Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1997)

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Pierre
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Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1997)

Post by Pierre » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:12 pm

I think I already posted this one a long time ago, on the old forum, but a twist of fate has it that I stumbled upon it again today, so I thought to myself that I might as well re-post it, if only because of its scope, although it's outdated (1997 is far now). I'm not 100% certain that it should be considered a "best of" list, as the comments on some entries (such as Throbbing Gristle's "Once Upon a Time" or Public Image Ltd.'s "Live in Tokyo") are actually pretty negative. Here's a translation of Philippe Manœuvre's introduction that I leave to your interpretation:
Philippe Manœuvre said wrote:For all times live albums were the truth serum of rock and, for people impassioned with this popular music, they still constitute real landmarks by which you can measure the impact of a band in the 60s, 70s or 90s. The 250 albums collected here in stereo glory were sometimes the essential monument of their time (James Brown, Steppenwolf, the Who, Nirvana), would benefit from being rediscovered (Gang War, New Race, etc.) or even being re-released on CD (what about the Beatles' "Live at the Hollywood Bowl"?). By putting on track this considerable task of collecting and reviewing 250 absolutely lively records, we were far from thinking that, in the end, we would be creating a real little rock encyclopedia, starting with Hank Williams in 1949 and ending with Rage Against the Machine fighting for Tibet. On 23 November, 1972, the person who wrote these lines was in the audience of an MC5 concert at the Bataclan. In an indescribable melee, between the raids from a manic gang of bikers and the intervention of a CRS regiment in the room, Sonic Smith and Wayne Kramer were skinning a crazy hurricane, creating a never-heard-before electric maelstrom which attracted children like moths fascinated with a halogen torch. This concert may have changed my life, or at least all my outlooks over it. Since that time, we've been talking about those unheard-of creative and artistic moments, true miracles which can change a human being by bringing him close to this Olympus where the elder gods are playing about. The readers of R&F lived up to the challenge, with the exciting result presented later. Goethe said you couldn't write without a deep love for your subject: instead of love we'll talk here about glee. Don't take yourself seriously, never. Instead, we must take seriously what is greater than man. Rock, for instance.
Translator (me) note: the line "The readers of R&F lived up to the challenge, with the exciting result presented later." are referring to the final section in the magazine, written by the readers, chronicling their favourite concerts.

Inbetween the lists, there are two special pages dedicated to the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa, for obvious reasons I guess. I'm contemplating translating them as well later for your curiosity. There's also an article about the soon-to-be-released at the time "BBC Sessions" of Led Zeppelin that was expected "like the Grail". Other times. It's also funny to go through the reviews, reading their unrestrained contempt for New Wave and 80s Synthpop, thankfully they have evolved a (tiny) bit since then, but Rock & Folk remains pretty rootsy in the 21st Century.

Here's the list. The albums are listed by the date of the latest recording, so they do not correspond to the release date. I may edit that later but I want to write down the list first:

Johnnie Ray | Live at the Palladium | 1954

James Brown | Live at the Apollo | 1963
Joan Baez | Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2 | 1963

Jerry Lee Lewis | Live at the Star Club, Hamburg | 1964
Jerry Lee Lewis | The Greatest Live Show on Earth | 1964
The Yardbirds | Five Live Yardbirds | 1964

The Beach Boys | Beach Boys' Party! | 1965
B. B. King | Live at the Regal | 1965

The Rolling Stones | Got Live If You Want It! | 1966

Johnny Hallyday | Olympia 67 | 1967
The Kinks | Live at Kelvin Hall | 1967
Otis Redding | Live in Europe | 1967
The Shirelles | Spontaneous Combustion | 1967
Johnny Rivers | Whisky a Go-Go Revisited | 1967

Big Brother & the Holding Company | Cheap Thrills | 1968
The Seeds | Raw & Alive: The Seeds in Concert at Merlin's Music Box | 1968
Aretha Franklin | Aretha in Paris | 1968
Albert King | Live Wire/Blues Power | 1968
The Righteous Brothers | One for the Road | 1968
The 13th Floor Elevators | Live | 1968
Johnny Cash | At Folsom Prison | 1968

Johnny Cash | At San Quentin | 1969
Jefferson Airplane | Bless Its Pointed Little Head | 1969
Al Kooper & Michael Bloomfield | The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper | 1969
MC5 | Kick Out the Jams | 1969
Pink Floyd | Ummagumma | 1969
The Plastic Ono Band | Live Peace in Toronto 1969 | 1969
Quicksilver Messenger Service | Happy Trails | 1969
Vanilla Fudge | Near the Beginning | 1969
The Grateful Dead | Live/Dead | 1969

Various Artists | Woodstock | 1970
Hot Tuna | Hot Tuna | 1970
The Rolling Stones | Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! | 1970
The Byrds | (Untitled) | 1970
The Doors | Absolutely Live | 1970
Grand Funk Railroad | Live Album | 1970
Elvis Presley | On Stage - February, 1970 | 1970
Steppenwolf | Steppenwolf Live | 1970
The Who | Live at Leeds | 1970
Joe Cocker | Mad Dogs & Englishmen | 1970

Various Artists | Woodstock Two | 1971
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young | 4 Way Street | 1971
Randy Newman | Randy Newman Live | 1971
Various Artists | Isle of Wight - Atlanta Pop Festival: The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies | 1971
The Allman Brothers Band | At Fillmore East | 1971
George Harrison/Various Artists | The Concert for Bangladesh | 1971
Free | Free Live! | 1971
Humble Pie | Performance Rockin' the Fillmore | 1971
King Curtis | Live at Fillmore West | 1971
Traffic | Welcome to the Canteen | 1971
Ike & Tina Turner | Live in Paris | 1971
Johnny Winter | Live Johnny Winter And | 1971

Jimi Hendrix | Hendrix in the West | 1972
Various Artists | A Tribute to Woody Guthrie | 1972
The Velvet Underground | Live at Max's Kansas City | 1972
Donny Hathaway | Live | 1972
Deep Purple | Made in Japan | 1972
The Grateful Dead | Europe '72 | 1972
J. Geils Band | "Live" Full House | 1972
Procol Harum | Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra | 1972
Slade | Slade Alive! | 1972

Dion & the Belmonts | Reunion: Live at Madison Square Garden 1972 | 1973
Hawkwind | Space Ritual | 1973
Lou Reed | Rock n Roll Animal | 1973
Ten Years After | Recorded Live | 1973
Yes | Yessongs | 1973
Neil Young | Time Fades Away | 1973
Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen | Live from Deep in the Heart of Texas | 1973

The Velvet Underground | 1969: Velvet Underground Live with Lou Reed | 1974
Rod Stewart/Faces | Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners | 1974
Carlos Santana | Lotus | 1974
Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Brian Eno & Nico | June 1, 1974 | 1974
David Bowie | David Live | 1974
Bob Dylan & the Band | Before the Flood | 1974
Rory Gallagher | Irish Tour '74 | 1974
Marvin Gaye | Marvin Gaye Live! | 1974
Alvin Lee | In Flight | 1974
Loggins and Messina | On Stage | 1974
Van Morrison | It's Too Late to Stop Now | 1974

Lou Reed | Lou Reed Live | 1975
Blue Öyster Cult | On Your Feet or On Your Knees |1975
Roy Buchanan | Live Stock | 1975
Miles Davis | Agharta | 1975
Kiss | Alive! | 1975
Bob Marley & the Wailers | Live! | 1975
Tom Waits | Nighthawks at the Diner | 1975

Peter Frampton | Frampton Comes Alive! | 1976
The J. Geils Band | Blow Your Face Out | 1976
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band | Live Bullet | 1976
Various Artists | Live at CBGB's | 1976
Dr. Feelgood | Stupidity | 1976
Bob Dylan | Hard Rain | 1976
Led Zeppelin | The Song Remains the Same | 1976
Lynyrd Skynyrd | One More from the Road | 1976
Roxy Music | Viva! | 1976
Joe Walsh | You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind | 1976
Paul McCartney/Wings | Wings over America | 1976

The Beatles | The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl | 1977
Status Quo | Live! | 1977
Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group | Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live | 1977
Burning Spear | Live | 1977
Ry Cooder | Show Time | 1977
Alice Cooper | The Alice Cooper Show | 1977
Foghat | Live | 1977
Genesis | Seconds Out | 1977

Frank Zappa | Zappa in New York | 1978
Ted Nugent | Double Live Gonzo! | 1978
Iggy Pop | TV Eye Live 1977 | 1978
Various Artists | Live Stiffs Live | 1978
AC/DC | If You Want Blood, You've Got It | 1978
Aerosmith | Live! Bootleg | 1978
The Band | The Last Waltz | 1978
The Blues Brothers | Briefcase Full of Blues | 1978
Elvis Costello | Live at the El Mocambo | 1978
Little Feat | Waiting for Columbus | 1978
Bob Marley & the Wailers | Babylon by Bus |1978
Lou Reed | Live: Take No Prisoners | 1978
Thin Lizzy | Live and Dangerous | 1978
Cheap Trick | At Budokan | 1978

John Cale | Sabotage/Live | 1979
Queen | Live Killers | 1979
Ramones | It's Alive | 1979
Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Live Rust | 1979

Creedence Clearwater Revival | The Royal Albert Hall Concert | 1980
Bijou | En public | 1980
Eagles | Eagles Live | 1980
Magazine | Play | 1980
Nine Below Zero | Live at the Marquee | 1980
Fleetwood Mac | Live | 1980

Suicide | Half Alive | 1981
The Dead Boys | Night of the Living Dead Boys | 1981
Various Artists | Concerts for the People of Kampuchea | 1981
Albert Collins | Frozen Alive! | 1981
The Jacksons | The Jacksons Live! | 1981
Joy Division | Still | 1981
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly | Live in New Orleans | 1981
Motörhead | No Sleep 'til Hammersmith | 1981
Trouble Funk | Live | 1981
Various Artists | Urgh! A Music War | 1981

Gram Parsons & the Fallen Angels | Live 1973 | 1982
Television | The Blow-Up | 1982
Alex Chilton | Live in London | 1982
New Race | The First and the Last | 1982
The Rolling Stones | "Still Life" (American Concert 1981) | 1982
Simon and Garfunkel | The Concert in Central Park | 1982
Willie Loco Alexander & the Confessions | Autre chose | 1982
Bauhaus | Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape | 1982
Rod Stewart | Absolutely Live | 1982
Talking Heads | The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads | 1982

Peter Gabriel | Plays Live | 1983
The Everly Brothers | The Reunion Concert | 1983
Public Image Ltd. | Live in Tokyo | 1983
U2 | Under a Blood Red Sky | 1983

Throbbing Gristle | Once Upon a Time | 1984
Sonic Youth | Sonic Death | 1984
The Cure | Concert: The Cure Live | 1984
Dire Straits | Alchemy: Dire Straits Live | 1984

Sam Cooke | Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 | 1985
The Birthday Party | It's Still Living | 1985
Alain Bashung | Live Tour 85 | 1985
Les Dogs | Shout! | 1985
Iron Maiden | Live After Death | 1985
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Pack Up the Plantation: Live! | 1985
Scorpions | World Wide Live | 1985

Jimi Hendrix | Jimi Plays Monterey | 1986
Téléphone | Téléphone Le Live | 1986
Serge Gainsbourg | Gainsbourg Live | 1986
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band | Live/1975-85 | 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble | Live Alive | 1986

Ozzy Osbourne | Randy Rhoads Tribute | 1987
Simple Minds | Live in the City of Light | 1987
Chuck Berry | Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll | 1987
The Cramps | Rockinnreelininaucklandnewzealandxxx | 1987
Jane's Addiction | Jane's Addiction | 1987

Iggy & the Stooges | Metallic 2X K.O. | 1988
The Plimsouls | One Night in America | 1988
The Smiths | Rank | 1988
Pink Floyd | Delicate Sound of Thunder | 1988
Tom Waits | Big Time | 1988

The Only Ones | Live | 1989
Depeche Mode | 101 | 1989
The Dream Syndicate | Live at Raji's | 1989

Bad Brains | The Youth Are Getting Restless | 1990
Lonnie Mack | Live! Attack of the Killer V | 1990
Paul McCartney | Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights! | 1990
Ministry | In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up | 1990
Mick Taylor | Stranger in This Town | 1990

Marvin Gaye | The Last Concert Tour | 1991
Keith Richards & the X-Pensive Winos | Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988 | 1991
Townes Van Zandt | Rain on a Conga Drum: Live in Berlin | 1991
Slayer | Decade of Aggression | 1991
Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Weld | 1991

James Brown | Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971 | 1992
King Crimson | The Great Deceiver | 1992
Big Star | Live | 1992
AC/DC | AC/DC Live | 1992
Eric Clapton | Unplugged | 1992
Jacques Dutronc | Jacques Dutronc au Casino | 1992
Madness | Madstock! | 1992
Les $heriff | Les Deux Doigts dans la prise...!! | 1992

Hank Williams | Health & Happiness Shows | 1993
Gang War | Street Fighting | 1993
The Jam | Live Jam | 1993
Étienne Daho | Daholympia | 1993
The Gun Club | Ahmed's Wild Dream | 1993
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band | Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band Volume 2: Live from Montreux | 1993
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds | Live Seeds | 1993
Johnny Hallyday | Parc des Princes 1993 | 1993
Paul Rodgers & Company | The Hendrix Set | 1993

Jimi Hendrix | Woodstock | 1994
David Bowie | Santa Monica '72 | 1994
Derek & the Dominos | Live at the Fillmore | 1994
Hüsker Dü | The Living End | 1994
Johnny Thunders | Add Water and Stir (Live in Japan 1991) | 1994
Nirvana | MTV Unplugged in New York | 1994
Jean-Louis Aubert | Une page de tournée | 1994
Noir Désir | Dies Irae | 1994
Jimmy Page & Robert Plant | No Quarter - Unledded | 1994

The Police | Live! | 1995
Bérurier Noir | Carnaval des agités | 1995
Steely Dan | Alive in America | 1995
NOFX | I Heard They Suck Live!! | 1995
Pink Floyd | Pulse | 1995
Stevie Wonder | Natural Wonder | 1995

The Rolling Stones | The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus | 1996
John Lee Hooker | Live at the Café au Go-Go (and Soledad Prison) | 1996
The Sex Pistols | Winterland Concert | 1996
Parliament/Funkadelic | Live 1976–1993 | 1996
Blur | Live at the Budokan | 1996
Earth, Wind & Fire | Plugged In and Live | 1996
Green Day | Bowling Bowling Bowling Parking Parking | 1996
Nirvana | From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah | 1996
Michel Polnareff | Live at the Roxy | 1996
Les Rita Mitsouko | Acoustiques | 1996
Les Wampas | Toutafonlive | 1996

Cream | Those Were the Days | 1997
Peter Tosh | Honorary Citizen | 1997
Marianne Faithfull | 20th Century Blues | 1997
Bad Religion | Tested | 1997
Israel Vibration | Live Again! | 1997
Rage Against the Machine | Live & Rare | 1997
Ramones | We're Outta Here! | 1997
Various Artists | Tibetan Freedom Concert | 1997

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Re: Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1

Post by Pierre » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:41 pm

Just cleaned up the list completely to have the albums correspond to their release date instead of their recording date.

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Re: Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1

Post by Pierre » Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:29 pm

I promised a translation of the articles on the Grateful Dead and Zappa, here they are. The author of both is Philippe Thieyre, and the typography used is the one from the magazine. First, here's the translation of the article about the Grateful Dead's live albums:

Grateful Jerry

For people who are totally deaf, newborn or totally senile and who would not know it already, Jerry Garcia was the guitarist, singer and main musical creator of Grateful Dead. Was, since, victim of his various abuses, his heart gave up on 9 August, 1995 and left orphans the countless fans of this funny and chubby Santa Claus (given his white beard and hair) whose greatest pleasure was to play, again and again, before an audience stunned by his dexterity and feeling. Born on August 1st, 1942 in San Francisco, Jerry Garcia, before his discovery of lysergic visions, tried bluegrass, a genre for which he would forever hold a soft spot, not hesitating to take again his banjo on the occasion of a trip with friends in the bars of the bay.

His meetings with lyricist Robert Hunter and then with Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bill Kreutzmann and finally Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart would lead in 1965 to the creation of the Warlocks and later the Grateful Dead. The fame of the members of the Dead would grow quickly around San Francisco thanks to memorable live performances, which would lead them to be almost-permanent invitees of every festival, Love-In or other Acid Test. That’s precisely with Ken Kesey’s “The Acid Test” (Sound City 1966) that the band would have their recording beginnings. After that, during a career spanning thirty years, Jerry Garcia, with and without his sidekicks, would record a countless amount of live albums, even more so since the Dead family (the musicians themselves, the roadies plus every person who followed their tours step by step) would take the habit, like Frank Zappa, to tape almost every single one of their concerts.

Before “Live Dead” (reviewed here), the band had already on their second LP, “Anthem of the Sun”, added live moments recorded between November 1967 and March 1968. Besides, two albums were released in 1970 and 1971 on the Sunflower label, “Vintage Dead” (the better of the two with its covers of “Dancing in the Street” and “In the Midnight Hour”) and “Historic Dead” which were meant to recreate the atmosphere of their first shows in 1966 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. Sunflower was a subsidiary of MGM, a society for which the Dead had initially signed up before joining Warner, which would also release at the end of their contract (in 1973) a compilation of unreleased live from 1970 (“Bear’s Choice”). In 1971 was released “Grateful Dead Live”, sometimes called “Skull-Fuck & Roses” for its album cover. Released just after “American Beauty”, it kept its country and even rock’n’roll influences (“Me & Bobby McGhee”, “Big Boss Man”, “Johnny B Goode”…) and even though it was not an exceptional album, Jerry Garcia once again showed the extent of his talents, the infinite grace of his touch and his eclecticism. That same year, alongside Howard Wales, he would record his first album without the Dead, “Hooteroll”. “Europe 72”, a triple album this time, reveals a tour that came to Paris’ Olympia for two memorable concerts on May 3 and May 4, of which five tracks were on this album, of a very different quality: alongside excellent country or blues tracks like “You Win Again” by Hank Williams or “Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James, the psychedelic Dead was also present (“Prelude”, “Morning Dew”) with its long improvisations that made a faithful audience cry in joy. On the other hand, the version of “Dark Star” recorded on April 8 at the Empire Pool in Wembley is only available on the triple album “Glastonbury Fayre”.

At this time, Keith & Donna Godchaux had joined the Dead while Pigpen was playing on his last tour.

Back in San Francisco, temporarily out of the Dead which was in semi-hiatus, Jerry Garcia had to be very bored without the excitation of the scene, since he couldn’t stop to recruit some friends, if possible good musicians, and to invade the clubs of the Bay like the Keystone of Berkeley where he played several summers alongside keyboardist Merl Saunders (who already played for the Dead in 1971, filling in for a sick Pigpen). The duo was supported by John Kahn on bass and Bill Vitt on drums. Fantasy had the nice idea to release some excerpts from the concerts in July 1973 on a double LP, “Live at Keystone”. The CD re-releases (Fantasy/EastWest), as separate albums, offer, with a great sound, a (long) bonus on each album plus a third disc, “Keystone Encores”, completely unreleased. Those recordings at the Keystone are very laid-back with a delighted Jerry Garcia on top of his form. A setlist for the pleasure: rock and blues standards, and even jazz (“My Funny Valentine”), a cool and relaxed voice, probably the range that suits him best, (long) solos that are subtle and clean. Then the Dead took back to the road without Pigpen who died on March 8, 1973: “Steal Your Face”, an unnecessary double album recorded at the Winterland in 1974 and released in 1976, “Reckoning”, for the acoustic side, and “Dead Set”, for the electric side, two double albums which tracks were recorded at different periods (Arista 1981) would bring the Dead and their fans back together before the end of the 80s.

At the same time, they would join Bob Dylan in 1987 for a tour and a rather successful album, “Dylan & the Dead” (CBS 89) on which the voice of Dylan comes together well with the guitar of Garcia, with superb versions of “All Along the Watchtower” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and then they would release a double CD, “Without a Net”, really excellent.

Since then, a wealth of other live albums, often very interesting and of a faultless sound quality have reached our land (on Grateful Dead Records and distributed by Média 7). Among them: “Fall Out from the Phil Zone”, a compilation of old or recent tracks including legendary “Dancin’ in the Streets” and “Viola Lee Blues” versions introduced by Phil Lesh, “Dozin’ at the Knick” which presents the Dead at their best in 1990 with this triple CD chronicling the concerts at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, the “One…” (from 1975) and “Two from the Vaults”, historical concerts at the Shrine Auditorium in 1968, an essential addition alongside that of one or more volumes from the “Dick’s Picks” series – at this time there are seven of them – notably the 4th and a breath-taking “Dark Star” at the Fillmore in February 1970. People nostalgic of the European tour of 1972 will quickly fall for “Hundred Year Hall” (Frankfurt). To end, an oddity: “Grayfolded” (Swell, 94), triple-CD completely devoted to different moments of “Dark Star” stuck together to create an only track of several hours. A follow-up was released the following year: “Part 2: Minor Ashes”.

In parallel to the Dead releases, three live albums by the Jerry Garcia Band were released, “Almost Acoustic” (88), “Jerry Garcia Band” (91) and “How Sweet It Is…” (97), the last two presenting recordings from 1990. Created in the spirit of the Keystone performances – John Kahn is still on bass – but with a more complete orchestra, these three CD are highly recommended and demonstrate once again the immeasurable love of music that inhabited Jerry Garcia.


And here’s the article about the Frank Zappa live albums:

The Zappa case

Zappa may or may have not been the greatest but in any case he was the most prolific and eclectic musician ever. To choose only one live album would have been a challenge, even a heresy. Zappa has no less than six live albums in their entirety, to which one must add those that are not completely live, like “Bongo Fury” (7 tracks out of 9) and those that are such only partially like “One Size Fits-All” (2 tracks out of 9) or “Zoot Allures” (one out of 9), and one must not forget the collages in a same track of live performances alongside studio recordings, the guitar exclusive stuff plus the performances with complete classical or jazz orchestras, the video soundtracks, the official release of fifteen bootleg albums bundled in two box sets (“Beat the Boots 1 and 2”) and then scattered about and finally the series of six double CDs “You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore”.

In the live recordings of Frank Zappa with or without the Mothers of Invention, two phases are generally discernible: the sung moments which can quickly turn into toilet or political humour, with puns most often of sexual nature, into verbal exchanges between musicians or with the audience, and long instrumental tracks which allow the musicians to reveal the extent of their talent, in particular those of the master builder himself. Each album contains a more or less important component of each of these elements: for instance the first live albums leave a freedom of improvisation to the singers (still under tight monitoring). As such, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, ex-Turtles, helped by Jim Pons and Frank Zappa, are going loose on “Fillmore East, June 1971” and “Just Another Band from LA” (in 1972 with the famous story of “Billy the Mountain”). Which doesn’t stop our pal Frank to launch some memorable solos on the former (“Little House I Used to Live in”, “Peaches en Regalia”) and on the latter (“Call Any Vegetable”). “Roxy & Elsewhere” in 1974, and even more “In New York” in 1977, are bringing back a balance between the instrumental moments sounding like full orchestras helped by astounding guitar contributions and the sung (or screamed) parts. Most of all it’s “Bongo Fury”, released between the two (1975), which strikes the imagination. Recorded for the most part with help from Captain Beefheart at the Armadillo in Austin (Texas), Zappa produces three masterpieces and so many striking solos: “Debra Kadabra”, “Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy” and “Advance Romance”.

We’re now getting to an extraordinary achievement from FZ, residing not so much in the releases themselves of “Shup Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar” (1981) and “Guitar” (1988), but, jazz-rockers of all kinds listen well, for these box sets, triple and double-CDs, which bring together clever collages of different guitar solos, are never boring and make Frank Zappa sound like what he is, one of the two or three greatest rock, jazz and blues guitarists ever. Everything without losing his humour, see “In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky”, “That’s Not Really Reggae” or “Too Ugly for Show Business” on “Guitar” or the final track on “Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar”, “Canard du jour”, a duet on bouzouki with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Released in parallel to the two, “Tinseltown Rebellion” (1981) and “Broadway the Hard Way”, recorded in 1988 as a satire of the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan, are in their form very similar to “In New York” and once again assemble extended formations.

Regarding “Does Humor Belong in Music?”, released without fanfare in 1986 alongside the video version, it features chosen picks from the concerts of the 1984 world tour, each track arranged in the Zappa fashion, mixing vocals coming from Chicago with a London solo for instance. Old tracks are present (“Trouble Every Day”, “WPLJ”) alongside newer ones with, as a bonus after the main course “Let’s Move to Cleveland” an explosive version of “Whippin’ Post” by the Allman Brothers led by Frank and Dweezil on guitar. The fans will surely acquire all these marvels available on Ryko Records but also (of course, the best comes last) the six volumes of “You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore”. Frank Zappa, producer from the start of the Mothers and even before, was always interested in the studio work on the tracks, in mixing… As soon as he had the financial means, he built his own cabin in which he also archived all the live recordings he could make or find. Released between 1988 and 1992 and offering recordings from 1969 to 1988 without necessarily following any chronological order, those six double-CDs of perfect sound and musical quality (which was not always the case of the “Beat the Boots!” series) make you magically go through twenty years of concerts: singing, solos but also dialogues, rants, parodies and exceptional or unexpected events.

Finally, on “You Can’t Do… Vol 6” is featured a superb performance of “Black Napkins” from December 1976 with a tenor sax solo by Michael Brecker followed by that of FZ. The first version of this title (actually only a part) came from a February 1976 show in Osaka and was released on “Zoot Allures”. As a side-note, a semi-official double CD, “The Eyes of Osaka”, presents the entire version (almost 11 minutes) of the most beautiful Frank Zappa guitar solo ever heard on this side of the stars.

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Re: Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1

Post by Blanco » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:57 pm

Pierre wrote:I promised a translation of the articles on the Grateful Dead and Zappa, here they are.
Thanks a lot, Pierre!
Coincidentally, right now I'm in a Zappa fanaticism season that I had not felt since my high school years. That guy was great.

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Re: Rock & Folk Absolutely Live 250 live albums revisited (1

Post by Pierre » Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:27 am

Blanco wrote:
Pierre wrote:I promised a translation of the articles on the Grateful Dead and Zappa, here they are.
Thanks a lot, Pierre!
Coincidentally, right now I'm in a Zappa fanaticism season that I had not felt since my high school years. That guy was great.
I understand you. I didn't grow up with Zappa but ever since I've discovered his body of work I've been increasingly stunned by the quality level of his output. He is often considered a legendary figure in music but his actual work is so underrated (or ignored) in comparison... :music-listening:

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