Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: Zappa's Roxy By Proxy CD

Finally it's here, the long awaited Frank Zappa CD. Here is a short rundown on the album, provided by our Zappa department (a.k.a. Dupree's Paradise):
1. Carved in the Rock. Spoken introduction where Zappa explains what the song Inca Roads is about.
2. Inca Roads. At this point this song sounded more like the version on The Lost Episodes CD, but with vocals. Lovely and humorous introduction by George Duke (keys and vocals). Solos by Duke and trombone player Bruce Fowler. One of the highlights on the CD.
3. Penguin in Bondage. Sounds similar to the Roxy & Elsewhere version but it's a different take which becomes obvious when we get to the guitar solo.
4. T'Mershi Duween. The short intense instrumental that the 1973 Mothers performed so well. Later versions are not that enjoyable (our opinion). Suited best as an instrumental.
5. The Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat. Bruce Fowler's trombone playing along with the melody adds extra splendor.
6. RDNZL. Rather short version. Solos by Zappa and Duke (fast!)
7. Village of the Sun. Zappa's guitar lines during the first bars of the song are different (not as tasteful) as on the Roxy & Elsewhere album. Napoleon Murphy Brock's lead vocals are somewhat weak also.
8. Echidna's Arf. Both Echidna and Wash That Thing remind a lot of the R & E versions. Different takes though.
9. Don't You Ever Wash That Thing? Ends with a drum solo that continues as...
10. Cheepnis - Percussion. Drums and percussion only. Fascinating that they make it!
11. Cheepnis. Frank knew what he did when he overdubbed extra vocals on the R & E version. Nice version anyhow.
12. Dupree's Paradise. We needed this one! Have never really liked the YCDTOSA 2 and Make A Jazz Noise Here versions. Funky intro by mr. Duke. Solos by Brock (flute), Tom Fowler (bass) and Zappa (guitar).
13. King Kong/Chunga's Revenge/Mr. Green Genes. Nice medley. Too short though (9 minutes).Solos: Trombone, synthesizer, guitar.

Conclusion: Great sound, the Roxy sound. Lots of percussion! Great material, great performance by this outstanding unit. An alternative to the perverted kick drum album You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2. Please note that this is very much an instrumental album. It's obvious that the lead vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock was new in the band at the time (December 1973) since he does not sing so much. But his time was about to come the following year.

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