For the Deep Zappa Fan

I don’t make a habit of pimping YouTube sites often, but I thought I would highlight 2 that I came across that are worthy of mention. You can find Zappa bootlegs all over the place, but these 2 sites offer something you can’t find just anywhere and their work deserves a mention.

Now I have collected an insane amount of Zappa bootlegs, even by my own account, and I probably don’t need any more for the foreseeable future, but there are certain Zappa items that still capture my attention. These fall under the term “solo collections”. For officially Zappa released version of this concept, a collections of guitar solos from various songs check out…

“Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar” or “Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar Some More” or “Return Of The Son Of Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar”. These can be had singly or in a box set. They are an amazing record of the brilliance of Zappa’s guitar solo work and these tracks are great to listen to even thought the concept seems odd. All solos all the time. I bought the box set on vinyl.

At any rate, at one point I stumbled onto a YouTuber called br1tag.

I kept seeing the term “genetically modified” on a bunch of his videos and was curious.

Damn, am I glad I checked it out. What br1tag has done is create collections of solos in the same vein as the “Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar” and curated collections of songs from various shows. They are incredible and the amount of work that he puts into this must be staggering. For an example here is his culled collection of solos from the “In New York 40th Anniversary” box set. He is always very clear about his content:

Frank Zappa – Guitar Solos In New York (14 guitar solos recorded live in December 1976 in New York) – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – WARNING: THIS IS NOT A OFFICIAL ALBUM! This is from my own private collection. I created this compilation for my personal pleasure. These 14 guitar solos are taken from the official album “In New York 40th Anniversary” You can listen to all these solos in their exhilarating original context in the new official box set “In New York 40th Anniversary”. I hope this collection will encourage all fans to buy the official box. It’s worth it! It is a well of gems! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Between the solos, to make listening enjoyable, I created “segue”. They are the result of numerous cuts and sewn (editing).

If you try and imagine all the solos chopped out and pieced together it probably sounds harsh in your head, but br1tag has made this a smooth listening experience. He has some definite editing chops. Bravo is all I can say.

Here is an example of some of his genetically modified work in which he pulls from different sources. You can tell the love and painstaking effort he puts in by his notes on this one.

The production of this compilation was very long due to the last song (Yo Mama). This guitar solo is phenomenal, but for a long time I couldn’t get it to take off. After two months of testing, 40 EQ curves and infinite stereo balance … no no no! Let’s start again from the beginning! Again and again. I knew I could make it explode in its beauty, but I couldn’t find a way. Then I finally managed to get the result I wanted: A sweet, enveloping and moving sound. But also violent and hard. Frank Zappa at the highest level! He nails you in the chair for 11 minutes. Now it’s so beautiful that it makes me cry. I hope you too.

He also makes awesome “covers” for his stuff. Thumbnails I suppose, but you can easily imagine them as CD covers. Go check him out.

Now I had just finished my own journey of downloading/culling/editing/posting my first of the Smashing Pumpkins Gossamer videos on my YouTube channel (giving me a suddenly new appreciation for those that produce these kinds of labors of love!) when I saw a video get recommended for me that kind of blew my mind.

It purported to be 5 hours of solos from the song Black Napkins, which any Zappa fan will know. I HAD to check it out on this YouTube channel.

The first video I saw there though was this one.

This is one of a series of such videos that collects great songs, again from different sources, which CoasterMagicX2 is very clear about in his notes:

Collected Live Songs and Improvisations of Frank Zappa and His Bands – A Live Album in the Style of the YCDTOSA Series Collected Live Songs and Improvisations of Frank Zappa and His Bands is A Live Album I’ve been constructing for the past week or so from live Audience and Soundboard recordings. Since these are Audience and soundboard recordings, a lot of them are not the best quality but all of them I believe are listenable. I would appreciate a like and/or comment to spread Frank Zappa’s music to more people. The music is split into two “disks” that are about an hour and 15 minutes in length (the amount of uncompressed music that can fit on a CD).

As an avid Zappa bootleg fan, I had no issues whatsoever with the audio here. I loved it. Live Zappa is where it’s at.

Then I had to check out the 5 hour “Black Napkins” collection.

From his notes:

Do you like Black Napkins? Would you listen to over 5 hours of Black Napkins solos? Then this is the extended edition for you! This starts off with the beginning of black napkins and goes through every Black Napkins solo section (with good sound quality) from the fall 75 and winter 76 bands (in mostly chronological order) and then ends with the end of black napkins. This creates the illusion of one giant performance of black napkins as best as I could. Enjoy! This compilation is constructed from Audience tapes, Some of the tapes are not of amazing sound quality but are all listenable (at least graded a B)

It makes me wince at the effort it must have taken to stitch these all together, seriously, I can’t even imagine the effort to not only compile all this, but then turn them into videos and then waiting painstakingly and pray they don’t bug out while trying to upload… but his efforts turned out amazing. It takes someone who really loves the music to commit to a project like this. This isn’t even the longest video he has out there!

He has some nice standard bootlegs too, but it’s his collections and monster solo jam compilations that are definitely worth stopping in for. 

If you want some standard Zappa bootlegs you can find plenty with little effort, but for some really hand crafted with love compilations you can’t do much better than these 2 YouTubers.

Check ’em out and tell them The Aural Retentive sent you!

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