Monday, October 5, 2009


The Snapper Music label has issued a series of discs on which they take a closer look to the music that influenced certain artists.
Here's "The Roots Of Frank Zappa".
We all know that Zappa was influenced by L.A. doo-wop, by early rhythm 'n blues and by contemporary classical music. Snapper has collected a number of these rare tracks, a number of which have been mentioned by Zappa in interviews. The result is rather astonishing. Johnny Guitar Watson, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Edgard Varèse, The Spaniels and The Paragons can all be found on this disc. And they match together perfectly.

This means that Snapper did a good job. Listening to "The Roots Of Frank Zappa" gives you familiar sounds. It's great to hear what Frank Zappa was listening to in his early years and how this influenced his musical output.
Maybe some examples of the more 'cartoon-esque' music of Raymond Scott or Spike Jones would have made this compilation more complete, but that's just a minor remark. This is a great bunch of songs.

  • johnny guitar: watson space guitar
  • clarence "gatemouth" brown: okie dokie stomp
  • hank ballard & the midnighters: rock, granny, roll
  • johnny otis: head hunter
  • the five satins: to the aisle
  • the elegants: little star
  • edgard varèse & juilliard percussion orchestra: ionisation
  • big mama thornton: hound dog
  • don & dewey: koko joe
  • guitar slim: oh yeah!
  • the dubs: could this be magic
  • the nutmegs: story untold
  • maro ajemian: third interlude
  • howlin' wolf: moanin' at midnight
  • muddy waters: standing around crying
  • sonny boy williamson: don't start me talkin'
  • hank ballard & the midnighters: work with me annie
  • edgard varèse: interpolations from deserts: interpolation III
  • the paragons: florence
  • the spaniels: goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight

I'm not the biggest fan of compilations, but "The Roots Of Frank Zappa" is the exception on the rule.
Recommended listening.

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