Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
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The title has it
Patrik Lemberg | Tammisaari Finland | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first FZ album I ever heard. My electric bass teacher lent it to me after I keenly asked him "Whose song is this?" at a concert where a band played "Let's Move To Cleveland." I loved the song immediately, and upon listening to it on disc I didn't only love it for its [to me, at the time] eccentric melody, but also for the guitar solo, which I was to find a typical example of Zappa's personal way of soloing.
At close to 130 minutes of music this may be the perfect (and a "light") Zappa introduction to no-know-persons. Although most of the material is taken from FZ's late 60's through mid 70's repertoire, or what some might call his hey day rock material, big variations (thanks to re-arrangements) are being made, and styles vary. There's also a bunch of classic rock covers, such as "Purple Haze," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Stairway to Heaven" among others - even the "Bonanza" theme is included. All cover songs are worth listening to - they're extremely extreme! After listening to any of them for the first time there is NO WAY the words "Just what I expected" will escape from your sincere mouth.
What differs the old FZ studio songs from these 15-to-20-years-later-live-versions are the arrangements and the lyrics. A lot of the lyrics are humorously replaced on the spot (the band seems to have a really good time) and close to all songs on this album feature a horn section armed with five men who handle 10 different horns.
From what I understand, the '88 tour band (the last of Zappa's rock bands) knew 196 songs - songs that Zappa could call off at concerts at any time, and it truly shows that this band have practiced A LOT! The musicianship is, as on many of Zappa's albums, EXTRAORDINARY.
As a musician I can deeply recommend it for inspiration to anyone involved in musical activities.
As an "innocent bystander" I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor who wants to enjoy well performed quality music, but if you're looking for an album to cry to while enjoying a bowl-size glass of white wine and looking out the window at the pouring rain, questioning the meaning of life and death, then this is ABSOLUTELY NOT it.
To Zappa-fanatics who don't own this album I must ask "Fanatic, are you kidding?""
The best entry-level Zappa recording
Sir Charles Panther | Alexandria, Virginny, USandA | 11/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thinking of getting into FZ? If contemplating your first foray into the world of Frank, buy this recording. It's accessible on many levels, primarily due to the numerous covers of rock, country, movie, and classical pieces. There are also the FZ standards, such as "The Torture Never Stops," "Penguin in Bondage," "Florentine Pogen," "Inca Roads," and "Sofa." If you enjoy this album then you'll enjoy any other recording in the vast FZ catalog."
Stellar arrangements, essential songs
"Unnecessary" Quotes | 10/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This title, recorded before the BWTHW touring band disintegrated in a flurry of slap-fighting and mean-spirited "slam books," offers an extraordinary glimpse of where Zappa could have gone if he had lived another fifteen years. By this time in his career, Zappa was the undisputed champion of writing impossible compositions and then flogging his musicians into playing them. Thus, with this tour Zappa settled into a more relaxed set that emphasized showmanship along with the musical feats.
Considering the number of musicians on stage during this tour, there is an amazing amount of space in these songs. It is almost as though the whole thing was produced in a studio, with some musicians contributing a note or two per chorus. The wide-open spaces on the album make a fantastic palette for Zappa to really emphasize his strengths as a guitar player, and they also leave room for the other greats in this band to express themselves.
The song list includes stellar versions of some Zappa classics, like Florentien Pogen and Inca Roads, along with a few suprises. Who knew that Stairway to Heaven's guitar solo would sound so good as a horn arrangement? Who but Zappa would have equated "Ring of Fire" with some sort of fungal (possibly sexually transmitted) infection?
I agree with the other reviewers that this is a good intro to Zappa, with one caveat: this is an extraordinarily cynical album. Maybe all of the parody of Johnny Cash seems over the top in light of his recent passing, and you can probably forgive Zappa for devoting so much time to dissecting the sexual indescretions of Jimmy Swaggart. In any case, there are lots of points in this album where the easy facade of playfulness seems to give way to a very dark underbelly. All I am saying is, don't put this in the CD player until you've had your morning coffee."