Friday, July 21, 2006

A Musical Interlude

I'll take the cue here tonite from the pages of Newscoma, who posted this fine entry via YouTube tonite.

This is a video from a concert by Frank Zappa, a master musician and guitar god. This song is from one of my favorite albums, "One Size Fits All." The tune here is called "Florentine Pogen" and presents a perfect example of all the things about Frank I love and that I miss so much.

The music and arrangement is intricate and off the wall, like holding out for that duck call solo. The lyrics are a rock and roll example of "Jabberwocky" - tight rhymes and goofy wordplay which singer Napoleon Murphy Brock belts out as if he were telling you an incredible tale of heartbreak. And Frank simply wails on the guitar. And look at that band - George Duke on keyboards and the incredible Ruth Underwood on vibraphone and percussion (and duck call) - they are having a fantastic time.

I know only a select few of us can find the groove for Zappa. But that's ok. Try it. You may like it.

Crank it up for the next 10 minutes, wait for that guitar solo. And Chester's go-rilla (he go 'moo').

A partial examination of the lyrics can be found here, not that it really matters.


  1. Don't you just love this stuff.
    I know I do.

  2. Yes, YouTube is beee-yooo-ti-ful.

    I have to add to that playing some FZ as radio DJ was one kind of pleasure, but to find some fine footage like this and putting it on this page is a wee bit better.

  3. I used to play Steve Goodman all the time when I was a vinyl spinner.
    Used to make the GM insane, 'cause old Steve had a potty mouth.
    I loved Goodman. I spun at a country music station which made me cringe at 19 but now I know it was good for me.
    Opened my horizons.
    I'd always go out to the car and put The Cramps back on, so I'm all about some balance.

  4. I love Zappa. Wacka Jawacka is my favorite album. Although Hot Rats is a close second. Or maybe Weasels Ripped My Flesh (My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama is classic). Some say Wacka Jawacka is Hot Rats II, because it says Hot Rats on the faucet handles. Going to watch your video now. Thanks.

  5. Oh, man. That was pretty awesome. I don't know how they can perform such elaborate songs and such intricate arrangements live, without a score. Rehersals must be a bitch. Reminds me of the song "Black Page" from 200 Motels, I think it was, which I always assumed was a reference to the density of the score on paper. And on Wacka Jawacka, there is some complex, mind blowing stuff that sounds like improvisation, but then there's Zappa doubling it on guitar. I was only fortunate enough to seem him live once, back in the late 70's I think (it's a little, uh, hazy), during the "Live in New York" album era (Illinois Enema Bandit, Big Leg Emma, etc.). The musicianship is just amazing.

  6. You mention more albums I really enjoy, especially Hot Rats. Once many years ago, the DJ duties I had included making a sign-on and sign-off for the AM station.
    So Peaches En Regalia it was, though i know no one realized it was there but me.

    Live in NY is a wild one, too.

    The careful compositions and the excellence in craft his work demanded still astonish. Can't tell you how many times his work was insipirational for me. Glad you liked it!