Orchestral Favorites 40th Anniversary

Orchestral Favorites 40th Anniversary

(Frank Zappa, 3 CDs, Zappa Records/UME ZR20030, August 30, 2019)

disc 1

  1. Strictly Genteel 7:03
  2. Pedro's Dowry 7:40
  3. Naval Aviation In Art? 1:21
  4. Duke Of Prunes 4:19
  5. Bogus Pomp 13:30
  6. Strictly Genteel (Keyboard OD Version) 7:16

disc 2

  1. Show Start/Bogus Pomp Explained 6:28
  2. Bogus Pomp 15:01
  3. Revised Music For Low-Budget Symphony Orchestra 6:54
  4. The Story Of Pedro's Dowry 2:10
  5. Pedro's Dowry 8:08
  6. The Story Of Rollo 3:38
  7. Rollo 7:00

disc 3

  1. Black Napkins Instructions 4:34
  2. Black Napkins 7:30
  3. Dog/Meat 5:02
  4. The Players 1:07
  5. Naval Aviation In Art? 2:05
  6. "Another Weirdo Number" 1:04
  7. Lumpy Gravy (Extract)/Improvisation 7:01
  8. Evening At The Hermitage 3:23
  9. "A Special Guest Artist" 0:43
  10. Duke Of Prunes 5:40
  11. "Absolutely Disgusting" 1:43
  12. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary 13:39
  13. Strictly Genteel 7:23

Disc 1, Tracks 1-5—Orchestral Favorites (1979)

Discs 2-3:
Royce Hall, UCLA, LA, CA
September 18, 1975
Recording engineer: Mike Stone

Produced for release by Ahmet Zappa & Joe Travers
Digital transfers by Joe Travers
Disc 1, mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, 2019
Discs 2-3, mixed & mastered by Craig Parker Adams, Winslow Ct. Studios, 2019
Original cover by Gary Panter
Photography by John Williams
Package design by Michael Mesker
Production manager: Melanie Starks
Liner notes by Terry Bozzio & Joe Travers

Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra

 

disc 1

1. Strictly Genteel 7:03

includes a theme from Inca Roads

 

2. Pedro's Dowry 7:40

 

4. Duke Of Prunes 4:19

 

5. Bogus Pomp 13:30

includes a quotation from Who Needs The Peace Corps?

 

6. Strictly Genteel (Keyboard OD Version) 7:16

includes a theme from Inca Roads

Basic tracks:

Royce Hall, UCLA
September 18, 1975
Recording engineer: Mike Stone

Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra

Overdubs:

Village Recorders, LA, CA
May 1, 1978
Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli, Barbara Issak

Tommy Mars—keyboard overdubs

Well, it's been swell having you with us tonight, folks.

disc 2

1. Show Start/Bogus Pomp Explained 6:28

Well, hello, folks. Hello, hello. Can you bring this up, [Ernie]? Okay, just calm down there now. Alright. Here's the deal. For those of you— Turn this sucker up. Hello-oh . . . Alright.

For those of you who might be wondering—it's not a rock & roll concert—it's one of those other kinds of concerts. And if you were here last night, by some stretch of the imagination, you might think, you might think that you know what's going to happen tonight, but, you don't know what's going to happen tonight.

Because in keeping with that great tradition of our organization, we will deviate tonight from the patterns established yesterday in certain very important areas. However, the show will begin in much the same way that it did last night, with these sterling differences—one, folks, remember, we're recording this one live, so I want you to have a good time . . . And, two, I'm going to, I'm going to take the liberty of narrating the plot line to this piece that we're going to do here.

Now, the first tune is called "Bogus Pomp" and, this is a melancholy little extravaganza—actually this is sort, sort of ballet or choreographed orch number for 12 winds, 11 brass, 4 amplified strings, 1 amplified harp, 3 keyboard players, 4 percussion, 1 electric bass, and 1 drumset. That's 37 folks.

Now, it opens up with this archetypally corny sort of fake classical music intro, that goes—I'm going to hum it to you now, you'll really like this part—it goes, "Dunnnnt, runt-ta-da-da-dunt, tadadant, tunt tunt, tunnt," and then the oboes come in and they go, "Wat-wat-wat, wat-wat-wat." So right off— right off the bat you know how deep this sucker is, so . . . A little bit later on though, it starts getting real weird—there's a deluxe piano solo, which will be played for you by Doctor Lang, and uh—Mike Lang, you know Mike—and uh, there is also some synthesizer stuff in it.

But the main thing that's happening that's fun in this piece—because, folks, fun is the keyword to everything—there is a fun part in this where there's a war in the string section over here, now . . . I want you to, I want you to watch very, very carefully in this one part where they just uh, mildly begin to cavort and suddenly, as if by some sort of mysterious inspiration, the viola player cuts loose with a wah-wah pedal solo, which causes . . . This solo causes consternation among the other legitimate members of the quartet. Also because she's a girl and she gets the first solo. So that's pissing them off right from the beginning. This coupled with the fact that the solo is being played on a viola—not one of your popular instruments—is going to really make them want to gang up on her later, which they do—later in the piece, one by one, the other members of the string quartet prepare to take their revenge on the viola player.

So, then, a little bit later after all that has happened, the melody—if there be such in this piece—atomizes itself, why it just blows itself to little pieces, and then in the end you'll hear it sprinkled all over the orchestra with harp notes, celesta notes and high piano notes—just like they do in the movies when it's going to go, "Woooohh . . . ," and then you hear the wind machine, and then at the end there's a special visual surprise that we have gotten permission from the Hall to do.

Before I, before I introduce to you the gentleman who is going to conduct this monstrosity—and do one heck-of-a-job at it, I might add, 'cause we recorded that this afternoon without an audience and it sounded pretty good then, but maybe this will be hot one—before I bring, before I bring out the conductor, I wanna tell you that one of the problems in doing this kind of a concert is the fact that without amplification, even 37 people are not loud enough for rock & roll standards, so in order to make it balanced—and I hope it does balance—I'm going to jump off here and go down and sit at the mixing console and try and keep the sections together and keep the feedback from happening. Of course if I chump it, you'll just have to realize that it's my fault, they're doing it okay—if it sounds wrong, blame it on me.

And now, I'd like to introduce to you, Michael Zearott, who is going to conduct it . . . Ta-dah!

2. Bogus Pomp 15:01

includes a quotation from Who Needs The Peace Corps?

Well, thanks, folks, uh— Yeah, really deep, eh? Well, see, uh . . . What was the second we played last night? . . . Ah, that's it! Alright. This tune is called "The Revised Music For Low-Budget Symphony Orchestra," this is a . . . a 37-piece arrangement, and uh, well I just hope it turns out better tonight than it did last night—it was a little cheesy last night, guys—so let's try and keep it together tonight, you know what I mean? Alright, Michael! Michael Zearott.

3. Revised Music For Low-Budget Symphony Orchestra 6:54

Okay.

4. The Story Of Pedro's Dowry 2:10

Now I get to conduct one.

The name of this tune is . . . The name of this tune is "Pedro's Dowry."

Let me tell you the story here. This was also written as a ballet, but we still don't have the budget for that sort of thing. Here is the plot.

A woman—with ocean front property—waits for someone named Pedro in a skiff—a form of boat. She will launder his [...] up shirt in a splendid sunset. He will play an inexpensive guitar. She will make him a stimulating drink, and while he drinks it, she will put on some more lipstick.

Later, they'll have a cheap little fuck and accidentally knock over an ashtray. In the confusion, she might have misplaced her necklace. Within moments, Muriel has cleaned the rug.

Now mix it good, Davey.

One, two, three, four . . .

5. Pedro's Dowry 8:08

Thank you! The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra! And this—intermission.

6. The Story Of Rollo 3:38

Well, folks, welcome to part two of our teen-age extravaganza here tonight. During— I'm going to. During this section I'm, I'm going to im— Eh? . . . Say it again? . . . You mean Emil "Six Doubles" Radocchia? . . . Alright, now, listen.

I don't know what's gonna happen here when I turn this guitar on, it may be louder than the band—I hope it doesn't messed it up too much, you know—fuzztone and this other stuff doesn't go together too much. We are . . . Let's see, what are we—? Oh. This song that we're going to play is called "Rollo," and the story of "Rollo" goes like this.

In a record that we had out 'bout a year or so ago, the Apostrophe (') album, there was a song called "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow," and . . . and also, also, in the end of that, there was a section called "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast." Now, during the "St. Alfonzo's" area there's a little tune that goes, "Ra-na-na na-na-na na-na-nant, ra-na-na na-na -na-na-nant . . ." Well, that little area there used to be called "Rollo" a long time ago, and I just stuck it in "St. Alfonzo's" 'cause I thought it was cute. But this is a, a sort of a puffed-up version of the original "Rollo" in its original format—it's more— yeah, it's sort of a puffed-up "Son Of Rollo," yes—and it has a—for those of you that are into the contrapuntal field—it has a, it has some contrapuntal doodahs at the end that you might enjoy. But basically what it's got in the middle of it is a dumb guitar solo in the key of E minor that will lengthen the program by about, oh, five more minutes. And uh . . . Alright. And uh— And so on and so forth.

So, here's Michael Zearott again. He's gonna come up, wave the stick on it.

7. Rollo 7:00

Thank you.

disc 3

1. Black Napkins Instructions 4:34

Thank you.

Okay. Moving, moving right along now with the deviation, as promised, from last night's program . . . What? . . . Unfortunately, if I come up here I can't hear the drums, see? So— Now, here, this is what I look like, and with the guitar is like this. So, we're going to do another piece now that the band has never played because it's not written down, for one thing, but it's so simple minded that with a few cheap explanations we should be able to do it. Now . . . No, no, not that . . . Boy, do we have a surprise for you.

Alright. Hey, gang! The changes for this song are C# minor for 2 bars, D major 7 for 2 bars, and that's it. And it's in 3/4, and we'll voice it out . . . uh . . . let's see . . . Oh, you guys just pick any voicing, it's like a . . . Let's put a suspension on top with a C, uh, you can have a C#, and a B and an F#, they'll stay over both chords. Only low register instruments can play the note D when it changes to the D major 7, and the low brass should be voiced out with bass trombone and tuba with a D on the bottom, and then both of you guys play E, the 9th over that. French horns the A in the middle. Okay?

And then the trumpets uh . . . C— C#, F# and B, and when it goes to the, the C# minor chord, you guys stay on the same notes and you guys move . . . ah-ah-ah . . . D goes down to a C#, the A goes to a G# and the E stays where it is. Okay?

Alright. So can we hear that just a little bit, you know? Just it's about— One, two, three, one, two, three . . .

Okay, right, that, that was just a demo. Okay. Similar voicing over here. I'd like to have uh, both of you guys on baritone playing those, the root, boring root progression, and uh, you stay on the alto. You stay on the sarrusophone, play the boring bottom end of it while everybody else grabbing you the notes in between. Three piccolos . . .

Oh, you will admit it— Basically what's gonna happen is I want to play more guitar in the concert and the easiest way I could do it is just have a vamp play like this. So, here's, here's our little jam session for ya.

And the, the conductor goes like this . . .

2. Black Napkins 7:30

Thank you. Thank you. Alright. Now this— The next, next tune is an old song—well it's two old songs glued together in a medley. It's "The Dog Breath Variations" and "Uncle Meat." The name of the piece is "Dog Meat."

3. Dog/Meat 5:02

includes Uncle Meat

 

4. The Players 1:07

Audience Member:

Who are the players?

FZ:

Heh heh. Well, you see, we couldn't afford a program, but uh, if you like to know who the players are at this time, would each one of you please rise and say your name . . .

These players are L.A.'s finest.

Now, we have a— I get to conduct another one. This— What? . . . Oo-hoo, how [...] of you. The name of this song, folks, is "Naval Aviation In Art?" It's a very, it's a very quiet, short—it's short and quiet, it's one of those kind of short and quiet songs.

6. "Another Weirdo Number" 1:04

Alright. Here's what we'll do. I will stay in the uh— I don't know. Gotta think of the pacing of the show, you know, if the uh . . . I think, I think that you could probably tolerate, in your infinite wisdom, another weirdo number, so we're gonna play part of Lumpy Gravy. This is an extract . . . This is another one of our jamming tunes, folks, because uh, in the case of this one, I didn't have a chance to finish off the arrangement for this group, so there's fifty bars written out and then after that we wing it. See if you can tell where the written music stops and the other stuff start.

One, two, three, four . . .

7. Lumpy Gravy (Extract)/Improvisation 7:01

 

8. Evening At The Hermitage 3:23

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. The name of the next song is "Duke Of Prunes."

9. "A Special Guest Artist" 0:43

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The name of the next song is "Duke Of Prunes." Michael . . . We have a special guest artist who is going to play some harmonica on this number. This is Mr., Mr Tommy Morgan, who is I believe a former student at UCLA—he studied Musicology here—and he's one heck of a harmonica player, I wanna tell you. So he's gonna, he's gonna jam with us on "Duke Of Prunes" [...].

10. Duke Of Prunes 5:40

 

11. "Absolutely Disgusting" 1:43

Ladies and gentlemen, we have some material that uh—well, you know, it's not quite— No, we'd better not, really. It's too risky . . . No, because what I was gonna do is some stuff that we have practiced but it ain't really good yet, and that combined with the fact that the mix isn't too swank in here, you know, you can't really hear the details—it might just be a waste of time, so . . .

So let's take a vote on it. How many say they wouldn't care if they heard something that sounded absolutely disgusting? . . . Alright, then, in that case we'll take a chance . . . Let's try— This is a . . . Hello. This is the "Steno Pool" section from "Greggery Peccary."

[...] One, two, three . . .

12. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary 13:39

includes quotations from Billy The Mountain, Blessed Relief and It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal

Well, that's sort of how it goes. Now, this is our last tune, folks. This is a— The name of this song is "Strictly Genteel."

13. Strictly Genteel 7:23

includes a theme from Inca Roads

Well, it's been swell having you with us tonight, folks. Hope you enjoyed the concert. Thanks for coming to it. Good night.

 

All compositions by Frank Zappa except as noted
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Original transcription by Román
This page updated: 2019-10-30