Thursday, June 25, 2015

one size fits all

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention carved up the hill and crammed a real good deal-o into this progressive po-jama pogen.  Following the winning streak of The Grand Wazoo,  Over-Nite Sensation ,  Apostrophe ('),  and the live 'Roxy & Elsewhere';  'One Size Fits All' maintains much of the lineup that played on 'Roxy & Elsewhere':    Frank Zappa on guitar, lead and backing vocals;    George Duke on keyboards, lead and backing vocals, and synthesizer;    Napoleon Murphy Brock on flute, lead and backing vocals, and tenor saxophone;   Ruth Underwood on marimba, vibraphone, and percussion;   Chester Thompson on drums, sound effects, and voices;   Tom Fowler and James "Bird Legs" Youman on bass guitar;    Johnny "Guitar" Watson on vocals;    and   Captain Beefheart (aka 'Bloodshot Rollin' Red') on harmonica.   

Zappa would admit:    "I'm not always the one who controls who is in or out of the Mothers. People come and go as they please in the band. So it follows that when somebody leaves you have to replace them; and then sometimes you don't have to replace them...The amount of rehearsals that it takes is greatly increased by the constant transition of the group's members. I like to have things pretty snappy when I go out on stage, and that requires all the band members, new or old, to be well rehearsed...Conflict always arises because different musicians who play different instruments have a different outlook on life from one another... Because of the different natures of instruments, take the trumpet and guitar for instance, there are two instruments that do two completely different things, and so, produce different attitudes in how their players see the music. 'You are what you play!'' It is a fallacy that all musicians have the same psychological make-up. Take a person who plays a bass – who really wants to play a bass? Who wants to play the bottom notes of a song? Just think about what kind of people become bass players, and what psychological things they have to put up with – they hardly ever get to play a solo, and most of the time, in rock'n'roll, they are playing the most boring things that you can imagine. Well, that kind of consciousness is different than someone who plays an instrument that plays the melody of a song and has a lot of solos – it just is not the same head."

Zappa produced the sessions at Record Plant Studios and Paramount Studios in Los Angeles;  and  at Caribou Ranch in Nederland, Colorado.   He had a great appreciation for the Steinway at Caribou:  "It's one of the best pianos in the world; and it used to be used for all the classical recordings. To me, that's what a piano is supposed to sound like.  But I wouldn't go there just for the piano.  It has other advantages: You buy the studio for twenty-four hours a day and you go in whenever you want, you know. You just live at the place, stay there for a while and you get your work done."

 'One Size Fits All' charted at number twenty-six in the US and five in Norway.  Zappa described the record as containing "some story-type songs, but it's pretty much rock-and-roll oriented.  You could actually dance to this record ...  I think everything I've written can be danced to. It can't be danced to by people who don't have a certain amount of creative ability and it's an excellent way to weed people out. If you can dance to one of our songs I think you have some creative ability and don't want to dance in a regimented manner. The beat's just as good on our records as on anybody else's records. It so happens that there's more of them in funny places ... It should have been more successful both commercially and critically. Most of the bad reviews – on this album and others – don't deal with the music but just talk about me. And most rock critics can't write anyway. Of course, every time I do an album, I think it's wonderful. That's how crazy I am – I thought they were all hits."

"Inca Roads"

"San Ber'dino"

 'One Size Fits All' 
full album:

All songs written by Frank Zappa.

Side one
00:00 "Inca Roads"   8:45
08:45 "Can't Afford No Shoes"   2:38
11:24 "Sofa No. 1"   2:39
14:04 "Po-Jama People"   7:39
Side two
21:43 "Florentine Pogen"   5:27
27:10 "Evelyn, a Modified Dog"   1:04
28:15 "San Ber'dino"   5:57
34:12 "Andy"   6:04
40:16 "Sofa No. 2"   2:42

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