1975: One of the highlights of the tour, and one of the unreleased gems from Frank's touring repertoire. This tune is essentially a hybrid of "Sleep Dirt" and "Blacks Napkins". The tune begins with the two chord progression which appears on the "Sleep Dirt" album track, and this constitutes the basic structure of the song. Once this vamp is established, Frank plays a subtler, darker version of the "Black Napkins" theme, and it is around this theme that the solos are based. Brock goes first (blowing his sax), followed by Lewis (pounding his keys), followed by Frank (plucking his strings). After Frank's first (shorter) solo, the band returns to the main "Sleep Dirt" theme, before heading into a more fully realized version of "Blacks Napkins". At this point, Frank dives in with his longer, more "Black Napkins"-esque solo. Unfortunately, this pairing of songs only lasts for approximately a week, before the "Sleep Dirt" portion is dropped and the "Black Napkins" we know and love takes its place.
1984: How in the world did this get in here? For some reason (and whatever it is we thank it), Frank- in Dallas on December 13th- decides to bring back a song that had not seen the light of day since 1975. This song is essentially a blending of the above tunes. The band begins the affair by playing a vamp (reggae style, of course) based on Bird Legs' two chord progression from the original. Once this is established, Frank plays the melody line- a subtler, less obvious rendition of "Black Napkins". As in the latter tune, Frank plays this theme two times, before veering off into his solo, and then returning to the theme when his soloing is complete. While this version is not that long, with Frank's solo not being all that impressive, this performance is still great to hear simply for the complete rarity of it. Plus, in spite of the reggae curse, the subdued nature of the tune really stands apart from the majority of this tour's repertoire, and shows a whole other side to this band.
In 1973, at the May 9 show in Passaic, New Jersey, the group (which at the time was Jean-Luc Ponty, the Fowlers, the Underwoods, George Duke, Ralph Humphrey, and Sal Marquez) plays a version of "Big Swifty" that veers off into free-improv, and about 13 minutes in, what should appear but "Sleep Dirt"? Zappa starts playing the chords and the band vamps on them for about three minutes. No huge revelation, but a cool performance by a great group.
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