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Necessity Is... The Yearly Years Of Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention James, Billy.
SAF Publishing Ltd., London, England
ISBN: 0 946719 14 4
Pages: 160
Language: English Category: About
Foreword by Don Preston


From: Uwe <>

  I'm half way through it now. Some interesting interviews and opinions of the MOI people from the beginning. More kind of Roadstories and "making of" things. Only few things about the "music". Not essential but worth the money (me think).

From: Charles Ulrich <>

 I *have* read the book, and I recommend it for what it is--a book about the 1960s incarnation of the Mothers of Invention. It's very much based on the viewpoint of Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, and Jimmy Carl Black, and, to a lesser extent, Roy Estrada, Buzz Gardner, Motorhead Sherwood, and Ray Collins. Since most of Necessity Is... is based on unpublished interviews conducted by Billy James himself, I'd say the book is essential.

 But don't expect it to be something it's not. It's not a book about Frank Zappa himself, and it certainly doesn't attempt to cover his entire career.

 The book could have used some fact-checking. For example, James mentions the Tivoli Gardens concert at which Don Cherry sat in as if it had happened on their 1967 European tour (p. 58), while the giglist in the appendix (reprinted with permission from The Planet Of My Dreams) gives the correct date of October 3, 1968. (I also seem to recall James citing FZ's incorrect date for the Festival Hall show, though I can't for the life of me find it now. Again, the correct date appears in the giglist.) James refers more than once to the song "WPJL". And he repeatedly misidentifies YCDTOSA 5 as YCDTOSA 4.

 These are minor errors, but it's important to recognize to what degree you can rely on any source of information. Take this book as a distillation of interviews with band members. As such, it gives the reader a good idea of what it was like to be in the Mothers of Invention and work with/for FZ in the 1960s.

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