"Zappa in New York" by Frank Zappa Is Released
Zappa in New York is a live album by Frank Zappa.
It was recorded at a series of concerts at New York City's Palladium in December 1976,
Zappa had originally intended to release the album in 1977, but the release was delayed over disagreements between Zappa's DiscReet Records label and the distributor, Warner Bros. Records. A small number of LP and cassette copies appeared in 1977 with Zappa's originally intended track listing. But soon after, Warner withdrew the album and removed the song "Punky's Whips" without authorization. Warner also re-sequenced some of the remaining tracks before re-releasing the LP in March 1978.
When Zappa's distribution agreement with Warner ended in 1982, the rights reverted to him. Zappa re-issued the album as a remixed double CD in 1991, restoring "Punky's Whips". The CD version of the song also included a good deal of overdubbed guitar, which had been recorded at the same time as the album's other overdubs but was not used on the LP version. The CD re-issue of Zappa in New York also added four new bonus tracks and a significantly longer version of "Titties and Beer".
The album is notable for the presence of members of the Saturday Night Live band, including Lou Marini and Tom Malone, and also featured the Brecker Brothers. In addition, Don Pardo was invited by Zappa to the Palladium concert, and he narrates introductory statements on "Punky's Whips" and "The Illinois Enema Bandit" and also "sings" a verse of "I'm the Slime" (he did the same for Zappa's 1976 Saturday Night Live appearance).
Zappa in New York presented mostly new material. "Punky's Whips", a tale concerning drummer Terry Bozzio's infatuation with Punky Meadows, a guitarist in the band Angel, was set to a complex musical composition. There is also the humorous "Titties and Beer", featuring Terry Bozzio in the role of the Devil, with whom Zappa is trying to negotiate in order to reacquire the titular possessions. Typical for Zappa, alongside such "funny" songs, he also presented such musically complex pieces as "The Black Page" and "Manx Needs Women", which stretched the band to its limits. "The Purple Lagoon", an extended track which took up an entire side of the original vinyl release, features a rhythmically challenging opening theme (which also includes an arrangement of Zappa's earlier composition "Approximate") and jazzy solos from the Brecker Brothers, bassist Patrick O'Hearn and saxophonist Ronnie Cuber.
Along with the new songs, Zappa also included fresh arrangements of the waltz "Sofa" (which originally appeared on One Size Fits All) and an old R&B-styled Mothers of Invention tune, "Big Leg Emma".