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Beat the Boots, Vol. 2: Swiss Cheese / Fire! (Live)

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Album Review

This is a bootleg album, released by Frank Zappa without enhancement, and also available as part of the Beat The Boots! #2 boxed set. It's a two-CD set that presents a nearly complete live performance by the 1970-71 "Flo & Eddie" edition of The Mothers, featuring lead vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, and recorded December 4, 1971. As such, it begins with an extended instrumental introduction leading into "Peaches En Regalia," and then there is a combination of 200 Motels material and oldies like "Call Any Vegetable." Sound quality is good, and the performance level is high. Hence, the critical verdict is: good, for a bootleg. Of course, this recording also has historical value, apart from its musical attributes. The show, which occurred at the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, ended in a fire that destroyed The Mothers' equipment. The following week in London, Zappa was pushed off the stage by a deranged fan, and this edition of The Mothers was history.

Customer Reviews

Historic

It's quite a stretch to call the sound quality of this bootleg "good", but it's a famous moment in rock history: This is the show where "some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground", as documented in Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". You can hear the on-stage confusion as Don Preston's keyboard solo comes to an end during "King Kong" with Mark Volman's "fire?!" cry and the recording fades out as the crowd leaves the venue to Zappa's evacuation announcements.

Some great, some average, but worthwhile for true Zappa fans

The 14 minute intro is kind of a waste, considering there was obviously more material that didn't make this collection. It's also out of sequence for true perfectionists who like to hear shows in order. Still, there is great music in these discs, especially Magdalena, A Pound for a Brown, and Sofa Suite. My favorite moment of irreverence comes during 'Fire!', when Flo first notices the impending disaster and announces to the crowd, "Arthur Brown, ladies and gentlemen!" Oddly, the crowd appears not to be in a real panic over the fire, so if you were hoping for a Hindenburg-like audio moment, you'll be disappointed. This disc is probably the most hard to find, expensive Beat the Boots selection to find on Ebay (often selling for $75.00 and up), so if collecting the disc isn't important to you then downloading is your best bet.

Best of the Series

This official bootleg is the best of the series. Why? It documents one of the most important moments in Rock History. Ever heard of Smoke On The Water? Well, this is the real audio document of that night. The tunes are great, one of the best from the Flo and Eddie period of Zappa's touring band. And, check for the eerie references to fire all night long. If only the band had known what was waiting ahead... I LOVE this album!

Biography

Born: December 21, 1940 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music, sometimes inducing orchestras to play along. As if his music were not...
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