Frank Zappa The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life 1988

The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life is a live album by Frank Zappa.

It is one of three live albums recorded during the February to June 1988 world tour. The others are Broadway the Hard Way and Make a Jazz Noise Here.

While this may normally seem excessive, the band are said to have played close to 200 different songs on the tour.

Make A Jazz Noise is mainly focused on past instrumentals and Broadway The Hard Way introduces new songs. The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life pays tribute to his past and especially songs from the 1970s together with various intriguing covers.

This is Zappa at his most accessible.

Frank Zappa The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life

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Songs On Frank Zappa The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life

Disc 1

Heavy Duty Judy – 6:04
Ring Of Fire – 2:00
Cosmik Debris – 4:32
Find Her Finer – 2:42
Who Needs The Peace Corps? – 2:40
I Left My Heart In San Francisco – 0:36
Zomby Woof – 5:41
Bolero – 5:19
Zoot Allures – 7:07
Mr. Green Genes – 3:40
Florentine Pogen – 7:11
Andy – 5:51
Inca Roads – 8:19
Sofa #1 – 2:49

Disc 2

Purple Haze 2:27
Sunshine Of Your Love 2:30
Let’s Move To Cleveland 5:52
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling 0:46
Godfather Part II 0:30
A Few Moments With Brother A. West 4:01
The Torture Never Stops Part One 5:20
Theme From Bonanza 0:28
Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Swaggart Version) 4:54
The Torture Never Stops Part Two 10:47
More Trouble Every Day (Swaggart Version) 5:28
Penguin In Bondage (Swaggart Version) 5:05
The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue 9:19
Stairway To Heaven 9:20

Three of these songs – Lonesome Cowboy Burt, More Trouble Every Day and Penguin In Bondage – were changed to parody the scandal of Jimmy Swaggert’s confessed involvement with a prostitute.

Playing on the album are:

Frank Zappa – vocals, guitar, synthesizer, keyboards
Paul Carman – alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone
Kurt McGettrick – saxophone, baritone saxophone, E flat clarinet
Albert Wing – tenor saxophone
Bruce Fowler – trombone
Bobby Martin – keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Walt Fowler – synthesizer, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mike Keneally – synthesizer, guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals
Ike Willis – synthesizer, guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals
Scott Thunes – synthesizer, bass guitar, electric bass, vocals, Minimoog
Ed Mann – percussion, marimba, vibraphone, electronic percussion
Chad Wackerman – drums, vocals, electronic percussion

This is a sensational album and an excellent place to start your collection of Frank Zappa live albums. The covers of the rock classics like Stairway To Heaven help make the album both fascinating and more accessible than many of the others that lack this kind of touchstone to the “real world”.

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It’s hard to classify the music and comedy of Frank Zappa since it’s not mainstream classic rock but I also don’t think that it a lot of it fits into the prog rock genre that I sometimes see used. I’m treating this as art rock which is intelligent rock and pop that aims to be different.

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