Official Release #68. Originally Released: September 1998. All tracks produced by: FZ. Mystery Disc is a compilation album by Frank Zappa. It was released on CD in 1998, compiling tracks that were originally released on two separate vinyl records and included in the mail order Old Masters box sets, which were released in three volumes between 1985 and 1987. (These box sets, issued on Barking Pumpkin, contained repressings of Zappa's albums from Freak Out! (1966) to Zoot Allures (1976), along with a 'Mystery Disc' in boxes one and two.) The CD omits the last two tracks from the 1985 LP, "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" and "Big Leg Emma", both of which were included on the CD version of Absolutely Free (1967) in 1989.
Between 1985 and 1987, Frank Zappa released a pair of mail-order vinyl box sets called Old Masters that contained remastered and restored versions of all of his albums between Freak Out! and Zoot Allures. Each box contained an album of previously unreleased material called a "mystery disc." Although he eventually reworked and remixed a handful of these cuts for subsequent releases, the majority of these recordings were never again released in any form.
Originally released as two MYSTERY DISC LPs, first issued as bonus records to those who purchased Barking Pumpkins' OLD MASTERS vinyl boxed set in the mid-'80s. MYSTERY DISC includes early jams from Zappa's "Studio Z" days in Cucamonga, live performances by early Zappa bands, musical and spoken-word segments by a young Captain Beefheart, rehearsal sessions by the original Mothers Of Invention lineup and part of the score from the low-budget western Run Home Slow.
Official Release #82. This concert was recorded live at Boston Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts on 24 September 1972. The leaves were gold. FZ was just 31 years of age. Absurdly, this is our third Vaulternative live concert recording (see/hear FZ:OZ, BUFFALO). The medium was ¼” 2-track tape (Scotch), at 7 ½ ips. These stereo masters were digitally transferred from FZ’s Ampex ATR 100 deck into Nuendo at 96 K 24 bit by Joe Travers using Euphonix AM 713 Converters – in April, 2007.
Official Release #94. Finer Moments is a curious but mostly excellent compilation of (mostly) instrumental odds and ends put together by FZ in 1972 that went (mostly) unreleased until 2012. Disc one concentrates on the 1968-1969 Mothers. The first four tracks are from a 1969 Royal Albert Hall show that was partially documented in the film Uncle Meat. "Sleazette" is a great guitar solo, but the Mozart piece loses quite a bit without the "ballet" visuals. "The Wailing Zombie Music" sounds part-composed/part-conducted improvisation. "The Old Curiosity Shoppe" is a nice jam from 1971 featuring some nice wah-wah alto sax from Ian Underwood and wicked soloing from FZ.
Official Release #106. In his trailblazing and incredibly prolific career, artist, composer and all-around musical pioneer Frank Zappa released more than 60 albums in his lifetime, as a solo artist and with his bands the Mothers of Invention and the Mothers. Coupled with more than 40 posthumous releases since his death in 1993 at 52, figuring out where to start in Zappa’s vast, genre-leaping catalog can be daunting. ZAPPAtite – Frank Zappa’s Tastiest Tracks, out now on Zappa Records/UMe, collects some of Zappa’s best known and beloved compositions, from his early psychedelic rock beginnings to his avant-garde experimentation, jazz-rock explorations, symphonic suites and satirical send-ups, compiling them into one easily digestible collection and offering key entryways into the many musical worlds of the visionary musician.
Official Release #107. Uncle Meat gets the deluxe treatment in this three CD Project/Object Audio Documentary. Included is the original 1969 vinyl mix (restored, remastered and available digitally for the first time), an original sequence that includes unique source material and bonus vault tracks mostly compiled from the recording sessions at Apostolic Studios in NYC between 1967 and 1969.
By the closing months of 1981 Frank Zappa had already released five albums during that productive year. Three of these records were his instrumental guitar collections - Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More, and The Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar - initially sold via mail order but later released through CBS. There was also the live double Tinseltown Rebellion and the 2-LP studio set You Are What You Is, released in September. Zappa also hit the road in September 81, performing a largely domestic tour that criss-crossed the US and took in a couple of shows in Canada between September and Christmas. On board for the tour were Frank s latest touring band, comprising Chad Wackerman on drums, Ed Mann on percussion, Tommy Mars on keyboards, Scott Thunes on bass, with Steve Vai and Ray White on guitar.
Official Release #85. This triple volume package contains an audio documentary tracing the conception and construction of Frank Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money (1968) and Lumpy Gravy (1968) masterworks. As the second entry in the Project/Object series (the first being the MoFo Project/Object in 2006 that gathered four CDs worth of goodies from the Freak Out! era), the modus operandi for Lumpy Money (2009) remains much the same as its predecessor. Presented within are primary components from both works in several unique – and formerly unissued – incarnations and configurations. It should also be noted that neither of Zappa's mid-'90s approved masters for We're Only in It for the Money or Lumpy Gravy are found here. Instead of retreading those – which (as of this 2009 writing) remain in print on the Rykodisc label – the nearly three-and-a-half hours served up here offer an embarrassment of insight into the development of the music, as well as the modular recording style that Zappa was evermore frequently incorporating into his craft.