Official Release #107. Uncle Meat gets the deluxe treatment in this three CD Project/Object Audio Documentary. Included is the original 1969 vinyl mix (restored, remastered and available digitally for the first time), an original sequence that includes unique source material and bonus vault tracks mostly compiled from the recording sessions at Apostolic Studios in NYC between 1967 and 1969.
Official Release #85. This triple volume package contains an audio documentary tracing the conception and construction of Frank Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money (1968) and Lumpy Gravy (1968) masterworks. As the second entry in the Project/Object series (the first being the MoFo Project/Object in 2006 that gathered four CDs worth of goodies from the Freak Out! era), the modus operandi for Lumpy Money (2009) remains much the same as its predecessor. Presented within are primary components from both works in several unique – and formerly unissued – incarnations and configurations. It should also be noted that neither of Zappa's mid-'90s approved masters for We're Only in It for the Money or Lumpy Gravy are found here. Instead of retreading those – which (as of this 2009 writing) remain in print on the Rykodisc label – the nearly three-and-a-half hours served up here offer an embarrassment of insight into the development of the music, as well as the modular recording style that Zappa was evermore frequently incorporating into his craft.
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.
Released in October 1984, Them or Us is Frank Zappa's last studio rock album (unless one counts Thing-Fish). It contains a little of everything for everyone, but most of all it has that cold and dry early-'80s feel that made this and other albums like The Man From Utopia and Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention sound dated pretty quickly. The record begins and ends with covers. "The Closer You Are" is one of those '50s R&B tunes the man loved so much.
A deluxe 4cd set and a 2cd set. The annoying thing is that the 2cd set has a few songs that arent on the mega 4 disc version, so if you're a completist, you will need both and you end up with a lot of duplicate material. That is my only real problem with mofo, pretty much everything else about this box is fantastic. For me, the best part is the beautiul remaster of the original 1966 Stereo mix of "Freak Out!". The Freak Out cd that frank released in the 80's and is currently in print through rykodisc was a re-mix which sounds pretty good, but this original mix is much warmer and full of life. There is no contest as which mix I prefer, the original 1966 version is far superior in my opinion. The rest of the sets contains various alternate mixes, backing tracks, interviews, studio improvisations (all lead by Frank) and some early live recordings. There is one bonafide outtake "Groupie Bang Bang" which is as good as anything elese on the album. A great Bo Diddley type rhythm with hilarious lyrics (sung by Ray Collins) about, you guessed it, a groupie!
Official Release #108. Original recordings produced by Frank Zappa. In September of 1978, Frank Zappa took the stage with his rockin' teenage combo (Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Tommy Mars, Peter Wolf, Arthur Barrow, Ed Mann, and the great Vinnie Colaiuta) at the Uptown Theater in Chicago. This album is the entire show and fans are going to love it. The leadoff track is a cool unheard guitar instrumental called "Twenty-One." Played in a 21-beat rhythm, it seems related to "Thirteen" from around the same time period (on YCDTOA, Vol. 6). "Easy Meat" features an earlier arrangement and a nasty guitar solo, while "Village of the Sun" adds a weird interlude with some additional lyrics that sets up the vamp for another fantastic guitar solo.
Official Release #109. Original Recordings And Mixes Produced By Frank Zappa. Little Dots contains more recordings of the under-documented Petit Wazoo Ensemble, which toured at the end of 1972 (previously heard officially on Imaginary Diseases). Again, the sound isn't pristine here, but it's quite listenable. The show starts with a very early version of "Cosmik Debris," but other than that and "Rollo" the material is all new (mostly due to being largely improvised). "Little Dots, Pt. 1" is a previously unreleased piece that features bassist Dave Parlato and drummer Jim Gordon in dialogue, joined by FZ on guitar about halfway though. "Little Dots, Pt. 2" kicks off with a Tony Duran slide solo, and heads into a trombone solo followed by another FZ guitar solo.