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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats Show in Los Angeles 1970


Frank Zappa - Electric Guitar, Vocals
Max Bennett - Electric Bass
Don "Sugarcane" Harris - Electric Violin, Vocals
Ian Underwood - Keyboards, Alto Saxophone
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums

It is not the prettiest recording (see John Naurin's notes below) but it is almost complete (a couple small cuts) unlike the old LP boot "Frank Zappa & Hot Rats At The Olympic". It is also a very rare recording. There are only 2 known recordings of this band. This and 02-28-70 San Diego. And this is the better one.

SHARLEENA (9:31)- This premiere performance of this eventual guitar solo classic appears essentially as it would on "Lost Episodes". This version, or at least this recording of this version, has a harder guitar edge, but nevertheless bounces along at the same frantic pace. Harris and Frank both take solos, with Frank contributing some heavy rhythm support during Harris' violin workout and during a short full-band jam in the midst of these solos. Harris takes the longer of the two solos, though Frank's wah-wah tinged effort still satisfies. This is a worthy performance, and just as enjoyable as the revelatory "lost episode".

TWINKLE TITS/INTERLUDE (9:57)- This one-time only performance- a waltz!- resembles a light-hearted version of "Little House I Used To Live In". While actual pieces of "Little House" are found in this extended instrumental, new pieces of music are found in the opening theme. After the short intro, Frank takes a one minute solo, after which the song begins toying with the borrowed themes as noted above. Approximately two and a half minutes into the song, we enter the solo zone, with Harris, Underwood, and the rhythm section getting an opportunity to display their chops. Again, Frank's rhythm work is awesome throughout (this is the great fault of FZ shows from the mid-70's on-> no Frank playing rhythm). Frank eventually takes a second solo, during which there is an interesting cut in the tape. At 7:29 into the song, the tape edits out of the solo into a composed piece of music known as "Interlude", previously performed by the '60's Mothers. This tune is reminiscent of "Little House" but is an entirely new piece of music. After the cut, the remaining portion of this track consists of "Interlude", without returning to the "Twinkle Tits" theme. While these are definitely two different tracks, it is possible that they were joined together here as a medley. [David Lynch, who helped with info on this track, writes: "The coda was performed by the '69 Mothers under the title "Interlude". I have two separate '69 recordings of this piece, which is more or less complete on the Hot Rats recording. That having been said, they may still have been performed together during this concert, as the Hot Rats were wont to run together tunes in medleys, and Zappa mentions the Hot Rats band knowing "three tunes, maybe five" at the beginning of this concert."]

DIRECTLY FROM MY HEART TO YOU (5:40)- Without a doubt, the greatest cover song Frank ever performed. There is honest emotion in this piece (a Frank rarity!), thanks to some impassioned playing and singing by the why-couldn't-he-have-stayed-around-longer Harris. This is essentially performed as on "Weasels Ripped My Flesh", with an intensity that only comes with performing live. Excellent.

CHUNGA'S REVENGE (24:12)- In seven days, Frank took a mangled piece of music known as "Bolero in G" and transformed it into the instrumental powerhouse known as "Chunga's Revenge". This performance is as powerful as always, with the strong opening theme, followed by a series of equally strong solos. Frank extends this early performance beyond its solo-vehicle expectancy, and churns out some thoroughly exciting and spine- tingling music. The first series of solos runs about 13 minutes, containing an Underwood saxophone solo, a Harris keyboard solo, and a jazzy, melodical Frank solo. These solos are all great, and made even more so by Bennet's ever-shifting bass lines, and Dunbar's thunderous drumming. After the obligatory drum solo, Bennet returns to the "Chunga's" theme with a slow, death march take on the main riff. Frank abruptly enters the scene, with a full-blown psychedelic mangling of the theme. The bass player continues with his methodical plodding, leading the jam with a slow, walking bass line, gradually building in intensity thanks to the impetus of Frank's rhythm. Over this, Harris whips out the violin solo of his life, producing musical blasphemy for four exhausting minutes. The sounds Sugarcane wrangles out of his violin must be heard to be believed. The whole band eventually coalesces back into one, before Frank takes off for yet another solo, exploring the stratosphere for three more minutes. Finally, 24 minutes after the insanity began, the music stops, and everyone scrambles to find their minds. Heaven.

WILLIE THE PIMP- Unfortunately, my tape of the 3/7 show does not contain this song; thus, Charles Ulrich will describe this for you-> "My copy of 3/7/70 has "Willie The Pimp" after "Chunga's Revenge". There is no edit between the songs. FZ introduces the song as "Willie The Pimp", regrets that Beefheart isn't there to sing it, and recites some of the lyrics. Sugar Cane Harris plays violin on it. There's a guitar solo, an organ solo, a bass solo, then an edit to the ending. The whole thing is about twelve minutes long (plus whatever has been edited out, of course)." David Lynch adds: "I have a tape of the March 7 show that DOES include Willie the Pimp. It's an instrumental run-through of the tune, comparable in quality to the rest of the recordings of this band, that lasts 11 and a half minutes- after the opening theme, Frank lets loose with a 2 1/2 minute solo, followed by a 2 minute 21 second violin solo, followed by a three minute keyboard solo, followed by a bass solo that lasts for 1 minute 21 seconds before there's a splice to the closing theme. The "Willie the Pimp" vamp is heard prominently throughout the performance."

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