|Just Another Band from L.A.|
Just Another Band from L.A. is a live album by The Mothers of Invention, introduced in 1972. It was recorded live on August 7, 1971 in Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. An outstanding inclusion on this album is "Billy theMountain", Zappa's long, narrative parody of rock operas, that were getting popularity in those days.
Frequently ignored by reviewers, this album marks a significant period in the band's career due to the extensive use of The Turtles band, soon to be dissolved with Zappa's stage fall.
This album constantly gets a bad rap. It was released after the flo and Eddie incarnation of the Mothers got sidelined when a fan almost killed Zappa by throwing him offstage.(He spent a year in a wheel chair, and luckily, used this period to make Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo) Plenty of critics and fans who like Uncle Meat and Hot Rat's high minded jazz and avant gaurde sweep believe this is lowbrow.
This specific band had an excellent feel as musical contortionists gladly following Zappa's whims. The most amazing musical highlights shown in this album, apart from the magnificent vocals, are Aynsley Dunbar's drumming (just pay attention to any bit of his drumming on this album to be fascinated) and secondly, Zappa's guitar. As the years gone by, Frank lost interest in being the lone guitarist on stage. Eventually, he assigned the composed guitar components to "stunt" guitar players like Steve Vai and Mike Keneally. Back in 1971, Frank did it all, which is great. He presented the composed guitar materials so well and with such feeling that the solos seem to fit in better. In later years the guitar solos feel like they're just glued onto many of the tunes to accomplish some requirement, while here they spring up more naturally.
"Billy the Mountain" opens the album, and what a way to open it. A 24 minute epic regarding a mountain who goes to New York with his wife (who is a tree which is attached to Billy's shoulder). You will discover some wonderful musical bits along with some terrific comedic interplay between Kaylan and Volman
" Call Any Vegetable" really picks up the pace. An incredible rendition of the Absolutely Free highlight. Musically its first class, and their are some great lyrics as well.
"Eddie, Are You Kidding?" refers to Edward Nalbandian and Zachary All Clothing, a now-closed clothing store is an easy listen, and a great one at that. All about double-knits and 60 tailors in the back, this song comes off as doo-wop infused with cheesy late-sixties music. A take-off on "16 Candles" at the conclusion is pretty good, and garners the applause of the crowd. This song will stick in your mind when listened to over 3 times in an exact day.
" Magdalena" is an upbeat song, with a neat vocal (and guitar) line. Additionally, musically this song is excellent as well, with an amazing little change in the middle which is really impressive on the percussive side of things.
"Dog Breath" is a nice version of "Dog Breath, In The Year Of The Plague" from "Uncle Meat." Sans Nancy Welker's soprano, Volman and Kaylan have a great set of vocals in this song, and the chorus stands out. Frank's solo (or solo-ette due to its length) is still fantastic.
Inane advertising jingles and slogans function as a artistic theme throughout the album - Zappa absorbs this stuff and spits it back in our face. And we take notice 'cause it's so damn interesting. The real cause why this and most of the other Zappa albums with Flo & Eddie were live recordings seems to be so as to capture their frenetic, unpredictable energy and endearing charm. They had an enthusiastic dyanimsn about them which later more high-brow Zappa line-ups where never quite capable to recapture.
Overall, a great live album by the legendary Frank Zappa, however this is an album in case you like the comedic side of Zappa.
The album was reissued in a digitally remastered version on CD by Rykodisc in 1990 and in 1995. All CD variants remove the composition credits.
1. "Billy the Mountain"
(Interpolates sections of "Johnny's Theme" by Paul Anka and Johnny Carson, and of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Stephen Stills.) 24:47
2. "Call Any Vegetable" 7:22
3. "Eddie, Are You Kidding?"
(John Seiter, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan, Zappa) 3:10
4. "Magdalena" (Kaylan, Zappa) 6:24
5. "Dog Breath"
Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals
Mark Volman – lead vocals
Howard Kaylan – lead vocals
Ian Underwood – woodwinds, keyboards, vocals
Don Preston – keyboards
Jim Pons – bass guitar, vocals
Aynsley Dunbar – drums
DISCOGRAPHY-Just Another Band from L.A. Reviewed by Klemen Hlupič on 02:15 Rating: