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Frank Zappa - Läther CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.98 | 198 ratings

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5 stars Well, I have to say, this is a great place to start with Zappa. It has nearly every aspect of his music presented within. Orchestral, Jazz, Jazz fusion, hard rock, dowop, surf music(!), even some pretty proggy stuff. And plenty of humor.

As others have mentioned, this was originally intended to be released in the 70's as an 8 sided (4 LP's) album. This was something that had not been done before, and the record company was understandably reluctant. Well, in fact they flat out refused to release it, as Zappa was trying to fulfill his contract by delivering the last 4 albums as one release. So in retaliation he played the entire thing on an LA radio station and told listeners to be sure to record it all. All the material was released on future albums after that, Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan, Zappa In New York, and a few others.

Still, many of the tracks here are different from their studio versions (lyrics removed, older versions, different versions, etc.) and there are a few bonus tracks as well. For myself, I never had any of these other albums, though had heard a couple of them. It seemed like a great way to have all this music, without buying all the different albums (this was $30, but buying the individual albums would have cost quite a bit more).

As I said before, this has it all. A track by track review would take to long to write, but it's safe to say that there is lots of great music on here and a great balance of vocal and instrumental pieces. If you're like me, the instrumental material is far more enjoyable and tolerable, but I must say that this has some of his better vocal numbers as well. There are very few songs here that don't appeal to me, and quite a few I find outstanding. Considering how hit or miss Zappa can be for me, this is pretty darn good.

I realize that for the casual Zappa fan, this may not be essential. My advice is that if you have some or all of the albums this material appears on, it's safe to skip this one. If you are a Zappa fanatic, you might as well get it because there is some unreleased material and different versions of some songs. If you've never heard Zappa, this is a great place to start (though the price may be too high for some).

My rating is based on the fact that I don't have any of the albums this material appeared on and haven't heard most of them before. Had this been released when it was intended, in the form it was intended, I have no doubt it would still be considered Zappa's masterpiece (though there are so many, it's hard to be certain). Because of this, and the sheer quality and diversity of the music, I give it 5 stars. Just remember that Zappa is not really classifiable in general, and this album covers a LOT of musical ground. But I think this deserves no less than 5 stars.

infandous | 5/5 |


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