Sunday, 7 April 2013

Dead Girls of London


Dead Girls of London is the song that mark's Van Morrison's only collaboration with Frank Zappa.  It centres around Zappa's rejection by girls at the celebrity haunt known as the Tramp. 

Tramp was opened in Central London in 1969 and continues as a private night club with an exclusive clientele. A club of this nature is obviously a magnet for attractive young girls many of whom are on the look out for their big break in music, film or fashion. Zappa found it was the only place around that was open at 2 am whe he finished his recording sessions.  Apparently he was rejected on more than one night at the Tramp by various London girls now immortalised in song.

Dead Girls Of London was co-written by electric violinist L. Shankar.  Zappa wrote the lyrics, and both men composed the music. Originally Van Morrison supplied the vocals.  However, since Van was signed to the Warner Bros. Records label who Zappa was in a legal dispute with at the time, Zappa was unable to release the song on his label with Morrison's vocals, and so it was re-recorded with vocals by Zappa and Ike Willis. The original version has appeared on a variety of release including the official compilation called The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAAAM Birthday Bundle 2011.

The original release of the song (without Van) was as a 12" maxi single on September 24, 1979. It was then released on the album Touch Me There.  Touch Me There was an album by L. Shankar (credited as "Shankar") released on Zappa Records. Shankar performed acoustic and 5-string Barcus Berry electric violin, string orchestra, and provided some vocals on the album. It was produced by Frank Zappa, and released by Zappa Records.
Vicky Blumenthal provides the chorus on "Dead Girls Of London," "Knee-Deep In Heaters," and "No More Mr. Nice Girl," while Jenny Lautrec sings the lyrics to the album's title track, "Touch Me There," and Shankar himself sings the lyrics to the album's final track, "Knee-Deep In Heaters."

The album was released on Zappa Records in 1979, and was reissued on CD by Barking Pumpkin Records in 1992. It is out of print.

Original vinyl release  (Zappa Records, 1979)
Side One:

 1.Dead Girls Of London (L. Shankar: Music, Frank Zappa: Lyrics, music) – 5:23
 2.Windy Morning (Shankar: Music) – 3:57
 3.Knee Deep in Heaters (Shankar: Music, F. Zappa: Lyrics) – 5:38
 4.Little Stinker (Shankar: Music) – 3:20

Side Two:

 1.Darlene (Shankar: Music) – 2:56
 2.Touch Me There (Shankar: Music, F. Zappa: Lyrics) – 3:03
 3.No More Mr. Nice Girl (Shankar, F. Zappa) – 8:16
 4.Love Gone Away (Shankar: Music) – 3:33 

Personnel
Lakshminarayana Shankar – Acoustic violin, 5 string Barcus Berry electric violin and string orchestra. Vocals on "Knee Deep in Heaters"
Phil Palmer - Mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars
Dave Marquee - Bass
Simon Phillips - Drums
James Lascelles - Fender Rhodes, organ, acoustic piano, synthesiser
Jack Emblow - Accordion on "No More Mr. Nice Girl"
Stucco Holmes (Frank Zappa) - Vocals on "Dead Girls of London"
Vicky Blumenthal - Chorus on "Dead Girls of London," "Knee Deep in Heaters," "No More Mr. Nice Girl"
Jenny Lautrec - Vocals on "Touch Me There"
Ike Willis - Vocals on "Dead Girls of London"


Other Appearances of the Song on Record
 


L. Shankar: Touch Me There

Anyway The Wind Blows

You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5

Prostate cancer victiom aged only 54
Buffalo
The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle 

and on various bootlegs, tribute albums and cover albums


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