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Roxy & Elsewhere Original recording remastered, Live
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Zappa is comfortable and at ease with his audience on this album; he delivers a couple of relaxed monologues about, e.g., monster movies, and his guitar work is always both brilliant and accessible. His musical arrangements are funky and tasteful; his lyrical satire is in top form, has left behind the snide contemptuousness of some of his early stuff, and hasn't yet taken on the bitter, curmudgeonly edge that came to characterize some of his later work. In short, he comes across as what he was: a genius guitarist and composer who was enjoying himself onstage with both the audience and the band.
There are some serious Zappa classic on this album -- notably "Cheepnis," his hilarious but appreciative parody of low-budget monster movies (". . . the monster, which the peasants in this area call FRUNOBULAX . . . "); a redux version of FREAK OUT's "Trouble Every Day," rendered this time out as a slow and bluesy number with an achingly brilliant guitar solo; and the very, very long "Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)," which occupied an entire album side on the original LP and features both Zappa's signature "audience participation" and some terrific keyboard-and-vocal work from George Duke ("This is BEEEEEEEEEEEEE-bop, even though you think it doesn't sound like that . . . ") -- plus some others I won't list here.
Classic stuff. In short, Zappa at his finest, and a must for FZ fans and neophytes alike.
Roxy and Elsewhere restored much needed faith. I had seen some of this material played live in concert, heard something about a PBS special he was working on, forked out my hard-earned neo-teenage cash for a double live album, and was dancing on the ceiling from the first listening. I'd never heard such a great live recording, and the energy from the performance brought a much-needed element missing from the bottom-heavy, too-clean production of the two previous albums.
"Penguin in Bondage" is a hilarious view of sexual deviance, made somehow more so due to the restraints of having the performance recorded for television broadcasts; since he could not resort to outright raunch, the lyrics are peppered with strange, suggestive images (ie: kleenex on a coat-hang wire), and the song becomes a surrealistic goof on the whole 70s S&M phenomena. Zappa later pays homage to creature features of the 50s and 60s in "Cheepnis", a love letter to all those who ever sat out late night movies on TV just to look for costume zippers, 2x4s on fake cave sets, and visible nylon strings on giant insects.
A highlight of the album kicks off with an affectionate (yes, Frank COULD be affectionate) recollection of life in Palmdale, "Village of the Sun", famous for its turkey farms.Read more ›
I'd recommend buying this one for a friend who doesn't know or thinks (like most people) that he/she doesn't like Frank Zappa because he's too weird.
This album is most likely ranked in every Zappa fan's top 5 of the 70 official releases. It is a brilliant live recording full of astounding playing by Frank on guitar and the incomparable rhythm section of Ruth Underwood on percussion, George Duke on keyboard, Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphries on drums (although not both together on all tracks, gets into a serious drumming duel on "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?") along with the Fowler Brothers on horn and bass, not to mention Napoleon Murphy Brock on Sax and vocals and just to keep it real, Don Preston on synthesizer in this jazz-rock extravaganza!
Fans of Zappa's humorous side will delight in Frank's storytelling on such tracks as "Cheepnis" and his way with audience members in the "hard one to play" Be-Bop Tango. Fans of Frank's guitar playing will marvel at the always uncompromising playing on "Penguin In Bondage", "Son of Orange County" and "More Trouble Every Day" to name a few.
Definitely one of the best Zappa/Mothers live recordings. There are, of course, many others but this one is probably most easily digestable to the uninitiated or Zappa skeptic.
Sounds as fresh today as it did nearly 30 years ago when first recorded. A two-record set fit perfectly onto one disc and NOT remixed by Frank - a complaint and sticking point on numerous other releases by Frank when put out on CD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will be honest. I am not a fan of Roxy. I'm usually like "huh?" when I read praising reviews of Roxy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tuvshin_9595
Old favorite - best incarnation of Zappa's group. Love this music!!Published 10 months ago by Mitchell Bentley
FZ...one of a kind, wish you were still here with us ..thx,fz tlhPublished 12 months ago by PC Helgeson
Whatever this is - i have many odd artists & zappa is the farthest out there- its a live 2lp set. It is largely considered among his most essential.Published 17 months ago by One KING
I am in the camp that believes this is one of Frank Zappa's greatest-ever performances. I have been a fan of Frank and the Mothers of Invention since the mid-1960s, and in-fact,... Read morePublished on May 21, 2013 by Doug ("funkyjudge")