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Frank Zappa - Weasels Ripped My Flesh CD (album) cover

WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.77 | 278 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chris H
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". Just saying the name of the album brings me joy. How can you not love that name? Everything about this album is avant-garde perfection, from every song to the cover the album. It mixes free-form jazz with comedy and rhythm and blues with classical. Truly one of the greatest works of musical art ever released.

"Didja Get Any Onya?" kicks it into gear with saxophones blowing every this way and that, and some great improvisational percussion. The song hits its climax in the middle when a comedic tale of standing around a corner blasts from the speaker in a pseudo- German accent. Captain Beefheart fans may recognize this from "Trout Mask Replica" and Zappa fans may recognize this from the song "Charles Ives". "Directly From My Heart To You" is the only song on this album not written by Zappa himself. R.W. Penniman penned this song back in the day, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris lends his violin and his vocals to the song. The violin parts are a little over the top (as they were in "Willie The Pimp" just one year before), but this song still makes for an excellent Zappa-esque ballad of sorts. "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" is the third song, and a tongue-twister in itself. The second of five live tracks on the album, this was born out of a stage act in which Roy Estrada would wear a gas mask. The same atmosphere as "Didja...", this song does feature some rave-ups in the middle, and Roy's screaming and yodeling bring a smile to my face every time. "Toads of The Short Forest" starts out very disappointing, because mainly it seems too, well uhh normal to be on this album of pure musical ecstasy. Around 1:05 in, all assumptions change when a quirky percussion beat kicks in until Jimmy starts to pound away with Ian Underwood flaring up alongside. After it is all said and done, the weakest track to begin with turns live and along with FZ's hilarious dialogue this is one of the finer tracks on the album due mainly to its impressive use of time structure. "Get A Little" begins with some sexual dialogue for a few seconds and then turns into a fine Zappa guitar moment, one of the only real guitar driven sections on the whole album. Although it is only 2:31, I think this may be Frank's greatest "Mothers period" solo.

After the break is announced ("Get A Little" was recorded live), "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" kicks off in a weird, tinkling percussion manner with dual drummers Jimmy Carl Black and Art Tripp once again playing in two different time structures. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" really is a mouthful to say, so thankfully words cannot describe it. It starts out very structured but then just turns into a random percussion party. Really weird, avant stuff here and it is in the perfect spot on the album.

"My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" is one of the greatest straight-forward head-on rock songs Frank Zappa has ever written, but frankly (hehe, that was a pun. FRANKly?) it just does not belong on this album. It has too much of a rock n' roll approach to be thrown in with these avant, stage-show pieces. Granted there are some electronic effects, they don't do justice to the rest of the album. Still an awesome songs though, just out of place. "Oh No", the shortest song on the album, is quite an enjoyable listen. Just short of two minutes, this song deals with talking about the meaning of love and I especially enjoy Buzz Gardener's "talking" trumpet. "The Orange County Lumber Truck" is another instrumental which starts off with equal involvement from everybody, but then soon turns into another masterful guitar solo crafted by Zappa himself to finish out the last minutes of the song. The is much better than the son that is featured on "Roxy & Elsewhere". "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is the ultimate ending to this album. Two minutes of feedback that is toyed with to make it sound like, well, weasels ripping flesh.

Few people realize the artistic barriers this album knocked down with its jazz fusion and avant-garde rock n' roll, and therefore this a very underrated album. With this 5 star rating and review, I hope people will keep listening to this album and keep trying to find the genius behind the madness. Granted this is a very challenging album and incredibly hard album to get into, just keep listening an you will soon understand.

Chris H | 5/5 |

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