Monday, March 14, 2016

Toru Takemitsu - 1969 - Eclipse for Biwa and Shakuhachi

Toru Takemitsu 
Eclipse for Biwa and Shakuhachi

01. Eclipse for Biwa and Shakuhachi 16:48
02. Masque for 2 Flutes 6:33
03. The Dorian Horizon 11:05
04. Cross talk pour 2 bandonéons et bande magnétique 6:32
05. Sky, Horse and Death 3:20

By Composed - Toru Takemitsu
Shakuhachi - Katsuya Yokoyama's
the Strings [Biwa] - Kinshi Tsuruta
Flute - of Ryu Noguchi, the Koide Shinya
Orchestra by - by Nippon Symphony is the Yomiuri Orchestra by
Conductor - Hiroshi Wakasugi
Bandoneon - Mitsuo Ikeda, Terumitsu Maeda

Toru Takemitsu's work is often considered as a manifestation of global culture: not only does he bring an Eastern sensibility to the Western symphonic ensemble, he also combines Japanese and European instruments. In November Steps, for example, the orchestra provides accompaniment for and contrast to a featured pair of Japanese instruments: the biwa, a traditional lute-like instrument with silk strings and a propensity for dramatic intonational inflections, and the shakuhachi, a bamboo recorder characterized by its variety of articulations and timbres.
Just prior to his bridging the East-West cultural gap with November Steps, Takemitsu's Eclipse emerged as his first concert work for Japanese instruments. Scored for biwa and shakuhachi as well, it served to pave the way for his subsequent intercultural efforts. The somewhat shopworn but nonetheless accurate analogy of the Japanese rock garden serves well to describe the sonic landscape of Eclipse. Combining two instruments whose character is so dominated by details of articulation and inflection of individual notes through intonation or texture, the piece draws attention to minute details of musical surfaces and leaves ample space between sound events to focus the ear's concentration. A note on the shakuhachi may emerge seamlessly from a long silence, or appear suddenly with explosive breath; pitches bend slowly, as if succumbing to gravity, or slowly shimmer with increasing vibrato before leaping elsewhere with unanticipated force and agility. The scrape of the plectrum against the strings of the biwa is sometimes nimble and melodic, but almost percussive in its friction at times of increased drama.
Despite the leisurely pace with which the piece unfolds and the ambiguous sense of trajectory that it conveys, the melodic contours and dramatic inflections are not left to the fancy of the performers. Rather, Takemitsu uses a special kind of notation for each instrument to indicate every nuance of sound shape. The biwa player reads from a special tablature system enhanced by graphic symbols for pitch alterations, attack qualities, and other directives, while the shakuhachi player reads lines and shapes mapped onto a time axis. There is some flexibility in the work's performance; however, portions of the piece may be repeated or juxtaposed at the performer's discretion and the spaces between some events are left unspecified. The biwa player is given additional, if ambiguous, guidance by the insertion into the score of lines of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore. Takemitsu conveys certain emotional suggestions to the performers through another method as well, one in which the image conveyed by the work's title infiltrates the very notation of the piece. Part of the score is rendered as a negative image of white notation against a black background, a visual eclipse to accompany the contrasts of sound color that comprise the essence of the music.

Toru Takemitsu - 1969 - Coral Island

Toru Takemitsu 
Coral Island

01. Coral Island
02. Water Music
03. Vocalism Ai (Love)

Conductor – Hiroshi Wakasugi
Orchestra – Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
Soprano Vocals – Mutsumi Masuda
Text By [Poem] – Makoto Ohka

I can remember the first time I listened to Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. It was his piece Archipelago S, written for a large ensemble, and it was back in 1993 in Vienna. He was one of the featured composers in that year's Wien Modern new music festival. (That was just three years before his death in 1996, at 65.) Oliver Knussen conducted the London Sinfonietta, and Takemitsu himself was there, a benign presence despite his disagreement with Knussen over Brahms's orchestration. "You wouldn't want to learn orchestration from Brahms," Knussen said, or words to that effect. Takemitsu replied: "I wish I could orchestrate like Brahms." Coming from two composers so sensitive to the subtleties of instrumental colour, they must have both been right, but it was Takemitsu's music that made the stronger impression on me.

Archipelago S – just like the guitar concerto To the Edge of Dream, another of the highlights of his residency – was music that had paradoxical qualities: it seemed to be in a permanent state of ethereal evanescence, shimmering and suggesting rather than stating directly, and yet its impact was absolute, definite and unforgettable. It was music that sounded strangely similar to Debussy and Olivier Messiaen in its harmonies and textures, yet very different in its effect. Instead of Debussy's sensuality, there was something crystalline and objective in the way Takemitsu's music unfolded; instead of Messiaen's visionary spirituality, there was a sense of space and detachment in Takemitsu's pieces, even if some of his musical language sounded similar. The question for me was: how did these pieces come to be?

Takemitsu's compositional journey is fascinating because his relationship with western music and his native musical traditions shows just how limiting are the categories of east and west when it comes to thinking about music's development in the 20th century.

Born in 1930, Takemitsu spent his childhood in China, and fell in love with western classical music when he heard it on American forces radio in Japan after the war. "My first teacher was the radio," he has said. Conscripted into military service as a teenager, for many years he thought of Japanese traditional music as a symbol of the bitterness battle. "I hated everything about Japan at that time because of my experience during the war," he said. He described how, in an effort to teach himself more about the western music he was hearing but about which he knew so little, he would walk through the city listening for the sound of a piano, whereupon he would "ask to touch the piano for five minutes. I was never refused!"

Takemitsu's enthusiasm saw him investigate electro-acoustic music in his early 20s (this was roughly the same time that Pierre Schaeffer was doing a similar thing in Paris), which led him to compose music in an explicitly modernist idiom. He was crazy about the Viennese School composers at the time. An encounter with Stravinsky, who had heard his 1957 Requiem for Strings and taken the young composer out to lunch because he admired the piece so much, was one catalyst for his musical life.

Another of Takemitsu's influences was the music of John Cage in the early 60s. Takemitsu began to explore aspects of indeterminacy in his work (the improvised sections of From Me Flows What You Call Time, for example, are down to this approach – even if Takemitsu's controlled aleatoricism has more in common with Witold Lutoslawski than Cage). But it was also thanks to Cage's Zen-inspired ideas about music and the world, Takemitsu explained, that "I came to recognise the value of my own tradition".

The other seismic moment for Takemitsu was seeing a performance of Bunraku puppet theatre and, a couple of decades after the war, opening his heart at last to the beauty of his homeland's musical traditions. "I got a shock … I suddenly recognised I was Japanese."

From the 60s on, Takemitsu's musical project would be to combine elements of Japanese music with the western modernism he loved so much. The blend is apparent in pieces such as November Steps, composed for biwa (the Japanese lute he studied intensively), shakuhachi and orchestra. The effect is more profound than a fuzzy fusion of styles; Takemitsu uses the timbre and texture of the two Japanese instruments to make the whole orchestra breathe and glow with gossamer lightness, something he continues in a later work for the same instruments called Autumn.

But the real substance of Takemitsu's Japanese heritage can't be reduced to an instrument, a colour or even a harmony. There's something more fundamental about his understanding of music; something that informs his work whether he's writing for solo piano, a film score for Akira Kurosawa (he wrote music for more than 100 movies), a string quartet or a concerto. It's something expressed by the Japanese word "ma", which suggests the concept of a void that isn't empty, an absence that is really a presence, a space between things that is full of energy. It's a principle that underpins Japanese gardens, with which Takemitsu often compared his music. "My music is like a garden, and I am the gardener. Listening to my music can be compared with walking through a garden and experiencing the changes in light, pattern and texture." And yet it's also a way of thinking that is by no means exclusive to Takemitsu in contemporary music; it suggests the same circular, non-hierarchical sense of structure and time that composers from Anton Webern to Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti to Steve Reich have explored.

The idea of a meaningful void is worth keeping in mind when you're listening to music Takemitsu wrote in the last two decades of his life. His pieces are rarely long (From Me Flows What You Call Time is among the longest, at around half an hour), they are seldom fast and rarely overtly demonstrative – but they do weird things with time. Listen to his piano concerto, Riverrun (the title comes from Finnegan's Wake), or Quatrain (scored for clarinet, cello, violin, piano and orchestra) or his violin concerto Far Calls. Coming, Far! (another Joyce-inspired title), to experience what I mean. There's a lot to get to grips with in his output: as well as the catalogue of concert pieces, there are those film scores (start with Kurosawa's Ran), as well as music for radio, theatre and television.

Takemitsu was a useful – in fact essential – composer. He was and still is an inspiration for the Japanese composers who have come after him, and he has made his musical aesthetic part of wider culture, too. I'm listening to his Visions for orchestra right now: in its simultaneous sense of scale and intimacy, its heightened but never cloying colours, and its sensuous objectivity, it sounds like music that should be at the heart of orchestral programmes and listeners' imaginations everywhere.

Ruben And The Jets - 1973 - Con Safos

Ruben And The Jets
Con Safos

01. Cruisin' Down Broadway 3:20
02. To Be Loved 3:07
03. Stronger (Preview) 0:32
04. Speedo 3:31
05. Honky Tonk 3:45
06. Low Ridin' Cruiser 3:27
07. Stronger 3:35
08. Earth to Buffalo 1:09
09. I Wanna Know 3:08
10. Honky Tonk (Replay) 0:49
11. Dust My Blues 2:47
12. A Thousand Miles Away / You Send Me 3:01
13. Durango 4:16

Ruben de Guevara keyboards, lead vocals
Robert "Frog" Camarena: rhythm guitar, vocals
Tony Duran: lead guitar, keyboards, vocals
John Martinez: keyboards, vocals
Robert "Buffalo Bob" Roberts: tenor saxophone
Bill Wild: bass, humming, vocals
Bob Zamora: drums

 Rubén Funkahuátl Guevara is a singer, songwriter, producer, writer, poet, performance artist, and impresario.  He made his mark in music with his 1970s band Ruben & the Jets, who recorded two albums on the Mercury Record label, the first produced by the legendary Frank Zappa.  In the early eighties, and again in the mid-nineties, he ran Zyanya Records, a subsidiary of Rhino Records.  At Zyanya, he compiled and released three albums in the 80s and two in the 90s, which featured Chicano rock artists, as well as rock en Español groups from Latin America and Europe.  He has composed a rock gospel cantata, created art videos and performance art pieces, provided music composition and coordination for movies and television, and put together shows featuring music and dance.  He has been aptly called a culture sculptor.

     Rubén Guevara grew up in the Mexican barrio of Santa Monica, moved to Cathedral City, then settled in the racially mixed Pico Union district of Los Angeles, just west of Central Avenue.  His father was a singer/songwriter/musician, who was a member of a major trio from Mexico called Los Porteños.  (The legendary Miguel Aceves Mejia was also in the group.)  Rubén Guevara Sr. came to Los Angeles to perform with Los Porteños at an International Folk Festival at the Los Angeles Coliseum for Cinco de Mayo in 1941.  At a performance during the same trip at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown L.A., Rubén Guevara’s future mother and father met backstage.  Rubén Sr. left the trio and stayed in L.A. to pursue the relationship.  Rubén says his father was his first music teacher.  At age nine, Rubén took up the trumpet in school and succeeded in playing in the California All Youth Symphony.  At Berendo Jr. High School he began to be interested in rock & roll and rhythm and blues.  By the time he was in high school he was singing in a doo wop group.  In 1958, Rubén and Pablo Amarillas formed the Apollo Brothers, who were influenced by Don & Dewey and the Carlos Brothers.  They performed at the El Monte Legion Stadium, Alan Freed’s Record Hop at Jordan High in Watts, Pacific Ocean Park, and various local television shows.  They recorded for Cleveland Records and were the first Chicano duo to be played as a VIP platter on KGFJ, a Los Angeles rhythm and blues station.  At the time Rubén’s influences were: In doo wop (besides the two previously mentioned); Robert & Johnny, Vernon Green & the Medallions, The Penguins, The Jaguars (South Central L.A.), The Flamingos, Don & Juan, Ritchie Valens, and Lil’ Julian Herrera.  In jump blues; Little Richard, Don & Dewey, Joe Houston, and The Masked Phantom Band.  In r&b; James Brown and Bobby Blue Bland.

     In 1965, Rubén performed solo on the hit national television show, Shindig.  He was on the bill with Bo Diddley, Tina Turner, and Jackie DeShannon.  Rubén opened the show in a medley with cast, sang a solo spot, and closed the show with Bo Diddley.  Rubén’s rendition of Bobby Blue Bland’s “Don’t Cry No More” went over so well, the producers wanted him to replace singer P.J. Proby, who had left the show.  They also wanted him to change his name to J.P. Moby and did so reluctantly.  The show went off the air soon after so the name change became a moot point.  A highlight of the experience for Rubén was Tina Turner complimenting him on his singing.  In the late 60s, Rubén went to Los Angeles City College and studied music composition and modern composers for two years.  This education was of help when he worked with Lalo Schiffrin on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood’s “Coogan’s Bluff,” in 1968, and his later work with Frank Zappa.

     In 1969, Rubén went to a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert at the Shrine Auditorium.  Zappa had just put out a parody doo wop record called “Cruisin’ with Ruben & the Jets.”  Rubén got backstage and thanked Zappa for bringing back that kind of music and told him that his name happened to be Rubén and that he sang in that style.  Two years later, Rubén went to Zappa’s house with a friend, keyboardist Bob Harris, who had toured with Frank.  After spending hours listening to records and talking about music, Zappa and Rubén found that they liked much of the same music, rhythm & blues and doo wop, as well as modern composers such as, Varese, Bartok, Stravinsky, and Cage.  Zappa asked Rubén if he’d be interested in forming a real Ruben & the Jets.  Rubén put the band together and auditioned for Zappa, who wound up producing their debut album on Mercury Records called “For Real.”  The album is classic doo wop and rhythm & blues.  They did covers of Chuck Berry’s “Almost Grown,” Joe Houston’s “All Nite Long,” a soulful version of “Dedicated To the One I Love,” which features a great guitar solo by Frank Zappa, and “Charlena,” which was later also covered by Los Lobos.  Rubén wrote two of the songs, “Mah Man Flash” (co-arranged with Zappa), and “Santa Kari” and co-wrote two others, “Sparkie” and “Spider Woman.”  Other band members wrote all the remaining songs with the exception of a Zappa song called “If I Could Only Be Your Love Again.”  The lead singing, harmonies and playing on the album are excellent and true to the style.  The members of Ruben & the Jets on this album were:  Rubén Guevara- vocals and keyboards; Tony Duran- lead guitar, vocals and keyboards; Robert “Frog” Camarena- rhythm guitar and vocals; Johnny Martinez- keyboards and vocals; Robert “Buffalo” Roberts- tenor sax; Bill Wild- bass and vocals; Bob Zamora- drums; and Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood- baritone sax.  (Original member, alto sax player Clarence Matsui, left the band before recording began).  Guest musicians included George Duke and Ainsley Dunbar (formerly a member of the English band, The Ainsley Dunbar Retaliation).  Rubén sang most of the lead vocals, but Tony, Robert and Johnny also sang lead on this record.  Ruben & the Jets did a west coast tour with Frank Zappa in late 1972 and went on a tour of the east coast after the release of “For Real” in ‘73.  On a second tour that year they appeared on the bill with Three Dog Night and West, Bruce and Lang, with T Rex included on one of the dates.  Rubén fondly remembers a particular concert at U.C. San Diego where Ruben & the Jets were on a powerhouse bill with Malo, Azteca, Tower of Power, and Cheech & Chong.

     Ruben & the Jets recorded a second Mercury album called “Con Safos,” produced by Denny Randell, who had previously worked with The Four Seasons and The Toys.  “Con Safos,” which featured the same musicians, minus Jim Sherwood, was recorded in 1973 and released in 1974.  Covers on this collection included, Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” in a medley with the doo wop classic “A Thousand Miles Away,” Bill Dogget’s “Honky Tonk,” and Elmore James’ “Dust My Blues.”  Rubén’s contribution to the album as a writer was “Cruisin’ Down Broadway.”  After his experience with Ruben & the Jets, Rubén had a deal to record a solo album produced by Steve Cropper of Booker T. & the MGs but the deal fell through.  In 1975, Rubén traveled to Mexico to explore his roots, which had a profound impact on his future musical and artistic direction.  In 1976, for the U.S. bicentennial, he recorded a doo wop version of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” (with ex Jet, Johnny Martinez) for Rhino Records’ first single release.  The following year, Rubén appeared in Cheech & Chong’s first movie, “Up In Smoke,” as a member of the band playing the trumpet.  (A closing line in the movie honored the band when Cheech says to Chong,” we’re gonna be bigger than Ruben & the Jets”).  This began a long association with Cheech Marin, which included writing the title song and doing music coordination for another Cheech & Chong movie, “Nice Dreams” and a cameo appearance and the music coordination for Cheech’s “Born In East L.A..”

     In 1983, Rubén recorded C/S (Con Safos), a narrative piece he had written in 1975, after his Mexican roots pilgrimage), also for Rhino Records.  In the same year, he headed Rhino’s new subsidiary, Zyanya Records.  (Zyanya is a Nahuatl word meaning always or forever).  Three albums were released:  “History of Latino Rock: 1956-65,” “The Best of Thee Midniters,” and a compilation of early 80s Eastside bands, “Los Angelinos: The Eastside Renaissance.”  To celebrate and promote these albums, co-produced “The Eastside Revue” (1983), with Brendan Mullen (founder of L.A.’s punk mecca, The Masque) at the Club Lingerie in Hollywood.  The concert featured Cannibal & the Headhunters, Los Lobos, Ruben & the Jets, and Con Safos, with comedian Paul Rodriguez as MC.  A second show (‘84), which I attended, featured Thee Midniters, Thee Royal Gents, Con Safos, and Los Perros.  In 1980, Rubén formed the band Con Safos, who were introduced by Cheech Marin for their debut at the Whiskey in Hollywood.  The members included guitarist Danny Dias, formerly of The Village Callers, Hector Gonzalez, bass, formerly of The Eastside Connection, John DeLuna, formerly of El Chicano, Mel Steinberg, alto sax, and a sax player from New Orleans, Jerome Jumonville.  Rubén’s association with Rhino/Zyanya surfaced again in the mid-nineties when he produced two CD compilations, “Reconquista, The Latin Rock Invasion,” (4 stars Rolling Stone), and “Ay Califas! Raza Rock of the 70s and 80s.”  “Reconquista” contained recordings by the leading bands in the alternative rock en Español movement, including from Mexico; Maldita Vecindad, Caifanes, Tijuana No!, Santa Sabina, Cuca, and La Castaneda, from Argentina; Divididos, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, from Spain; Mano Negra and Seguridad Social; and Negu Gorriak from Pais Vasco.  “Ay Califas” was a compilation of California Chicano rock artists including Santana, Azteca, Sapo, Malo, Tierra, El Chicano, Cheech & Chong, Los Lobos Del Este De Los Angeles, Los Illegals, Yaqui, The Plugz, Cruzados, Ruben & the Jets, and Con Safos, Cold Blood, and Daniel Valdez.

     In the early eighties, Rubén began to write poetry for later performance art projects.  In 1989, he put together the Modern Mesoamerican Ensemble, wrote, produced, and directed the performance art piece, “La Quemada,” which debuted at Highways Performance Space in 1990.  The same year, Rubén traveled to France with a solo piece, “Aztlán, Babylon, Rhythm & Blues,” which covered 500 years of Mexican/Chicano history as part of a touring Chicano art show, “Le Demon des Anges.”  Also on the tour were artists Gilbert “Magu” Lujan and Patssi Valdez.  It was from this show that Ruben came up with the name Funkahuátl, who was the unknown Aztec god of funk in the “Aztlán Babylon” piece.  He began to use the name as a middle name for himself because it reflected his love of funk/r&b and his heritage and because he needed more humor in his life.  It first appeared professionally in 1996 as a compilation producer credit for “Reconquista!” and “Ay Califas!.”  In 1989, Rubén was the musical director and MC for an HBO music special called “Caliente Y Picante,” which featured Santana, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Linda Ronstadt, Ruben Blades, and Jerry Garcia.  In the early nineties at the age of 50, Rubén returned to school and got a bachelor’s degree in World Arts and Cultures from U.C.L.A.  This provided additional building blocks of knowledge and inspiration for his multicultural arts odyssey.  For his work building bridges between Chicanos and Mexicanos, in 2000 Rubén received a Rockefeller U.S./Mexico Fund for Culture award to produce “Mexamerica” (Angelino Records), a collaborative CD with musical, visual, and spoken word artists from Mexico City, Tijuana, and East L.A.  His writings include, “View From the Sixth Street Bridge: A History of Chicano Rock” (Parthenon, 1984), which was part of a collection of writings on U.S. popular culture compiled and edited by Dave Marsh, called “The Real World of Rock & Roll.”  Rubén’s jukebox installation “Chicanos Rock California:  A History (2001)” is currently in Cheech Marin’s traveling art show “Chicano Visions/Now” at the Smithsonian Institution (2002) and currently at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico (2003).

     Rubén Guevara has produced many live shows throughout the years.  I remember going to one in downtown L.A. in the eighties that featured a Pre-Columbian percussionist by the name of Luis Perez Ixoneztli with Ruben’s band, Con Safos.  In 2002, he produced Surcos Alternativos:  Alternative Grooves From Mexamerica at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.  The concert merged Aztec Ceremonial ritual dance with electronic border music, along with Chicano consciousness hip-hop and Afro-Chicano funk and soul.  Later the same year, Rubén was the guest curator/narrator/artistic director for “The Eastside Revue 1932-2002:  A Musical Homage To Boyle Heights,” presented in conjunction with the exhibit, “Boyle Heights:  The Power Place,” at the Japanese-American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles.  It featured seventy years of music from eastside icons such as Lalo Guerrero, Cannibal & the Headhunters, and Tierra; 80s standouts Los Illegals and The Brat; female acoustic vocal trio, Las Tres; and newcomers Ollin, Slowrider, Lysa Flores, and poet Marisela Norte.  The show also included Jewish Klezmer by the Skip Heller Ensemble and Japanese Chicano fusion by East L.A. Taiko.  The event, which I attended, presented an exciting living musical history of L.A.’s first multicultural community, Boyle Heights, (where Guevara was born), and was a fitting 60th birthday gift and testament to his “ongoing commitment to create, share and spread the magic and the poetry of music.”

Ruben And The Jets - 1973 - For Real!

Ruben And The Jets
For Real!

01. If Only I Could Be Your Love Again 3:34
02. Dedicated to the One I Love 5:45
03. Show Me the Way to Your Heart 5:04
04. Sparkie 4:30
05. Wedding Bells 2:58
06. Almost Grown 2:20
07. Charlena 5:54
08. Mah Man Flesh 2:38
09. Santa Kari 4:29
10. Spider Woman 3:58
11. All Nite Long 2:22

Robert "Frog" Camarena: rhythm guitar, vocals, lead vocals, writer
Ruben Guevara: vocals, tambourine, writer
Tony Duran: lead guitar, slide guitar, vocals, lead vocals, piano, writer
Johnny Martinez: bass, vocals, organ
Bill Wild: bass, second tenor
Jim Sherwood: baritone saxophone, tambourine
Robert "Buffalo" Roberts: tenor saxophone
Bob Zamora: drums
John Martinez: lead vocals
Frank "Zipper" Zappa: guitar

Frank Zappa: producer, writer

Late in 1968, Frank Zappa’s band the Mothers of Invention released the seldom-remembered Cruising with Ruben and the Jets, a tribute to and parody of doo-wop. The album was both spirited and poignant – Ray Collins proved a natural-born lead singer for the style and the harmonies were nearly as sharp – though the lyrics must have sounded skewed to doo-wop purists. Since this predated the rock & roll revival (Sha Na Na formed the next year) and the golden era of doo-wop was still not that far in the past, the clean and simple sound stood in direct contrast to the complex and abrasive music more typical of the Mothers. In fact, the cover art hinted that maybe this wasn’t even the Mothers at all, and more than a few people believed the whole thing was one of Zappa’s pranks (he’d constructed a biography of “Ruben Sano” for the liner notes, using his own high school photo to illustrate it). Most of them came to accept that they’d been had, but it was all in good fun – the kind of put-on common in hip circles back then.

One person who wasn’t fooled at all, though he was mightily intrigued, was Ruben Guevara, himself a doo-wop singer whose high school duo, the Apollo Brothers, had cut one single for a local label back around the time Ritchie Valens ruled locally. Guevara had been kicking around the fringes of the Hollywood and East LA scenes ever since, and had also studied modern composition at City College. “It was doo-wop songs but they were Zappa doo-wop songs,” he remembers thinking after his then-girlfriend introduced him to Cruising. “It didn’t knock me out but I appreciated it as a great piece of theater.” When the Mothers played the Shrine Auditorium, Ruben talked his way backstage and thanked Zappa for helping keep the music alive.

That was that until a couple years later, when Ruben accompanied his friend Bob Harris (a Mothers’keyboardist) to Zappa’s house. They played records and talked all night about their mutual love for R&B, doo-wop and classical modernists like Stravinsky and Varèse, but what impressed Guevara most was Zappa’s love and attentiveness towards his kids. Zappa suggested Guevara form a band called Ruben and the Jets, which Frank would produce. Guevara was initially reluctant because he was then more involved with film than music, and he feared being taken as a joke. But he liked the idea of tapping into Zappa’s audience, so he soon assembled the band and signed with Zappa’s Indiscreet label. “I told Frank I’d do it so long as it wasn’t parody music,” he recalls. “I wanted to do the whole catalog of Los Angeles music – rock, blues, jump, R&B, doo-wop – and with a theatrical edge, like the show bands we used to have in East LA.”

A fictional band had suddenly become a real one.

He succeeded. For Real!, the 1973 debut, featured five singers and material ranging from Zappa’s “If I Could Be Your Love Again” and several originals by Guevara and other band members to a stampeding take of Joe Houston’s “All Nite Long” and a bluesy “Dedicated to the One I Love” that owed more to the powerful Lowman Pauling/5 Royales original than to the Shirelles‘wistful hit that other acts copied; the song went out on a hellacious Zappa guitar solo, apparently his only non-producer contribution to the LP. The harmonies embraced doo-wop, East LA R&B and folk-rock alike, while Robert “Buffalo” Roberts’tenor and Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood’s baritone provided perhaps the last true heyday of rock & roll saxes.

By then there definitely was a strong back-to-the-roots movement, and this was one of its few albums musical enough to avoid being perceived as kitsch a year later. I also remember the album, doubtless to Zappa’s delight, confusing many people: had there been a real Ruben and the Jets all along? If so, why had the Mothers been doing their songs? If not, who were these guys? Guevara doesn’t remember it that way; people came to see them out of curiosity and the Zappa connection, he says, but they were always well-received strictly on their own terms. Either way, a fictional band had suddenly become a real one, though not for long.

Surprisingly good and likeable nostalgia trip, for better or worse. Though a continuation of Zappa and the Mothers' doo-wop parody of the same name (and given producer Zappa's blessing) the tongue-in-cheekness seems almost non-existent here (though this may also be attributed to simply lacking Zappa's uncanny gift for pastiche) and some of the lesser cuts really suffer for inferred "seriousness." When they go wrong, they go really wrong here. I've always hated "Charlena", for one, and they bring nothing new to the table. But enough about the negative stuff, let's get to the highlights!

"Show Me the Way to Your Heart" is the obvious stand-out. With a bit of a euphoric Tommy James vibe, it's good enough to warrant as a forgotten R&B gem with departed Zappa compatriot Tony Duran's soulful lead vocals. The Jets' take on "Dedicated to the One I Love", while otherwise pretty textbook, features an extended vocal/guitar duel with Zappa in fine form, worth checking out for hardcore Zappa freaks. "If I Could Only Be Your Love Again" is an infectious opening track that revels in the kooky weirdness of '50s vocal groups.

I'll admit I'm all too easily ensnared by a cheesy doo wop ballad, regardless of quality, and boy howdy do they ever bring on a couple of good ones in "Wedding Bells" and "Santa Kari". As original and rebellious as cracking a joke about the Star Wars prequels, naturally, but effective nonetheless.

There are good moments and there are bad, but even (most of) the bad ones are suffused with amiable goofballedness, infectious energy, and capable musicianship, making For Real! a mostly pleasant trip to the hop, as it were. Definitely one that lends itself more to CD than vinyl though, if you get my drift... and an, err, "altered" state of mind may also help.

Wild Man Fischer - 1968 - An Evening with Wild Man Fischer

Wild Man Fischer 
An Evening with Wild Man Fischer 

The Basic Fischer
01. Merry-Go-Round (This Is Wild Man's Theme Song, Sort Of)
02. New Kind Of Songs For Sale (Live On The Strip)
03. "I'm Not Shy Anymore!" (Larry Relives The Past In The Studio)
04. "Are You From Clovis?"
05. The Madness And Ecstacy (Kim Fowley & Rodney Bingenheimer Provide An Introduction To, And Make Prophesies About The Future Of Wild Man Fischer)
Larry's Songs, Unaccompanied
06. Which Way Did The Freaks Go?
07. I'm Working For The Federal Bureau Of Narcotics
08. The Leaves Are Falling
09. 85 Times
10. Cops & Robbers
11. Monkeys Versus Donkeys
12. Start Life Over Again
13. The Mope
14. Life Brand New
16. 5Who Did It Johnny?
17. Think Of Me When Your Clothes Are Off
18. Taggy Lee
19. Rhonda
20. I Looked Around You
21. Jennifer Jones
Some Historical Notes
22. The Taster (Fancy Version)
23. The Story Of The Taster
24. The Rocket Rock
25. The Rocket Rock Explanation & Dialog
26. Dream Girl
27. Dream Girl Explanation
28. Serrano (Sorrento?) Beach
29. Success Will Not Make Me Happy
30. Wild Man On The Strip Again
In Conclusion
31. Why I Am Normal
32. The Wild Man Fischer Story
33. Balling Isn't Everything
34. Ugly Beautiful Girl
35. Larry & His Guitar
36. Circle
37. Larry Under Pressure

Larry Fischer - vocals, electric guitar (on "Larry & His Guitar")
Frank Zappa - guitar (on "The Taster (fancy version)"), production
The Mothers of Invention - piano, bass & drums (on "The Taster (fancy version)")
Art Tripp - percussion (Side One)
Kim Fowley - recitation ("The Madness & Ecstasy")
Rodney Bingenheimer - recitation ("The Madness & Ecstasy")
The GTO's - recitation ("The Madness & Ecstasy")

Much sought after by an ever-increasing body of dedicated fans, this is the famous first album by an unforgettably unique and tragically misunderstood vocalist. Recorded and released in 1968, this album tells as much about the producer -- Frank Zappa -- as it does about the singer himself. Cal Schenkel's cover art ties it in with Zappa's own releases from that period. Considering the fact that Fischer appeared with the Mothers of Invention on several occasions, it is a shame that only two selections allow listeners to savor the interesting combination of Zappa's guitar and Wild Man's total-release vocalizing. "The Taster" sounds a bit like Paul Anka's "My Home Town," while a very psychedelic tantrum called "The Circle" has Zappa's best lysergic fuzz guitar up in front alongside the screams of the Wild Man. When he sings his theme song "Merry-Go-Round," Fischer is accompanied by the Bizarre Percussion Ensemble. Their expertly executed clunks and clangs and rattles and squeaks were also layered over live location recordings of Wild Man Fischer on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, as he sang songs for loose change in front of the Whisky A Go Go and the Hamburger Hamlet. There is also a humorous poetry performance ("The Madness and Ecstasy") by Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer, who rant about the historical and social importance of Wild Man Fischer. But the real gold in this album is an extended series of unaccompanied short songs. These are masterpieces of private whimsy. "I'm Working for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics" ends with a wonderful emotional outburst, as Fischer runs around the room screaming "stay away from me!" His surrealistic magnum opus, "The Leaves Are Falling," sounds almost like "Papa Oo Mow Mow," but employs a strange noise that Fischer seems to have made by clucking his tongue against his upper palette. Other highlights include "Think of Me When Your Clothes Are Off" and "Jennifer Jones," an outrageously funny epic tale of competitive serial killing. Fischer periodically describes his own life, what it was like to be different, how he thought up original songs and tried to share them with the world. Especially powerful is "The Wild Man Fischer Story," whereby the singer carefully reenacts his adolescence, describing how his mother actually had him committed to a mental institution twice for singing in his room. It is a mean story, a succession of misunderstandings that set the stage for a lifetime of being misdiagnosed, misrepresented, and misunderstood. Fischer quarreled with Zappa, frightened the Zappa family, and plunged this amazing record into limbo, as none of the surviving Zappas want anything to do with him. Negotiations are underway, and true Fischer devotees are wistfully waiting for the day when his first album will make its first legitimate appearance on compact disc.

GTOs - 1969 - Permanent Damage

Permanent Damage

01. The Eureka Springs Garbage Truck Lady
02. Miss Pamela And Miss Sparky Discuss Stuffed Bras And Some Of Their Gym Class Experiences
03. Who's Jim Sox?
04. Kansas And The BTO's
05. The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes
06. Wouldn't It Be Sad If There Were No Cones?
07. Do Me In Once And I'll Be Sad, Do Me In Twice And I'll Know Better (Circular Circulation)
08. The Moche Monster Review
09. TV Lives
10. Rodney
11. I Have A Paintbrush In My Hand To Color A Triangle
12. Miss Christine's First Conversation With The Plaster Casters Of Chicago
13. The Original GTO's
14. The Ghost Chained To The Past, Present, And Future (Shock Treatment)
15. Love On An Eleven Year Old Level
16. Miss Pamela's First Conversation With The Plaster Casters Of Chicago
17. I'm In Love With The Ooo-Ooo Man

Bass Guitar – Roy Estrada
Drums – Jimmy Carl Black
Guitar – Jeff Beck (1, 14)
Guitar – Lowell George (7)
Guitar – Ry Cooder (11)
Keyboards – Craig Doerge, Ian Underwood
Vocals – Rod Stewart (14)
Tambourine – Frank Zappa
Vocals – Miss Christine, Miss Mercy, Miss Cinderella, Miss Pamela, Miss Sandra

The GTO's began as a collection of wildly outrageous girls who frequented the Sunset Strip in LA and hung out with the bands and groups who performed in that area during the late 1960s, such as Carl Franzoni & the Log Cabin commune, the Magic Band and Mothers Of Invention.

They effectively coined the phrase "Groupies" and initially became the Cherry Sisters, then became a spontaneous performance-art collective known as the Laurel Canyon Ballet Company- which was an opening act for gigs led by Frank Zappa. Two members, Miss Frka and Miss Pamela, were also babysitters in the Zappa household.

In 1969 Zappa collected this group together, producing them as one of his side projects, as the GTO's (an acronym for Girls Together Outrageously). [The use of the apostrophe appears in the original recording, but is not always employed in reference to this group].

There were seven original members of the GTO's: Miss Christine (aka Christine Frka), Miss Mercy (aka Mercy Fontenot), Miss Lucy (aka Lucy Offerall), Miss Sandra (aka Sandra Leano), Miss Sparky (aka Linda Sue 'Sparky' Parker), Miss Pamela (aka Pamela Miller [nee], Pamela Des Barres) and Miss Cinderella (or Cynderella) [Real name unknown].

The resultant album, 'Permanent Damage', consequently featured a number of renowned musicians who happened to be around the LA 'freak scene' during these psychedelic and experimental music times. The group also crossed paths with the notorious Plaster Casters Of Chicago, who became the subject upon two of their album tracks.

Miss Pamela, born Pamela Ann Miller on September 9, 1948 in Reseda, California, is the best-known and most commercially successful of the GTO's. Prior to joining the group, she had been a member of Vito Paulekas' dancing troupe. In the 1970s, she pursued an acting career and appeared (credited as "Pamela Miller") in several films, including Zappa's 200 Motels, and TV series, including a yearlong role on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. Des Barres is the author of five books. The first, I'm with the Band (1987), is based primarily on a diary she secretly kept from her high school years all the way through her marriage, due in part to the encouragement she received from her group's future producer, Frank Zappa. The book spent several weeks in the US top ten best sellers list. The book contains different perspectives on the author's life during the 1960s and, in particular, the groupie scene – a scene which Des Barres defends in her 2007 book, Let's Spend the Night Together, a collection of interviews with fellow rock groupies. Miller was married to British actor/musician Michael Des Barres for fourteen years (1977-1991). Together they have a son, Nicholas Dean Des Barres (NickRoxNRX), who is now an editor for a video game magazine in Tokyo, Japan, where he currently resides.
Miss Mercy, a.k.a. Mercy Fontenot, was born Judith Edra Peters on February 15, 1949 in Burbank, California. She has been referred to by Pamela as "the human facsimile". Having moved around the country, the family eventually settled in the Bay Area. When she was 15, she dropped out of high school and told her parents she was ready to become legally independent. Despite their disapproval, she filed for emancipation, becoming a ward of the court within a couple of weeks. Peters went to live with a group of friends in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Some of their neighbors included members of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and a young Charlie Manson. Eventually, Miss Mercy and Miss Pamela heard that Los Angeles was the mecca for meeting entertainers and especially rock & roll musicians. In addition, Miss Pamela wanted to pursue her acting career in Hollywood, and in early 1969, they moved south, immersing themselves into the local scene. Then, one of Miss Pamela's childhood friends, Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart), took the girls to a large castle-like compound in Laurel Canyon where they were introduced to musician Frank Zappa. Soon after the breakup of the GTO's she became romantically involved with blues guitar prodigy Shuggie Otis, the son of rhythm & blues pioneer Johnny Otis. They married and had a son, Lucky Otis, who became a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist / musician in the likeness of his father and grandfather. A few years later, Miss Mercy and Shuggie divorced. For the next 15 to 20 years she moved around northern and southern California, living a life of heavy drug use and sporadic public appearances. Miss Mercy quit all hard drugs and cigarettes. She has been clean and sober ever since. Miss Mercy currently resides in Los Angeles and works for Goodwill Industries, a thrift store in Hollywood. A chapter of "I'm With the Band", entitled "Miss Mercy's Blues", is an account of her life. She has worked for five decades in magazines, books, radio and television, and contributing to award-winning feature-length documentaries. She had a ten-minute segment dedicated to her life in the movie Mayor of the Sunset Strip starring alternative rock pioneer KROQ disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, who was a close longtime friend of the GTO's. Miss Mercy and Miss Pamela remain close friends. As of 2015, Miss Mercy is working closely with an author / biographer to help document her life. She has many stories to tell.
Miss Cynderella (sometimes Miss Cinderella) was born Cynthia Sue Wells (later Cynthia Cale-Binion) on January 26, 1952 in Los Angeles, California. She married John Cale of Velvet Underground in 1971, but the marriage was rocky, and they divorced in 1975. Cale's song "Guts" opens with the line, "The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife" (referring to Kevin Ayers' sleeping with Cindy in 1974). Cindy died at 45 under “mysterious circumstances” on February 19, 1997 in Palm Desert, California; however, her death was not widely reported until 2007, when Pamela Des Barres mentioned it in her book Let's Spend the Night Together (where she inadvertently listed the wrong death year).
Miss Christine, born Christine Ann Frka on November 27, 1942 in San Pedro, California, also babysat for the Zappas. She is shown on the front cover of Frank Zappa's 1969 album Hot Rats emerging from an empty swimming pool on the infamous Errol Flynn estates in the Hollywood Hills. She dated rock and roll singer Alice Cooper (she’s credited with creating his stage persona). She also dated Todd Rundgren from Utopia fame, and Chris Hillman of The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, where she inspired the song “Christine’s Tune” (“She’s a devil in disguise, you can see it in her eyes.”) Frka died on November 5, 1972, of a heroin overdose in a house in Cohasset, Massachusetts, which at the time was being rented out by musician Jonathan Richman and his original group, The Modern LoverShe overdosed shortly before her 30th birthday after spending nearly a full year in a body cast to correct a crooked spine.
Miss Lucy (born Luz Selenia Offerrall[8] in Puerto Rico[9] (date unknown), better known as Lucy Offerall, later Lucy McLaren) appeared in Frank Zappa's films Uncle Meat, 200 Motels, Video from Hell, and The True Story of 200 Motels. In 200 Motels she had a moderately-sized role portraying a promiscuous groupie. She dated Jeff Beck in 1969.[10] In 1975 she married Gordon "Gordie" McLaren (bassist for the New York City group called, coincidentally, The Groupies). They divorced in 1981, after producing a son, Coleman.[11] Years later, she was impregnated by a close friend and bore another son named Dallas, only to find that she had contracted AIDS, still a fairly new and little-known disease for that time. Lucy McLaren died in 1991. Her son Dallas died later the same year, having been born with ARC (opportunistic diseases related to HIV).[12]
Miss Sandra was born Sandra Lynn Rowe (later Sandra Leano, Sandra Lynn Harris) on January 18, 1949 in San Pedro, Los Angeles. She was in the group only a short while before becoming pregnant by Cal Schenkel, Frank Zappa's official artist-in-residence. In publicity photos for the band she is shown late in her pregnancy, with a big star painted on her belly. She moved back to San Pedro with her infant daughter named Raven, and after The GTO's broke up she met and married Bradley Harris. They had three more children together. Sandra died of cancer in Albion, California on April 23, 1991 at age 42.
Miss Sparky (born Linda Sue Parker, sometime in 1948) was renown for driving a Hudson Hornet in the late 1960s on the Sunset Strip. She recorded a vocal track (credited under the pseudonym "Sharkie Barker") on the song "Disco Boy" on Frank Zappa's album Zoot Allures (1976), and was once employed by the Walt Disney Corporation. She was reported still alive in 2012 but didn’t give interviews.

Pamela Miller and Linda Parker met around 1966 while attending Cleveland High School in Los Angeles. Christine Frka traveled to Los Angeles from San Pedro with Sandra Rowe, and both lived in the basement of Frank Zappa's Log Cabin at 2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills in 1968. Christine was the live-in nanny for Zappa's eldest child Moon Unit, before Pamela took over the position the following year. Judith Peters had emigrated from the Haight Ashbury hippie scene to LA due to "boredom", alleging she "couldn't be a hippie forever." Cynthia Wells was brought into the group by Judith after the nucleus of the group had already been formed. This accounts for Miss Cynderella's presence in some, but not all of the GTOs' publicity shots. Lucy Offerall was also not an original member, but joined after the recording of Permanent Damage.

The group initially called themselves “The Cherry Sisters” but soon changed to "The Laurel Canyon Ballet Company.” When Frank Zappa took them on he changed their name to The GTOs. The new name was described as an acronym which, as Stanley Booth wrote, could mean "Girls Together Outrageously or Orally or anything else starting with O."On their album the acronym is also defined as "Girls Together Occasionally", "Girls Together Often" and "Girls Together Only". Miss Lucy stated in a filmed interview that the latter name is what it stood for, though it is understood by most that the name on the album, Girls Together Outrageously, is the name of the group.

The members were connected by their association with Zappa, who encouraged their artistic endeavors despite their limited vocal skills. The group performed live “only 4 or 5 times”, although they created a strong impression at their December 1968 performance at the Shrine Auditorium opening for The Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper and Wild Man Fischer. A mix of theatrics, singing, dance and wild costumes were staples of their act. Their only album, Permanent Damage, (Straight Records) was produced in 1969 by Frank Zappa with the assistance of Lowell George and Russ Titelman (tracks 7 and 11). The latter track also features Titelman's brother-in-law, guitarist Ry Cooder, both of whom appear on Captain Beefheart's Safe As Milk album. Track 5 "The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes" is a GTO comment on Beefheart's taste in footwear (his cousin Victor Hayden had introduced him to Pamela Des Barres). The songs are mixed in with conversations between the members of the group, friends, and others, including Cynthia Plaster Caster and Rodney Bingenheimer. The album features songwriting contributions from Lowell George, Jeff Beck and Davy Jones. A young Rod Stewart (Jeff Beck's singer at the time) pops up track 14.

This 17-track aural document is arguably more sociological than musical in nature. Frank Zappa's insatiable curiosity into human behavior -- especially with regard to all manner of sexual deviance and the so-called "lunatic fringe" -- became the subject of several releases on his ironically titled Straight Records vanity label. However, Permanent Damage (1969) is additionally unique for including an interesting aggregate of late-'60s musical talent, ranging from Monkee Davy Jones to Lowell George. The moniker G.T.O.'s stands for "Girls Together Outrageously," which describes the ragtag group whose stated primary directive was to bed as many pop and rock stars as they possibly could. Such is the subject matter of the vast majority of both the spoken word and musical numbers on the album. As is the case with most Zappa-related projects, the results vacillate wildly between the ridiculous "Miss Christine's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" and "Miss Pamela's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" to the comparatively sublime "Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes," a tribute to Captain Beefheart's odd choice of footwear. Concurrent Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston also contributes a darkly beautiful musical arrangement on "TV Lives." Additionally, there are a few non-musical inclusions, such as "Wouldn't It Be Sad if There Were No Cones?" and "Moche Monster," both of which provide a unique, if not somewhat inspired, perspective into the young ladies' social interactions. While a majority of the G.T.O.'s garnered no further significant successes, the most infamous member to have come through the ranks is Miss Pamela (aka Pamela des Barres), whose tell-all novel I'm With the Band (1987) was an international bestseller.

Jean-Luc Ponty - 1970 - King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa

Jean-Luc Ponty 
King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa 

01. King Kong
02. Idiot Bastard Son
03. Twenty Small Cigars
04. How Would You Like To Have A Head Like That
05. Music For Electric Violin And Low Budget Orchestra
06. America Drinks And Goes Home


Arranged By - Frank Zappa
Bass - Buell Neidlinger (tracks: A1, B1), Wilton Felder (tracks: A2, A3, A4, B2)
Bassoon - Donald Christlieb* (tracks: B1)
Cello - Harold Bemko (tracks: B1)
Composed By - Frank Zappa (tracks: A1, A2, A3, B1, B2), Jean-Luc Ponty (tracks: A4)
Conductor - Ian Underwood (tracks: B1)
Drums - Arthur Dyer Tripp III* (tracks: A1. B1), John Guerin (tracks: A2, A3, A4, B2)
Electric Piano - George Duke
English Horn - Gene Cipriano (tracks: B1)
Flute - Jonathan Meyer (tracks: B1)
French Horn - Arthur Maebe* (tracks: B1), Vincent DeRosa (tracks: B1)
Guitar - Frank Zappa (tracks: A4)
Oboe - Gene Cipriano (tracks: B1)
Piano - George Duke
Saxophone - Ernie Watts (tracks: A2, A3, A4, B2)
Saxophone [Tenor] - Ian Underwood (tracks: A1)
Vibraphone - Gene Estes (tracks: A1)
Viola - Milton Thomas (tracks: B1)
Violin [Electric] - Jean-Luc Ponty

Made in the wake of Ponty’s appearance on Zappa’s jazz-rock masterpiece Hot Rats, these 1969 recordings were significant developments in both musicians’ careers.
- Steve Huey/AMG (4/5 Stars)

King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (or simply King Kong) is an album by French jazz fusion artist Jean-Luc Pontyfirst released in 1970 on Liberty Records’ World Pacific Records subsidiary label. The album contains numerous selections Zappa had previously recorded either with the Mothers of Invention or under his own name, including:”King Kong,” originally included on Zappa’s 1969 album Uncle Meat
 “Idiot Bastard Son,” from the Mothers’ 1968 album We’re Only in It for the Money
 “Twenty Small Cigars,” from Zappa’s 1970 album Chunga’s Revenge
 “America Drinks and Goes Home,” from the Mothers’ 1967 album Absolutely FreeGeorge Duke, who would eventually join Zappa and Ponty in the Mothers, is featured on piano on all tracks. Ernie Watts is featured on alto and tenor saxophone on all tracks except for “Music for Violin and Low Budget Orchestra”. Zappa himself plays guitar on one selection, and Mothers members Ian Underwood (tenor sax) and Art Tripp (drums) contribute to the album as well.

JEAN-LUC PONTY isn't only a virtuoso violinist but also one of the greatest Fusion composers who blended different genres with great success and a pioneer of the electric violin, his solo works include very different albums as the brilliant and almost symphonic "Aurora" or the less inspired Afro Jazz oriented "Tchokola", in other words not only a prolific but also a very eclectic and talented Progressive musician.

JEAN-LUC PONTY was born in Avranches France on September 29,1942 started his violin studies at the age of five with his father who was Director of the school of music in Avranches and a violin teacher as well, at the age of 13 left school to fully dedicate to the music, later (At the age of 15) was admitted in the Paris Conservatoire graduating two years later with the institution's highest award, Premier Prix.

Being Classical trained, joined CONCERTS LAMOUREUX ORCHESTRA where due to the influence of some friends got interested in Jazz. Incredibly his first works in Jazz were done playing the tenor Saxophone until 1962 when he returned to his first love the violin.

1969 was an important year for the 27 old musician who joins FRANK ZAPPA for the release of "Hot Rats" nd then THE GEORGE DUKE TRIO for about a year. In 1970 returns to France in order to form The JEAN-LUC PONTY EXPERIENCE until 1972 when comes back to USA to rejoin THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION.

In 1974 he's recruited BY JOHN MCLAUGHLIN'S MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA with whom he releases "Apocalypse" and "Visions of Emerald Beyond" playing a very important role in both albums.

Even though he made a lot of independent projects before (like "Jazz Long Playing" in 1964, "Sunday" Walk 1967 or "The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio" in 1969) plus combined efforts with STEPHANE GRAPPELLI and many others

His Progressive solo career starts in December 1975 with the first of four amazing releases, the incredible "Aurora" an album in which he blends perfectly not only Jazz and Progressive Rock as most Fusion artists do, but also adds clear touches of Symphonic Progressive mostly echoes from his early and complete Classical formation, a real gem that everybody should have.

During the next three years he completes his essential tetralogy that includes not only the previously mentioned "Aurora", but also "Imaginary Voyage", "Enigmatic Ocean" and "Cosmic Messenger", also transcendental for the history of Progressive Rock.

From that point he starts to experiment with Euro Pop, Afro Jazz and even getting pretty close to New Age in some cases, most of this albums are incredibly experimental creating patterns of electronic sounds with the help of sequencers.

In the early JLP discography, KK is a sort of an exception, because it doesn't resemble much the music of the albums that surround it chronologically, not only because it features and interprets only Frank Zappa's music, but it veers away from the typical jazz he was playing, such as with Stephane Grapelli. Clearly this album is almost a Francesco album, but with the conspicuous absence of Zappa himself (except on the only Ponty composition), but with many of the master's side acolytes, including Duke, Underwood, Tripp and Guerin.
If the music's scope ranges from modern contemporary music though jazz (we are on a Blue Note label after all) until some good jazz-rock, we're still relatively far from JLP's signature JR/F sound of the second half of the 70's. The opening side's four shorter (everything being relative) are often in the instrumental jazz or JR/F mode relying on complex (but not too much) construction, where JLP's sometime slightly dissonant (or disaccorded) violin is obviously in the forefront, backed by duke's electric piano and sometimes by Underwood's or Watt's sax. Some classic Zappa tunes, like the title track and the bettered Idiot Bastard Son are quite pleasant, that are liberated/freed from all of the Mother-esque lunacies and dubious humorous twists and sometimes improved by Ponty's new interpretations. Ponty's sole track is fitting quite fine in the Zappa realm, but is also the closest to his future sound later on in the decade. It's probably my preferred track on the present album.

The flipside is definitely more difficult, with Frank's command of an orchestra composition (conducted by Underwood), one that Francesco would revisit in the later 70's on his own album (Studio Tan, if memory serves well), but sonically we are in Stravinsky territory and the music doesn't flow nearly as fluidly as the previous tracks. The closing America drinks is more like a ragtime tune, and is a bit anecdotic.

Certainly not Ponty's better album, nor is it one of the better zappa albums, King Kong does remains an essential piece of music that should certainly be heard by those who have some problems integrating the Mothers' chaotic gooferies on the Zappa discography. Here, we are rid of these sometimes insufferable mannerisms and we are therefore much more at ease to appreciate the compositional genius of Francesco.

Riccardo Chailly - 1998 - Edgard Varese: The Complete Works

Riccardo Chailly 
Edgard Varese: The Complete Works

101. Tuning up
102. Amériques
103. Poème Electronique
104. Arcana
105. Nocturnal
106. Un grand sommeil noir

201. Un grand sommeil noir - Version for voice & piano
202. Offrandes - 1. Chanson de Là-haut (poem by Vincente Huidobro)
203. Offrandes - 2. La croix du sud (poem by José Juan Tablada)
204. Hyperprism - Revised Richard Sarks 1986
205. Octandre - Rev. & Ed. Chou Wen-Chung 1980 - 1. Assez lent
206. Octandre - Rev. & Ed. Chou Wen-Chung 1980 - 2. Très vif et nerveux
207. Octandre - Rev. & Ed. Chou Wen-Chung 1980 - 3. Grave/Animé et jubilatoire
208. Intégrales - Revised & Ed. Chou Wen-Chung 1980
209. Ionisation
210. Déserts - 1st Interpolation Of Organised Sound
211. Déserts - Part 2
212. Déserts - 2nd Interpolation Of Organised Sound
213. Déserts - Part 32
214. Déserts - 3rd Interpolation Of Organised Sound
215. Déserts - Part 4
216. Dance for Burgess

Edgard Varèse, original name Edgar Varèse    (born Dec. 22, 1883, Paris, France—died Nov. 8, 1965, New York, N.Y., U.S.), French-born American composer and innovator in 20th-century techniques of sound production.

Varèse spent his boyhood in Paris, Burgundy, and Turin, Italy. After composing without formal instruction as a youth, he later studied under Vincent d’Indy, Albert Roussel, and Charles Widor and was strongly encouraged by Romain Rolland and Claude Debussy. In 1907 he went to Berlin, where he was influenced by Richard Strauss and Ferruccio Busoni. In 1915 he immigrated to the United States.

Varèse’s music is dissonant, nonthematic, and rhythmically asymmetric; he conceived of it as bodies of sound in space. After the early 1950s, when he finally gained access to the electronic sound equipment he desired, he concentrated on electronic music.

Varèse actively promoted performances of works by other 20th-century performers and founded the International Composers’ Guild in 1921 and the Pan-American Association of Composers in 1926; these organizations were responsible for performances and premieres of works by Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Carlos Chávez, Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, Maurice Ravel, Wallingford Riegger, Francis Poulenc, Anton von Webern, and others. Varèse also founded the Schola Cantorum of Santa Fe, N.M., in 1937, and the New Chorus (later, Greater New York Chorus) in 1941 to perform music of past eras, including works of Pérotin, Heinrich Schütz, Claudio Monteverdi, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Varèse’s works include Hyperprism for wind instruments and percussion (1923); Ionisation for percussion, piano, and two sirens (1931); and Density 21.5 for unaccompanied flute (1936). His Déserts (1954) employs tape-recorded sound. In the Poème électronique (1958), written for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair, the sound was intended to be distributed by 425 loudspeakers.

Wonderfully performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Asko Ensemble, dir. Riccardo Chailly. At long last, the complete work of this brilliant composer, including the original version of "Amériques," as well as several previously unpublished works. The entire project was assembled with the assistance of composer Chou Wen-Chung, who had worked directly with Varèse. This massive undertaking includes the following works: "Tuning Up," "Amériques," "Arcana," "Poème Électronique," "Nocturnal," "Un Grand Sommeil Noir" (in both the original and orchestral versions),"Offrandes," "Hyperprism," "Octandre," "Intégrales," "Ecuatorial," "Ionisation," "Density 21.5," "Déserts," and "Dance for Burgess."

Varese was Frank Zappa's favorite composer. His admirers also include the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker and the hardest of hardcore avant-gardists, Iannis Xenakis. This suggests something of both the appeal of Varese's music, and the continuing potential of his influence. He was an original who re-thought music from the ground up, and a perfectionist who signed his name to only a handful of monumental, uncompromising works.
I was inspired to buy this set after hearing Chailly conduct "Arcana" in concert. The performance laid down here is as tremendous as the one I heard live, and the rest of the set is generally at the same high level. Chailly has the great Concertgebouw Orchestra and the virtuosic ASKO Ensemble at his disposal, and the Decca engineers provide stunning sound. Chailly's approach is more impulsive and passionate than that of, for example, Boulez, who presents an equally valid but somewhat more clinical take on the music, in effect dissecting it. True Varese-heads will probably want to hear both.
Despite the question of whether certain pieces really belong among "the complete works," there are multiple pleasures and surprises in every corner of this set. The volcano-like sonic assaults of "Arcana" and "Ameriques", the weird electronics of "Ecuatorial" and "Poeme Electronique", the frenzied percussive radicalism of "Ionisation", the humor of "Tuning Up": sit back and be blown away. If you believe there's a place in music for police sirens, anvils and sleigh bells, this is for you.

Frank Zappa - 2010 - Greasy Love Songs

Frank Zappa 
Greasy Love Songs

01. Cheap Thrills
02. Love of My Life
03. How Could I Be Such a Fool
04. Deseri
05. I'm Not Satisfied
06. Jelly Roll Gum Drop
07. Anything
08. Later That Night
09. You Didn't Try to Call Me
10. Fountain of Love
11. "No. No. No."
12. Anyway the Wind Blows
13. Stuff Up the Cracks
14. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (Alternate Mix)
15. "No. No. No." (Long Version)
16. Stuff Up the Cracks (Alternate Mix)
17. "Serious Fan Mail"
18. Valerie (Mono Mix)
19. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (Single Version)
20. "Secret Greasing"
21. Love of My Life

- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, sound effects, vocals, producer
- Don Preston / bass, piano, keyboards
- Jimmy Carl Black / guitar, percussion, drums
- Ray Collins / guitar, vocals
- Roy Estrada / bass, sound effects, vocals, voices
- Bunk Gardner / saxophone
- Jim Sherwood / guitar, vocals, wind
- Motorhead Sherwood / saxophone (Baritone), tambourine
- Art Tripp / guitar
- Ian Underwood / guitar, piano, keyboards, saxophone, wind
- Brian Gardner / saxophone

 It's always nice to see a horrible wrong corrected.
Ruben & The Jets was a great Zappa album in its original incarnation. Hell, it shared no less than three songs with Freak Out, and no one complains about Freak Out:

How Could I Be Such A Fool You Didn't Try To Call Me Anyway The Winds Blows

Not to mention Love of My Live, which would later show up in Zappa's live shows decades later. He obviously had some fondness for these songs.

But with the CD release of Ruben, he turned all apostate on us with regard to the album, and literally destroyed it by re-recording the bass and drums and in general rendering it unlistenable to anyone who had heard the original.

This wrong has now been righted. We can toss our CD's of Ruben in the recycle bin.

Greasy Love Songs is nothing less than Ruben & The Jets restored to all its original glory. Granted, it's a doo-wop record (sorta) and a parody (sorta) and not as groundbreaking as the albums that preceded it (sorta). It's nonetheless a fine example of early Mothers music.

I can almost hear the conversation:

Ray Collins: If you'd let me sing these songs my way, we'd be famous. FZ: Okay, let's do it your way for an album and see how that works out.

I don't know how it worked out commercially, though I suppose it was another middling success for The Mothers. Artistically, this is a great Zappa album. The man couldn't help himself. Even when recording parodies of songs of "cretin simplicity" he just had to make them perfect and forward- looking. It's actually amazing how good "cretin simplicity" can sound.

The sound. There's so much echo and reverb that drums cease to sound like drums. They sound like hip, snapping fingers. Acoustic guitars occasionally riff jazzy chords. Roy Estrada's bass always provides a solid bottom, and the pianos and sax, while of said cretin simplicity, are always right there in the mix where they should be. Ray Collins' voice, even when it's occasionally Munchkin-ized, remains one of the great joys of this version of The Mothers.

They sometimes play it straight. Cheap Thrills. Desiri. Anything. It's all mindless stuff perfectly executed. Don't worry about it, just sit back and enjoy. You'll hear Zappa's vocal rumblings, Estrada's falsetto, all intermixed with Collins', singing inane lyrics. It's all good.

No No No is nothing but several minutes of a single I-IV-I7 chord laid over a simplistic beat, with vocal harmonies that twist and turn and are to this day well beyond the skills of your average pop star crap, even if a bit Munchkin-ized. Estrada is in fine form (bass-wise) just wandering around and embellishing what it yes a garage chord progression. No wonder Beefheart eventually hooked up with him.

And, it being a Zappa album, we get a nice little suicide song (Stuff Up The Cracks), teen love being what it is. Stuff up the cracks, turn on the gas, throw that nice sharkskin suit out on some dog waste, and play some nice wah-wah guitar.

This is actually a great album, but I'm going to dock it just because it shouldn't be on anyone's Zappa short list and it's barely prog. For those who are familiar with early Mothers, it's a necessary addition to the collection. I love the sucker.

The songs were recorded in New York in late 67 to early 68 and the album was released in December 1968. There are some common misconceptions people make about this album. The first is that Zappa was mocking these "doo-wop" songs. I thought this at first too because of the exaggerated vocals which sound mocking, but the real story is that Zappa loved this music and was paying homage. He had a huge 45 collection of this stuff and professed his love repeatedly for the style. The second misconception is that this album is somehow simple, the songs just too basic to be interesting. The fact is that there was significant experimentation going on here just like the other albums of the period.

"They're more than recreations; they're careful conglomerates of archetypal clichés. For instance, "Fountain of Love" has quotes from background chants sung by the Moonglows, and the opening theme of "The Rite of Spring", but nobody ever heard it because there's like five different levels of musical accompaniment going on, not counting the band. There's all these different vocal parts and they're all clichés, and they're all carefully chosen for nostalgia value and then built into the was an experiment in cliché collages...just riddled with stereotyped motifs. Not only did it give it its characteristic sound, but it gave it its emotional value. There was a lot of exploration done at the time we were putting together Ruben." -FZ, Aug 1969

What I love most about this music is the quality of the vocals and hearing the guys harmonize without the constant stops and starts of dialogue and humor that occur on the other albums. There's also some decent guitar playing every so often, along with all of the "motifs" Frank mentions above. It's such a different experience than everything else in my prog collection that it is special. This new version comes in a tri-fold sleeve with a great booklet featuring commentary by Cheech Marin (who nearly became a Mother) and Gail Zappa. I can't call it essential for everyone's collection, but to me this is certainly essential for Frank Zappa fans.

Time to turn down the lights....." of my life.....i love you so.....bah da da dum"

Frank Zappa - 2009 - The Lumpy Money Project Object

Frank Zappa
The Lumpy Money Project Object

Disc 1
Lumpy Gravy (Primordial) - FZ's Original Orchestral Edit for Capitol Records
01. Sink Trap (2:45)
02. Gum Joy (3:44)
03. Up & Down (1:52)
04. Local Butcher (2:36)
05. Gypsy Airs (1:41)
06. Hunchy Punchy (2:06)
07. Foamy Soaky (2:34)
08. Let's Eat Out (1:49)
09. Teen-Age Grand Finale (3:30)

We're Only In It For The Money - Original Mono Mix
10. Are You Hung Up? (1:26)
11. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (2:32)
12. Concentration Moon (2:22)
13. Mom & Dad (2:16)
14. Telephone Conversation (0:49)
15. Bow Tie Daddy (0:33)
16. Harry, You're A Beast (1:21)
17. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (1:02)
18. Absolutely Free (3:26)
19. Flower Punk (3:03)
20. Hot Poop (0:26)
21. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (2:03)
22. Let's Make The Water Turn Black (1:58)
23. The Idiot Bastard Son (3:22)
24. Lonely Little Girl (1:10)
25. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (1:34)
26. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (0:58)
27. Mother People (2:31)
28. The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (6:23)

Disc 2
Lumpy Gravy - 1984 UMRK Remix
1. Lumpy Gravy - Part One (15:57)
2. Lumpy Gravy - Part Two (17:15)

We're Only In It For The Money - 1984 UMRK Remix
3. Are You Hung Up? (1:30)
4. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (2:35)
5. Concentration Moon (2:17)
6. Mom & Dad (2:16)
7. Telephone Conversation (0:49)
8. Bow Tie Daddy (0:33)
9. Harry, You're A Beast (1:22)
10. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (1:03)
11. Absolutely Free (3:28)
12. Flower Punk (3:04)
13. Hot Poop (0:29)
14. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (2:03)
15. Let's Make The Water Turn Black (1:45)
16. The Idiot Bastard Son (3:17)
17. Lonely Little Girl (1:12)
18. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (1:35)
19. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (0:57)
20. Mother People (2:31)
21. The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (6:26)

Disc 3
1. How Did That Get In Here? (25:01)
2. Lumpy Gravy Shuffle (0:30)
3. Dense Slight (1:42)
4. Unit 3A, Take 3 (2:24)
5. Unit 2, Take 9 (1:10)
6. Section 8, Take 22 (2:39)
7. My Favorite Album (0:59)
8. Unit 9 (0:41)
9. N. Double A, AA (0:55)
10. Theme From Lumpy Gravy (1:56)
11. What the Fuck's Wrong With Her? (1:07)
12. Intelligent Design (1:11)
13. Lonely Little Girl (Original Composition - Take 24) (3:35)
14. That Problem With Absolutely Free (0:30)
15. Absolutely Free (Instrumental) (1:16)
16. Harry, You're a Beast (Instrumental) (1:16)
17. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise/Instrumental) (2:01)
18. Creationism (1:11)
19. Idiot Bastard Snoop (0:47)
20. The Idiot Bastard Son (Instrumental) (2:48)
21. What's Happening Of The Universe (1:37)
22. The World Will Be A Far Happier Place (0:21)
23. Lonely Little Girl (Instrumental) (1:26)
24. Mom & Dad (Instrumental) (2:16)
25. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (Instrumental) (2:51)
26. Really Little Voice (2:28)
27. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Instrumental) (1:24)
28. Lonely Little Girl - The Single (2:45)
29. In Conclusion (0:25)

The Abnuceals Emmukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus:
- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Motörhead, Pumpkin, Ronnie / choir, chorus
- Victor Feldman, Alan Estes / percussion, drums
- Shelly Mann, Frank Cappe, John Guerin / drums
- Ted Nash, Jules Jacob, Bunk Gardner, Donald Christlieb, Gene Cipriano / wind, woodwind
- Paul Smith, Pete Jolly, Lincoln Mayorga, Michael Lang / piano, celeste, harpsichord, keyboards
- Don Preston / bass, keyboards
- Tony Rizzi, Al Viola, Eric Clapton, Dennis Budimir, Tommy Tedesco, Jimmy "Senyah" Haynes / guitar
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums, choir, chorus
- Dick Barber / vocals
- Gene Estes, Emil Richards / percussion
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Larry Fanoga / vocals, choir, chorus
- All Nite John / choir, chorus
- Patrick O'Hearn / bass, wind
- Richard Parissi / French horn
- John Rotella / percussion, woodwind
- Kenny Shroyer / trombone
- Bob West, Jimmy Bond, John Balkin, Chuck Berghofer / bass
- Vincent DeRosa, Arthur Maebe / horn, French horn
- Jimmy Zito, James Zito / trumpet
- Mike Lang / piano, electric harpsichord
- Paul Smith / piano
- Alexander Koltun, Ray Kelly, Joseph Saxon, Joseph DiFiore Jerome Kessler, Bernard Kundell, William Kurasch Leonard Malarsky, Ralph Schaeffer, Leonard Selic, Harry Hyams Jerome Reisler, Tibor Zelig Arnold Belnick, Harold Bemko, Jesse Ehrlich, James Getzoff, Philip Goldberg / strings

The Mothers Of Invention
- Frank Zappa / vocals, guitar
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Don Preston / keyboards
- Jimmy Carl Black / drums, vocals
- Ian Underwood / winds, keyboards
- Euclid James `Motorhead` Sherwood / winds
- Billy Mundi / drums
- Bunk Gardner / winds

The Lumpy Money Project/Object is a compilation album by Frank Zappa. Released posthumously on January 23, 2009, it compiles the releases Lumpy Gravy and We're Only in It for the Money with previously unreleased material, with the overall package serving as an audio documentary of the production of the two albums, which share conceptual continuity themes. This is Official Release #85.

The first disc consists of the 1967 version of Lumpy Gravy, intended for release by Capitol Records (actually a few 4-track cartridge copies of the Capitol version were distributed to wholesalers and radio stations before MGM Records, Zappa's label at the time, forced Capitol to halt distribution of their version of the album), and the 1968 mono mix of We're Only in It for the Money. The second disc consist of two remixes prepared by Zappa in 1984, with overdubs by drummer Chad Wackerman and bassist Arthur Barrow. The Lumpy Gravy remix derives from the 1968 edit; this third version of the album had not been released in full; an excerpt appeared in a sampler for The Old Masters box set.[1] The second remix, of We're Only in It for the Money had previously been released on compact disc in 1986.[1] The third disc consists of studio assembly material and interviews with Zappa discussing the albums, as well as the single version of "Lonely Little Girl".

 Is this phase two of project/object?
Or perhaps phase three of Lumpy Gravy? Or perhaps phase four of civilization? All of these labels would probably apply. Lumpy Money is the newest thing (at the time of this review) to come out of the Zappa Family Trust's vaults, and this one delves deep, all the way back to 1967. And they have found some excellent material. To my knowledge, a majority of these recordings haven't been released in these forms, and if they had been they haven't been available in decades. This fact alone makes Lumpy Money a valued item. One point I must make off the bat is that the sound of these recordings is incredible. The production is spot on and honestly almost unbelievable for material of this age (which was sitting in cold storage for god knows how long).

Three discs of material, from three different "eras". Disc one deals with the sixties. It begins with the 'Primordial Lumpy Gravy' which is (almost) pure avant-classical madness. In addition a few well known Zappa themes pop up here (such as King Kong and Oh No, both of which appeared in the released Lumpy Gravy). Being a fan of atonal/avant-garde musics, and Zappa's more classical stuff, this was a joy to listen to, and one of the main reasons I bought the album. The 'Original Mono Mix' of We're Only In It For The Money follows. The booklet claims this is not just a watered down version of the stereo mix, but this reviewer can not find that many differences between the 1995 remastered mix of We're Only In It For The Money and this one. But then again, I was never an audiophile. However, it is different so true Zappa completists can say they own it.

Disc two takes us to 1984. In said year Uncle Frank remixed both Lumpy Gravy and We're Only In It For The Money for CD release. This is a pretty serious remix, of both. First off all the drums (and probably bass) were rerecorded. These are very 80s sounding drums (unnecessarily heavy, thudy, almost fake sounding [and probably at times are]) and create a huge contrast to the original mixes. Secondly, on We're Only In It For The Money the censorship that took place on the original vinyl is repealed, for better or worse. (The worse in this case refers to the song 'Harry You're A Beast' which I thought the original version is better. Other than this I'm happy the censorship is gone.) Thirdly, according to the liner notes this mix of Lumpy Gravy hasn't been released, thus something else that is (somewhat) new. As for the music itself, I am a bit torn. While its interesting to hear things changed around a bit (and in case of Lumpy Gravy about two minuets added) the 80s drums detract some of the enjoyment. The only positive, IMO, about their presence is that it adds a very interesting juxtaposition of technology versus that old time sound and feel. However, I prefer the 60s drumming, which fits the music significantly more and which sounds more natural. However, not all is lost. For Lumpy Gravy, the vocals added to the beginning add great humor, and as previously stated, the extra two minuets is welcomed. For We're Only In It For The Money, it feels like less is changed. However, with all the trickery, studio effects, and manipulations present its not easy to discern. But, it is nice to hear the tracks as Frank wanted them to be heard (aka without the censorship).

Disc three takes us to the present, at least so far as ninety-eight percent of this album hasn't been previously released. That is to say, all of this material was created back in 1967/1968. The real jewel of this disc is the opener, 'How Did That Get In Here?'. This is essentially an extended jam with many different feels and moods throughout. Once again, a familiar melody is conjured up in the beginning, which reprises at the end, tying this song into the known and many strings of the unknown sprawled all the way through. Other notable tracks on disc three are the instrumental versions of various We're Only In It For The Money tracks (which some vary from there sung counterparts) and the original composition of 'Lonely Little Girl', which is downright amazing. Aside from these a couple interview snippets, "building blocks" of several parts of Lumpy Gravy, and a couple of odds and ends are included.

The only negative things I can say about this album, is that some of the material gets a bit repetitious. Various strands of 'Oh No' and 'Theme From Lumpy Gravy' appear perhaps too often. Of course then there is the obvious, We're Only In It For The Money is presented twice, in full, over these three discs (with a good helping appearing as instrumental versions). Obviously the mixes are different, so there is difference, but still, it needs to be said.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable three CD set for the Zappa fan. The booklet included contains a nice essay about this time in Zappa's life and an interesting couple of paragraphs from Frank's wife. The problem comes with rating it. If judging this purely on the music, I would give it somewhere between 3.5-4 stars. However, this is by no means for the normal prog fan or even for the casual fan of Frank Zappa (unless you are head over heels in love with Lumpy Gravy and/or We're Only In It For The Money). In that case, this should get a two star rating. However, I will be slightly more generous than I should, and I'll give it three stars, with a caveat: If you are not a fan of either Lumpy Gravy or We're Only In It For The Money you will not enjoy this. If you are starting fresh in your Zappa journey, start with the 1995 remastered set of these albums. If you're a casual FZ fan, you will probably have little interest in buying this, being it is a bit on the expensive side, at least at the moment. However, if you love all things Zappa you owe it to yourself to own this.