King Kong

I have always thought that the most remarkable thing about Zappa’s “King Kong” is that it sounds like King Kong. It is huge and frightening and potentially deadly, but it is also lumbering and vulnerable. One of the greatest Mothers tracks. I also note that in some performances of this song, they are playing around a lot with the “plugged-in” saxophone sound. I wonder if Zappa listened to Eddie Harris.

Here is a fabulous performance of it for the BBC in 1968. Bari sax honking by Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood.

Hundalasiliah!

It’s weird, but I always get a little excited this time of year, this day, as if I’m actually lighting the candles on Little Richard’s birthday cake.

It is a luxury that Little Richard’s birthday falls within the Zappa Solstice. Of course, if the information I read on the Facebook today is correct, so does Louis Cole’s birthday. But that’s another matter altogether. Hi, Louis Cole!

Little Richard, 87 today, penned a song that became one of my favorite Mothers performances ever caught on tape. Track two off of Weasels Ripped My Flesh, the song is called “Directly from my Heart,” and it features Don “Sugarcane” Harris in a blistering fiddle performance. But this thing would not be half what it is without the stellar source material, the song that drags its left foot so beautifully.

This is not going to be a long, drawn-out post. I have done that previously. I do recommend on this auspicious occasion that the average humble music listener might want to take a moment away from one’s gorging diet of Zappa, and Mothers, and Beefheart, and Geronimo Black, and listen to something by Little Richard. And, if you’re curious, settle down with author Richard Kirby’s masterpiece, Little Richard: The Birth of Rock and Roll. It will change your life.

Happy birthday, Georgia Peach. Health and comfort to you.

These Are The Days When You Wish Your Bed Was Already Made

Why, I thought today, as I watched the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing today, would Democrats add a fellow like Jonathan Turley on your panel only to have your counsel race at him with a “that’s a yes or no” question kind of question?

It just seemed like a poorly built pile of Lincoln Logs to me. Why not just make Turley try on the glove while you’re at it? “IF YOU OVERREACH, YOU CAN’T IMPEACH!”

More bizarre was Turley’s position itself. You shouldn’t be impeaching because you can’t point to a specific law broken? Or because you should go to the courts first, for some reason? I’ve seen the video of Turley in 1998, looking quite a bit squeakier than he does today, up in front of the mic goin’ YEAH, IMPEACH THAT MOTHERFUCKER. YEAH, YOU HEARD ME. WHACK HIM WITH A STICK WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, YOU’LL SEE. IN THE BUM.

Ya’ll don’t reckon Jonathan Turley would like to be a judge someday

do you?

Then there was Doug Collins of Georgia, why, here he is in a vintage commercial from like the olden days

I’m sayin’ I believe Collins’ father was a tobacco auction barker and also his mom was a tobacco auction barker too.

He talks fast.

However, he’s worried that these impeachment hearings are going toooooooo fast. It’s about the clock and the calendar, the clock and the calendar, the clock and the calendar, he kept saying. What he was subtly trying to intimate was that Democrats want this thing to hurry up because of this upcoming election deal.

Well he isn’t wrong.

As my favorite New Yorker Randi Rhodes pointed out today on her radio program, yes! Democrats would like to get this thing done well before election 2020.

Because we know that in 2016, the Russkies (is that how you spell that?) were fucking with our elections. And we have evidence sitting in our blubbery laps that Trump and his friend Edmund Jumanji have been trying to get the Ukranians on board with that particular move as well.

And we also know that Trump just telegraphed, in his subtle, clever manner, that he’d be okay if these Untied States of ‘Merka didn’t have a trade agreement with China until after the election. Which, if you run it through a sieve, sounds an awful lot like “we’d like you to do us a favor though.”

Yeah, there’s a reason to get this done soon. And if you like to vote, you should be rooting for it, too.

By the way, here’s a weird effect of one rather bizarre part of today’s proceedings, where Republigoats took bony objections to people trying to finger out what the Founders might thing, something Turley called “necromancy.” As the spiffy John Cole indicates over at Balloon Juice, it rather awkwardly dry-humps the concept of Constitutional originalism.

Yep, today’s hearing was like going for ice cream but the only flavor they have left is garlic.

Good thing it’s Zappadan. I’ve got “Feeding the Monkies at Ma Masion” on the Spotify jukebox, and I’m about to write some nice things about a legendary superstar superhero genius.

Bummernacht 2019

Today is Bummernacht 2019, a day signifying the last day that the great man himself, Frank Zappa, stopped refusing to die. Or, as they teach today in the finest classrooms:

“On this day ’93, we all stopped jivin’ with that cosmic debris”

So I often write up a buncha stuff for this blog space here in outer space for the occasion, and I do not know how much I will have to share here. As I am the Zappadan tumblr man and the Twitter Captain as well, plus as a person who has one of those “job” things, I hope the best I can do in this time is to listen to music, to reflect, and to maybe learn more things.

First, the boilerplate: Zappadan began as a blogswarm many years ago, I think in 1972 or so, back when people were still “blogging.” It is from Dec. 4, the day of Frank Zappa’s permanent discorporation, until Dec. 21, which is that day that my brother was born. And also Frank Zappa was born that day too, yes. Since then it has reached beyond the blogosphere, celebrated today with a modified maypole dance, some rye whiskey, and feats of strength.

And pigs and ponies.

And so today, as I ponder my first discussion of the Zappadan of 2019, I am listening to the svelte shasta sounds of Harry Wayne Casey, who is extorting an audience to “blow yo whistle” and to “let him hear it.” And I wonder what Frank Zappa thought of Casey, known better to all ya’ll as “KC,” of KC and the Sunshine band, if he ever really thought of them at all. I thought of them this evening when I came home and sat down on my toilet. And so I picked up the remote control I keep nearby, and I said into the remote, I says, ALEXA. PLAY KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND ON SPOTIFY. And it played a song by KC and the Sunshine band.

And I wondered what Frank thought of this musical marvel, built in the solid Caribbean musical tradition of Junkanoo, which will sit beside you all night at a party and swear it has nothing to do with the Indian tradition of New Orleans but holy crap you just keep squinting and thinking you canNOT tell the difference, maybe there’s more whistles or something. But knowing this, that this young man who worked at the time in a record store in Hialeah, Florida, witnessed this cultural touchstone centuries old, perhaps even grew up with it, and thought enough of it to want to try bringing some variant of it into the recording studio, and that that is how you got “I’m Your Boogie Man,” I can tell you that it has made me reach for this previously considered guilty pleasure with more gusto and insight than I had before. Seriously, put on the album “Do It Good” sometime and listen from gavel to gavel, and apply a truly critical ear. You may leave the experience gushing.

I only wish I knew if Frank ever gave ol’ KC and his Sunshine Band any thought. Like, perhaps, he’d named an album in parodied tribute, ever.

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. What do you say? Let’s boogie!

Zappadan 2018…Day 17. I Knew You’d Be Surprised

Zappadan always goes so fast.

I didn’t do as much here as I had thought I would. I haven’t in recent years. It’s difficult to blog about a single topic for 17 days straight and to do it with a new angle.

But, Zappadan these days is not so much about the blogging. I spent some time watching some really great kids doing some serious vlogging, and they managed to make it to pretty much every blessed night. I learned much from these vlog sessions and will probably revisit them. You should note that these two sometimes got chat from some weird old guy. They were extremely nice to their party crasher.

Lot of activity over at the @zappadan Twitter. And, I tried to document the activity over at zappadan.com. I will be adding more stuff and cleaning it up as I have time, and I think I’m going to try to blog over there year-round.

I like the Zappadan thing. It’s weird. But it makes me expand my appreciation. I ended up taking on a few more albums, including Sleep Dirt, which I managed to find on vinyl; The Roxy Performances, Chicago ’78, Little Dots, the Road Tapes albums, Finer Moments. All highly recommended listens, and all brand new to me this year.

And I think if I realized something about Frank this year, it’s that yeah, he was a great musician, a spouter of various wisdom, a brave stalwart versus authority’s fists, and just plain altogether an attitude.

I think the greatest thing about Zappa was that he was the ultimate music fan.

And I think that’s what makes Frank Zappa so undeniable to those of us who revere him.

Merry Zappadan.

The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution

It’s day nine of Zappadan good people, and this morning was a crisp clear mid-30s that makes you draw a breath when you first encounter the naked air. Gorgeous day. Just gorgeous.

I reckon I’m focusing on a cut from Sleep Dirt because it’s the one Zappadan’s newest stars, Alex and Alexa, reviewed on night eight.

What a weird album, but that figures, as it was one of those released by the record company to settle a contract. Probably issued a bit out of the oven too soon. This track, however, is pretty astonishing. I might have to look for this on the original vinyl though to make sure I’m hearing the original poop.

The Marvelous Frank Zappa

I don’t know if many fans of Frank Zappa’s music are likely also to be fans of the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If you’re not, why aren’t you? Why aren’t you watching it right now? If for nothing else then to see Kevin Pollak play the role of a lifetime as Moishe Maisel?

Anyway. If you do watch the show, then you know a frequent character is a fictionalized Lenny Bruce. And, if you’ve gotten as far as I have in the second season, you know that they have Lenny Bruce appear on The Steve Allen Show, where he sings a weird lonely little song. And, as much as you wonder via watching this show if Tony Curtis ever actually compared smooching Marilyn Monroe to smooching Hitler (he did), you wonder if Lenny Bruce ever actually got on The Steve Allen Show and sang this weird lonely little song.

He did:

Now, if you’re a fan of the album We’re Only In It For The Money by The Mothers, then there’s another Lenny Bruce bit you might want to hear.

Madge, I just couldn’t help it, dog-gone it.