Frank Zappa – Happy Together In Fillmore West (Guitar Master GM-016/017)

Happy Together In Fillmore West (Guitar Master GM-016/017)

Disc 1 (61:22), Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA – November 5th, 1970:  Have Gun Will Travel, Call Any Vegetable, The Sanzini Brothers, A Pound For A Brown On The Bus, Algonquin Twins, Sharleena, The Air, Dog Breath, You Didn’t Try To Call Me, instrumental, Easy Meat

Disc 2 (63:21), Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA – November 6th, 1970:  Have  Gun Will Travel, Call Any Vegetable, The Sanzini Brothers, Penis Dimension, The Senzini Brothers, Little House I Used to Live In, Penis Dimension, Mudshark, Dr. John parody interlude, Touring Can Make You Crazy, Would You Like A Snack, Holiday In Berlin / jam, Cruising For Burgers, Easy Meat, talk about San Francisco / “bullshit”, Daddy Daddy Daddy, Do You Like My New Car?, Happy Together, Who Are The Brain Police?

Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention played the Fillmore West on November 5, 6, 7, & 8, 1970.  Happy Together In Fillmore West on Guitar Master collects together the soundboard recordings for the first two nights of the stand.  In both of these shows he was supported by Boz Scaggs and Ashton Gardner Dyke.

Zappa abandoned the original Mothers at the close of the 60s but reformed them in 1970 and included two members of the Turtles, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (sometimes known as Flo & Eddie) to aid in the music and, increasingly, Zappa’s strange comedy routines.

The first disc contains the hour long November 5th tape with very good quality.  It’s quite bottom heavy and bassy, but thankfully there is no distortion in the mix and the sound is overall very enjoyable.  It fades in for “Have Gun Will Travel,” and it has only just under two minutes of the final song “Easy Meat.” 

The tape fades in during the “Have Gun Will Travel” routine leading into a twelve minute rendition of “Call Any Vegetable” which provides the first jazz hint of the night’s music. The set meanders through many and various styles and routines.  “Algonquin Twins” has part of “Sleeping In A Jar,” “Porko The Magnificent” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”

But the weight of the show falls upon the finale, a twenty-two minute jam improvisation on “King Kong.”  It contains demonic playing with buzz-saw guitars and is punctuated by an intense drum solo.   

The November 6th show on disc two is also in excellent soundboard sound quality.  It has a cut at 2:48 in the Dr. John parody, but is otherwise complete.  This copy is closer to the Bill Graham master since it doesn’t suffer from the several major dropouts and right channel level reductions in past copies.  It is said that this comes from Carlos Santana’s cassette copy who gave it to a friend.   

The show begins the same as the previous night with the “Have Gun Will Travel” sketch leading into “Call Any Vegetable” and the Sanzini brothers, but it soon takes another direction.  Zappa is eager to promote the 200 Motels film, which had just received funding, and punctuates the night with endless penis jokes and references. 

Also of note is the inclusion of a cover of the Turtles’ “Happy Together.”  This title is packaged in a slimline jewel case with professional printed inserts.  For the Frank Zappa collector, one who understand and enjoys the zaniness of the early seventies output, this is a great release worth having.     

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