Frank Zappa ‘Your Mouth’ unreleased outtake released

Outtake appears on forthcoming box set

On April 10, 1972, after a couple weeks of rehearsals to hone an ambitious set of newly penned compositions written for an “electric orchestra” to his satisfaction, Frank Zappa decamped to Hollywood’s Paramount Studios with his newly formed arsenal of musicians and began recording what would become his jazz fusion masterpieces, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. The first track laid down for the sessions was “Your Mouth,” a shuffling, bluesy number that, along with the equally brief in comparison “It Might Just Be A One-Shot Deal,” was bookended by the longer instrumental pieces, “Big Swifty” and the title track comprising the four-song record.

Zappa Records/UMe have shared previously unreleased outtake “Your Mouth” (Take 1), allowing listeners to hear the very first take that kicked off this revered, yet short-lived, period for Zappa. Running roughly two minutes longer than the final take, the take begins with some playful banter between the vocalists Kris Peterson and Sal Marquez before they launch into their spirited first attempt at the song which is noticeably looser than the original and ends with some extended guitar playing by Zappa.

“Your Mouth” (Take 1) is featured on the forthcoming box set Waka/Wazoo, a five-disc multi-format box set releasing December 16th that features a complete historical rundown of the entire project in celebration of half a century of this pioneering phase of Zappa’s peerless career. Produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, the comprehensive 4 CD + Blu-Ray Audio set boasts unreleased alternate takes of almost every composition recorded during the album sessions, Vault mix session outtakes and oddities, and also includes the full final show of the 10-piece tour, recorded at the famous Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on December 15, 1972. Additionally, the collection includes a set of demos for George Duke’s solo material that Zappa produced and played guitar on during the album recording sessions at Paramount Studios. Although Duke would go on to re-record the compositions for his own albums, the versions with Zappa have never been officially issued until now.

The Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo albums themselves will be presented on Blu-Ray Audio disc in a variety of exciting listening experiences featuring new, first-time-ever immersive Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 surround sound mixes, mixed from the original multi-tracks by Erich Gobel and Karma Auger at Studio 1LA, and 96kHz 24-bit high-resolution stereo remasters, mastered by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley and Sangwook “Sunny” Nam at The Mastering Lab in 2012. Both albums will also be available for hi-res streaming.

The five-disc set will be housed in a clamshell box with a 44-page booklet with unseen photos from the Vault from the recording sessions, rehearsals, and tour, plus liner notes by Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers and Scott Parker, author of several books on Zappa and host of the official Zappa podcast, the ZappaCast. Aside from several vintage mixes included in the set, and the surround sound mixes, the audio was mixed by Craig Parker Adams at Winslow Ct. Studios and John Polito at Audio Mechanics from the original 1972 16-track and four-track analog masters, all mastered by Polito.

For the first time since they were repressed from the analog tapes in the ‘70s, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo will be available once again on vinyl. Fans will have the choice of audiophile grade 180-gram black vinyl or limited edition 180-gram color vinyl. UDiscover Music and Zappa.com will exclusively offer Waka/Jawaka on translucent green vinyl and The Grand Wazoo on brown marble vinyl, both with tip-on jackets and lithographs. Mastered from the analog tapes by Bernie Grundman, the albums are being pressed at Optimal Media in Germany.

Following the completion of 1972’s Just Another Band From L.A., recorded live at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles in August 1971, Zappa turned to assembling an electric orchestra, a large group of musicians that would be able to play super intricate compositions with the intensity and volume of a modern rock concert. The musicians largely consisted of players new to Zappa, with a few familiar faces in the mix, and included folks like drummer Aynsley Dunbar and bassist Alex “Erroneous” Dmochowski, who Dunbar brought into the fold, longtime Mothers keyboardists George Duke and Don Preston, guitarist Tony Duran, percussionists Alan Estes, Bob Zimmitti and a whole host of brass and woodwind players that included the likes of Sal Marquez, Malcolm McNab, Kenny Shroyer, Earle Dumler, and Tony “Bat Man” Ortega.

Rehearsals started for the album recording sessions sometime in late March/early April and once the material was honed to his satisfaction, Zappa and crew decamped to Paramount Studios where recording began on April 10, 1972. By the end of the month, Zappa, who handled production, guitar and conducting duties, had recorded the bulk of two albums, the jazz-influenced Waka/Jawaka (intended by Zappa as a sequel to Hot Rats), recorded with a lineup of six to nine musicians, and the epic and ambitious jazz-fusion masterwork, The Grand Wazoo, recorded with a larger ensemble ranging from eight to as many as 20 musicians.

Presented in the order they were recorded, the alternates and outtakes on the Waka/Wazoo box set provide a window into Frank Zappa’s creative process as he worked on two of his most ambitious and beloved albums as he was going through one of the most emotionally and physically challenging times of his life. Waka/Wazoo commemorates fifty years of Zappa’s incredible output in 1972, a year when he found recovery and “blessed relief” in his art.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com