Saturday, November 19, 2016

CD Review: The Next Wave Of Unreleased Frank Zappa Has Arrived From Univerisal Music Group

Arriving on November 4th is the latest wave of Frank Zappa releases from Universal Music Group. It features the albums "Little Dots," (the sequel to 2006's "Imaginary Diseases") "Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object," which is the deluxe reissue of Zappa's "Uncle Meat" album and an unreleased concert from 1978 titled "Chicago '78."

The new seven-song release of "Little Dots" highlights Frank Zappa's 10-piece band from the "Petit Wazoo" tour in 1972. Beginning with "Cosmik Debris" the song gets highlighted with the addition of horns, which gives it different feel. The band shows off their strength with the 23-minute, electric jazz fusion of "Little Dots Part 1 & Part 2." Zappa sounds like he's at the top of his game, whether wailing away on a guitar solo or conducting the rest of the band to follow his every whim. This gets followed by a full 9-minute rendition of "Rollo (Includes Rollo-The Rollo Interior Area-Rollo Goes Out)," which highlights Zappa's newly assembled horn section for this tour.

Next comes the 3-CD deluxe edition of Frank Zappa's 1969 double-album "Uncle Meat." The new release titled "Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object" features the original 1969 vinyl mix, along with bonus tracks from the "Uncle Meat" sessions recorded between 1967 and 1968. The music is very diverse as Zappa dabbles in everything from jazz to blues to orchestral sounds. The main body music of this new release has been analyzed for years since its original release in 1969. The original "Uncle Meat" material is remastered, featuring the removal of the echo which plagued this release since originally being mastered for CD.

The second disc gives you an alternate (and much cleaner) version of the "Uncle Meat" material in a different running order than the original album. It also features some new tracks like the 94-second guitar frenzy "Whiskey Wah" and the five-minute classic hard rock-style instrumental "The Whip." The real meat and gravy for Frank Zappa fans is the third discs which is made up of over thirty outtakes from the "Uncle Meat" sessions. Many fans may have these songs in bootleg form, but they have been cleaned-up and assembled to represent ideas Zappa had while in the studio. This disc gives up a small glimpse into the mind of Zappa as you become a "fly on the wall" listening to these tracks and some discussions that happened during the recording of this album. Some songs you may feel like you're hearing for the first time.

Finally we arrive at the latest live album from the Frank Zappa vaults titled "Chicago '78." It is the second of two shows performed on September 29th at the Uptown Theater and is captured here in its entirety. After Frank Zappa address the crowd in "Twenty-One," the band jumps into the classic tale of "Dancin' Fool." They deliver a great nine-minute live rendition of "Village Of The Sun," then bring out the blues of "Bamboozled By Love" and close out the first disc with the reggae-based groove of "Sy Borg."

Disc two begins with the nine-plus minute instrumental "Little House I Used To Live In," featuring an extended drum solo. The bulk of the second disc is filled by a twelve-plus minute rendition of "Yo Mama" featuring some intricate guitar work and the eighteen-minute version of "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow," which is a must hear version of this classic Zappa song. The sound of this show is outstanding for not originally being planned as a live album. To find out more about these three new releases from the Frank Zappa catalog, please visit

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