Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Playlist for October 1, 2008

Frank Zappa
Amougies (Belgium), Actuel Festival
24 to 27 October 1969

source: audience recording

Taper's Notes:

This is an amazing find that I'm sure will delight fans of Frank Zappa and the bands concerned
alike. A little background : the Actuel festival was organized by the publication of the same name
(who, under different editorship, went on to become a prime mover of the French counterculture
in the early to mid-70s) in collaboration with the fledgling BYG label. It was originally going to
take place in or near Paris, but French authorities forbid it and the marquee was eventually set up
a few miles outside the French border, on Belgian soil. It took place over 5 nights, entertaining an
audience of 15-20,000 to a unique mixture of progressive pop, free jazz and contemporary music.

Frank Zappa was present at the festival (well, the first four days, it seems) in a twofold capacity.
First, as Captain Beefheart's road manager; secondly, as M.C., assisting Pierre Lattes, a famous
radio/TV presenter at the time (and the pop music editor for Actuel magazine). The latter task
proved problematic given FZ's very limited mastery of French, the prevailing language among
the audience, who themselves didn't seem to understand much English. Instead, FZ relinquished
his M.C. job for one of occasional guest guitarist.

As far as I know, with the exception of FZ's performance with Captain Beefheart, this collects all
of his jams with participating bands. A couple of films, directed by Jerome Laperrousaz and
Jean-Noel Roy, came out in 1970 but were instantly banned because of objections from various
bands (most notably Pink Floyd) whose permission hadn't been properly secured. Zappa's
performance with Beefheart is included in one of them, and since the audio of the film (unlike
the film itself) is in circulation, possibly in better sound than I could provide, I decided not to
include it.

The whereabouts of the master tapes for the festival, if any exist, are unknown. What recordings
are circulating are either the soundtrack of the film, or taken from radio broadcasts (on
Luxemburg's RTL and Belgium's RTBF). The source used here is an audience recording made by
a young French member of the audience using a now antiquated amateur tape recorder. The
original tapes have been newly transferred, but even so, the sound quality is rather poor. Still, it
seems to be the only source available at this time, so that will have to do for now.

Most legendary, of course, is Frank Zappa's jam with Pink Floyd on a very extended "Interstellar
Overdrive". Apparently, despite the wealth of Pink Floyd bootlegs in circulation, no one seems to
have their Amougies set, so this will probably delight a lot of people. Browsing various
PF-related websites, there even seems to be a debate on whether the jam ever took place. Well,
here is the final proof that it did.

Now, the tracklist:

1. Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation: unknown title (7:08)
[October 24]
Victor Brox (vocals, harmonica); John Moorshead (guitar); Alex (Erroneous) Dmochowski
(bass); Aynsley Dunbar (drums)

2. Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive (20:25)
[October 25]
David Gilmour (guitar); Richard Wright (organ); Roger Waters (bass); Nick Mason (drums)

3. Caravan: If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (7:55)
[October 26]
Pye Hastings (guitar & vocals); David Sinclair (keyboards); Richard Sinclair (bass & vocals);
Richard Coughlan (drums)

4. Blossom Toes: unknown title (26:10)
[October 26]
Brian Godding (guitar, vocals & keyboards); Jim Cregan (guitar & vocals); Brian Belshaw (bass
& vocals); Kevin Westlake (drums)

5. Sam Apple Pie: unknown title (6:04)
[October 27]
Sam Sampson (vocals & harmonica); Danny Barnes (lead guitar); Andy Johnson (slide guitar);
Bob Renny (bass & vocals); Lee Baxter Hayes Jr (drums)

(Note: I understand FZ jammed with some of the free jazz players. Sadly the taper was into rock,
not jazz, and didn't bother recording any of the jazz acts.)

I intend to seed some of the individual performances in the near future, so watch out. I must
thank the taper, JJB, for his permission to seed these rare treasures, making them available freely
to all via DaD in affinity with its non-profit philosophy.

(Apprentice segment - Kevin rocks the house!
Playlists at

Space Mix - Ingredients:

Avarus - A-V-P - ruskeatimmati (tumult dot net).wav
Masabumi Kikuchi - Pierrot's Samba - Hairpin Circus (Philips)
Bevis Frond - City of the Sun - Auntie Winnie Album (Reckless)
KuuPuu - Aara - Maan Metoset (pokrecords at yahoo dot com)
RJD2 - Fugitive Motel Remix - Loose Ends (rjd2 dot com)
Floom - Just for a few minutes - Floom (floom dot com)
Velvet Underground - The Murder Mystery - Peel Slowly & See (Polydor)

Raunchettes - What? 'Scuse Me? - Hyped2Death Vol 1 (hyped2death dot com)

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