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  • The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
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The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life Live, Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Live, Original recording remastered, May 30, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Best Band (2 Cd) by Frank Zappa

Amazon.com

This double live set showcases the peerless calisthenics abilities of the 1988 Zappa big band on a collection of crowd-pleasing favorites, concert staples and cover songs. Zappa's crystalline Stratocaster sound (a far cry from the "squank" of the '70s) highlights some of the most lyrical and inspired solo guitar work of his life. Highlights include an adrenaline charged version of "Zomby Woof" a thoroughly rocking turn at Ravel's Bolero, and a horn arrangement of Jimmy Page's "Stairway to Heaven" guitar solo. --Andrew Boscardin

Disc: 1
1. Heavy Duty Judy
2. Ring Of Fire
3. Cosmik Debris
4. Find Her Finer
5. Who Needs The Peace Corps?
6. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
7. Zomby Woof
8. Bolero
9. Zoot Allures
10. Mr. Green Genes
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Purple Haze
2. Sunshine Of Your Love
3. Let's Move To Cleveland
4. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
5. 'Godfather Part II' Theme
6. A Few Moments With Brother A. West
7. The Torture Never Stops Part One
8. Theme From 'Bonanza'
9. Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Swaggart Version)
10. The Torture Never Stops Part Two
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 30, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B0000009TJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,550 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Biography

Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on ... Read more in Amazon's Frank Zappa Store

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Customer Reviews

ODD but good in the way that it is ODD.
Hutch
At close to 130 minutes of music this may be the perfect (and a "light") Zappa introduction to no-know-persons.
Patrik Lemberg
If you are not a Zappa fan, it might be a good place to start.
stu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Patrik Lemberg on October 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is the first FZ album I ever heard. My electric bass teacher lent it to me after I keenly asked him "Whose song is this?" at a concert where a band played "Let's Move To Cleveland." I loved the song immediately, and upon listening to it on disc I didn't only love it for its [to me, at the time] eccentric melody, but also for the guitar solo, which I was to find a typical example of Zappa's personal way of soloing.
At close to 130 minutes of music this may be the perfect (and a "light") Zappa introduction to no-know-persons. Although most of the material is taken from FZ's late 60's through mid 70's repertoire, or what some might call his hey day rock material, big variations (thanks to re-arrangements) are being made, and styles vary. There's also a bunch of classic rock covers, such as "Purple Haze," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Stairway to Heaven" among others - even the "Bonanza" theme is included. All cover songs are worth listening to - they're extremely extreme! After listening to any of them for the first time there is NO WAY the words "Just what I expected" will escape from your sincere mouth.
What differs the old FZ studio songs from these 15-to-20-years-later-live-versions are the arrangements and the lyrics. A lot of the lyrics are humorously replaced on the spot (the band seems to have a really good time) and close to all songs on this album feature a horn section armed with five men who handle 10 different horns.
From what I understand, the '88 tour band (the last of Zappa's rock bands) knew 196 songs - songs that Zappa could call off at concerts at any time, and it truly shows that this band have practiced A LOT! The musicianship is, as on many of Zappa's albums, EXTRAORDINARY.
Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "Unnecessary" Quotes on October 31, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This title, recorded before the BWTHW touring band disintegrated in a flurry of slap-fighting and mean-spirited "slam books," offers an extraordinary glimpse of where Zappa could have gone if he had lived another fifteen years. By this time in his career, Zappa was the undisputed champion of writing impossible compositions and then flogging his musicians into playing them. Thus, with this tour Zappa settled into a more relaxed set that emphasized showmanship along with the musical feats.

Considering the number of musicians on stage during this tour, there is an amazing amount of space in these songs. It is almost as though the whole thing was produced in a studio, with some musicians contributing a note or two per chorus. The wide-open spaces on the album make a fantastic palette for Zappa to really emphasize his strengths as a guitar player, and they also leave room for the other greats in this band to express themselves.

The song list includes stellar versions of some Zappa classics, like Florentien Pogen and Inca Roads, along with a few suprises. Who knew that Stairway to Heaven's guitar solo would sound so good as a horn arrangement? Who but Zappa would have equated "Ring of Fire" with some sort of fungal (possibly sexually transmitted) infection?

I agree with the other reviewers that this is a good intro to Zappa, with one caveat: this is an extraordinarily cynical album. Maybe all of the parody of Johnny Cash seems over the top in light of his recent passing, and you can probably forgive Zappa for devoting so much time to dissecting the sexual indescretions of Jimmy Swaggart. In any case, there are lots of points in this album where the easy facade of playfulness seems to give way to a very dark underbelly. All I am saying is, don't put this in the CD player until you've had your morning coffee.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on November 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Thinking of getting into FZ? If contemplating your first foray into the world of Frank, buy this recording. It's accessible on many levels, primarily due to the numerous covers of rock, country, movie, and classical pieces. There are also the FZ standards, such as "The Torture Never Stops," "Penguin in Bondage," "Florentine Pogen," "Inca Roads," and "Sofa." If you enjoy this album then you'll enjoy any other recording in the vast FZ catalog.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert on November 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Frank Zappa's "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life" was recorded on his last rock group tour in 1988. The '88 tour is also documented on "Broadway The Hard Way" and "Make A Jazz Noise Here", as well as a few odd tracks sprinkled throughout the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series. This release is probably the most accessible of the three, especially those who haven't completely memorized every note of Frank's monstrous catalog. This one features a few bizarre cover tunes ("Ring Of Fire", "Purple Haze", "Sunshine Of Your Love" and "Stairway To Heaven") as well as a few nods to some of Zappa's better known material, like "Mr. Green Genes", "Who Needs The Peace Corps?", "Cosmic Debris", "Florentine Pogen", "Andy", "Inca Roads" and "Sofa"...ALL executed brilliantly on stage without overdubs. There is, however, a whole bunch of edits from one concert to another. If Frank liked the guitar solo from a song from one night, the first verse from a different night and another section from another night, he'd splice it all together and you wouldn't know unless you read the liner notes carefully. He may have even gotten a bit carried away with this process with the 1988 material(One song on the "Broadway The Hard Way" album is rumored to have 14 different edits). This album also rubs a particular current event (at the time) into the ground, with its' many references to the evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who was under investigation for soliciting a prostitute. "Penguin In Bondage", "Trouble Every Day" and "Lonesome Cowboy Bert" all have their lyrics changed to poke fun at Mr. Swaggart's illicit affair. For me, "Best Band" ranks high on my list of favorite live FZ albums. But now the 2012 remaster has gone back to the second album cover design.Read more ›
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