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.
Official Release #64. A 30-track compilation of rarities, spanning much of his career, but in the main confined to the 1960s and early '70s (some date from as early as the late '50s!). Much of it's previously unreleased, or extremely hard to locate. It's not just a collection of fan-oriented odds and ends, though. The material, for one thing, is extremely diverse, ranging from collaborations with Captain Beefheart and primitive teenage garage recordings to comic dialog to progressive instrumentals and orchestral pieces.
Official Release #60. First of all, it must be understood that Playground Psychotics is intended for fans only: fans of Frank Zappa, of course, but most of all fans of the Flo & Eddie era of the Mothers of Invention (1970-1971); fans of the man's comedy rock; fans of his obsession with "life on the road" and its chronicling; and, finally, fans of the movie 200 Motels. This two-CD set contains live material and dialogues among band members (recorded with or without their knowledge). The "anthropological field recordings" (as Zappa liked to call them) get most of the attention. Each disc begins with a collage of dressing room and hotel room tapes.
Official Release #67. As the title suggests, Have I Offended Someone? contains all of Zappa's notoriously tasteless parodies and satires, from "Bobby Brown Goes Down," "Catholic Girls," and "Jewish Princess" to "He's So Gay," "Titties 'n Beer," and "Dinah-Moe Humm." Nearly all of the tracks are presented in new remixed versions, and two songs, "Dumb All Over" and "Tinsel Town Rebellion," have never been released before.
Official Release #65. The full saga of Läther (pronounced leather) is tangled enough to give a migraine to all but committed Zappaphiles. Basically, what you need to know is that this project was originally conceived of as a four-record box set. When record company politics prevented its release in that format, much of the material was spread over the albums Live in New York, Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan, and Orchestral Favorites. This three-CD set presents the album as it was originally conceived, with the addition of four bonus tracks at the end. It mixes previously available material, alternate mixes, and edits, and previously unissued stuff, though only the most serious Zappa fans will have a good grip on exactly what has appeared where (the liner notes are surprisingly unexact in this regard).
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.
Official Release #59. The last volume of the series You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore is one of the strongest, especially for those who prefer Frank Zappa's sex-oriented songs. There is not much complex material or instrumental pieces in this collection, but catchy humorous songs abound, along with more of that stage craziness the series tried to capture. Live incarnations of Zappa's band from 1970 up to 1988 are represented (the original Mothers had a whole disc devoted to them on Vol. 5).
Official Release #58. For the fifth volume in the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore series, Frank Zappa prepared two unrelated discs. Disc one features the original Mothers of Invention in unreleased live and studio recordings mainly from 1969 (but also one from 1965 and a couple from 1967-1968). Disc two documents the 1982 European tour. There is something wicked – almost obscene – in this pairing, and it surely was intentional. Throughout the 1980s, fans of the early Mothers had attacked Zappa's integrity in the case of the re-recorded CD reissues of We're Only in It for the Money and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, and often despised the scatological antics and straightforward rock stylings of his latter bands.