It's no secret that one of the most powerful weapons in Zappa's arsenal was his sense of humor, which was at its height in live performance. Consequently, there's no better way to get a feel for the full scope of Zappa's music than on the live ROXY & ELSEWHERE. This set finds Frank at his mid-'70s peak, working with Ruth Underwood, Don Preston, George Duke, etc. While all the tunes are technically impeccable (often featuring trademark feats of counter-intuitive derring-do), it's Zappa's humorous interaction with the band and the audience that puts the real spark into this recording.
Delivering lengthy monologues both inbetween and during the songs, Zappa provides light-hearted contrast to the mulit-textured, typically sophisticated arrangements. For every "Son of Orange County" (an ambitious, difficult piece) there's a "Cheepnis" (wherein he details his fondness for cheesy horror films) or "Be-Bop Tango," where he brings audience members onstage to dance. Ever the perfectionist, Zappa overdubbed bits of ROXY & ELSEWHERE after the fact, but it's still a hearty, rousing affair, full of the excitement only a live recording can bring.
1) Penguin In Bondage
2) Pygmy Twylyte
3) Dummy Up
4) Village Of The Sun
5) Echidna's Arf
6) Don't You Ever Wash That Thing
8) Son Of Orange Country
9) More Trouble Every Day
10) Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)
Frank Zappa, Jeff Simmons (vocals, guitar); Napolean Murphy Brock (vocals, flute, tenor saxophone); George Duke (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer); Walt Fowler (trumpet); Bruce Fowler (trombone); Don Preston (synthesizer); Ruth Underwood (percussion); Tom Fowler (bass); Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey (drums)
Pricipally recorded live at The Roxy, Hollywood, California from December 10-12, 1973; the Auditorium Theater, Chicago, Illinois in 1974; Edinboro State College, Edinboro, Pennsylvania on May 8, 1974