Official Release #96. Live recordings from 3 shows in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Finland - August 23 & 24 1973. One year after the release of Frank Zappa‘s “Road Tapes, Venue #1” the Zappa Family Trust have announced a second volume in this series of “primitive audio documentary attempts to capture the essence of what was highly and improbably and even impossibly out there on the road in some of the worst audio terrain imaginable”.
Official Release #97. Frank Zappa produced a television program aired by KCET in Los Angeles in 1974, featuring a sextet that included keyboardist George Duke and the zany saxophonist and singer Napoleon Murphy Brock. This bootleg opens with a blistering medley of "The Dog Breath Variations" and "Uncle Meat," followed by a rather overly long "Florentine Pogen." Zappa offhandedly ends "Stink-Foot" with the comment of "Oh, that's enough of that," before launching into one of his best pieces of the 1970s, "Inca Roads"; this version contains a particularly potent Zappa guitar solo and Duke's excellent keyboard work, too, but it is also contains a sudden fadeout near its conclusion.
Official Release #53. The first live album compiled from various performances on Frank Zappa's 1988 world tour (his final outing), Broadway the Hard Way is composed mostly of new, vocal-oriented material. The tone throughout is highly political, with Zappa taking potshots at such targets as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson and other televangelists, Jesse Jackson, C. Everett Koop, and so on.
Official Release #103. Performed/Arranged/Conducted by Frank Zappa. Road Tapes, Venue #3 features two complete shows from Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. The July '70 Mothers line-up featured Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Aynsley Dunbar & Jeff Simmons. FZ's vast Vault does not contain many full shows from this time period, so that alone makes this release a special one. The tapes were recorded to stereo reel-to-reel, but not without problems. Due to their historical relevance, we felt it was worth it, warts 'n all! Venue #3 does not disappoint.
Official Release #92. Road Tapes, Venue #1 is a double live album by Frank Zappa, released posthumously on 31 October 2012, by the Zappa Family Trust on Vaulternative Records. It was recorded at Kerrisdale Arena, Vancouver, on August 25, 1968. Fantastic audio artifact of the Mothers of Invention in their live prime, in my opinion. A total must for Zappa fans, and the whole conceptual continuity thing. Even my wife, who generally loathes Frank's music, particularly when he sings, found the whole record compelling, except for Help I'm a Rock, which can rub even the most jaded musical obscurist the wrong way. I liked it just fine. Loved the Orange County Lumber Truck medley. Pick this one up, Zappa fans, you will not be disappointed.
Official Release #98. Is it a group? Is it a band? Is it real? Yes, Yes & Yes! But, Oh Nooooooo! It never toured. This fine lineup brings with it stuff you’ve never heard before. This is the fifth album in the Joe's Corsaga that started with Joe's Corsage (covering pre-Freak Out! recordings from The Mothers circa 1965-1966) in 2004 and seemed to conclude with 2008's Joe's Menage (cassette tape produced by Zappa, recorded from 1975 Virginia). This covers the band that rehearsed in the Summer of 1975 but never toured. This band is consisting of the following Napoleon Murphy Brock, Robert "Frog" Camarena, Denny Walley, Novi Novog, Terry Bozzio and Roy Estrada.
Official Release #90. Frank Zappa's pioneering work on the Synclavier gave him the freedom to hear works that he considered too challenging for live musicians to perform, though Ensemble Modern worked hard enough to be able to play several of his works for the instrument in concert before his death in 1993. Since the technology behind the Synclavier was evolving along with Zappa's music, approximately doubling its processing and memory capacity every two years, it gave the composer greater tools to work with to realize his compositions. Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison was compiled for an LP by Zappa prior to his death, but never mastered and released, though some of the music on this CD was further edited and eventually issued in altered and brief form.
Official Release #93. Conceived, Composed & Produced by Frank Zappa. The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship.
Official Release #70. This two-disc set represents almost all of Frank Zappa's concert on January 20, 1976, at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia. The only problem is that there was only one reel-to-reel machine to record the concert, necessitating missing portions of several songs to change tapes; these gaps were replaced by excerpts from a pitch-corrected bootleg from the same tour, with an obvious drop in sound quality but little loss in continuity. This particular band – with tenor saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock, bassist Roy Estrada, drummer Terry Bozzio, and keyboardist Andre Lewis (in his only tour with Zappa) – has only been represented sporadically on Zappa's earlier releases.
Finally released on a pair of CDs in 1997 (26 years after it's initial release on vinyl), 200 MOTELS is the soundtrack to Frank Zappa's wacky 1971 motion picture of the same name, which starred Ringo Starr and Keith Moon, among others. Although it enjoyed success as a "midnight movie" in the '70s/early '80s, 200 MOTELS is a difficult movie to comprehend, since the storyline is very abstract (some have hinted that it was made up on the spot!). But even when his music is difficult to understand, Zappa includes many interesting twists and turns, and the soundtrack for 200 MOTELS is no different.