The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life review by Frank Zappa

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  • Released: Apr 16, 1991
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (13 votes)
Frank Zappa: The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life

Sound — 10
Frank Zappa's final tour from 1988 on two-discs featuring "big-band arrangements of concert favorites and obscure album cuts, along with deranged versions of cover tunes and a few premiere recordings". The 12 piece band performs a great repertoire covering rock, jazz and classical and always with a sense of humour. The brass and woodwinds play so many familiar tunes and it sounds so grand especially on the premiere recording of "Let's Move To Cleveland". Unfortunately the band broke up before audinces in the West, Midwest and South of The U.S got to hear them.

Lyrics — 8
As usual Zappa's lyrics are unlike anybody else's, being either, smutty, sarcastic, satirical or serious, sometimes all in the one song.For old Zappa fans, you will notice many changes in the lyrics to accomodate the "secret word for tonight" gags. On disc one the "Ring OF Fire" gags wear a bit thin at times, on disc two, "Lonesome Cowboy Burt", "More Trouble Every Day" and "Penguin In Bondage" have their lyrics changed and are all sung about disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The jokes about Swaggart are funny, but they were topical in 1988, and were funnier then. Vocals are more than capably handled by Bobby Martin, and Ike Willis is also great, especially on "Inca Roads" and "Andy". Zappa also sings and mc's.

Overall Impression — 9
Zappa fans should be impressed with the performances on these discs. First time Zappa listeners should be impressed by the playing, the rich sounds of the 12 piece band and the selection of great Zappa trakcs and a selection of cover tracks that everybody will know. The playing is excellent from everybody in the band. My absolute favourite track on this is "Andy" the performance is excellent and the sound is so much richer than on the "One Size Fits All" album. If you've heard the original, this one will make you Freak Out! Other best tracks are "Heavy Duty Judy", "Zoot Allures", "Zomby Woof", "Mr Green Genes", "Inca Roads", "Sofa #1", "Let's Move To Cleveland", "Stairway To Heaven" and a marathon version of "The Torture Never Stops". It's an excellent cross-section of the sorts of complex and humorous music Zappa wrote, performed by some "pretty good musicians" playing some pretty stupid songs, "and that's the way I like it"!

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