|Trouble Every Day||5:31|
|Penguin in Bondage||6:44|
|Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel||6:42|
|What's New in Baltimore?||4:47|
|Let's Move to Cleveland||16:43|
|Total Time: 61 min, 34 sec|
After dozens of song titles that end in question marks, there's finally an album that asks the question posed by Zappa's entire career - Does humor belong in music? For most FZ fans, the answer is yes. A live album recorded by the 1984 band, this disc was for some reason only released in Europe and remained unavailable in the U.S. for a decade. Rykodisc finally issued it here as part of the 1995 re-release of the entire catalog. I'm not sure why it took so long - I've heard conflicting stories suggesting that it might not have been an FZ approved release in the first place. But it's definitely a professionally put-together album, and if FZ didn't approve of it, it probably wouldn't have been included in the 1995 reissues.
This isn't an album that I listen to all that often, but it does have its moments. The versions of Tinsel-Town Rebellion (with numerous quotes from 80s pop music) and What's New in Baltimore are two of the best performances I've heard of those songs. This album also introduced Hot-Plate Heaven (although because of the delayed U.S. release, many American fans heard the song first on Broadway the Hard Way), which is a catchy number with some great political lyrics. "Republicans is fine if you're a multi-millionaire, Democrats is fair if all you own is what you wear, but neither of them's really right 'cause of them care, about that hot-plate heaven, 'cause they ain't been there". Cock-Sucker's Ball has the most four-letter words you're likely to hear jammed into a one minute song, and be warned that it'll get stuck in your head. Let's Move to Cleveland is a monster, with the keyboards and guitars taking long solos.
A couple potential negatives about the album - there are some synthetic drum sounds used, which tends to put off some fans. There's also a weird, buzzing distortion on the guitar in places that may or may not be intentional. But if those things don't bother you, then this album is a pretty good documentary of what the 1984 band was capable of. Now if only they would get the video that originally accompanied this release back in print...