Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Zappadan 2009 again... The 1988 Tour CDs

Well it's still Zappadan. I hope you're having a nice celebration.
I have the distinct dishonor of missing Zappa's 1988 tour, but the CDs produced are excellent. The first one released was Broadway The Hard Way in 1988. It's a fine record, heavy on political rants, but with some great songs. Sting (yes, Sting) guests on Murder By Numbers, and there's a good Outside Now, Elvis Has Left The Building, and Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk. It happens to include the definitive version of Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel. Otherwise it's not really the best, especially compared to the other two from the same tour.

The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life 1991 is a real crowd-pleaser, with Zappa doing many covers, often with hilarious results. Purple Haze, Ring Of Fire, Sunshine Of Your Love, and a totally amazing Stairway To Heaven are all great. The Torture Never Stops medley is killer, and Inca Roads is a standout. A great introduction to Zappa, and an indispensable release. Consistently excellent.

Equally good, but a little more work to listen to, is Make A Jazz Noise Here 1991. A smokin' Stinkfoot leads things off, followed by When Yuppies Go To Hell, 14 minutes of virtuoso playing that is awe inspiring. But the entire CD is like that. Black Napkins, King Kong, City Of Tiny Lights, Cruising For Burgers, and Dupree's Paradise are classics. The CD is comprised of Zappa's most difficult to play charts, and this band has no problems meeting the challenge. An amazing experience, but not the rollicking fun of Best Band. Also for fusion lovers that never knew how complex Zappa's work could be.
Check them out- they're all good.

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