Drowning Witch

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

 

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)

 

Comments

Foggy G, "The Songs That Were Played," We're Only In It For The Touring

1980: I have yet to hear this premiere performance from 10/12, but considering that it was only played once by this band, and considering how difficult it is to play, I'm not sure I want to hear it. Anyone want to tell us what we win, if anything? [Patrick Buzy writes:" I suspect that "Truck Driver Divorce" and "Drowning Witch" from fall '80 were just "sprechgesang" versions, though I haven't heard the tapes." Again, anyone? To which Jon Naurin replies: "Drowning Witch: As I've warned you about, this is just FZ reading the lyrics in meltdown style, over some improvised accompaniment, like "Dangerous Kitchen". The words are pretty much the same as on the released version. FZ also conducts the audience to go "Oooooh" occasionally—actually this performance sounds rather interesting, but the sound is horrid.]

1981: Essentially performed as on SATLTSADW, with the standard deviation coming in both of Frank's solos; and since Frank claims that no live band ever performed this classic correctly, we also get the standard deviation in the errors that were inevitably made. Making its first full- blown appearance on this tour (it was played once on the Fall '80 tour), this song comes out of the gates a true barnstormer. The written portion of the tune sounds great (at least to my ears), and the solos are fantastic. Frank typically starts off both solos slow, giving you the impression that he is playing his guitar, when in actuality he is killing it. Before long, you realize that the guitar is being strangled, with the most obscene yet beautiful notes emanating from its neck. This guitar abuse goes on for awhile before Frank finally lets up, allowing the guitar to gasp desperately for some much needed breaths of air. Simply exhilarating guitar playing..

1982: Essentially performed as on SATLTSADW, with the standard deviation coming in both of Frank's solos; and since Frank claims that no live band ever performed this classic correctly, we also get the standard deviation in the errors that were inevitably made. For this tour and the Fall' 81 outing, this song was a guaranteed show stopper as far as guitar solos go. I do not know what it is about this song, but Frank never failed to produce brilliance for these solos, as "St. Etienne" from "Jazz from Hell", and "Do Not Pass Go", "Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?" and "But Who was Fulcanelli?" from "Guitar", easily prove. Approximately a month into the tour, Frank brought some changes to the song, dropping the "meltdown" vocal section, and creating an immediate segue into the post-"Rite of Spring" musical section. Plus, as Patrick Buzby points out, around this time Frank also turned the first solo section into more of a "free jazz" section, ditching the 9/8 vamp and loosening things up a little.

1984: If the '82 band couldn't play this one right, who in their right mind would think that the '84 band could? Frank claimed that no band ever played this tune correctly- all the way through- in a single performance. And for all I know, he's right. But rather you play it perfectly or screw it up royally, the fact is that it is so perfectly composed that even the '84 boys couldn't destroy it. In fact, Ike's vocal ad-libs and his hilarious car salesman routine added greatly to the vocal section of this tune; and Martin and Zavod did a more than noble job of carrying the "never played correctly" parts of the tune. It was essentially played as on YCDTOSA Volume III (with assorted mistakes), with the standard deviation coming in both of FZ's solos. For at least one performance- on 11/30- the second guitar solo spot turns into an exceptionally good solo fest. Immediately upon entering the solo region, the band switches to a new, loop based vamp, over which Frank, Alan, Scott, Ray, Bobby, and then Frank again solo. Unlike the rotating solos in such songs as "Nig Biz", these solos are all hot, with Frank allowing each soloist to slowly establish themselves and give it their all. As far as Frank's solos go, they never quite reach the heights that they did on the previous two tours. Yes, they were always good, but they never attained the greatness of say, 11/17/81.

 

 

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