(out of a possible 5)
While this album was figured to be a "Hot Rats Part II" by Zappa (see the
cover), it sounds more like "The Prelude to the Grand Wazoo", and is more
commonly associated with the latter. Rightly so, too, as the big fat horn sound dominates
this album as it dominates "The Grand Wazoo". Containing only four songs, this
outing does not succeed as well as the later '72 album would, mainly because the actual
compositions are not as strong as they are on the other. "Big Swifty" is the
undeniable highlight of the album, containing a lengthy "Bitches Brew"-esque jam
between Duke, Zappa, and Marquez. The two vocal tunes found in the middle of the album
border on being filler, though "It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal" contains a
stunning pedal steel solo. Courtesy of "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow, this solo is a
must hear, and is one of the highlights of Frank's entire catalog. Finally,
"Waka/Jawaka" closes the album in grand style, though fails to say anything not
better said on "The Grand Wazoo". On the whole, this is not a bad album,
especially if you enjoy Frank's Big Band sound. The writing is just not as strong as on
other releases, and apart from "Big Swifty" and Sneaky Pete, the performances
are rather routine.
THE LIVE EFFECT
Only two of these four tunes was ever performed live.
BIG SWIFTY- This tune debuted during the Fall '72 Grand Wazoo tour, where it was performed
in typical Monster Song style. The song retired for a couple of years, before being dusted
off a handful of times for the Fall '74 band (a abbreviated example of this can be heard
on YCDTOSA II; the song was also performed with extended improvisations). After an
inexcusable 14 year absence, the tune reappeared for the '88 tour, where it terrorized set
lists much in the same way it terrorized MAJNH. Lots of solos, lots of madness.
YOUR MOUTH- Never performed live.
IT JUST MIGHT BE A ONE-SHOT DEAL- Never performed live.
WAKA/JAWAKA- At least once, on 10/31/72, they performed "Waka/Jawaka". And here,
with a description six long months after we first discovered this treat, is Mr. Sean
Gaffney-> "The head is very horn heavy, and sounds incredibly cool. The piece is
played with a lot of energy, as if the musicians sensed this might be a rare piece. We
then get a short FZ fill, before we're off to the first of the two solos. This is on
trumpet, I believe, and is just gorgeous. About 4 minutes long, and Barone gets to use a
variety of styles. After a short bit of musical randomness, FZ gets to solo, and again
takes a fairly lengthy one, about 3 minutes, with the first minute or so being very low,
smooth notes. After that, we get a return to the head, FZ plays a few more tasty licks,
and the song ends. 11 minutes or so of coolness." And yes, that's about it. Now,
everyone pray (find your god now) that Gail sees fit to include this on the "will it
really happen?" Petite Wazoo release.
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