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Broadway The Hard Way

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 30, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

BROADWAY THE HARD WAY

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 30, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B00919V30C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,237 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
'Broadway The Hard Way' sometimes suffers some criticism for its abundance of arguably dated politically satirical songs that Frank directed very explicitly to some of the infamous and/or controversial public figures of and around the time, including (but not limited to) Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and of course another of Frank's favorite televangelist targets mentioned below. Rather than negatively dating the record, I think this not only serves as a kind of historical document, but most names and topics can easily be imaginatively substituted and supplanted to current affairs involving dubious public figures of these strange days indeed, too...if one should care to.

All that aside, this is also the same great band, from the same great tour that supplied the sublime Make a Jazz Noise Here and Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life and this fits perfectly well into the trilogy by carving its own niche as the more, as aforementioned, political, comedic and lyrically oriented of the three.
You get some songs exclusive to this recording and a surprising guest appearance from Sting, who, dedicating 'The Police' track "Murder By Numbers" to the then recently disgraced Jimmy Swaggart (who had condemned the composition) goes on to sing the song really well, with Zappa's band killing and Frank soloing with his usual brilliance towards the end; a cool result from an apparently pretty spontaneous happening.

It's fun to hear the reworkings/new arrangements of familiar tunes; "What Kind Of Girl" (sans "Do You Think We Are?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Broadway the Hard Way" is the first of three recordings documenting Zappa's 1988 world tour. The band on this recording, and the '88 tour, was likely the best full ensemble Zappa worked with. Featuring Ike Willis, Bobby(Robert) Martin, and even Sting on a great version of "Murder by Numbers" which is merged into "Stolen Moments", a cover of an Oliver Nelson song with a fine solo by Walt Fowler on trumpet. This CD has plenty of what you would expect from FZ and some things you might not.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Broadway The Hard Way is a live Album recorded in different venues from his 1988 World Tour with the Mothers singing and playing awesome guitar on 17 songs and 71 minutes long with special guest Sting on Murders By Numbers , Awesome guitar , great band and sense of humour what more could you ask , great Album .
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Format: Audio CD
I have to admit I was a bit closed minded about Zappa's work from Zoot Allures onward. When Frank dropped the horns and Ruth Underwood from his band I lost interest. His humor also seemed to get a lot more caustic and angry - and sometimes that was justified. I purchased Make A Jazz Noise Here right after its release and loved it but never went back to explore whether there was anything else in the official releases I cared about until I began re-acquiring Zappa titles with the 2012 reissue catalog. There are still some titles I don't plan to acquire beyond Zoot Allures though I will give in and purchase Zappa in New York despite its determination to push the humor to a whole new level of depravity. I picked up the 2012 Lather and two of the titles \Lather is worth owning in addition to New York, Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites (Studio Tan is included in its entirety on Lather) as there is much more additional music from those releases that does not appear on Lather and is mastered differently. And that's not a criticism, it's just stuff I don't want to hear on a recurring basis so why own it even if I've collected much of his work?I did purchase Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers of Prevention - excellent too! I also picked up The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life - had been meaning to for years.

I told you all of that so I could tell you this about Broadway the Hard Way:

As I was exploring the re-released catalog (2012) I learned this is new material played by the same Zappa big band of the infamous 1988 tour I just had to own it. I am not disappointed at all.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Since I am a Zappa fanatic, I would normally never give anything less than five stars for all the brilliant man's works, but I am specifically writing this review for one reason: the newest 2012 Universal CD remaster of this classic is clearly muddier-sounding than the original Rykodisc CD. This is the only exception in a wonderful re-release of all of Frank's official catalog that seems to clearly be suffering sonically when compared to the original Ryko CD. From the first what should be glistening cymbals of "Elvis Has Just Left The Building", I could immediately tell that the high end of this release was WAY muddier than the Ryko version, and this muddiness stayed throughout the whole CD. I think something slipped through the cracks when this remaster was released--it needs some EQ tweaking or something. The music contained within is brilliant, and this was Frank's last tour and all the new original pieces written for this band and this tour. Frank knew during these last live recordings that he was sick with prostate cancer, and every time I hear the last section of "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk" when he literally begs the listener in his lyrics that "Surely I have failed somehow", I always tear up. Frank changed the world with his varied and wonderful work, and everyone can always find new and wonderful elements worked into his compositions that never fail to amaze and inspire. This release is one of Frank's truly great works.
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