Frank Zappa - Joe's Xmasage (recorded 1962-1965, released Christmas, 2005)

Mormon Xmas Dance Report   1:51
Prelude to "The Purse"   2:24
Mr. Clean (alternate mix)   2:04
Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?   5:01
The Muthers/Power Trio   3:15
The Purse 11:39
The Moon Will Never be the Same   1:10
GTR Trio 11:21
Suckit Rockit   4:11
Mousie's First Xmas   0:56
The Uncle Frankie Show 11:24
Total Time: 55 min, 33 sec

This release, which was promoted as sort of a Christmas gift to Zappa fans in 2005 (although we still had to pay full price plus exorbitant shipping for it), can be seen as the point where the Zappa Family Trust really started to scrape the bottom of the barrel for unreleased recordings. Actually, I guess Joe's Domage probably started the trend, but the material here on Joe's Xmasage is even less vital. You have to be a serious fanatic, especially for Frank's earliest work, to need this disc.

A lot of this album is not music at all, it's just people talking. Mormon Xmas Dance Report is a very young Frank talking about a dance that his band just played at. The Purse tracks are an audio documentary of Zappa and friends going through some poor girl's purse and making fun of the things they find in it. The Uncle Frankie Show is an excerpt of Zappa being the DJ at an early radio show he hosted. That makes up about half the disc right there.

There are some interesting musical bits, like early, alternate versions of Mr. Clean and Why Don'tcha Do Me Right. There's some proto-Mothers jamming on the Trio tracks. And there's even Mousie's First Xmas (somehow I doubt Frank gave that track its name), a very early (and very short) experiment in avant-guard music.

In general though, this disc is only for completists (like myself) who absolutely have to own every official Zappa release, and maybe for those who really, really love the early Mothers and want to hear some documentation of the pre-Freak Out days. For pretty much anyone else (and even for the folks in the above categories), this'll probably be a CD that you listen to once, maybe twice tops, and then file away and forget you even own it. It made so little impression on me that I originally forgot to review it for this site, and didn't get around to doing so until Trans-Fusion came out.

Album Cover

Image of the Joes's Xmasage album cover