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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Convulsions: Geordie Greep's Favourite Albums
Cal Cashin , July 20th, 2022 13:19

Black Midi frontman Geordie Greep takes Cal Cashin through the thirteen albums that have gripped him the most, from the majesty of Bach to the mania of Léo Ferré


Frank Zappa – Live In New York / We’re Only In It For The Money

I absolutely love Frank Zappa. Well, there’s a lot of times when I’m really not in the mood for him. I suppose because I’ve listened to it so much over the years, there are times when I really don’t want to hear it. But for maybe a week or two every year, I’ll have a phase where all I listen to is Zappa all the time. In those moments, this is just the best music there is. And then I won’t listen to him again until the next phase.

The great thing about Frank Zappa is that he did 60 odd albums in his lifetime, so he has many different eras. His back catalogue basically sounds like a bunch of completely different bands. You might like his classical stuff, his ‘60s psychedelic stuff, or his jazz fusion, or straight ahead rock stuff, but I like it all. There are albums from each era that I think are great, and then albums that are really terrible too. There are albums I can like more, sometimes, but just today I can’t pick between these two albums, Live in New York and We’re Only In It For the Money. I think they probably showcase the most of his strengths. Live in New York is a brilliant concert. He has a fantastic band with him, and it’s the only live album he’d done to this point with a full horn section. It’s a very silly record, it’s got some of his dumbest songs. It’s made up of some new songs just for the album, and some older songs done in his fusion style. Given that I’m in a Zappa mood, I find it all hilarious.

We’re Only In It For the Money is one of his earliest albums with the Mothers of Invention. It’s similar in terms of lyrical content. Even though it’s a parody of the hippy movement, it’s a wonderful album, very much on the psychedelic edge of things. Almost every song is one or two minutes long, and it has these brilliant studio interventions. Halfway through songs, there’ll be a sound of a siren or car screech, then the next song might feature some tape manipulation, and the next one a sound collage or studio chatter. I love that sort of thing, and I’ve always loved it when music or movies declares itself to be a work of artifice. Along with the brash nature of it, there’s also some beautiful songs on the album, and a lot of beautiful chord changes. The last track is called ‘The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny’, it’s a long sound collage that’s very arresting and beautiful.