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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A neglected gem from an eccentric genius
This rarely crops up in discussions of Frank's work, but it is well worth checking out and far better than the Mothers at Filmore East. It has everything from Volman and Kaylan doing Jolson impressions on the sublime 'Magdalena', to one of Frank's very best guitar solos, an entire side of Goon Show type humour (Billy the Mountain), terrific energy from the band, lightning...
Published on 19 Feb. 2010 by Mr. Philip Baird

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very slick musical comedy record: but not for neophytes
Those who are allergic to Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan) will want to leave this alone. But even those who know somewhat of Frank's early '70s "musical comedy" period should approach this with caution.
The main event - the 24-minute "Billy The Mountain" - may be (as some critics claim) an allegory of the anti-Vietnam/militant hippie movements of the lats...
Published on 1 Oct. 2009 by coca-ebola


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very slick musical comedy record: but not for neophytes, 1 Oct. 2009
By 
coca-ebola (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Those who are allergic to Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan) will want to leave this alone. But even those who know somewhat of Frank's early '70s "musical comedy" period should approach this with caution.
The main event - the 24-minute "Billy The Mountain" - may be (as some critics claim) an allegory of the anti-Vietnam/militant hippie movements of the lats '60s. After all, when the mountain comes to life and goes on a wrecking spree, he only wrecks the right-wing areas of America (air force bases, weapon-manufacturer waste disposal sites, Glendale...). But the story seems to break down early, disappearing up a blind alley when the government tries to draft the mountain into the army with the aid of wimpish would-be superhero Studebaker Hock (think Richard Nixon as Clark Kent). Musically, it resembles a cartoon soundtrack, lots of sound effects and advertising-jingle-style snippets of music. (A much longer version on the "Playground Psychotics" reveals that a lot of edits were made to the performance). It IS funny, in spots, though: especially if you know a little bit about Californian small towns, their chain stores, car dealers etc. (As you can imagine, parts of the lyric were tailored to local audiences wherever they performed it).
The other notorious song on the album, "Magdelena", is a true-life tale of a French-Canadian Zappa fan who left home after her father started trying to molest her. Howard who co-wrote the music and lyrics, portrays the incestuous father as completely unrepentant. Frank had already dealt with this difficult subject matter in a couple of songs: at this point though, he seemed to be developing an incest fixation - fortunately it didn't last, fatherhood must have brought him to his senses. Howard also seems to have regretted this song as he got older. (Incidentally, this song started life as an attempt to set some verses from Lord Of The Rings to music - strange how things turn out).
The other songs are a spoof of a then-current commercial for double-knit suits (Eddie Are You Kidding, which seems to be a carry-over from the Turtles stage repertoire, judging by the composer credits), and acouple of re-arranged Mothers Of Invention oldies: "Call Any Vegetable" (which works) and "Dog Breath" (which is inconsequential).
Zappa collectors will need to own this album, but anyone in the early stages of FZ scholarship should delay buying this one (along with "Playground Psychotics") until they've heard the main Flo & Eddie era albums.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A neglected gem from an eccentric genius, 19 Feb. 2010
By 
Mr. Philip Baird (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This rarely crops up in discussions of Frank's work, but it is well worth checking out and far better than the Mothers at Filmore East. It has everything from Volman and Kaylan doing Jolson impressions on the sublime 'Magdalena', to one of Frank's very best guitar solos, an entire side of Goon Show type humour (Billy the Mountain), terrific energy from the band, lightning quick time changes, and the usual intelligent satire. That sums up about half of it. 'Billy the Mountain' slso seems to almost possess the qualities of a twisted American short story, with an informed social and political commentary and the use of classic American myth and metaphor underpinning the infectious humour. The old 'side-two' of the original album is a rollercoaster of laughs, pace, quickfire turns from the band, great singing, and on 'Dog Breath' Frank whips out one of those 'Muffin Man' type solos that takes the whole thing to the top. Perhaps not the place to start your Zappa adventure, but after a few plays it will definitely go into your list of guilty pleasures.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmistakably, Unmissably Zappa!!, 20 Jan. 2001
A mountain dodging the draft? Flying lessons from super-hero Studebaker Hawke?? Unbelievable, folks - except in the mind of Zappa!
Like his "Apostrophe" album, there is not a single cut on this album that is less than brilliant. "Billy the Mountain" occupied a complete side on the original vinyl (Boring? - Eddie are you kidding me?).
From outsize outfitters, through vegetarian roach clips and Canadian lust, to the unbelievable and magically constructed guitar solo on "Dogbreath", the genius of FZ shines through. Zappa was one of the truly great guitar stylists of the last century and demonstrated complete mastery of the fuzzbox - a skill which vindicated this much misused piece of equipment. Add to this the zaniest sense of humour in the universe - just for good measure.
Next, call any vegetable - make it a friend!
If you've never heard of FZ (unlikely), or are not yet a fan, get this album. One play and you'll be hooked for life!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best from the Flo & Eddie era!, 13 Jun. 2009
This is a far better album than its sister, Fillmore East June 1971. Better production, better songs, more coherence all round. Fillmore East was never designed to be more than a stopgap, in part due to the delayed release of 200 Motels. But with Just Another Band, Zappa had all the time in the world (convalescing with a broken leg having been thrown off stage by an angry fan at the Rainbow Theatre in December the previous year) and a vast pile of outstanding live performances to choose from.

First heard on vinyl, back in the early '70s - it was great then and still sounds just as fresh on CD now. The album begins with the 25 minute "Billy the Mountain", an astoudingly clever construct which presents itself as a mini-operatta where draft-dodging, air-force bases, Las Vegas, an economic superhero with a most amusing method of levitation, and SO much more, all tie-in to one of zappa's most hilarious pieces of social commentary. After this the listener is pummelled with a storming suite of songs covering issues such as how to treat your vegetables, double knit pants which stretch in all the right places, and father-daughter paedophilia. Inane advertising jingles and slogans serve as a conceptual theme throughout the album - Zappa absorbs this stuff and spits it back in our face. And we take notice 'cause it's so damn funny.

This, and most of the other Zappa albums with Flo & Eddie, have an enthusiastic dynamism about them which later, more high-brow Zappa line-ups, were never quite able to capture. If you only get one from this era, get this one. It's easily the best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite Zappa albums Flo and Eddie and the musical humour ..., 2 Dec. 2014
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One of my favourite Zappa albums Flo and Eddie and the musical humour and genius of Zappa at their peak
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lesser work and a low point for Frank in the early 70's, 11 Mar. 2011
By 
James (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This album is one of two recorded live with the Flo & Eddie-era Mothers at the start of the 70's (the other being the Fillmore East). I managed to track my original vinyl copy down at great expense in the mid 80's when almost none of Frank's work had yet been released on CD. Unfortunately I wasn't impressed. The early Mothers' experimentation had gone and was replaced with a sort of muso-garage psych-rock mixed with Flo & Eddie's comedy vaudeville routines. It's also rather poorly produced (which is suprising considering the care Frank normally put into the sonic creation of his work). Unfortunately Billy The Mountain, which takes up the whole of side 1 is rambling and really quite dull. It's a precursor to Gregory Pecary on Studio Tan which is also a crazed attempt at some kind of Broadway musical gone mad but neither really work. It wasn't until Thing Fish that Frank cracked this sort of thing (and even then you have to be a hardcore fan such as myself to really appreciate its wonderfullness). Side 2 is a selection of smutty, sexist and quite dull numbers which frankly are not a patch on the albums that were to follow. Overnite Sensation is only 1 year away and that's one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Buy that, then almost everything else, then buy this.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mountain's pilgrim's progress... classic rock comedy, 19 Nov. 2002
By 
Dobester (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
This was one of the first Zappa albums I ever heard, and the 25-minute epic of billy the mountain’s journey across America (paid for by the postcard royalties he finally picks up) is still hilarious. Childish, silly, immature, too, but with a sharp edge that (as usual) Zappa works under the bland, accepting façade of everyday American life. He then yanks the blade up, baring the stupidity, smugness, hypocrisy and slavishness of much of late sixties-early seventies American society.
Zappa was completely against the use of drugs, yet this silly masterpiece is highly addictive. Just another Zappa paradox. If “Tommy” was a “rock opera”, this is mock opera of the highest quality. Do yerself a favah an buy it TODAAAAAAAY!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and masterful. Classic Zappa at his best., 23 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
As always Zappa finds the words, bizzare yet brilliant. The music is orchestrated to perfection. 'Billy the Mountain' is Zappa at his best. A full side on vinyl and just as good on cd. Zappa thought hard and well on this storyline about a draft dodging mountain and his soon to be wife Ethel the tree. It's a must buy for any Zappa enthusiast. The rest of the album, 4 more in total, is just as on target as the main attraction, Billy, the coolest mountain you'll ever hear about.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmistakably, Unmissably Zappa!!, 20 Jan. 2001
A mountain dodging the draft? Flying lessons from super-hero Studebaker Hawke?? Unbelievable, folks - except in the mind of Zappa!
Like his "Apostrophe" album, there is not a single cut on this album that is less than brilliant. "Billy the Mountain" occupied a complete side on the original vinyl (Boring? - Eddie are you kidding me?).
From outsize outfitters, through vegetarian roach clips and Canadian lust, to the unbelievable and magically constructed guitar solo on "Dogbreath", the genius of FZ shines through. Zappa was one of the truly great guitar stylists of the last century and demonstrated complete mastery of the fuzzbox - a skill which vindicated this much misused piece of equipment. Add to this the zaniest sense of humour in the universe - just for good measure.
Next, call any vegetable - make it a friend!
If you've never heard of FZ (unlikely), or are not yet a fan, get this album. One play and you'll be hooked for life!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy the Mountain, 18 Aug. 2014
Well, No real hard core FZ fan could be without this album. FZ is well known for his lengthy (and impossible to play guitar solos as well as his humourous lyrics. This album captures both. Billy the Mountain (alongside The Adventures of Gregory Peccary) something you need to play whenever the mom-in-law arrives for tea.
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Just Another Band From L.A.
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