Big Swifty

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)


Foggy G, "The Songs That Were Played," We're Only In It For The Touring

1972: This is the "spiffed up a little bit" version. What we get here is the head of the tune, essentially as it appears on "Waka/Jawaka", with some additional woodwind and percussion parts (the "spiffing up"), followed by an extended solo section. Unlike the album version, however, we do not get the "Bitches Brew" type jam that graces "Waka/Jawaka". Instead, we get your standard rotating solo format, over a more hyper, upbeat vamp. We get several horn solos and a Frank guitar workout before returning to the closing theme, which is essentially performed as on the album, minus the ending improvisation.

1973: This mini-Monster is essentially performed as on "Waka/Jawaka". First we get the head, sounding beautiful with this band's particular instrumentation, followed by a series of solos. Marquez gets a chance to repeat his wonderful album performance, Fowler the bass player struts his stuff, and then Frank works his wonders as usual. Sadly, the song only appears a couple of times throughout the tour, with the 5/9 performance being particularly noteworthy. During his solo, Frank fiercely tears into "Eat That Question", which the band picks up and energetically plays. Once the song is firmly established, Frank is off soloing again, bringing his playing up another level from where he was at during "Big Swifty". An excellent segue, and one of the better moments of this tour.

1973-74: Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume I, with the standard deviation coming in Duke's and Frank's solos. Apart from the improvisational solos, this version is also interesting for the random orchestrations that Frank would impose during the latter half of George's solos. As can be heard on the YCDTOSA release, Frank had a variety of hand gestures that corresponded to different musical themes and motifs, and he would liberally sprinkle these musical flourishes throughout George's solo. The abruptness of these intrusions, and the smoothness at which the band segued from these riffs back into the solo proper, has never failed to amaze this reporter. One of those fun, tiny little moments that make's Frank's music so unique..

1974: Played way too infrequently, and the song in its entirety (well, almost—including head and solos, but no return to theme) only known to be played twice (10/31 and 11/8). The Halloween performance of this song was quite a treat, with special guest Bruce "Call Me God" Fowler on trombone. For this performance, the main theme was rather jerky. It seemed underrehearsed and had no real flow to it. At one point, it even sounds like the theme is rewritten, but I think this is more due to the hesitancy and inaccuracy of the performance. Once the head is finished, Fowler takes off into full flight, and we are in improv heaven. Man can this guy blow! Frank follows him with a solo of his own—alternating between biting metal licks and more spacy trilling. Or, as Frank put it, with "just a twinge of psychadelicness... just a twinge". When Frank begins to run out of soloing ideas, he then keeps the energy high by tearing into "Apostrophe". Very sweet. The 11/8 performance runs more along the lines of your typical "Dupree's Paradise", with a parade of solos, some chaotic Zappa conducting, and the culminating guitar solo. A true Monster performance. The final known version of "Big Swifty" is the Helsinki take, which is just the closing theme. Nice, but a beast of a different nature.

1988: After an inexcusable 14 year absence, this instrumental giant returns, and becomes one of the great monsters of the tour. It is essentially performed as on MAJNH, with the standard deviation coming in the multitude of solos. Horn solos, percussion solos, Keneally solos, random madness, a single performance of "T'Mershi Duween", and the typically (but not always) concluding Frank solo, this song returns with a vengeance, bringing with it all this and more.


YCDTOSA3 (1971) Joe's Domage (1972) Waka/Jawaka (1972) Wazoo (1972) YCDTOSA1 (1973) YCDTOSA2 (1974) MAJNH (1988)
"King Kong" "The New Brown Clouds" "Blessed Relief/The New Brown Clouds"          
7:38-7:50     00:00-00:16 theme #1.1 00:00- 0:00-   00:00-
7:50-8:00 1:00-1:08 2:16-2:24, 3:57-4:05 00:16-00:24 theme #1.2 00:20- 0:16-   00:15-
  1:08-1:22 2:24-2:59, 4:05-4:19 00:24-00:39 theme #1.3 00:30- 0:24-   00:23-
    00:39-00:53 theme #2.2 00:51- 0:39-   00:38-
    00:53-01:20 theme #2.2 01:05- 0:49-   00:51-
    01:20-13:19 solos 01:32- solos 1:12- solos   01:21- solos
        3:59- ?    
        4:08- guitar solo    
    13:19-13:41 theme #1.1 variant 10:06- 6:54- 0:00- 09:31-
    13:41-14:03 theme #1.2 10:28- 7:22- 0:21- 09:54-
    14:03-14:46 theme #1.4 10:50- 7:49- 0:43- 10:16-
    14:46-17:22 solos        

Conceptual Continuity


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This page updated: 2016-10-07