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Frank Zappa - Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.87 | 46 ratings

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Man With Hat
3 stars Part III of the original guitar trilogy.

Guitar is once again the name of the game here. This album is pretty bare bones compared to most of Zappa's catalogue. The guitar is in your face throughout, and pretty much relentless. If you are wondering why Zappa is considered a master of the instrument this is a good place to look (although there are many examples throughout his discogrophy, select ones are concentrated here). However, there are other notable features that deserve mention. First off, are the short interludes of various conversations/noises/experimental whatevers thrown in at the end of tracks. I for one am in favor of these as it helps break any monotony that is present. Though, if you not into those types of tracks they could be a little off putting. Secondly, the rest of the band, which could easily get lost in the mix, deserves some credit as well. The rhythm section in particular gets to shine through the most, especially on tracks like Beat It With Your Fist and Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar and Why Johnny Can't Read.

Highlights: The title track. A fine example of Zappa's albility to rework a song or solo. Just like the rest of the Shut Up songs, this is a guitar solo taken from Inca Roads at some point in the road. Not only is the gutiar solo interesting and dynamic, as I've said before the rhythm section is particularly top notch here. I often find myself listening to the drum work at certain times other than the guitar solo. Stucco Homes. Once again, some fantastic percussion/drum work at play here. The guitar work here mainly features light and tasteful playing that shows off the more delicate side of Zappa's playing that perhaps isn't emphasized enough. This really comes off as a beautiful song that is quite blissful, even with some exaggerated percussion moments (which is a different type of bliss IMO). Canard Du Jour. The real odd duck of the album. This one features Zappa on bouzouki (which for those wondering is a long necked balkan folk string instrument) and ol' time pal Capt. Beefheart on baritone violin. The combination of these two instruments works surprising well and make this track quite a unique one in the Zappa repertoire. It also adds some diversity into the album which is never a bad thing to my ears. Mysterious, odd, strangely attractive, and quite good are all adjectives that could be associated with this one.

All in all, this is a solid release from the Zappa camp. However, if you do not like guitar oriented music this is certainly not the album for you. Having said that, there is a good amount of variety thrown in that keeps the album fun and moving smoothly (something which I find lacking in certain guitar releases). It is also a shorter album, which I think helps it feel fresher instead of the potential for boringness. Fans of Zappa would surely find something to like on this album (but is a poor place to start your Zappa journey). This also shows a different side of Zappa, one that perhaps gets lost in the shuffle of the connotation that Zappa's name brings with it. 3.5 stars.

Man With Hat | 3/5 |


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