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YCDTOSA VOLUME V

the Passion vs Precision tapes


NUMBER OF TRACKS- 38

NUMBER OF OTHERWISE UNRELEASED TRACKS- 20 (Downtown Talent Scout, Here Lies Love, Piano/Drum Duet, Mozart Ballet, Chocolate Halvah, JCB & Kansas #1, The Little March, Right There, Where is Johnny Velvet?, Proto-Minimalism, JCB & Kansas #2, My Head, Meow, Where's Our Equipment?, FZ/JCB Drum Duet, No Waiting for the Peanuts to Dissolve, A Game of Cards, German Lunch, Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?, The Geneva Farewell)

NUMBER OF DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT ARRANGEMENTS OF RELEASED TRACKS- 0

YEARS COVERED- 5 ('65, '67, '68, '69, '82)


DISC ONE


(The following selections are all from the '68 and '69 tours, except where noted)

[The BETTER SELECTION decision takes into account the fact that Frank chose only to release '60's era tracks on this disc]

THE DOWNTOWN TALENT SCOUT (1)- This is another one of FZ's "Trouble Every Day"-type social commentaries. I am not a big fan of these, but they are not the worst things Frank's ever done. Just when things are about to get really interesting, however ("Blow your harmonica, son"), Frank edits into the next track.(1965)

BETTER SELECTION: No.



CHARLES IVES (1)- This is a good example of the mellower improvisation that the '60's Mothers would frequently explore. Dramatic horn solos, Roy (ahem) singing, Frank leading the band through random riffs and noises, and all of it somehow meshing together.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



HERE LIES LOVE (1)- Lowell George's only vocal performance on a FZ album? Is this true? I love this man's voice, and his perfect mix of sincerity and mocking tone works perfectly on this innocent little R'n'B number.

BETTER SELECTION: No.  More of this kind of stuff, in fact.



PIANO/DRUM DUET (1/2)- This is exactly what the title says. It is not bad, but would work much better in context of whatever concert it comes from.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



MOZART BALLET (1)- Ian Underwood plays a Mozart piece on the piano while the remaining Mothers' act like fools on stage. Ian's playing is exquisite and is the sole reason this tune gets points. Frank's commentary and the reaction to the on-stage tomfoolery distract from an otherwise breathtaking track.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



CHOCOLATE HALVAH (1)- Throughout the years, Frank was rather fond of Arabesque/Middle Eastern sounding jams. During the '60's tours, many a more "normal" song would veer off into these uncharted territories, and this track is the result of such an exploration. The Mothers' set up a trance-like groove- you can almost feel the desert heat- while Roy and various Mothers "sing" some hypnotic nonsense.

BETTER SELECTION: No.  Again, more of this kind of stuff- inspired improv.



JCB & KANSAS ON THE BUS #1 (0)- Man, there must have been some long bus rides back in those days, if this is what passes as amusing.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



RUN HOME SLOW: Main Title Theme (0)- Thanks to the release of "The Lost Episodes", this track no longer carries the importance it previously did.

BETTER SELECTION: Yes.  The Mother's frequently performed this in the midst of longer, crazier "suites" of music.  A version of this as included in one of those lengthier "jams" would have been cool.



THE LITTLE MARCH (1)- This is another more "serious" piece in the flavor of "Run Home Slow", displaying one of the more mature sides of the Mothers.

BETTER SELECTION: No



RIGHT THERE (1/2)- This is five minutes of annoying/hilarious (take your pick) of a laughing Roy, interspersed with random riffs, noises, and musical digressions. In the context of an actual concert, it probably works much better. I find that it goes on just a little too long here.

BETTER SELECTION: No



WHERE IS JOHNNY VELVET? (0)- Pointless FZ/audience banter.

BETTER SELECTION: No



RETURN OF THE HUNCHBACK DUKE (0)- This is a shortened version of what would later be known as "Little House I Used To Love In". In the actual concerts, these performances typically wandered off into improvisational madness. Frank, of course, only gives us a portion of the main theme.

BETTER SELECTION: Yes.  A complete performance.



TROUBLE EVERY DAY (0)- Stick with "Freak Out".

BETTER SELECTION: No.



PROTO-MINIMALISM (0)- Frank was originally going to call this "You Call That Music? Part Two", but was sick of people calling him up and saying "No!" This is noise.

BETTER SELECTION: No



JCB & KANSAS ON THE BUS #2 (0)- I would have hitchhiked.

BETTER SELECTION: No



MY HEAD (0)- The sound of the Mothers' fooling around.

BETTER SELECTION: No



MEOW (0)- More noise, but this time performed quietly. Again, this track would probably work much better in its actual live context.

BETTER SELECTION: No



BAKED-BEAN BOOGIE (1)- Now this is what we have been waiting for. An energetic, guitar based jam excerpted from a "Transylvania Boogie".

BETTER SELECTION: No



WHERE'S OUR EQUIPMENT? (0)- More random noise.(1967)

BETTER SELECTION: No



FZ/JCB DRUM DUET (0)- Two drum solos in the Stage series. Huh?

BETTER SELECTION: No



NO WAITING FOR THE PEANUTS TO DISSOLVE (1)- More energetic playing, containing a Lowell, Frank, and unknown horn solo.

BETTER SELECTION: No



A GAME OF CARDS (0)- Backstage chatter.

BETTER SELECTION: No



UNDERGROUND FREAK-OUT MUSIC (1)- Just as the disc winds down, Frank starts throwing some nice jams at us. This one comes from a "King Kong" and is an excellent example of the high-energy improvisations that this band was capable of performing.

BETTER SELECTION: No



GERMAN LUNCH (1)- Lowell George did an amusing German accent which he frequently broke out during some of the wilder improvisations of the Spring '69 tour. This track, recorded backstage in Germany, is essentially a comedy routine in which Lowell interrogates the Mothers as they are coming through customs. It's pretty funny.

BETTER SELECTION: No



MY GUITAR WANTS TO KILL YOUR MAMA (1)- Well, it's not live, but quite enjoyable.

BETTER SELECTION: No

DISC TWO


[The following selections are all from the 1982 tour]

[The BETTER SELECTION decision takes into account the fact that Frank chose only to release '82 tracks on this disc]



EASY MEAT (1)- All around good choice. Vai and Mars' playing in the middle orchestral section mesh perfectly, and FZ's solo is deliciously heavy.

BETTER SELECTION: No.  There probably are better solos out there, though.



DEAD GIRLS OF LONDON (1)- Frank could have made this unbeatable by releasing a Fall '80 performance instead, but this will most definitely do.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



SHALL WE TAKE OURSELVES SERIOUSLY? (1)- This previously unreleased song documents the true story of a German promoter who once tried to prevent Frank's roadies from eating asparagus. It is a light little number, showcasing the incredible vocal talents of the world famous Ray White.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



WHAT'S NEW IN BALTIMORE? (0)- A couple complaints about this one. One, during the Fall '81 tour, this song bore witness to some of Frank's continually best solos of the tour. Sadly, never again would he match the intensity of these outings on any subsequent tour. Two, even those awesome '81 solos are no match for the officially released FZMTMOP version. Thus, putting one and two together, and coming up with a live '82 version, you end up with a somewhat standard performance.

BETTER SELECTION: No.  At least not from this tour.



MOGGIO (0)- The only reason I would consider giving this track any points is due to the fact that now I won't have to dig out my "Man from Utopia" album. But since "We Are Not Alone" still resides on that CD and that CD alone, I know I am going to have to dig it out anyway.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



DANCIN' FOOL (0)- My heartfelt congratulations goes out to the person who gives me the most persuasive reason why we need another one of these.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



RDNZL (1/2)- My love for the '74 band probably taints this rating, but hey…First off, the keyboard solo simply cannot compare to either of Duke's officially released performances; and where is the majesty of Ruth's opening display of talent? But Vai and Mann do add some energy to this number, and Frank's solo is one helluva an effort. Okay, half a point.

BETTER SELECTION: Yes.  The 5/22 performance is a MONSTER!  It rivals the Duke-era RDNZL's.



ADVANCE ROMANCE (0)- I have lost track of how many versions of this we have.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



CITY OF TINY LITES (1)- I am inclined to give this only half-a-point simply because the solo is so weak, especially considering the way it merely limps out of the starting gate. But Ray White is so good, and the end-of-song festivities are so entertaining, so...

BETTER SELECTION: Yes.  Many, many versions had better solos.



POUND FOR A BROWN (ON THE BUS) (1)- Not one of the craziest Monster performances, but Ray, Ed, and Frank all turn in quite enjoyable solos.

BETTER SELECTION: No.  This is about as "out there" as the '82 "Pound's" get.



DOREEN (1/2)- Why not? Frank needs all the reasons he can get to show-off the dynamic Ray White.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



THE BLACK PAGE #2 (1)- As I said earlier, this is the one song that deserves having every one of its versions released. Even though the solo is incredible, most of us probably realize that Frank already released the second half of this on "Guitar" ("Which One is It?"). This could have been made all the more enjoyable if Frank had picked a different solo, but hey…This falls under the same category as Volume I's "I'm the Slime"-> I already have the tapes mixed, so why go looking for something else?

BETTER SELECTION: Yes.  A performance with a completely unreleased solo would have been more worthwhile.



GENEVA FAREWELL (0)- Frank warns the audience that if one more thing comes flying on to the stage, the concert will be over. "House lights. Concert's over." What a bummer. Idiots.

BETTER SELECTION: No.



TOTAL SCORE- 51.3% (19.5 out of a possible 38)

Songs earning a 1= 18

Songs earning 1/2= 3

Songs earning a 0= 17


Considering the two tours covered in this volume (the '69 era Mothers and the '82 Rockin' Teenage Combo), this should have been one of the best sets in the Stage series (following closely behind Volume II, of course). But thanks to some poor editing choices (with regards to disc one), and some poor song selections (with regards to disc two), Frank manages to create a Volume which ranks at the bottom of the Stage hierarchy. As Frank would do with Volume IV, he finally decides to release some more inspired improvisations, but fumbles the ball by editing out the songs which lead to these improvisations. Thus, the improvisational genius of the '60's Mothers' is diluted due to a lack of continuity. With regards to the '82 disc, Frank released way too many tunes which had no reason to be released. "Dancin' Fool", "What's New in Baltimore", "Advance Romance", "Moggio", "RDNZL"- these all could have been replaced with more interesting, better performed, less common tracks. The '82 tour overflows with insane performances, and we get this? This Volume has its moments, but must stand as the most disappointing set in the series.


Diseases of the Fans

-who they are and what they are thinking

#1) Sean Gaffney rates this volume a 50.0% (19 out of 38)

Songs earning a 1= 13

Songs earning 1/2= 12

Songs earning a 0= 13


The only song we completely disagreed on (with a whole point difference) was "FZ/JCB Drum Duet" (which he gave 1, I none). He gave slightly more points to the '82 disc, while I gave more points to the '69 disc.

#2) Micheal Pierry rates this volume a 76.3% (29 out of 38)

Songs earning a 1= 27

Songs earning 1/2= 4

Songs earning a 0= 7


Micheal and I completely disagreed (with a whole point difference) on a number of songs, most of them on the first disc. Despite his high score for this volume, Micheal still comments that "this volume is the most disjointed of the series, since disc one and disc two have nothing to do with each other".

#3) Age Rotshuizen rates this volume a 61.8% (23.5 out of 38)

Songs earning a 1= 20

Songs earning 1/2= 7

Songs earning a 0= 11



#4) Jon Naurin rates this volume a 56.6% (21.5 out of 38)

Songs earning a 1= 17

Songs earning 1/2= 9

Songs earning a 0= 12

 


CUMULATIVE SCORE: 59.21%


Onward to Volume VI

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