Is about a bar on Avalon Boulevard in Watts at 6:00 AM on a Sunday in 1964, during the early morning jam session. For about seven minutes, the customers (winos, musicians, degenerates & policemen) do the things that set them apart from the rest of society.
This is the premiere tour for what would eventually be a very successful two year run for this ultimate of Monster songs. As would be the case for its entire '70's run, this improvisational showcase begins with Duke and his keyboards. George gets a chance to strut his stuff, showing off both his piano skills and his assortment of keyboard toys. Once George sets the scene, Frank puts on his conductor's hat and slowly brings the rest of the band into the proceedings, inevitably steering the music into new directions. We get short solos, a variety of musical styles, some occasional Frank commentary, and all this before the song actually starts. Typically, at around the nine minute mark, the song properly begins, with the majestic opening chords and the beautifully composed theme. Once this is finished, we are off into Solo land, with a horn player, Ponty, and Frank all giving us their all.
Once again, this Monster Song staple of the '73 and '74 tours provides the listener with many an incredible musical experience. As would be the case for its entire '70's run, this improvisational showcase begins with Duke and his keyboards. George gets a chance to strut his stuff, showing off both his piano skills and his assortment of keyboard toys. Once George sets the scene, Frank puts on his conductor's hat and slowly brings the rest of the band into the proceedings, inevitably steering the music into new directions. We get short solos, a variety of musical styles, some occasional Frank commentary (the "It's so fucking cold up here, everybody clap along" rant from "Piquantique" may be one of the funniest, and funkiest, things Frank ever produced on stage), and all this before the song actually starts. Typically, at around the nine minute mark, the song properly begins, with the majestic opening chords and the beautifully composed theme. Once this is finished, we are off into Solo land, with Ponty, Trombone Fowler, an occasional Bass Fowler, an occasional Underwood, and finally an-always Frank giving us their all.
This song continues its reign as the Monster Song of this era, providing some of the most inspired and noteworthy performances of the tour. This version begins with the by-now standard George keyboard workout. Lots of experimentation from George, with Frank keeping himself busy (and George on his toes) by conducting the band through the most random of noises. This eventually leads us into the main theme, which is followed by the lengthy solo section. Brock is typically first (on sax or flute), followed by the bass playing Fowler, the always impressive trombone playing Fowler, and finally Frank, playing his most unhurried and slowly building solos of the tour. As in "Big Swifty", Frank inserts a variety of musical motifs and riffs throughout this tune, both as segues between the solos and within them. Also, in true "Dupree's Paradise" fashion, the unexpected should always be expected, as we even get a lecture about the use of sheep to find a way to make bigger breasts (11/9). While these performances are not as monstrous as the ones that would come a year later, they are still some of the most impressive of the tour. Frank's guitar playing is especially noteworthy, as it takes on an entirely different feel during these solos than in the majority of the others.
This is the Monster Song of the tour, and while it does not quite live up to the beasts of the Fall '74 outing, it never fails to satisfy. The festivities start off with your standard Duke-led funk jam, heavy on the keyboards, sprinkled liberally with random Frank orchestrations. As with almost all 70's "Dupree's" openings, almost anything can happen during this part, and thus, it does. Frank leads the band through random noises, jams, and meltdowns, and either coerces the audience to join along, or lectures them on the value of short people (3/9- my favorite DP from this tour.) After Frank has had enough of this, he leads us into the main theme, and then drops us off in the Solo Section. Brock goes first (flute or sax), then Fowler the bass player- mixed with some quite funky and impressive Simmons- followed by Duke, Fowler the trombone player, and, of course, Frank. The real treat of these "Dupree's" is the "Carolina Hard-core Ecstasy" opening bassline which is used as the vamp for Frank's solos. While it somewhat limits Frank in the direction he can go, it still manages to inspire and produce some worthy guitar outings. When Frank finishes his solo, the band somehow manages to find its way back into the main theme, before ending the song coldly. Another impressive, but not quite great, tour for the Dupree's Paradise Lounge Act.
The Monster of tour. As is standard procedure by this point, these performances start off with some funky George Duke keyboard jams, or as Frank chose to call it at one particular show, the "cheap version of 'Jungle Boogie'". Compared to both the '73 and Fall '74 performances, these jams are more straightforward, with less random conducting by Frank. Frank does, however, do quite a bit more talking in these funky intros, involving Simmons and Brock in improvised routines similar to "Dummy Up". After several minutes of this, we enter "Dupree's Paradise" proper, with the main theme followed by a series of solos. Brock goes first (on either sax or flute), followed by the Fowler brothers. Tom does his bass thing first, followed by Bruce proving his trombone godliness to the masses. Finally, Frank wraps things up in some of his most intense and metal tinged "Dupree's" solos. Frank's guitar playing is consistently excellent throughout this tour, but coming hot-on-the-heels of Bruce's trombone wizardry, Frank knows he has to really heat things up in order to compare. So he does, and the results are great.
This was the Fall' 74 monster, and sadly, the YCDTOSA Volume II version is the worst of the tour. For the most part, each "Dupree's" followed the same pattern>
Intro by Duke- with nightly updates, road stories, keyboard noises, and random band orchestration by Frank; contained "The Booger Man" jam in several of the November shows. Without a doubt, the highlight of any '74 show is the transition riff from George's intro into "Dupree's Paradise" proper.
Main Theme- as on YCDTOSA Volume II
Brock solo- either flute or alto sax; backing varied depending on Frank's command
Bass solo- again, Frank dictated the backing rhythm and frequently orchestrated the band
Bass/Drum/Percussion duet- do you need this explained?
FZ solo- band usually returned to opening chord of main theme and the solo was built on this. In my opinion, these were the best solos of the tour.
In the earlier performances of this song, the solo structure was not as clear cut, with Duke occasionally getting another opportunity to display his wares within the body of the song. This song is the event of the tour. Every band member had an opportunity to freak (at great length), George's opening monologues/solos were frequently hilarious and downright funky, and Frank's guitar playing is in a whole other dimension.
After yet another inexcusable 14 year absence, this Monster Song of the early '70's returns to the wonderful world of live Zappa. Sadly, however, the MAJNH version of this instrumental terror is not representative of the manner in which this song is performed for the majority of the tour. In the typical '88 "Dupree's Paradise" performance, the song consists of the head (as it appears on MAJNH), a solo section consisting of two horn solos, and then the return to the main theme. It is only during the officially represented Stuttgart performance that this pattern is deviated from. For that performance, we get the single Monster performance of this tune, and are allowed a brief glimpse into the musical power that this tune conveyed 14 years earlier. We get the typical horn solo to start things off, but once this is complete, Frank the Conductor takes over, and we are off into random improv land, including the excellent "loops" jam found on MAJNH. Without a doubt, this 5/24 performance is the '88 "Dupree's Paradise" highlight. The other performances are worth hearing, but since they only contain the two somewhat tame horn solos, they are slightly disappointing (heck, to this Fall '74 fan, they are VERY disappointing).
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