Frank Zappa & The Mothers – Just Another Band From L.A.

More Frank Zappa

  • An insanely good copy of this oddball Rock Opera with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it – exceptionally quiet vinyl too for the most part, although one mark plays
  • Dramatically better sound than the famous Fillmore East album (a personal favorite of mine) – we suspect this album will hold more appeal for Zappa fans rather than audiophiles in general
  • “Released in early 1972, it is the last album to document the Mothers of Invention lineup that included singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan… Fans of the Flo & Eddie period will love the improvised storyline developments.”

This vintage Bizarre pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of Just Another Band From L.A. Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1972
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Recorded in Real Stereo

The master tapes of the UCLA Pauley Pavillion concert were made on a portable Scully 4-track machine at 15 ips, and the master mixes derived therefrom are “real stereo.” – Frank Zappa

Barrymore Keene, Recording Engineer

I’m really proud of this recording. I recorded the band using just two microphones. Instead of using dozens of mics, I set the mix using the volume controls of the band’s instrument amplifiers. I told them if they needed to hear their instrument with more volume, they had to call in a roadie and have their amplifier moved higher or closer to them. The point was, if they turned up their amp, the album would be ruined. They trusted me completely. As a result, the album’s sound is their sound—not a studio mix. I recorded direct to a four track. Frank and I then simply mixed 4-to-2 at Ike Turner’s “Bolic Sound” studio in Inglewood. That was some night. I’m sure all of us remember it well.Frank was still recovering from his injuries from the mishap at the Rainbow Theater in London. With a broken leg, I was transporting him to the studio on a mattress I’d put in the back of my ’47 Chevy panel truck. […] I moved him from the Chevy to his wheelchair and rolled him into the recording studio to supervise as I mixed Just Another Band From LA.

The four tracks we had were stage left, stage right, vocals and one track of room sound (recorded by a KM86 at stage center, facing away from the stage). I put the room sound mono track thru a mono-to-stereo converter, mixed in the band and vocals and we were done. We then ran the whole show thru this system onto a 2-track. This was mastered into the Just Another Band From LA album. Easy as pie.

What We’re Listening For On Just Another Band From L.A.

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.


Side One

Billy The Mountain

Side Two

Call Any Vegetable
Eddie, Are You Kidding?
Dog Breath

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