|The Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat||4:02|
|Earl of Duke||5:49|
|Oh No / Son of Orange County||7:10|
|More Trouble Every Day||7:17|
|A Token of My Extreme||1:25|
|Total Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes, 22 seconds|
You know, I never, ever thought I'd say this...but I'm starting to get a little sick of the Roxy band. I'm coming to this album fairly late (it was out for four years before I finally noticed that it existed and bought a copy), but this seems like it's the third or fourth rehashing of the Roxy material that's been released in the last few years. There was Roxy the Movie, which came with its own soundtrack CD, there was Roxy by Proxy, there was The Dub Room Special video and soundtrack CD, and going back a ways there was You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 2, and of course there was the original Roxy and Elsewhere live album.
As if that weren't enough to make this release seem a little unnecessary, it turns out that more than half of this exact same material was released on Dub Room Special. But where that album mixed material from the 1974 performance with a couple songs from a 1982 show, this one sticks to just the original '74 set. Apparently Zappa decided to create a 90 minute TV special and then try to sell it to the major networks and/or syndicators. So he rented out a Los Angeles TV station, brought in a live audience, recorded the Roxy band's standard set and later edited in Bruce Bickford's crazy claymation to cover up the fact that some of the guitar solos were pasted in from other performances. And then was surprised when no American TV sources wanted to buy it from him.
On the plus side, the liner notes make sure to point out that they went back to the original recordings and created an entirely new mix for this CD, and I did notice little keyboard lines and guitar riffs here and there that I had never heard before. Also, this disc does contain a few songs that weren't on Dub Room - Earl of Duke is a vamp that features a George Duke keyboard solo, and Pygmy Twylyte, Oh No, Son of Orange County and More Trouble Every Day are unique to this disc. Plus a couple other tracks are longer versions (including, unfortunately, a twelve minute Room Service routine that takes up way too much of the disc).
I guess, as a completist Zappa fan, I really should get the DVD version of this and watch the video. But you know what? I just don't care. I just can't work up any more enthusiasm for this, especially considering that I watched the Dub Room Special video once or twice and it's been sitting on a shelf gathering dust ever since. Hell, I was super excited about the Roxy Movie finally coming out on DVD and after the first couple spins that one's just been gathering dust too. Hey Zappa Family Trust - time to stop milking the Roxy era. What else you got in the vault? How about some good audio releases? How come that Varese tribute that Frank recorded with Ensemble Modern was never released?