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Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar CD (album) cover

SHUT UP 'N PLAY YER GUITAR

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.68 | 58 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
3 stars As well as being an influential composer, Frank Zappa was known (although perhaps to a lesser extent) as a great guitarist. A historical note that has always been very important to me about this album, even years before I had even heard it, was that Steve Vai, a virtuoso guitar hero of mine, transcribed a fair amount of this album, but at the time I had no idea how difficult the task would prove for Vai. Now, years later, I have finally got the chance to hear Zappa's Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, and a fairly difficult task it must have been for Vai to transcribe the songs, especially when he was only getting paid 10 dollars per song he transcribed.

This is a fairly interesting album and very jazzy at times too, but there are many flaws about it that meant I couldn't seem to enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. Sure enough, we have a fine opening track, five-five-FIVE , which has the main musical idea of featuring two bars of 5/4 and one bar of 5/8, hence the title of the track. It sounds really crazy at the beginning, and it overall an enjoyable track and makes me think of an espionage mission, although I have no idea and doubt it was the intended feeling of the track, but regardless it sounds great. The rest of the album is of good quality in general, but it just doesn't always seem that great at capturing my interest and attention throughout it's duration, which is really unfortunate as I expected something really captivating from Zappa.

I have a great deal of respect for Zappa's abilities on the guitar, don't get me wrong, but it seems it wasn't just the compositions that failed to excite me that much, but Zappa's guitar work too is not always the most interesting and lively here.

Perhaps it could have had a saving grace in the form of being highly influential on the guitar world as well, but to be honest it doesn't seem to be, especially compared to Steve Vai himself, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi et al. While I imagine this did influence Vai to a fair extent, I can certainly hear more Hendrix, SRV and Joe Satriani whom was his Vai's guitar teacher for a while, in Vai's playing.

A good album, but definitely not at the top of the guitar world heap, or Zappa's own discography either.

Petrovsk Mizinski | 3/5 |

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