Absolutely Frank Words

  (Still whizzing and pasting – and pooting even — through my newly-acquired stack of vintage Zappa material, folks, only to discover…..)

Those sophomore 12-inches from Frank and his Mothers are, I’m afraid, just too easily overlooked and unheard, stretching as they do between the twin monumental peaks of Freak Out and We’re Only In It For The Money.  But in rear-view, I posit that spiffy little long-player known as Absolutely Free, recorded in a mere twenty-five hours circa 11/66, reveals itself to be, maybe, just maybe, the man’s true whacked masterpiece.

Two vinyl-side-long suites examining the festered underbelly of LBJ’s America, its ragged overall sheen of wise-ass vocals and hot-rawk jamming may indeed lure the listener in for Just Another Boogie From L.A., granted.  But as no less an expert on the subject as original Mother Don Preston has since revealed, much of Absolutely Free was in fact painstakingly rehearsed and recorded in intricate four-and-eight-bar sections requiring dozens of takes apiece, and the music itself was just as comfortable quoting Stravinsky as it was the Supremes, Kingsmen, and/or the band’s beloved vegetable-encrusted doo-wop. 

Also, this record just happens to contain the legendary original appearance of “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” which, if I may be so bold, absolutely eats Pete Townshend’s “A Quick One While He’s Away” in the mod mini-opera department.

But finally, take one quick listen to “Why Don’tcha Do Me Right,” the band’s 1967 non-hit single included as an Absolutely Free bonus track, and find yourself agreeing with Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play Zappauthor Ben Watson when he claims that had The Mothers released only a rare seven-inches or two or three like this back in the daze, then duly disappeared, they’d be widely hailed today as one of the world’s most wholly Nugget-worthy Garage Rock Wonders.  Excuse me while I call Little Steven’s radio show with a request…..             

PS:  Quiz Time, boys and girls!

Which future member of none other than Monty Python made his audio debut on Side Two of Absolutely Free ??

First correct response wins an all-expense-paid trip as the first member of the Peace Corps to be sent to Alabama, as The Big Surfer would say…..

The Spy Business Revealed!

   One of the best albums you may have missed in 2005 was made by Vermont’s latest phenomenal pop combo, the men with the mojo themselves (that’s all in their own words, of course);  yes, I virtually speak of none other than Raquel’s Boys, and their Music For The Girl You Love.

Well, that was then, but NOW they’ve just recorded their very second long-player, The Spy Business, and it just may be every bit as clandestinely coooool as their first outing was, and forever shall be:

Kicking straight off with “Let’s Live,” the Great Neil Young / Big Star Duet That (unfortunately) Never Was, the boys’ latest forty minutes is more than chockfull of semi-reverent nods towards the sonic past (“Alice Faye” may just as well be the choicest of all possible pre-Cheap Trick demos, “Underdog” pits David Watts vs. Victoria and the Bubblegum-go-round, then “Springtime” absolutely squeals out for a brand new Turtles album already!!).  

But that’s not all:  “The Greatest Show Of All” and “Undercover” especially truly deserve immediate soundtrack duty on the Cartoon Network’s latest Puffy TV series, while “Orange Soda” – appearing very soon indeed on JAM Recordings’ next This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio comp — takes Teenage Fanclub down to the local Dairy Queen and THEN some.

Still, your ears, like mine, may find themselves most drawn to an uncharacteristically Raquelian sweet and even soft trio of tracks (“Pupils,” “Only Kisses,” and “Pal”) which are as delightfully delicate musically as they are intriguing lyrically.  Such nice li’l totally disarming charmers they are, you know.

So, this album isn’t quite out yet, I do not think.  But when it does appear, you know I’ll be all over it for you, yes indeed.

Stay Totally Tuned then…..   

Merseybeat Unearthed!

  For those of us born right around the time Elvis kinda invented rock ‘n’ roll, but especially for any VH1-educated readers out there who actually believe The Beatles truly were, are, and 4-everafter shall be the B-all and end-all of it all, socio-musically Sixties-speaking that is:

The current Fufkin dot com contains a big piece-o-Piggery regarding three (yes, count ‘em !!) grand new discs from The Viper Label which more than answer the following musical questions …and THEN some:

* What did Gerry and the Pacemakers sound like long before they ever hooked up with Big George Martin or even Joe Meek?

* Which semi-skiffle combo out of the very northern U.K. recorded Johnny Cash songs – possibly inventing cow-punk and/or alt. C&W in the process —  decades before Rank and File actually did either??

* Did those B-52’s, masquerading beneath the nom-de-group The Four Just Men, really first record “Rock Lobster” circa 1964???

* and, lastly but far from leastly, did the one and only Kirkbys really usher in that Merseybeat-snuffing Summer of ‘67 as The 23rd Turnoff — singing the until-now seldom-heard-indeed “Flowers Are Flowering” — only to surface yet again as (…wait for it…) proto-proggers Wimple Winch ??!!!   

The answers, my friend, are flowing cross the Mersey,

but you gotta click right here to get gear, luv…..

Corwood 0784



                                 WHAT ELSE DOES THE TIME MEAN


              1. MY OWN WAY                                              (16:34)

              2. WALK OVER                                                  (5:00)      

              3. JAPANESE CUP                                              (7:24)

              4. WALLS DOWN                                               (5:27)

              5. THE PLACE                                                    (6:36)

              6. I’VE BEEN A BODY                                         (7:16)

              7. I’M SORRY NO                                                (8:01)

              8. IF I WAITED TWENTY HOURS                         (3:56)


                 P.O. BOX 15375
          HOUSTON, TEXAS 77220


Frank Words

  My olde Pig Paper co-conspirator John Pinto just blessed me with seventeen – count ‘em !! – vintage Frank Zappa / Mothers Of Invention albums …or, should I at least say, their Reagan-era digital incarnations (more about THAT later).  So as you’ll soon plainly see I’ve been having late-night balls revisiting these choice gems, in chrono-logical order, one-by-one and track-by-track, recalling all the trouble I got in at home and especially school upon purchasing and playing, as loudly as was humanely possible, their original Verve vinyl pressings as a snotty young Canuck.  

(btw:  say what you may about Canada of course, but remember that the initial pressings of We’re Only In It For The Money up there in the Grey Wide North sported the uncensored “Pepper” parody cover right up front, whereas them Yanks had to have it hidden safely inside that ugly Motherly-yellow gatefold.  So THERE).

anyways, Starting at the Start then, Frankly speaking:  Freak Out.  

Four (count ‘em!) long-playing sides BEFORE Blonde On Blonde;  multi-minute suites of musique concrete slapped right alongside nice cute pop songs …BEFORE The White Album;  an album-length “concept,” as it was, BEFORE Arthur, Tommy, or even Confessions of a Teenage Opera [sic!] …though, admittedly, several years AFTER the Little Deuce Coupe and All Summer Long LP’s.  

And, speaking of Big Brother Bri and the Summer of 66, Freak Out proved a ground-breaking, genre-busting, earth-quaking true lush orchestral song cycle BEFORE posh li’l Pet Sounds ever did.  

And, possibly as a direct result, it sold just about as badly back then too, even in the comparatively hep U.K…..

Cruel Words

  I long ago discovered that the quickest way to get Lost In The Grooves is to take Johnny Dowd all the way down to The Wrong Side of Memphis.

But if that was indeed Then,  and Now is Here,
I find on The Pig Player today this particular JD’s Latest and Possibly Greatest creation  (so far, that is):

It’s called Cruel Words, it’s fresh out on Holland’s very own Munich Records,
and shall be available on this side of the biggest muddy come June care of the bountiful-and-Then-some Bongo Beat label.

in the meantime however,
Allow me to partake in a little game of virtual Cruel Word Association with the titles of this disc’s fourteen Required Listens:

 1. HOUSE OF PAIN…..Play that Funky Music, cowboy!!

 2. MIRACLES NEVER HAPPEN…..Elvis’ Mysterious Train has Left the Station.

 3. PRAISE GOD…..as Johnny comes Rolling Home.

 4. UNWED MOTHER…..“Billie Jean v. 06”

 5. CRADLE OF LIES…..Stretching from California to the Jersey Shore.

 6. DING DONG…..Is that someone at The Doors?

 7. FINAL ENCORE…..a Rare and Intriguing Peek backstage at this (or last) (or
     next) year’s Grammys

 8. WILDER THAN THE WIND ’66…..truly Too Cool for Words.

 9. DRUNK…..Who once sang, you can go sleep at home tonight, Johnny, if
     you can get up and walk away.

10. POVERTY HOUSE…..We’ve ALL got room there.

11. CORNER LAUNDROMAT…..Spins a dry cycle of (the OTHER) Brian Wilson’s
      “My Solution,” by way of our sweet Jon Lord.

12. ANXIETY…..our Working Class Hero’s special affliction.

13. WORLD OF HIM…..as we merrily take the Last Waltz to War!

14. JOHNNY B. GOODE…..The original War Pig?!!

GOTTA Take That One Last Ride

Several of the inimitably esteemed recording artistes I had the pleasure of becoming Lost In The Grooves with have recently made grand new releases available to discriminating listeners and/or readers out there in what remains of the real world.  Yes of course there’s head Kink Ray’s LONG-awaited so-low album (which sounds not too bad at all to what’s left of these ears), but what truly is exciting me this week is Sundazed’s full-color re-release of that last “real” Jan and Dean long-player, Popsicle.

In truth a hasty grab-bag of hits, misses, and miscellania circa ’62 thru ’66 cobbled together to, um, commemorate Captain Jan Berry’s recent near-fatal car crash, the Popsicle album actually provides just as wild and crazy a ride as yer typical J&D LP ever would (e.g.: Side Four of The Jan & Dean Anthology Album, anyone?!!) as it veers madly from the ridiculous (“One-Piece Topless Bathing Suit,” perhaps the funniest Sloan/Barri composition this side of “Eve Of Destruction”) to the sublime (Jan’s tongue-possibly-deep-within-cheek “Norwegian Wood”) and THEN some (a fully half-an-album’s worth of selections with either “Summer” or “Surf” in the song-titles themselves: “She’s My Summer Girl” has long been a quite guilty pleasure-o-mine, you know, while J&D’s “Summer Means Fun” more than hangs ten against the Fantastic Baggys’ near-identical version, I’ll have YOU know).

So as Jan lay hovering next to death in nearby UCLA Medical Center, and his until-then hapless cohort Dean “The Boy Blunder” scoured the vaults to fulfill the duo’s contractual commitment to Liberty Records, “Popsicle” the song — originally appearing as “Popsicle Truck” on the November ’63 Drag City album — crept to the mid-twenties on the sales charts (I can distinctly remember it jumping from my childhood six-transistors as that fateful Summer of 66 was about to arrive), providing a sticky-sweet if tragically premature capper to the initial career of our most fave pop duo this side of Don & Phil.  But Popsicle the ALBUM is in retrospect as fine a place as any to immediately reacquaint oneself with the majesty and true mondo-magic which was, and forever shall be, Jan Berry and Dean O. Torrence …until Sundazed gets very round to re-issuing their beyond-classic Jan & Dean Meet Batman, that is !!