In 1984, Frank Zappa released a studio version of the Allman Brothers Band‘s classic “Whipping Post” as the closing track on his album Them or Us. He would occasionally include the Southern blues-rock ballad on his live setlists—an atypical move for the anti-hippie musical visionary—but the story of the song’s origin in his repertoire is characteristically organic and mischievous.

The story goes that the song came into the Zappa repertoire after a fan chanted “Whipping Post” at the 1974 Helsinki show. Zappa denied knowing the song but, ever the showman, worked some generic “Whipping Post”-themed banter into the ensuing version of “Montana”. Zappa later released the recording as “Montana (Whipping Floss)” as part of the live album You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2. Listen to the fateful interaction and the famed “Whipping Floss” that followed below.

Frank Zappa – “Montana (Whipping Floss)” – 1974

Ten years later, after including the actual “Whipping Post” on Them or Us, Zappa and the band recorded another beloved rendition of the ABB classic in its entirety. The experimental take was released on his live compilation Does Humor Belong in Music?, recorded at the Pier in New York City in August of 1984. Watch the mind-blowing, pro-shot video footage of that recording below.

Frank Zappa – “Whipping Post” (Allman Brothers Band) [Pro-Shot] – 8/26/84

Below, compare it to the studio version, recorded sometime between 1981 and 1984.

Frank Zappa – “Whipping Post” (Allman Brothers Band)

[Originally published 2/11/16]