Friday, May 19, 2023

Frank Zappa 49: You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4

By volume four of the You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore series, Frank seemed content to let the music stand, as the liner notes consist only of technical info about each track, and no other commentary. Other than most of the music coming from 1984 shows, there’s no overlying theme tying everything together.
On disc one, there’s a nice stretch from “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama” through “Willie The Pimp” into “Montana”, though the latter jumps between 1984 and 1973. “Brown Moses” and “The Evil Prince” are more musical and less provocative than they are on Thing-Fish, but not necessarily improved; the guitar solo is the best part of the latter. “Let’s Move To Cleveland Solos” is limited to just that, beginning with a five seconds in 1973 then forward to 1984 with a guest appearance by sax man Archie Shepp. This jazz odyssey switches to a percussive improvisation from 1969 dubbed “You Call That Music?”, before we travel to 1982 for the synths of “Pound For A Brown Solos”. “Take Me Out Of The Ball Game” is performed in Spain with Ike Willis and Walt Fowler impersonating Atlanta Braves announcers and other clichés common to modern baseball. The big historical highlight is the first known version of “The Torture Never Stops”, sung by Captain Beefheart.
Disc two undercuts much of the musical content with attempts at humor, such as the cataloguing of objects used in “Stevie’s Spanking”, the Jim Morrison spoof from the reliable Factory in the Bronx in 1969 of “Tiny Sick Tears”, and seven minutes of nose-picking discussion traversing two tracks from 1974. Perhaps in internal commentary, “Are You Upset?” is a confrontation with an angry Fillmore East attendee in 1969 who didn’t appreciate the improv. This provides a transition to the six brief doo-wop covers that fill up the balance of the disc.
Most of Vol. 4 is devoted to music and soloing, so it would be a decent sampler for folks starting out, though the jokes may deter them from going further. Those seeking even more only had to wait a month after this volume was unleashed when Frank started selling his own bootlegs in an attempt to cut into the profits of the underground. Beat The Boots! offered a box of CDs (also sold separately) that replicated the artwork and generally atrocious sound of eight bootleg albums selected from the previous years. A second volume of seven titles followed a year later, and another six discs’ worth made up the third “volume”, released for download in 2009.

Frank Zappa You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4 (1991)—3

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