The Lost Episodes Compilation album by Frank Zappa Released February 27, 1996 Recorded 1958–1992 Genre Experimental rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion, hard rock Length 71:14 Label Rykodisc Producer Frank Zappa
* Allmusic 4/5 stars * The Guardian 4/5 stars
The Lost Episodes is an album by Frank Zappa which compiles previously unreleased material and was posthumously released in 1996. Much of the material covered dates from early in his career, and as early as 1958, into the mid-1970s. Zappa had been working on these tracks in the years before his death in 1993.
The album is also notable for its five tracks which feature Captain Beefheart (known in early recordings by his birth name, Don Vliet, and later Don Van Vliet): "Lost in a Whirlpool", a blues parody from around 1958–59 in which Beefheart sings of being flushed down the toilet; "Tiger Roach", a rhythm and blues track from around three years later; "I'm a Band Leader" from 1969, a spoken word piece written by Zappa and read by Beefheart; "Alley Cat", a blues number in which Zappa plays guitar with two members of Beefheart's Magic Band, and "The Grand Wazoo", a spoken word piece recorded in 1969, to which Zappa added a Synclavier track in 1992 . Dan Glaister, writing in The Guardian, judged the first to be "a passable Bessie Smith cover", adding, "while "Alley Cat" could be a missing track from Clear Spot."
Elsewhere on the disc are included a number of alternate, earlier versions of compositions which were later released on Zappa's studio albums. The Lost Episodes' version of "Any Way the Wind Blows", for instance, was recorded in Cucamonga in around 1963—three years before its appearance on Freak Out! (1966). And the version of "Fountain of Love" here was recorded around the same time, but not released until Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968).