Monday, December 21, 2015

Frank Zappa - The Boy Wonder Session & Fillmore Auditorium June 1966

Size: 75.2MB
Bitrate: @320
Found in OuterSpace
Some Artwork Included

The Boy Wonder Session Tapes are not raw studio takes and false starts, as has often been assumed by collectors; rather, they are derived from one or more post-production reels of mono mixes and incomplete mixdown takes.

In 1966 there was no sense that rock 'n' roll outtakes would one day have commercial or historical value. Session tapes were commonly wiped and re-used as a cost-cutting measure. This practice was widespread in television also; perhaps the most important reason that Monty Python's Flying Circus seems to come out of nowhere historically is that the BBC systematically wiped tapes of Python's predecessors. Tom Wilson's spoken references to takes 4B, 4C, 11A, 11B, 18 and 29A show that these tapes document only a fraction of the original sessions - but this fraction is probably all that survives.

Early 1966
The mixes of Boy Wonder, I Love You and Orange Colored Sky found here are probably the end mixes used to master Burt Ward's one and only MGM single. As it was the very first song recorded on 9 June, the FZ-penned Boy Wonder, I Love You was likely selected as the A-side of the single before the sessions began. Orange Colored Sky may have been chosen for the B-side at least in part because it was one of the two remaining tracks for which Burt Ward had completed his lead vocals; additional vocals had been planned for other songs, but were canceled when the session budget ran out.

The Boy Wonder Session Tapes circulate among collectors in many different track sequences. They are presented here in the sequence in which they were probably recorded, which is also the sequence in which they were likely archived on T.T.G. post-production reels and, hence, the order in which they were retrieved for mixing.

Two tracks are often omitted from circulating versions of these tapes: an incomplete mixdown of Teenage Bill Of Rights, and what purports to be an alternate take or mix of Variant I. Close listening reveals that the Variant I 'alternate' is in fact the same take and mix as the more common version of the track — a fact disguised by the inclusion, at the take's beginning, of a snippet of the end of I Love. 

This snippet is easily explained: When the MGM 7" single was mastered, the tape segments containing the end mixes of Boy Wonder, I Love You and Orange Colored Sky were undoubtedly physically sliced out of the master reel — a common practice in those pre-digital days — and the remainder was spliced back together for the T.T.G. archives. 

This explains why the end of I Love — the last song from 9 June to be mixed — is found back-to-back with the 'alternate' take of Variant I — the second song to be mixed from 10 June, but the next song in order on the post-production reel after Orange Colored Sky was excised. The so-called 'alternate' version of Variant I is therefore identical to the more common version, and has been omitted from this upload.

Further evidence from the tapes suggests that the recording sequence given in Román Garcia Albertos's wonderful FZ chronology is slightly incorrect, as a snippet of Variant I appears at the end of the incomplete mixdown take of Teenage Bill Of Rights - indicating that Teenage Bill Of Rights was probably recorded first.

Burt Ward claims in Boy Wonder: My Life In Tights that Orange Colored Sky was recorded at his first session with FZ, and that MGM then insisted on vocal lessons prior to his next recording date. Ward goes on to say that MGM's vocal coach dismissed him after two weeks of lessons at $1,000 per week. 

This is sheer fantasy — Orange Colored Sky was recorded on the second day, not the first, and there certainly was no two-week gap between sessions. Burt Ward's book is hugely entertaining — Spy magazine memorably lampooned it under the title I Couldn't Keep It In My Pants And I Can't Stop Talking About It — but clearly, serious researchers must look elsewhere for their facts.

Burt Ward - The Boy Wonder Session Tapes 18.20 
Recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Los Angeles, 9 and 10 June 1966

Sessions Produced by TOM WILSON
Arranged and Conducted by FRANK ZAPPA

Core musicians (9 and 10 June):
♫♪ Burt Ward - lead vocals
♫♪ Dennis Budimir - guitar
♫♪ Elliot Ingber - guitar
♫♪ Eugene DiNovi - piano
♫♪ Plas Johnson - saxophone
♫♪ Benjamin Barrett - cello
(Plus unknown backing vocalists)

Additional musicians (9 June):
♫♪ James Zito - French horn, trumpet
♫♪ George Callender - tuba
♫♪ Justin Gordon - bass clarinet, clarinet
♫♪ Roy Estrada - bass
♫♪ Jimmy Carl Black - drums

Additional musicians (10 June):
♫♪ Lou Morell - guitar
♫♪ William Pitman - guitar
♫♪ Anthony Terran - trumpet
♫♪ John T. Johnson - tuba
♫♪ Jack Nimitz - bass clarinet, clarinet
♫♪ Frederick Dutton - contra bassoon, bassoon
♫♪ Kenneth Watson - tympani, traps, mallets
♫♪ John Guerin - drums

Tracks recorded 9 June:
01. Boy Wonder, I Love You (Zappa) [mono end mix]
02. Gotta Fall In Love (a.k.a. I Love, a.k.a. Autumn Love) [complete mono mix]

Tracks recorded 10 June:
03. Orange Colored Sky (a.k.a. Oranged Colored Sky - DeLugg / Stein) [mono end mix]
04. Teenage Bill Of Rights (John / Regan) [mono mixdown take]
05. Teenage Bill Of Rights (John / Regan) [complete mono mix]
06. Variant I (a.k.a. The Comedian) [mono mixdown take]
07. Tears Come From Loving You [complete mono mix]

+ Bonus

This tape has circulated in many different forms. Sometimes an off-air recording of the show intro and "Plastic People" are included at the start. Sometimes there is a jam from the Detroit 1968 tape at the end. Sometimes there is some stage banter before the music starts, and sometimes it cuts off early. The source for this seed is the tape originally posted by walk, with the last minute patched with the "Time Sandwich" boot. I have also included a remastered version that has been re-equalized, cleaned of dropouts and corrected to true mono. The switch to the fill source is very obvious in the raw version, but virtually undetectable in the remastered version.

June 24-25, 1966
Fillmore Auditorium 
San Francisco, CA

The Mothers Of Invention, June 1966: 
♫♪ Frank Zappa 
♫♪ Ray Collins 
♫♪ Elliot Ingber 
♫♪ Roy Estrada  
♫♪ Jimmy Carl Black

08. Banter, Tuning (00:20)
09. Toads Of The Short Forest (00:47) 
10. I'm Not Satisfied (2:18) 
11. Wedding Dress Song, Handsome Cabin Boy Medley (11:02)

1. Frank Zappa 1966
2. Frank Zappa 1966
3. Frank Zappa 1966