Friday, February 22, 2008

148. FRANK ZAPPA: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets

A detailed analysis of the above work.
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968)
Zappa Records Release #5
Rykodisc RCD 10505
LP: The Old Masters, Box 1 (Barking Pumpkin BPR-7777-3)

Original LP version: Greasy Love Songs

Although we seem to be a distinct minority, unlike the re-recording of the bass and drum tracks for , the new (bass and drum) additions in this release don't bother us as much as the ones in 
We're Only In It For The Money. In fact, the acoustic bass in "Cheap Thrills" (Jay Anderson) is gorgeous! Perfectly mixed, it does not stick out sort-thumb like, as does most of the Money material.

An amazing zigzag wanderer from the master of all possible styles! In this milieu -- perhaps the one which meant the most to FZ, nostalgia-wise -- the doo-wop of the 50's is transformed into something new in the same manner in which FZ reworked the traditional pop song in Freak Out!

It is fun and enjoyable music. If it seemed like a slight let-down after the astonishing We're Only In It For The Money, it is likely due to the unfamiliarity of doo-wop to many of FZ's fans at the time.

1. Cheap Thrills (2:37)
2. Love Of My Life (3:07)
3. How Could I Be Such A Fool (3:33)
4. Deseri (2:07)
5. I'm Not Satisfied (4:07)
6. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (2:23)
7. Anything (3:04)
8. Later That Night (2:58)
9. You Didn't Try To Call Me (3:57)
10. Fountain Of Love (3:22)
11. "No. No. No." (2:14)
12. Anyway The Wind Blows (3:01)
13. Stuff Up The Cracks (4:37)

147. FRANK ZAPPA: The Chrome-Plated Megaphone Of Destiny

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
The Chrome-Plated Megaphone Of Destiny

LYRICS

Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)


This is a MASTERPIECE! A short breakdown of what takes place:

  1. A hissing sound and a lower and slower electronic effect starts us off.
  2. The final "chord" appears here first, panned between channels! What does this sound like to you? To our "ever-alert for Musical CC" ears, it sounds like a PIANO WITH ITS DAMPER PEDAL DEPRESSED and the resulting resonance from an unheard note-event (just like we discussed in "Who Are The Brain Police?" from Freak Out! -- and which, of course, is a major "theme" of both Lumpy Gravy and Civilization Phaze III.
  3. The rhythm of the panning creates a "musique concrète" ("mc" from now on) accelerando leading to
  4. Piano music, which eventually covers the bottom, middle and top of the keyboard all at once and a chord is suspended in air until
  5. A typical nasty FZ downbeat composed of found sounds ... followed by a mix of orchestral music and "mc" -- lots of percussion and possibly an alto flute -- the "mc" sounds assert themselves in the mix as orchestral music fades lightly into the background.
  6. At 2:35 a voice is heard, faintly but distinctly...
  7. At 2:48 a gorgeous woodwind choir strettos (that means each instrument follows immediately after another instrument) into a strange chord. A contrabassoon splats out some low notes -- more "mc" and then
  8. 3:16. Sped up laughing and coughing. Once again, FZ achieves the perfect effect with the "tone" of the laughing to completely integrate the music into the "programme" (Kafka)! oh abatray
  9. At 3:41, a change in the "mc" background texture occurs as the vocal laughs become more like laugh-moans. The oh abatray line is repeated three more times at various speeds...
  10. 4:23. The voices drop out and a short quiet "mc" section. Then at
  11. 4:37 begins the beautiful "Harry Partch" section. Very nice Partch-like timbres. Can you say Just Intonation?
  12. 5:29 a few quick interesting "mc" sounds and then
  13. 5:35 the "chord"

146. FRANK ZAPPA: Mother People

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
Mother People

LYRICS


What time is that in, man? a very FAQ! So, man, here's the answer:

TEMPO 1

Bars 1-3: 3/4
Bars 4-5: 3/16
Bar 6: 3/8
Bar 7: 3/4
Bars 8-9: 3/16
Bar 10: 3/8
Bars 11-14: 3/4
Bars 15-16: 3/16
Bar 17: 3/8
Bar 18: 3/4
Bars 19-20: 3/16
Bar 21: 3/8
Bar 22: 3/4

TEMPO 2

Bar 23: 6/8
Bars 24-25: 9/8
Bar 26: 12/8
Bar 27: 7/8
Bar 28: 12/8

TEMPO 3

Bars 29-30: 7/8
Bars 31-32: 4/4

TEMPO 2

Bar 33: 12/8
Bar 34: 7/8
Bar 35: 12/8

TEMPO 3

Bars 36-37: 7/8
Bars 38-39: 4/4

TEMPO 1

Bars 40-42: 3/4
Bars 43-44: 3/16
Bar 45: 3/8
Bar 46: 3/4
Bars 47-48: 3/16
Bar 49: 3/8
Bars 50-53: 3/4
Bars 54-55: 3/16
Bar 56: 3/8
Bar 57: 3/4
Bars 58-59: 3/16
Bar 60: 3/8
Bar 61: 3/4

TEMPO 2

Bar 62: 6/8
Bars 63-64: 9/8
Bar 65: 12/8
Bar 66: 5/8

Notes: Bars 23 and 59 start with two JCB 1/8th-notes.
Bars 31 and 38 are subdivided (3-3-2).
Bar 63 has a short fermata on the fifth beat.
1:40
A shorter section of turntable arm-dragging than before, but extremely effective is followed by a beautiful orchestral excerpt.
First we hear a plaintive English Horn accompanied by low strings; a clarinet adds a tender lick (which will be re-used in Lumpy Gravy!)

2:02

A gorgeous, very typical, FZ phrase follows in Mandolin and Bells and then
Another double bar!
Let me take a minute
Tempo 3 above
Segue to

Next track

145. FRANK ZAPPA: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (reprise)

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (reprise)

LYRICS


A true Reprise! More effective panning during another great vocal "sound portrait" at the end. Snorks, do it again do it again, and a beautiful 16-note "musique concrète" figure segue us to

Next track

144. FRANK ZAPPA: Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance


LYRICS




Here's some "stuff that's better for you in the long run!" The chords:
In G Major:
ii / iii / ii / iii / iv7 / I / vi / ii / V / I / vi /
Second verse with delightful stereo dee-da-li-da-lee's
Third verse full-blown and
segue to

Next track

143. FRANK ZAPPA: Lonely Little Girl

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.

Lonely Little Girl

LYRICS



Another great composition!

If the CD is on pitch, this is in the key of A-Flat!

After a beautiful little I-v intro, the I-v carries over into the first six bars of the verse, then

(the) things they say
a beautiful little sequence of ii-V-iii-VI (Bbm-Eb7-Cm-F)
(to) understand
G Minor!

world for them is too unreal
Ab Major Sharp Eleven! And we weave our way back to G Minor when suddenly we hear
all your children are
some familiar music

... a minor third higher here, and with different effects and a beautiful "Indian sitar-type" ending.
Some musical burps segue us into

Next track

142. FRANK ZAPPA: The Idiot Bastard Son

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.

The Idiot Bastard Son

LYRICS



Another brilliant 3/4 melody! The Idiot Boy! (snorks)
Yet another screech-to-a-halt double bar. Beautifully composed vocal "sound portrait." From the very first sound -- sort of a roooeenntt sound -- on the second half of the third beat to the final anyway -- we feel an implicit musical tempo and the panning between channels suggests its own rhythm, as well!
covered in green
Very musical snork here. Note how bare the orchestration is! Guitar and voices suspended in air until
warming his pew...
which segues to

Next track

141. FRANK ZAPPA: Let's Make The Water Turn Black

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
Let's Make The Water Turn Black

LYRICS



One of FZ's most covered composition...

More cool piano arpeggios start us off...

The CD is a whole step lower than the LP! (C Major on the CD; D Major on the LP!)

We'll give this to you in C Major, from the CD:

Now be-lieve me when I tell you...it's a-

I-iii6/4-vi-(vi)-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-(vi)-ii-iii-IV-V
C-Em/B-am-(am)-F-G-am-G

bout some little people...neighbors didn't know
I-iii6/4-vi-(vi)-bVII-III-bVI-V
C-G/B-am-(am)-Bb-Eb-Ab-G


Once again, a beautiful turnaround in the last four bars above -- using half-steps to insinuate new keys, yet he goes right back to C here...

Next verse -- however:

feeding all the boys at Ed's Cafe

Everything's the same as the above until the Bb chord. Then another fine modulation -- he descends to A Major from the Bb which then goes to D, (bVII-VI-II in C) -- and turns II into the pivot chord -- now a V of G...going to

Whizzing and pasting

G Major. Notice how he gets back to C Major, with a very dramatic modulation at

Kenny's little creatures on display

Wait till the fire turns green

IV-V-vi. Then for the final chord, just like all those dudes with wigs did in the Baroque Era (if it ain't Baroque, don't fix it), he goes to Major! We hear A Major for only the second time on the last note of the piece! Constant ear surprises, both obvious and subtle, are a major tool in FZ's compositional palette.


Another nice electronic transition to

140. FRANK ZAPPA: Nasal Retentive Calliope Music

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Nasal Retentive Calliope Music

LYRICS
Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)



The opening "notes" of this electronic salvo are very much like the opening notes of Arel's music (see "Are You Hung Up?" for details). Much of the rest is in the "spirit" of Arel's music, until
SURF MUSIC! From "Heavies" by The Rotations ... FZ and Paul Buff, around 1964 -- nicely integrated here by FZ ...
Once again the trademark sudden double-bar into ...
The most brilliant sound we ever heard on a record in 1968! The sound of a tonearm being dragged, skipped and dropped over a record for about seven seconds -- amazing! We used to listen to this over and over again when we were 16 years old! For once, the CD version is mixed better.

Next track

139. FRANK ZAPPA: Hot Poop

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Hot Poop

LYRICS
Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)



Frank whispers back at his engineer, taking a swipe at his profession (turning knobs).

The censored verse seems more powerful on the CD...

Next track

138. FRANK ZAPPA: Flower Punk

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Flower Punk

LYRICS
Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)


Another amazing time signature! This one's really interesting: Four bars of 7/8 (2-2-3) followed by four bars of 5/8 (2-3). That's the form for whole composition until right after

I'm going to the shrink so he can help me be a nervous wreck

Wild Thing; Leave My Nose Alone, Please

FZ's rap about what to buy is pretty funny. The whole rap is much clearer on the CD!

Is the song over?

Next track

137. FRANK ZAPPA: Absolutely Free

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Absolutely Free

LYRICS
Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)


Crashing piano chords in a slow rubato 3/4...Arthur's playing, though alien to the original spirit, is actually rather beautiful here where he just plays sustained tones...

Velvet valleys
Right after this lyric there is a great sweeping electronic sound missing from the '85 remix.
Only if you want to be
Four bars of 7/8 then back to 3/4
Segue to

Next track

136. FRANK ZAPPA: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?

LYRICS


Eight lovely bars of 12/8 in G, just like Uncle Frankie teaches you how to play on "Excerpt From The Uncle Frankie Show" from Mystery Disc -- then

7/8! This is the first chronological example of an entire section in this meter. There is nothing too tricky here, as far as the subdivision of the seven (that'll come later!) -- just 2-2-3 -- but very very effective because of the way FZ sings the melody. Notice all the suspended chords!
Amazing writing! The A Minor chord (victims of systems and gray despair of your) is one of those completely brilliantly effective moments among the many brilliantly effective moments we discuss in these pages??? Why does it seem so heart-wrenching?
The lyric, once again, plays right into the musical system -- perfectly integrated. The reason the chord sounds "tender" -- if we may be permitted that word in these circumstances -- is because it's the first time we've heard it! The I-vi-IV-V 12/8 section established G Major and then for this 7/8 section, he starts off on the subdominant (C), moves to E-sus and then finally to the ii of G -- A Minor! The E-sus chord is also very effective.
And finally, one last note about the "replacement" bass and drums in this particular 7/8 section. The original playing was simple yet so effective, we feel, due to the beautiful complexity of the above-notated vocal part! Arthur and Chad embellish this quite a bit -- Arthur plays it with almost a funky kind of a feel, and Chad plays 1/8th-notes on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th beat of each measure.
Where did Annie go
What a beautiful effect on the original with the massive delay. Frank eliminated any trace of it on the '85 version.

Next track

135. FRANK ZAPPA: Harry, You're A Beast

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Harry, You're A Beast

LYRICS

The first ten seconds of this composition were the first ten seconds of Frank Zappa's music that we ever heard, in 1968! We were at a friend's house, listening to Stockhausen and Dvorak when the guy's brother called us into his room -- hey, you've gotta hear this!

The "clean" piano arpeggios immediately grabbed our attention -- what kind of "pop" music was this? Put that needle back, again! We heard the unique harmonic intro -- vi/ii/IV/V/I in the Key of A -- and Ian's "classical" rubato treatment on the dominant chord, and we became hooked for life at that moment (tho we didn't know it yet!

The '85 remix destroyed this precious moment in our nostalgic memory banks (the arpeggios are far back in the mix -- Arthur is mixed way too loud. It is fortunate we have the restored version just for these four bars of music!

The '85 bass part here is horribly sore-thumb material, in our opinion.
You paint your head
These tight vocal harmonies are much more effective on the original. The '85 bass part is ponderous.
That's you American Womanhood
Snorks and celesta. The '85 remix's nice "breathing" ambiance works against this section. The snorks and celesta are right up front in the original -- the '85 remix sounds weak and pallid.
Madge I want your body
And another perfect example the 80's drum and bass sound being so out of place. The original 16th-notes are crisp and clear.
Segue to
Next track

134. FRANK ZAPPA: Bow Tie Daddy

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Bow Tie Daddy

LYRICS


Four 16th-notes and a 1/4-note -- 2 pick-up beats into this short little 4/4 Vaudeville number...

It might be possible to detect a whiff of parody of some particular Lennon & McCartney number at various points in WOIIFTM -- but perhaps never as obvious as this one ("When I'm Sixty-Four").


Arthur's big fat notes at the end again sound out of place.

Next track

133. FRANK ZAPPA: Telephone Conversation

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Telephone Conversation

LYRICS
Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)

On the
Arthur's bass rings through until the third ring! You can hear a clock ticking in the background. Note the following musical picture, defined by the rhythmic pattern of the voices: Your father called me up this afternoon
Just a sec...

Which segues into

Next track

132. FRANK ZAPPA: Mom & Dad

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Mom & Dad

LYRICS



The first two bars are DRASTICALLY different on the '85 version because of Arthur's very prominent sound including two very out-of-place glissandi. Just our opinion. The sound of his bass just doesn't blend with the rest of the mix. Other than the glissandi, he changes a note in Bar 4. Wonder why FZ felt that this was necessary?



Unless new miraculous technology "rescued" these lost bass parts, we are amazed that this was ever considered a problem. We understand Bob Stone, one of FZ's engineers, says that FZ simply "didn't like the performance." Hmm. We think Roy's part, simply judging by these first six transcribed bars, sounds just fine! We stand by our assertion that this was a rare FZ mistake!



Much better mix!



The brilliant Patrick Neve pointed out this recorder part in Bar 1 and elsewhere which is on the LP ONLY!

Chad is also intrusive in places. His tom flams after it's such a drag to have to love a plastic mom and dad
would be real fine for the 80's, but sound quite out of place here.
Now, here's a fantastic example of the vast difference in the two versions:
Mama mama your child was killed
Contains a beautiful electric piano or clavinet lick right after the first mama totally absent from the LP.


This chilling lyric is made much less effective by the "big room" sound of LP.


Many many other differences abound, including the segue. On the
Art's bass rings all the way through to the




Next track

131. FRANK ZAPPA: Concentration Moon

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Concentration Moon?

LYRICS



Another great 3/4 melody. Hear the piano which sounds like a xylophone?

Hair growing out every hole in me

4/4. Whispering ... JCB again and back to 3/4...

Hair growing out every hole in me

4/4. Segue to

Next track

130. FRANK ZAPPA: Who Needs The Peace Corps?

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Who Needs The Peace Corps?

LYRICS


Jimmy Carl and Roy





Chad and Arthur




First I'll buy some beads

The sax solo does not appear on the





I will sleep -- I will -- I will go to a house -- that's what I will do

Notice now FZ sort of forgets what he's saying and then makes the most out of it! Notice how Mike Keneally imitates this whole line perfectly in the TBBYNHIYL version!

Next track

129. FRANK ZAPPA: Are You Hung Up?

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
Are You Hung Up?

LYRICS

Other Official Versions:

The Lumpy Money Project/Object (2009)




The musical background is immediately more complex than anything on the previous two releases. The post-production tape manipulation and complex editing far surpasses even the most adventurous example to be found in either Freak Out! or Absolutely Free.

Let the LP/CD comparison begin: We will always show the CD first, because that was the "original" recording, and compare it to the LP, the 1985 re-mix.

0:00 to 0:10


The voices (uh, uh) and electronic sounds are mixed up front. The electronic sounds are very distorted.

The mix is noticeably more "big room." It breathes. The electronic sounds are much clearer.


0:11 to 0:25
We believe (although we have no documentary or biographical proof of this, other than the one mention of Bülent Arel in the The Freak Out Contributors List) that FZ was heavily influenced around this time by certain composers of electronic music, particularly certain specific compositions that appeared on a Columbia LP, issued in the mid-60's we believe entitled Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (Columbia MS 6566).
If you are familiar with the works on this LP, or can get your hands on a copy, you may find it interesting to note some similarities which we will now proceed to discuss:
The first work in question is "Leiyla And The Poet" by Halim El-Dabh.
0:20 to 0:25 (approximately) -- the male voice says, are you strung (up?) and the female voice says something unintelligible. Shortly before this point, the electronic background is VERY strongly reminiscent of El-Dabh's work, at about the 0:15 mark in "Leiyla." (the similarity is in the quick four-note echo-motif which in El-Dabh's case is expressed in manipulated vocals; FZ does it with unique electronic sounds). [The Arel "quote" in "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music" is more obvious!]
0:26
Effective whispering (about ERASING tapes? Is this not the dictionary definition of irony?) leads to this interesting transition:
followed by a great oooo-raaaa-oooo-roooooooo
and JCB introducing himself. Then

Next track