You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 6

Frank Zappa

Rykodisc Records, 1992

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When I first started to get into Frank Zappa's massive You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore series, the first volume I chose to listen to was the final one. You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 6 (hereafter referred to as YCDTOSA6) seemed to have the perfect mixture of tongue-in-cheek weirdness and solid rock that I was looking for - that, and I wasn't ready to tackle the pre-1970 Mothers Of Invention period just yet.

YCDTOSA6 is a solid ending to this six-volume, twelve-CD series, although there are moments that are strictly for the diehard Zappa fan, and not the casual browser.

Disc one deals with a subject that was near and dear to Zappa's heart - sex. (Boy, can't you imagine the fun he'd be having with the current political situations? I mean, who isn't having an affair in Washington?) Starting with the impromptu "The M.O.I. Anti-Smut Loyalty Oath", you know you're in for a wild time with this first half of the disc.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If you're easily offended, let's be honest, you're probably not listening to Zappa in the first place. From Zappa's barbs at then-popular rock star Peter Frampton ("Is That Guy Kidding Or What?", "I Have Been In You") to, aah, bizarre acts ("The Madison Panty-Sniffing Festival", "Lonely Person Devices," "Ms. Pinky," "Make A Sex Noise"), Zappa knocks down all walls of taboo and dares to bring into the forefront that which has always been kept behind closed doors.

And while some of these songs seem to only touch upon the subject in question, the first half of YCDTOSA6 is the most solid and the most enjoyable. Especially noteworthy for me is the cut "Shove It Right In" (originally off the unlistenable soundtrack for 200 Motels); this possibly is the best version of this track I've ever heard - which is why Zappa included it in this collection, of course.

Disc two seems to continue the theme of sex at times ("The Illinois Enema Bandit," "Catholic Girls," "Crew Slut"), but for the most part acts as a "catch-all" for the rest of the collection, taking in songs that just might not have seemed to fit any of the other discs' themes.

Problem is, some of these tracks do require some patience on the part of the listener, such as "Thirteen" and "Lonesome Cowboy Nando" (the latter actually is an interesting merge of tracks from 1971 and 1988). I've never been a big fan of the album Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention, so it's a little more difficult for me to get through tracks like "We're Turning Again" and "Alien Orifice". In a sense, this last disc's success depends on what particular flavor of Zappa's music you like - though there should be something for everyone on this particular disc.

YCDTOSA6 contains the material that would have made Tipper Gore cringe, but it also contains some of the more exciting material in this collection - that is, the private asides that normally might be cut from a live album. Zappa's interaction with his audience was what made his live shows that much more interesting - check out "The Poodle Lecture" to see what I mean. (In fact, go find the video Baby Snakes to see the whole lecture; it's much better uncut.)

This series could have easily gone more than six volumes - and, in a way, I wish it did, if only to hear some of the on-stage magic Zappa created that I never got to see. However, YCDTOSA6 is a suitable replacement, and remains one of the better volumes in this collection - as well as a fitting way for the collection to end.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rykodisc Records, and is used for informational purposes only.