Yes, Tolstoi!

Yesterday I was driving home and this song passed in my stereo (not strange, as I had it recorded on the cd :P). It passed me such an intense feeling, soothing and calming me. I found myself singing to the wailing slide guitar of Steve Howe, along with the amazing Jon Anderson, something I failed to do when they played live in Lisbon last year, as they unfortunately didn’t play this song.

This piece of music has probably one of the best melodies I’ve ever heard, as someone said:  “Yes is what God listens to when He needs a break from gospel music.” 🙂

You probably understood the “Yes” on the title of this post, but why Tolstoi? Well, this amazing song is part of a 22-minute suite released in 1975 called The Gates of Delirium. This lengthy suite is loosely based on the novel War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoi, hence my reference. I won’t explain the book here, as I haven’t read it yet (I’m waiting for a friend to come back and lend it to me, right Catarina? :P), but Soon, representing a soothing prayer for peace and hope, is about the aftermath of the battle reported in the book.

Hope you liked it half as much as I love it 😀

Let’s break some rules, shall we?

Hey again!

Disclaimer: You’re about to hear groundbreaking music. I’m not responsible for any brain damage resultant from these videos.

Zappa's trademark moustache and goatee (taken from

Now seriously, today I’m gonna speak about Frank Zappa, one of the greatest guitarists (even musical performers, damn it) to have ever lived, and certainly one of the best composers in the late 20th century.

Ok, he was all that, but he was also completely nuts. Come on, the man wanted to name one of his sons Dweezil, and as the hospital didn’t permit, he named him Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa, after the first names of his bandmates. Still, not the strangest name he gave to a kid 😛

One of the most amazing things about his sadly shortened career (he died of cancer in 1993) is the diversity of musical styles he offers in more than 60 albums, in which he covers rock, reggae, funk, classical, comedy rock, jazz, big band and what I like to call zappa-esque music.

As a great fan of the guitar, I obviously had to get to know mr. Zappa, as everyone has heard of him (unfortunately, not his music). However, the size of his musical output discouraged me, and Hot Rats, the album I tried, didn’t get my full attention then. As my musical acceptability grew wider, I took another shot of his music and was completely blown away. His live work is absolutely amazing and diverse! Try one of the You can’t do that on stage anymore volumes or the album The best band you never heard in your life and you’ll get my drift.

But, enough talking, time to be forget every musical rule and hear a fusion of every (good) style anyone ever invented 😀

In this video, Zappa and his band incorporate the song Owner of a lonely heart by Yes into his solo, in what is a very good mashup. You can see that he almost seems distracted and there only to conduct the band, but when he picks up his guitar, you are struck by his in-your-face solo! Another Zappa’s trademark are the lyrics, full of puns and jokes like this song, which starts with “Oh lord, the shit done hit the fan” and ends with “And the reason you have not seen her, seen her
Is she is underneath the lawn”..

Earlier in his career, he worked with a man nicknamed Captain Beefheart, who had a very peculiar voice. He sounded like a drunken sailor with a rusty voice, but that is what makes it nice 😛 A staple song from that era is Willie the pimp

And finally, if you enjoyed both songs, I’d advise you to listen to Zomby woof, another great song. If not, well, from my personal experience, I’d tell you to give it a try in a few months, his music is sometimes very intricate and difficult to digest..

Hope you liked the post, I sure enjoyed preparing myself to write it by diving into Zappa’s songs.. Oh, and sorry for the long post 😉