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May 23, 2024

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Lunar Muzik (Ant-Bee)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

With The Big Frank still dead, and his Estate ruthlessly attempting to keep the (recorded) lid on all various ex-Mothers still wandering the Earth, it's left to the one and only Billy James (also known as your Ant Bee) to keep alive and snorking the grand, greasy, glorious sound that was early, vintage, and by far the BEST Mothers of Invention (read: '63 through '68).

"Lunar Muzik" more than accomplishes this gargantuan task, for not only is it absolutely rife with some of Zappa's greatest old bandmates (Bunk Gardner, Jimmy Carl Black, and the as-amazing-as-ever Don Preston), but features stellar performances by Daevid Allen of Gong and all four musicians from the (speaking of best) original Alice Cooper band (Glen Buxton, R.I.P.) Lest you fear this all-star cast dwarfs the actual lunar music-making, cast an ear towards "Tears That Fall Unto The Sky," "Blew A Banana Thru The Sun," or even his surprisingly reverent Stones ("Child Of The Moon") and, believe it or not, Monkees ("Love Is Only Sleeping") covers.

Meanwhile, for a taste of very early -- pre-Mothers even -- Zappa, "Cucamonga" collects over a dozen obscure productions from Frank's wild years out on the high Southern California desert: crude, crass, patchouli-soaked R&B, novelty, and even surf sides which more than laid the groundwork for the insanity to come-- musical hijinks which few but the Ant-Bee seem willing or able to carry on in this dreary and oh-so-delicate day and age.15

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