Official Release #55. This two-CD set is the second of three albums of material Frank Zappa compiled from the 1988 tour. While Broadway the Hard Way (released in 1988) mostly presented the new songs performed during that tour, this set focuses on older songs (Make a Jazz Noise Here would contain mostly instrumental pieces). This is the best band you never heard in your life because the 12-piece group disintegrated after only four months of touring through the U.S. East Coast and Europe. These shows took place during the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, when the televangelist was caught with a prostitute.
This two-CD set is the second of three albums of material Frank Zappa compiled from the 1988 tour. While Broadway the Hard Way (released in 1988) mostly presented the new songs performed during that tour, this set focuses on older songs (Make a Jazz Noise Here would contain mostly instrumental pieces). This is the best band you never heard in your life because the 12-piece group disintegrated after only four months of touring through the U.S. East Coast and Europe. These shows took place during the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, when the televangelist was caught with a prostitute.
One of three collections from the 1988 world tour, THE BEST BAND YOU NEVER HEARD IN YOUR LIFE is a portrait of one of Zappa's most accomplished bands. Unfortunately, this band self-destructed in mid-tour and never completed their scheduled appearances. … Full DescriptionHence, the title stands for the fans that couldn't see this amazing group live. The vocals of Ike Willis and Mike Keneally, the rhythmic acrobatics of Chad Wakerman, Ed Mann and Scott Thunes, the powerful horn section including the Fowler brothers, keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Martin–it all adds up to one of the most musically agile bands Zappa ever commanded.
There are the usual Zappa favorites on disc one with "Cosmic Debris" and "Zomby Woof." The band also gets to flex its muscles on the instrumentals "Zoot Allures" and "Sofa #1." Disc two captures all the zany behavior that could be preserved on tape as bizarre covers of "Purple Haze" and "Sunshine Of Your Love" start things off. Snippets of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," "The Godfather Theme" and "Bonanza" escalate into a diatribe by right-wing character Brother A. West and several songs denouncing televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The finale of "Stairway To Heaven" ties everything back together in grand Zappa style.
Hootie & the Blowfish never were cut out to be superstars. They were meant to be the best band at the local bar. They were ordinary guys, and they played ordinary music, the kind that could be heard in any college town on the East Coast or Midwest during the early '90s when the local bar wasn't having grunge night. It was the ordinariness of the music on their 1994 debut, Cracked Rear View, that connected with millions of American listeners – they sounded like everybody's favorite local band. Once they were superstars, their bubble burst fairly quickly as the 1996 follow-up sold considerably fewer than the debut, and by the end of the decade, they had settled into a reliable routine of turning out modest records and touring steadily, without many people outside of their core fans noticing. Their popularity might have declined, but as the 2004 Atlantic/Rhino compilation The Best of Hootie & the Blowfish (1993 Thru 2003) illustrates, their music changed very little over the course of the decade, nor did the quality of their music decline.
For all of his many attributes, one thing Frank Zappa most certainly was not is commercial. Presumably, the title of this collection is ironic. Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa is a compilation not of the composer's hits – he only broke the Top 40 on one occasion, with "Valley Girl" – but rather, a collection of his best-known material, from "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" to "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace." Zappa's albums often function as individual works, but this disc offers an intelligent selection of songs, serving as an introduction to the maverick musician.
Without a doubt, Airto put a new face on Brazilian music in the wake of the bossa nova movement, bringing back the frantic complexity of the samba translated into his own frenzied yet controlled electronic/multi-percussion idiom. Here we truly have some of the best of his early work in the U.S. as a leader for the CTI label, where Airto proves that he couldn't be suppressed even by the guiding hand of Creed Taylor. The set kicks off with a pair of great, sizzling tracks from the Free album, with Airto feverishly driving bands manned by Chick Corea on electric piano, Keith Jarrett on acoustic piano, and other American all-stars. From there, we move to the Fingers album, which features Airto's own band yet maintains virtually the same level of excitement with a deeper Brazilian streak.
Four of the 13 tracks on Island's The Best of Spooky Tooth come from 1969's Spooky Two album, while the remaining tracks represent the band's less celebrated material. Spooky Tooth's mellow, easy blues-rock sound is experienced from the first track, a slick rendition of John D. Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road." Most of the band's peak material is included here, like "Better by You, Better by Me" and "Evil Woman." The dreamy, psychedelic-tinged "It's All About a Roundabout" is one of the album's best songs, proving the band could be adventurous at will. Much in the same manner is "As Long as the World Keeps Changing," with its hippie-like hallucinatory feel. Versions of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" and the Band's "The Weight" are covered peculiarly, but not terribly, chock full of Spooky Tooth's own laid-back formula. Missed is the greyish "Hangman Hang My Shell on a Tree" from Spooky Two, which would have made a nice addition to the set. Nevertheless, this best-of does present listeners with Spooky Tooth's most worthwhile songs. The band's unconventional sound and eased style is prevalent on each of the tracks offered here.
Neo-prog band Pendragon formed in London during the heady days of punk, but didn't coalesce until 1983, when the band began playing around London and earned a small spot at that year's Reading Festival. The lineup stabilized, after the 1985 album Jewel, around vocalist/guitarist Nick Barrett, bassist Peter Gee, drummer Fudge Smith and keyboard player Clive Nolan. Pendragon recorded the live album 9:15 in 1986 and began to establish a continental fan base the following year. European audiences proved enthusiastic, spawning a contract with the French M.S.I. label; nevertheless, the group was forced to form its own Toff label just to release material in England. Pendragon lay dormant through the rest of the '80s, but returned in 1991 with The Rest of Pendragon – a reissue of the early Fly High, Fall Far with added B-sides – and their first new album in five years, The World.