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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Frank Zappa

As previously detailed on the blog, I recently wrote a piece on Frank Zappa. It's just appeared in print and is part of the cover feature. Here it is on the 20th anniversary of his death...





The feature was divided into three parts: The Man (which I got), The Music (Grant Moon) and The Last Interview (Phil Wilding).

For the piece I interviewed Gail and Dweezil and Tony Palmer who interviewed Zappa as part of his documentary All My Loving in 1967. I'd have found it easier writing about Zappa's music rather than about the man but that wasn't the hand I was dealt.

As I get older I'm increasingly drawn to Frank's orchestral writing rather than the rock music although I still rate Hot Rats, Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo as must-haves. Of his earlier period, Freak Out is remarkable and We're Only In It For The Money is just astonishing in how quickly Zappa brilliantly nailed the hippie myth.


Elsewhere, there's the critics top twenty releases of 2013. Although these are numbered, if I'm honest the ranking would probably change on a daily basis depending on my mood or time of day. Also I suppose there's a strategic question which creeps into these choices. For example, Steven Wilson's Raven... album doesn't feature in my list. This isn't because I don't rate the record but because I knew it would be well covered by many of the other writers polled.


There's a few albums I'd have included in that list but the stipulation was it had to be restricted to those being reviewed in the pages of Prog so I'll be doing another best-of list here soon.

In addition to album reviews of Samuel Hällkvist, Mumbeak, The Opium Cartel and Zevious, my JazzProg column reared its ugly masthead...





As well this there were also live reviews of Roy Harper in Manchester and Susanna in Oslo bearing my byline. Not a bad haul!






4 comments:

Chris Guest said...

Hi Sid - crazy, but FZ sneaked past me while I wasn't looking. (Same thing happened with Yes but I've pretty much caught up now).
So, am planning to start on my FZ education by reading the current Prog - prob this afternoon. No doubt the mag answers this but where would you recommend I start with listening to FZ?

Sid Smith said...

Hi there Chris
that's a tough one as FZ is so eclectic & stylistically diverse. Maybe try Hot Rats from 1969? Some astonishing stuff therein. I love Grand Wazoo but the free-form side might be unpalatable as an introduction. Depends on your ears, I guess.

©Occupied Country said...

aaaah Sid, Hot Rats, Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo. Bliss it was etc....

Sid Smith said...

Bliss indeed!

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