Frank Zappa


Many fans regard 1973 to ’76 as the zenith of Zappa’s career, encompassing beloved albums like Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury, and his FM masterpiece, Apostrophe (’). This live set captures several shows in Pennsylvania during that stellar period.

To hear Frank’s skittering Gibson SG shred, fire up the May ’74 gig featuring monster keyboardist George Duke and future Genesis drummer Chester Thompson. Zappa drops a perfectly fret-melting solo on “Montana.” From a different ’74 gig comes the funky jam of “Stink-Foot,” rife with an unusual fuzz-wah tone and surprisingly sophisticated chord work. “Son of Orange County” is a ballad with plenty of room for Mixolydian runs and intricate melody work.

At the ’76 show with super-drummer Terry Bozzio and bassist Patrick O’Hearn (who gets an extended solo), Zappa tears it up on “Dirty Love” and the R-rated “Camarillo Brillo.” Of course, you can’t have an FZ live album without “Muffin Man,” his six-string signature. As usual, he delivers the Big Muff goods with a raging solo and post-Hendrix insanity. Sure, Zappa/Erie is just one of the artist’s gazillion live albums; nevertheless, it’s full of wit, killer musicians, and endless SG fury.

This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

No posts to display