Frank Zappa – Pygmy Twylyte/The Idiot Bastard Son/Dickie’s Such An Asshole (Live at The Roxy 1973)
Jan 20, 2019
Released as part of the 1974 live LP Roxy & Elsewhere, “Pygmy Twylyte” was a regular feature during Frank Zappa’s 1973-1974 tour but never reappeared afterwards. The “original” version is a short (two minutes), fast-paced song with a twisted melody exploiting all of singer Napoleon Murphy Brock’s wide range. Lyrics make absolutely no sense: “Green hocker croakin’/In the Pygmy Twylyte/Crankin’ an’ a-coke’n/In the Winchell’s do-nut Midnite.” It roughly looks like a leftover leaf from Zappa’s “life on the road” songbook or maybe a drug-addict spoof similar to “It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal.” In any case, the lyrics are mostly irrelevant to the song — their role was to make Brock’s life as difficult as possible.
The Roxy version was recorded early in the tour and extensively overdubbed in the studio later. The performance included on You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2, from a late-1974 show, is all the more significant. Lasting almost nine minutes, it is taken at a considerably slower tempo, in an altogether different key with more mutated vocals. More importantly, it features a whole new chunk of music as it indulges in a strange progressive disco vamp — and a guitar solo of course. The two available recordings could almost be seen as entirely different pieces if it were not for their shared set of lyrics. The fact that Zappa never performed the piece after 1974 turned “Pygmy Twylyte” into an obscure title.
I love this. You’ll never know how much I love this and the whole album and concert. Even though I didn’t get to go. This was a MAJOR influence on the teenage Ig.