Friday, September 12, 2014

40 Year Itch : On the Wet Side of the Bed

   Flo and Eddie may have moved on to try their comedy routines on their own albums, but Frank Zappa and the Mothers could still provide some freaky laughs, especially live. Roxy and Elsewhere , released September 10, 1974, captures the bandleader conducting some his best stand-up routines and perhaps the best band he ever assembled. There are work-outs here that are so tight and smoking that they must have stunned the audiences present at shows recorded at The Roxy, Chicago and Edinboro State College in Pennsylvania.

  Also present is Zappa's trust in his audience. Live albums are typically greatest hits sets, but Roxy is a double album made up of new material and reworkings of two older songs ( More Trouble Every Day" (from Freak Out's "Trouble Every Day") and "Son of Orange County", a re-working of "The Orange County Lumber Truck" from Weasels Ripped My Flesh

    Listeners may be surprised by the overall funky feel of the album, the breathless tightness of the band ( "Echidna's Arf (Of You)" could have made members of both King Crimson and Gentle Giant cower) and the sweetness of "Village of the Sun", a completely unironic ode to Palmdale, California where Zappa attended high school.

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