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Playlist: just listening

Compiled By: Arna Zucker

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Beyond a Song (Series)

Produced by ISOAS Media

Most recent piece in this series:

Beyond a Song: Ahmet Zappa (Part 1)

From ISOAS Media | Part of the Beyond a Song series | 01:00:00

Zappa_1_prx_240x240_small AHMET ZAPPA (PART 1): PUBLISHED ON PRX 4 / 20 / 2018 BEYOND A SONG originates in BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA and is sponsored by: THE BLUEBIRD NIGHTCLUB ,  AIRTIME RECORDING STUDIO and  VISIT BLOOMINGTON.COM

Hosts Rich Reardin and Professor Andy Hollinden have a conversation with Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers about Frank Zappa's "The Roxy Performances" 7 CD set that was released in February 2018.

Fourty three years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows – across three nights – included a private invite-only performance/soundcheck/film shoot followed by back-to-back doubleheaders. A few days later, continuing this incredibly prolific week, Zappa brought his band and camera crew to Ike Turner’s Bolic Sound in Inglewood for a filmed recording session. In typical Zappa fashion, he recorded it all. 

On February 2, 2018, Zappa Records/UMe will release The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session. This complete collection, totaling nearly eight hours, documents the Roxy shows as they happened and presents brand new 2016 mixes by Craig Parker Adams from new 96K 24 Bit transfers of the multi-track masters. The set is rounded out with a 48-page booklet that includes photos from the performances, extensive liner notes by Vaultmeister Joe Travers, essays from Zappa family friend, Australian writer Jen Jewel Brown, and American singer/songwriter Dave Alvin, who give their firsthand recollections about the shows, and a selection of archival press reviews. Those who digitally pre-order the box set will receive an instant grat download of “RDNZL.” Culled from the very first show on December 9, the track is a live version of the classic song featuring the never-before-heard 2016 mix that exemplifies the sonics of the new box set. Pre-order The Roxy Performances now: http://ume.lnk.to/FrankZappaRoxy

“This is one of my favorite FZ line-ups ever. This box contains some of the best nights of music Los Angeles has ever seen with their ears at an historic venue," says Ahmet Zappa, who co-produced the collection along with Travers, “Hold on to your hotdogs people. This box is the be-all-end-all. This is it. This is all of it. It’s time to get your rocks off for the Roxy.” 

While portions of these concerts have been released in various formats over the years – first in 1974 on the album Roxy and Elsewhere, which mixed material from the shows with performances recorded in different locations months later, followed by 2014’s Roxy By Proxy, which featured Zappa’s 1987 digital mixes of tracks from various shows, and most recently the 2015 film Roxy The Movie and its accompanying soundtrack – the shows have never been released in their entirety until now. 

The Roxy Performances capture Zappa and The Mothers in peak condition as they play to rowdy sold-out crowds in the intimate, just-opened venue in their hometown Los Angeles following the release of Over-Nite Sensation. The extraordinary band was one of Zappa’s best with keyboardist George Duke, bassist Tom Fowler, trombonist Bruce Fowler, tenor saxophonist and vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock, percussionist Ruth Underwood and drummers Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson all flawlessly in lockstep as Zappa led them through his musically adventurous compositions filled with complicated time signatures and sudden tempo changes. As the Los Angeles Times remarked in their review, “The content of any show starring Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention is unpredictable. But the quality of the show is predictable. I have seen this satirical rock group many times and every show has been excellent. True to form, the group performed sensationally at the Roxy on Sunday night.” The (long-defunct) Los Angeles Herald-Examiner was equally impressed: “This time around Zappa, the counter-culture’s John Cage, has assembled a remarkable group of musicians. Tim Fowler on bass, his brother Bruce on trombone, Ralph Humphrey on drums, and George Duke, whose keyboard skills almost upstaged the leader himself. Percussionist Ruth Underwood kept up with the band’s frenetic pace without missing a single swat of the gong, and she was incredible.”

The material expertly performed across the five shows consisted mostly of songs from 1969 and beyond and included a dizzying array of stylistic diverse tracks from Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka and Over-Nite Sensation. The shows also include a number of live favorites like “Village Of The Sun,” “Pygmy Twylyte,” “Cheepnis,” “Penguin In Bondage,” “Echidna’s Arf (Of You),” and “Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing.” Many of these ended up on Roxy & Elsewhere

Jen Jewel Brown and Dave Alvin give a glimpse at what it was like to be at these historic shows in their richly detailed essays in the liner notes that accompany the recordings. Alvin reflects about meeting Zappa on the Isle of Capri in 1982 while on tour with his band The Blasters and how Zappa’s eyes lit up when he told him he saw him at the Roxy. “You were at a Roxy show?,” he beamed. He goes on to write, “The Roxy Mothers were a grand combination of high art, low art, masterful technique and razor sharp humor with a touch of wild abandon.” In Brown’s reflection, Frank and Gail’s personal friend tells about what it was like for a young girl from Australia to witness Zappa on the Sunset Strip in the ‘70s and paints a vivid picture about what the shows were like. “This material shows an absolutely sleek beast at its prime,” she pens, adding, “This is a cultural record and there’s some prime Zappanalia here. Frank had put the crippling disasters of December ’71 behind him and was plunged headlong into some of the most beautiful music and zestful, open-hearted engagement with life imaginable.”

Musical selections include: Cheepnis, Pygmy Twylyte, St. Alfonsos Pancacke Breakfast, Father Oblivious, Tuning and Studio Chatter, Village of the Sun, I'm The Slime, The Dog Breath Variations. RDNZL.
This program is "Evergreen" and not necessarily date specific. 

For more information, visit BEYOND A SONG.COM

The Emotion Roadmap: Take the Wheel & Control How You Feel (Series)

Produced by Chuck Wolfe

Most recent piece in this series:

Caring for and about People Who Seem Different

From Chuck Wolfe | Part of the The Emotion Roadmap: Take the Wheel & Control How You Feel series | 51:29

Patriots_head_shot_octoer_2017_small I talk about the "other" and introduce the idea that we often focus on how others are different than us and identify with those most like us. How can we learn to see all the ways in which all of us are similar. We focus some on black history month, on the New England Patriots Super Bowl loss, and some callers share challenges with family and friends. All this is done by framing the conversation in ways that help each of us to be more emotionally intelligent, and more emotionally mature. As a fan of the Patriots I share a story about a family we have been friends with for over 30 years who adore the Philadelphia Eagles. This family has never seen the Eagles win a championship until this year. So even in our loss as Patriots fans, I celebrated the victory of my friends. There is also a conversation with a caller where I agree that a family member who hurts our children should not necessarily be forgiven. Tough lesson but real.

A Way with Words (Series)

Produced by A Way with Words

Most recent piece in this series:

Beat the Band (#1431)

From A Way with Words | Part of the A Way with Words series | 54:00

3999073449_3cabdaca3d_m_medium_small If you're the type of person who wants so badly to sit alone on a train that you have strategies for deterring other passengers from taking the seat next to yours, the Irish train system is onto you. Irish Rail's #GiveUpYourSeat campaign has posters all over trains warning people about frummaging (pretending to rummage through your bag in the seat next to yours) and snoofing (spoof snoozing). 

The guy who may be the nation's foremost garage sale expert called us from Crescent City, California, with a question that's vital for anyone writing or thinking about garage sales: Do the verbs garage-saling or yard-saling refer to the person holding the sale or the shopper visiting the sale?

Someone who looks like the wreck of Hesperus isn't exactly looking their best. The idiom comes from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, inspired by an 1839 blizzard off the coast of Massachusetts that destroyed 20 ships.

Quiz Guy John Chaneski presented a word game we couldn't refuse based on the line in The Godfather, "I’m gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." Except in this game, he can't refuse is replaced with other words that rhyme.

There's no one correct way to pronounce buried, but depending on where you live, it might be common to hear it in a way that rhymes with hurried. As the spelling of the word changed from the original old English version, byrgan, no single standard pronunciation was settled on.

A mobile-phoney, as defined by the Irish rail system's new ad campaign, is someone on a train who pretends to be having a phone conversation in order to prevent fellow passengers from taking the seat next to them.

The exhortation in Shakespeare's Henry V, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends," is now a part of common speech. But not every fan of the Bard knows what a breach is. It's simply a gap—a space between two things.

Scartle is an old Scots word meaning to scrape together little bits of things, like picking the coins and crumbs out of a car seat.

Bill Cosby is perhaps the latest but certainly not the first celebrity whom the public has fallen out of love with over something terrible they did that went public. Is there a term for this kind of mass disenchantment with a celebrity?

Goggle-bluffing is the train passenger's trick of averting your line of eyesight so as to fool other passengers into not taking the seat next to you.

The first occasion when a new mother sees company after having a baby is called the upsitting. But upsitting in certain cultures is also used to describe a courtship ritual where two people on either sides of a thin partition get to flirt with each other. William Charles Baldwin talks about it in his book, African Hunting, From Natal to Zambesi.

What do you call the piece of playground equipment with a long board and spots for a kid to sit on either end and make it go up and down? A see-saw? A teeter-totter? A flying jenny, or a joggling board? The term you're most familiar with likely has to do with where you grew up.

When hiking off-trail, it's important to keep an eye on where you've been as well as where you're going. Otherwise, you run the risk of what experienced hikers call being ledged out, which means you've descended to a point where you can't go any farther, but you've slid down so far that you can't go back up and try a different route. It's a good metaphor for life as well.

A trade-last, also known as a told-last, is a compliment that's relayed to the intended recipient by someone else.

We've spoken on the show before about conversation openers that differ from the often dreaded "What do you do?" and we heard from one listener who prefers "What keeps you busy?"

Beat the band, as in, it's snowing to beat the band, or he's dressed to beat the band, is an idiom that's mainly used as a positive intensifier. It evolved from shouting to beat the band, meaning someone is talking so loudly they can be heard over the music.

Billennials, or bilingual millennials, is a new term being bandied about by marketers and television programmers who've realized that young Americans who grew up in Spanish-speaking homes don't necessarily care for the traditional telenovela style shows on Spanish language networks.

This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.