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Roxy & Elsewhere

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Album Review

After his affair with jazz fusion (Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, both released in 1972), Frank Zappa came back in late 1973 with an album of simple rock songs, Over-Nite Sensation. But the temptation for more challenging material was not long to resurface and, after a transitional LP (Apostrophe, early 1974), he unleashed a double LP (reissued on one CD) of his most complex music, creating a bridge between his comedy rock stylings and Canterbury-style progressive rock. Three-quarters of the album was recorded live at the Roxy in Hollywood and extensively overdubbed in the studio later. Only three tracks ("Dummy Up," "Son of Orange County," and "More Trouble Every Day"), taken from other concerts, are 100 percent live. The band is comprised of George Duke (keyboards), Tom Fowler (bass), Ruth Underwood (percussion), Bruce Fowler (trombone), Walt Fowler (trumpet), Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals), and Chester Thompson (drums) — drummer Ralph Humphrey, keyboardist Don Preston, and guitarist Jeff Simmons appear on the non-Roxy material. The sequence "Echidna's Arf (Of You)"/"Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" stands as Zappa's most difficult rock music and provides quite a showcase for Underwood. Other highlights include "Penguin in Bondage" and "Cheepnis," a horror movie tribute. All the pieces were premiere recordings, except for "More Trouble Every Day" and "Son of Orange County," a revamped, slowed down "Orange County Lumber Truck"/"Oh No." Compared to the man's previous live recordings (Fillmore East: June 1971, Just Another Band from L.A.), this one sounds fantastic, finally providing an accurate image of the musicians' virtuosity. For fans of Zappa's intricate material like "RDNZL," "The Black Page," or "Inca Roads," this album is a must-have. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Excellent Show and Musicianship

To me, this was the golden age of his different band incarnations, great musicians, and good tunes. Check out "One Size fits all" for essentially the same group.

I had the album, and recall that they cut a bit to fit it on one CD Cheepnes had a different mix down, and a few other spots faded out differently.. Listining to the excerpts brings back memories of headphone listening over and over.

One of the Best of this Period

Finally we have Zappa on i-Tunes - bravo!

This is a great album all around, with a live flavor, one of the best lineups, and impeccable musicianship. The guitar solo on "Son of Orange County" is almost breathtakingly beautiful, one of Frank's most melodic and comparable to Inca Roads on "One Size Fits All" (which was also "live") - and this segways right into a new take on "Trouble Every Day", which itself has a fantastic, fast-riffing, bluesy guitar solo. Great Stuff!

The best Zappa's band ever.

Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Tom Fowler, Ralph Humphrey, Chester Thompson and Ruth Underwood. It dosen't get any better than this.

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...
Full Bio