Posts Tagged ‘Mark Volman’

Zappa Records/UMe will next month issue “The Mothers 1970”, a four-CD Frank Zappa box set which features 70 unreleased tracks from the short-lived 1970 line-up of the Mothers of Invention.
The band during this period last around seven months and was Aynsley Dunbar, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons, and Flo & Eddie (aka Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman).

This new box set features over four hours of unreleased music, with the first CD featuring unheard studio sessions from Trident Studios in London England (with engineer Roy Thomas Baker) and the remainder offering historical live performances mostly captured by Zappa’s own tape recorder (a UHER recorder).

All recordings were sourced from their original tapes discovered in The Vault and digitally transferred and compiled by Travers in 2020. Some tracks were mixed by Craig Parker Adams and the collection was mastered by John Polito at Audio Mechanics. The Mothers line-up that included Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, is one of my favourite periods in Frank Zappa’s musical history. Howard and Mark did some amazing vocals for their group, The Turtles, and as back-up singers for Marc Bolan & T. Rex, but really stole the show when doing lead vocal harmonies (and naughty satirical dialogues with Frank) as the reincarnation of The Mothers for the 1970-1972 live performances. I loved this stuff when I was in my early teens, plus the fact that my mom and dad really hated it made it even more alluring.  Historical live performances mostly captured by Zappa’s own tape recorder.

The Mothers 1970 is presented in a clamshell box and includes a booklet and a button. It has been produced by Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers and will be released on 26th June 2020.

Frank Zappa

The American composer and rock & roll provocateur, Frank Zappa, died at age 52 almost two decades ago, on December 4th, 1993. At the time of his passing, his official discography totaled 62 albums released under his own name and that of his landmark combo, the Mothers of Invention.

He is still putting records out, at a remarkable pace, under the vigilant aegis of his wife Gail and the Zappa Family Trust’s Vaultmeister, archivist Joe Travers. According to the fine print on the back, Carnegie Hall – a four-CD set of Zappa’s two shows at New York’s symphonic palace on October 11th, 1971

Zappa Records and UMe have repackaged this 2011 website-exclusive 4-CD set in more compact 3-CD fashion for general release.  “Carnegie Hall” chronicles Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s October 11th, 1971 shows at the famed New York venue from the original mono tapes.  This version drops the opening set by The Persuasions but includes all of Zappa and the Mothers’ material from both shows.  The Mothers’ lineup includes three alumni of The Turtles – bassist Jim Pons and vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, a.k.a. Flo and Eddie – plus Ian Underwood, Don Preston, and Aynsley Dunbar.

According to New York promoter Ron Delsener’s Carnegie Hall liner note, Zappa and his ’71 Mothers keyboard players Don Preston and Ian Underwood (the latter also on alto sax), ex-John Mayall drummer Aynsley Dunbar and three former Turtles, bassist Jim Pons and singer-jesters Mark “Flo” Volman and Howard “Eddie” Kaylan –only got through the backstage door because Delsener told the venue’s booking manager that the boss Mother “was a very accomplished classical musician.” Which was true, although the only strings in this band were on Zappa’s guitar.

The complete 7:30 and 11 p.m. shows in this box were recorded by the leader in mono with a single microphone and concealed tape machine (probably to avoid union hassles). The fidelity is remarkably clear and full-bodied, even with the inevitable room echo. This is also a rare chance to hear the “Flo and Eddie” Mothers’ full range of operatic lunacy and underrated small-combo instrumental drive. An LP-sized dose, Fillmore East – June 1971, had been issued shortly before these concerts; another, 1972’s “Just Another Band from L.A.”, had just been taped.

But Carnegie Hall is all that fun at length – the bawdy rock-star mockery of “The Mud Shark,” reprised from Fillmore East; an even longer “Billy the Mountain” than the one on “Just Another Band” plus surprising excavations from Uncle Meat, a long new piece called “Divan” (about a sofa and a magic pig) and a weirdly funky rewiring of the paranoia in Freak Out! “Who Are the Brain Police?” A chunk of “King Kong” 30 minutes goes to an overlong drum solo, but such were the times.

Ironically, Zappa’s orchestral work was never performed in Carnegie Hall in his lifetime. After his death, though, Zappa’s long-form fable, “The Adventures of Greggary Peccary” (issued on 1978’s Studio Tan), rendered in full, by an orchestra. Carnegie Hall marked Zappa’s first and last night on that stage. He never left the building.

Los Angeles – July 3, 2018 – Coming on the heels of last month’s vinyl release of his enigmatic Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Frank Zappa’s stylistically diverse and subversive 1970 album Chunga’s Revenge will be the next classic Zappa album to be reissued on vinyl as part of the Zappa Family Trust and UMe’s ongoing initiative to restore the iconoclast’s iconic catalog. The record will receive a 180-gram audiophile repressing on black vinyl on July 20 via Zappa Records/UMe. Supervised by the ZFT, the record was specially mastered for this release by Bernie Grundman with all analog production and cut directly from the original 1970 analog master tapes. Unavailable on vinyl for more than three decades, the last pressing was in 1986 for Zappa’s rare Old Masters Box Two on his own Barking Pumpkin Records. The LP, which will be pressed at Pallas in Germany, will include meticulously reproduced original artwork. A limited edition color vinyl version is also in the works to be released on the same date.

Chunga’s Revenge was one of three albums that the highly prolific composer released in 1970, followingBurnt Weeny SandwichandWeasels Ripped My Flesh. Although released under Frank Zappa’s own name, the album is most notable for introducing a new Mothers lineup that included the Phlorescent Leech (Flo) & Eddie, the pseudonyms for former Turtles members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman who performed under the aliases due to contractual restrictions. The reconfigured lineup included bassist Jeff Simmons,keyboardist and trombonist George Duke, drummer Aynsley Dunbar and multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood. Derived from various sessions during that year, the record ebbs and flows between instrumental and vocal tracks and as noted by Zappa on the original sleeve, “All the vocals in this album are a preview of the story from 200 Motels,” his acclaimed film and soundtrack released the following year.

From the funky guitar workout of opener “Transylvania Boogie” to the bluesy send-up “Road Ladies” to the jazzy “Twenty Small Cigars,” a standout recorded during the Hot Rats sessions, Chunga’s Revenge is an eclectic affair that sees the ever-restless musician and his adroit band traipse through a variety of genres with aplomb. The album’s centerpiece, closing side A, is “The Nancy & Mary Music,” an almost 10-minute long three-part improvisational suite recorded live that sees each Mother flexing their musical muscles for a freewheeling freak-out of epic proportions. Side B opens with the hard rocker “Tell Me You Love Me” which gives way to the warped pop of “Would You Go All The Way” and the jammy title track, propelled by Ian Underwood’s wah-wah pedal sax solo. The album closes with two songs that showcase the vocal talents of Flo & Eddie: “Rudy Wants To Buy Yez a Drink,” Zappa’s jaunty, tropical-tinged response to his experiences with the Musician’s Union, and “Sharleena,” a soulful ballad that see Zappa putting his unique spin on doo-wop and R&B.