Frank Zappa – Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? (Howard Carter Music Company H&C 004/005)

Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? (Howard Carter Music Company H&C 004/005)

Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA – October 24th, 1976 (early show)

Disc 1 (58:09):  Introduction (The Purple Lagoon), Stinkfoot, The Poodle Lecture, Dirty Love, Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, The Torture Never Stops, City Of Tiny Lights, You Didn’t Try To Call Me, Manx Needs Women, Titties ‘n Beer

Disc 2 (42:09):  Black Napkins, Advance Romance, Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?, Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink, Dinah-Moe Humm, The Purple Lagoon

Frank Zappa started the final round of touring in 1976 with two shows at Tulane University in New Orleans on October 12th.  A week later he played two shows at the Boston Music Hall on October 24th to a typically wild, enthusiastic and engaged audience.  

Two audience recordings are in circulation.  The longer of the two has the complete concert but is in inferior sound quality and has been pressed on Boston Tea Party (Moustache Magic Music MMM-02-1/2).

A second recording is much superior in sound quality.  The taper stood very close to the stage and produced a fantastic sounding document.  Unfortunately it runs out after “Dinah-Moe Humm” and misses “Stranded In The Jungle” and “Muffin Man.”  This tape is used for Zoot Allures Live (Sun House Productions SHP114-2J) and on Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? on Howard Carter.  

The tape opens with the “The Purple Lagoon,” the motif which begins and ends each show on the tour.  Zappa comes on stage and tell the crowd that “we get to spend five days in this town.  You’re gonna have a good time tonight and we’re gonna have a great time the rest of the week.”  After introducing the band they start “Stinkfoot,” which is “the same stupid song about your feet and mine.”

It has the great plodding beat and exotic guitar playing in the middle before degenerating into the poodle lecture, a feature of the stage show for some time.  Zappa’s zircon-encrusted tweezers makes an appearance in the narrative and receives a loud ovation.

A quick segue into “Dirty Love” from Overnite Sensation gives vocalist Bianca Odin her first opportunity of the night.  She was only on the tour for several weeks before leaving for unspecified reasons (and has really dropped out of sight since).  The  mid-tempo funk number is rearranged into a fast, lively disco number.

“The Torture Never Stops” is played at a relaxed pace.  Zappa’s solo in the middle is reminiscent of Jerry Garcia, having a Grateful Dead feel over Bianca’s moaning (in both pain and pleasure).  She also takes over vocals for a mind-blowing rendition of “You Didn’t Try To Call Me,” one of Zappa’s earliest songs.

The two long monster songs follow “Titties N Beer” in the set.  “Black Napkin” tour-de-force, it starts off with a calm, understated arrangement of the theme.  Bianca’s smooth jazz singing is followed by Jobson’s otherworldly violin solo replacing Brock’s saxophone from past tours.

Jamming continues in the same vein for “Advance Romance.”  Bianca delivers a vocal masterpiece while Jobson and Zappa solo in the middle.  Bozzio has a quick, strange, energetic drum solo and bassist O’Hearn is even able to get in a short solo in the proceedings.  Things become silly when poodles make another appearance.  Frank sings “In-A-Gadda-Da-Poodle” before Bianca comes in and sings a simplified version of the chorus of “Any Kind Of Pain” while O’Hearn plays the supporting bass part.

“Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?” is performed the same as it appears on Läther and “Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink” the same as on Chunga’s Revenge with Zappa adequately covering the Flo & Eddie parts.

The set officially ends with “Dinah-Moe Humm,” performed close to the arrangement on Overnight Sensation.  The tempo is a bit faster and Bianca sings he female lines.  The fade out turns into a vaudeville style closing grande finale.

Along with the Pawtucket tape three nights later and the Philly show officially released, Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? is a good document from an underrated Zappa tour and is one of the better sounding unofficial tapes of the time when Bianca was in the band.  Howard Carter could have produced the definitive version if they spliced the encores from the second tape.  But, as it stands, this is a good version of the better sounding, incomplete Boston recording.  

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