Search - Frank Zappa :: Playground Psychotics

Playground Psychotics
Frank Zappa
Playground Psychotics
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #2


CD Details

All Artists: Frank Zappa
Title: Playground Psychotics
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/1970
Re-Release Date: 10/20/1992
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Comedy & Spoken Word, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 013347424422

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CD Reviews

A "Must" For Zappa Completists: Contains 2 Treasures
William Caputo | Scranton, PA United States | 12/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If you are not a die-hard fan or only a casual FZ fan, then it is recommended that you wait and purchase this album at a later time.

The two teasures in this album are:

1. "Scumbag" - the infamous Jam between FZ, John Lennon & Yoko Ono from 1971. Lennon put this song on his "Sometime In New York" album but removed Flo & Eddie's backing vocals. This is the original version that the fans were meant to hear.

2. "Billy The Mountain" - This is the 30 minute version that includes the electric piano solo not included in the 24 minute version released on the "Just Another Band From L.A." album. There are also less out-dated references in this version, making this the "superior" version of this story song about a mountain named Billy, his tree-wife Ethel and the disasters and murder they cause. If you're reading this article, you probably already know the story.

The rest contains snippets of dialogue from the Flo & Eddie period of the "Mothers" Band (1970-71) that is somewhat intersting but nothing amazing or essential, save the "Mudshark Interview" with an Edgewater Inn employee that further explains the meaning of the "Mud Shark" dance/song found on the Fillmore East album.

If you hate the Flo & Eddie period of FZ's music, stay away from this one.
Loud, raunchy, and sloppy. And many other good things.
A Hermit | Southwestern Pa. | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Howard Kaylan has to be the WILDEST sounding vocalist I've ever heard. It's hard to believe that's the same set of pipes that originally sang "Happy Together." The partnership between him and Mark Volman began with The Turtles, and continues to this day, two of the funniest guys in the world. And such strange sounding harmonies.

I think some people don't like this because they are expecting pure music, for music's sake. But I see this as a document to life on the road in the early '70's, as the sleeve notes say. This recording is a guided tour of the behind-the-scenes goings-on by this particular line-up of the Mothers, as well as what they put on the stage for their audiences, a "warts-and-all" depiction of the positive and negative sides of life on the road as these guys experienced it.
Someone here said it tries to do what "200 Motels" did, only not as good, or something to that effect. I have to disagree; "200 Motels" was a combination of fantasy, comedy, and documentary, staged by the cast, crew, band, dancers, and extras, while "Playground Psychotics" is the real thing. And it includes script-reading for "200 Motels" as well. To listen to it from the beginning, you meet the guys in the band at an airport, at their destination, at a photo-shoot, in the hotel bar, their arrival at the venue of their performance for the night, and various on-stage and back-stage activities, part one climaxing at the Fillmore in New York, right through the encore section of the show that gave us "Live At Fillmore East, June 1971."

The second half is a little darker, you can hear it in the band members' attitudes toward each other, and their resentment of Zappa's absolute control of the band. He and Mark Volman made many candid recordings of the band's conversations while touring, and I think Zappa was a really good sport, because these conversations were what fueled most of the dialogue for "200 Motels." And his "spying" on the band has been fodder for Frank's material all along anyway.

I probably should have given this a five-star rating, because the performances are killer every time, but some of the material seems to have worked better with other line-ups. The TERRIBLE vocals in the second part of "Concentration Moon" is a good example; because I "get" the point when a good band plays badly on purpose, sometimes something just doesn't cut it when it's technically correct. Some of the humor in the banter between the guys, is decidedly juvenile, locker-room humor, and it can pull things down a peg or two, and on the whole, I really like this whole recording, but something I can't really explain just keeps me from putting a full five stars on it; maybe four and a half (three quarters?).

But, as long you know what you're buying, it is time and money well-spent."
Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 06/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Zappa's live albums were more than performances. When CDs arrived, Zappa realized he had a format where he had more time to document his live shows. He expaneded a technique he had always used: inserting soundbites between numbers to show what it was like to be on the road during a given period. It was almost like having a back stage pass.

He played this hand broadly on Playgroud Psychtics, a document of the 1970-71 Flo and Eddie Mother's Of Invention roster. This was one of the best Zappa bands for such a format. The start of the 70s was when rock moved out of clubs into arenas, and groupies, drugs and superindulgance became a part of the rock myth. Hearing this we get to hear it unfold.

Between numbers, we get to listen to the Flo/Eddie/Zappa banter, about picking up girls, moving through airports, being asked about music and politics, and what it is like to be king when rock stars ruled the world. The music is great, if fragmented between the banter: listening to Flo and Eddie now, you realize how well they implimented Zappa's operetic stage epics.

Not enough: well, you also get the Mother's jamming with John and Yoko, with much improved sound over Some Time In New York City, with edited portions restored. There is even a soundcheck, early on disc one, where Frank punches off an amazign guitar solo, showing you how he could do something masterful each time he picked up his instrument. This guy could play a kotex.

Playground is essential to understanding the Zappa myth, and is a great collection of live rock.