Frank Zappa

Joe's Xmasage

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This compilation drawn from the late Frank Zappa's huge personal library of unreleased tapes focuses on his work of the 1960s. The music will be of interest to Zappa collectors, though the sound quality varies from acceptable to average for the era -- keeping in mind that these recordings are mostly from studio rehearsals and, at the time he made them, were likely not intended for release. "GTR Trio" is an extended rehearsal that showcases Zappa on acoustic guitar, improvising over a bass vamp, containing at least one excerpt later utilized in his composition "The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution." "The Moon Will Never Be the Same" and "Mousie's First Xmas" are brief rehearsals of Zappa's early orchestral writing, with some overdubbed electronics added. "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" is essentially a vamp on one chord, though it has many more verses than the version eventually issued on a Verve single. Various spoken segments ("Mormon Xmas Dance Report," "Prelude to the Purse," "The Purse," and "Suckit Rockit") are of passing interest and don't merit more than one hearing. One exception is "The Uncle Frankie Show," which incorporates Zappa narrating a preview about "I Was a Teenage Maltshop" with a few musical excerpts intertwined, including some tasty solo blues guitar. Joe's Xmasage falls short of being essential for the casual Zappa listener, though serious fans will enjoy this treasure trove of vintage, previously unreleased material.

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