by Mat Dirjish
Unearthed from The Vault by Frank Zappa vault master Joe Travers, a collection of rare recordings may have been set as a potential sequel to Frank Zappa’s iconic “Hot Rats” album. After disbanding The Mothers of Invention in 1969, Zappa released “Hot Rats” as his solo debut. Some believe the album was the earliest example of jazz-rock fusion and became one of Zappa’s bestselling releases.
Working with the tracks that Zappa produced and mixed over the years, Joe Travers and Ahmet Zappa compiled an 11-track album, naming it “Funky Nothingness” after a bluesy, stripped-down piece that Frank recorded in 1967. The album features at least three written compositions, two cover versions, and multiple instrumental jam segments. Travers explains. “It’s very rare to find that amount of music from one set of sessions that has gone unheard for such a long period of time.”
Produced and compiled by Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers, Funky Nothingness is set for release June 30, 2023 via Zappa Records/UMe in a variety of formats. These include a three-disc edition representing the 11-track album on disc 1 plus two discs of outtakes, alternate edits, unedited masters of songs from the era. An accompanying 28-page booklet includes photos from the recording sessions by photographer John Williams plus extensive liner notes.
Zappa aficionados can hear one of the previously unreleased tracks, “Work With Me Annie/Annie Had a Baby,” which fuses two 1954 hits by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters. And if you want to make sure you get your mitts on this album ASAP, pre-order Funky Nothingness now. And by the way, if you are unfamiliar with Frank Zappa’s masterful 1969 album, take a listen to the complete Hot Rats album.
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