60’s Mothers and Billy the Mountain, with echoes of the short lived Hot Rats Band (Feb-Apr 1970).

Until the release of Road Tapes, Venue #3, the only way to appreciate such 1970 live shows were the zappateers archive (sing praise to them) or the following titles from the Beat the Boots series (all of them with fair to good audio quality):

Freaks & Motherfuckers (BTB I, Fillmore East, NYC, November 13, 1970)
Tengo na Minchia Tanta (BTB II, Fillmore East, NYC, November 13, 1970)
Disconnected Synapses (BTB II, Palais Gaumont, Paris, France, December 15 1970, featuring Jean-Luc Ponty)

As for concert tapes, go for instance for 18-Jun 1970, Uddel, Netherlands (Live at the “Piknik” show, VPRO, Dutch Television, good audio quality).

So this Tyrone Guthrie Theater, 5 July 1970, set is highly welcome to fill such a gap.

The Mothers, Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, 5 July 1970

The Mothers, Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, 5 July 1970

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Road Tapes, Venue No. 3

Disc One

Show 1
1 Tyrone Start The Tape… (1:59)
2 King Kong (3:37)
3 Wonderful Wino (Zappa/Simmons) (4:47)
4 Concentration Moon (2:34)
5 Mom & Dad (3:25)
6 The Air (3:46)
7 Dog Breath (2:01)
8 Mother People (2:06)
9 You Didn’t Try To Call Me (4:10)
10 Agon – Interlude (Stravinsky) (0:36)
11 Call Any Vegetable (7:59)
12 King Kong / Igor’s Boogie (20:25)
13 It Can’t Happen Here (3:05)
14 Sharleena (4:59)

Show 2
15. The 23rd “Mondellos” (3:13)
16. Justine (Harris/Terry) (1:46)

Disc Two

Show 2, continued
1 Pound For A Brown (5:07)
2 Sleeping In A Jar (3:37)
3 Sharleena (5:49)
4 “A Piece Of Contemporary Music” (7:03)
5 The Return Of The Hunchback Duke (incl. Little House I Used To Live In, Holiday In Berlin) (10:00)
6 Cruising For Burgers (3:44)
7 Let’s Make The Water Turn Black (1:42)
8 Harry, You’re A Beast (1:29)
9 Oh No / Orange County Lumber Truck (11:01)
10 Call Any Vegetable (11:29)
11 Mondello’s Revenge (1:46)
12 The Clap (Chunga’s Revenge) (13:01)

Frank Zappa: guitar
George Duke: electric piano, vocal drum imitations
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie (Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan): vocals
Jeff Simmons: bass, vocal
Ian Underwood: alto sax, electric piano

The Mothers at Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, June 1970

The Mothers at Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, June 1970

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The perfect instrumental trailer for this Vaulternative Records release is The Nancy and Mary Music from Chunga’s Revenge: a patchwork from show 2 recordings. Thanks to zappateer Ed Organmax, here is the deconstruction (RT3 timings):

King Kong 8:12-9:51 (sax + drum solos)
The Clap (Chunga’s Revenge):
7:20-8:21 (guitar solo)
King Kong:
10:06 – 13:09 (more drums, slightly more sax, second guitar solo)
15.19-19.04 (electric piano solo, vocal-drum and assorted screams)

Reasoning about King Kong, one more from Ed Organmax:

The two minutes in King Kong/Igor’s edited off “The N&M” between Guitar Solo 2 and the Electric Piano Solo (13:09-15.18 or so) are really driven by Aynsley who swings like a bad motherfucker! Stick in some horns and it would have sounded like The Grand Wazoo! So Dunbar had the chops from the outset!

Aynsley Dumbar drumming is in fact one the most remarkable elements of this recordings, also because drums are often clearer than other instruments and quite in front of the mix (especially in show 2). The overall audio quality is fair as the other Road Tapes releases. The Nancy and Mary Music is a good reference, even though show 1 (most of cd 1) audio quality is not as good as show 2, because of tape quality. Liner notes states that the first 35 minutes have been recorded over a previous used tape. During some songs (The Air and Call Any Vegetable) some other sounds can be heard far back in the mix.

As stated by zappateer pbuzby:

I can only guess that FZ may have thought of the first half hour of the first show as time to check the mix and perform material from the albums, before using better tape for the rest.

A huge thanks should be given to the persons at the control knobs, audio source often changes, there should had been a lot of mixing work behind this release.

Audio quality apart, this double set has a lot of appeal of course for the Vaudeville era fans, but also for those who are not in the mood of groupies entertainment.

(Almost) full instrumental numbers as King Kong (3:27+20:26), Pound for a Brown (4:57), Sleeping in a Jar (3:37), The Return of the Hunchback Duke (10:00), Oh No/Orange County Lumber Truck (11:01), Chunga’s Revenge (13:01) amount to about half the program (about 1h:12min of 2h:26min) and include fiery solos by Zappa, Underwood (especially on woodwinds), Duke and Dumbar.

In the rest of the program there still room for further Zappa solos (Wondeful Wino, Call any Vegetables (2 takes), Sharleena (a short solo in both takes)).

As for Sharleena, interesting to note that in his intro to the song Zappa explains (at about 1:05 into It Can’t Happen Here): “a song that we recorded in London a couple of weeks ago […] it will probably be released under the pseudo-name of Bognor Regis”. It should be a reference to the Chunga’s Revenge recording sessions. On the other hand Bognor Regis became the b-side of the unreleased Sharleena single.

Bognor Regis, from the Hot Rats sessions, August-September, 1969)

Back to the instrumental side of Road Tapes, Venue #3, “A Piece Of Contemporary Music” is a conducted improvisation episode that sounds like the 60’s Mothers of Invention (with a funny quote of Duke Ellington’s Caravan).

Moreover, Agon – interlude and Igor’s Boogie are brief nuggets also reminiscent of the MOI.

All the other Zappa songs feature great vocal performances of the Flo & Eddie duo, namely:

Concentration Moon
Mom & Dad
The Air
Dog Breath
Mother People
You Didn’t Try To Call Me
Cruising For Burgers
Let’s Make The Water Turn Black
Harry, You’re A Beast

They all are from the 60’s catalog, no groupies on the scene!

The surf/rockabilly number Justine, and the Mondello routines are that bit of previously unreleased folklore that gives further interest to the set.

Adrian Lloyd & the Sunsets, Justine (Harris/Terry)

Zappa told about the Mondello folklore in an “interview happened in Minneapolis on Sunday, July 5, 1970. The Mothers had gigs in Indianapolis in July 3 and 4, and then two shows in Minneapolis in July 5 at the Guthrie Theater”

HF: Didn’t one of them used to be on “Leave it to Beaver?”

Z: That’s the ‘Larry Mondello case.’ [2] They’ve been both mistaken for Larry Mondello for six years. It used to be Corky, the fat little kid that took care of Lassie between Jeff and Timmy. [3] At every concert for six years one of them has been mistaken for that kid on Beaver. Their real names are Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan.

“Frank Zappa Speaks” by Hundred Flowers, Hundred Flowers, July 10, 1970

Finally, tough posthumous, this album includes the first official release (not counting Beat the Boots) of Holiday in Berlin with lyrics, here as a section of The Return of the Hunchback Duke.

Live long and prosper, Road Tapes!

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We’ve been recording our shows here, at Tyrone Power Theater, and put them in a time capsule.
Frank Zappa, Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN, 5 July 1970 (The 23rd “Mondellos”)

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