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Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (') CD (album) cover

APOSTROPHE (')

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.03 | 587 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Apostrophe (') is a studio album by American experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. After the commercial success that Frank Zappa had with his previous studio album Overnight Sensation (1973) he followed up that success with another succesful album in Apostrophe (') and laid the economic foundation that made it possible for him to release some obscure albums in addition to his more popular works. Iīm not sure it was a deliberate search for commercial success but more a matter of circumstance and a personal need to make some music that was more simple and instantly enjoyable than many of his previous more challenging works. Itīs always hard to know what his intentions were though as later sarcastic comments made by Zappa himself about songs like Donīt Eat The Yellow Snow and TittiesīnīBeer ( from Zappa in New York (1978)) could lead to thinking that he actually was annoyed that it was his more commercial output that got the most attention instead of his more serious work.

Either way Apostrophe (') is IMO an excellent display of Frank Zappaīs more accessible ( and yes commercial as well) songwriting style. Thereīs a great emphasis on humour in the lyrics as well which should appeal to more than a few people. The music is rather sophisticated though. It might seem simple at first listen but some of things that are played on Apostrophe (') are really intense and challenging. Just listen to Ruth Underwoodīs treatment of the vibes/ xylophone/ marimba ( Iīm not an expert in the difference so Iīve included them all) in St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast. Virtuosic to say the least. I like the funky/ fusion rock drumming style on most of the albumīs songs too.

The first four songs segue into each to form a suite and itīs really entertaining lyrically. Total nonsense about an eskimo boy named Nanook, a horny leprechaun and so on. Great vocal arrangements and instrumental performances makes these songs are highlight on the album. Cosmik Debris is a blues based song with ( again) some hilarious lyrics and great vocal arrangements. Excentrifugal Forz is quite an atypical Frank Zappa song as it has a kind of psychadelic flavour to it. Iīve always found it really excellent. Great self-biografical humour in the lyrics to that one. Apostrophe' is the only fully instrumental song on the album. Itīs a great jam with Jack Bruce ( Cream) playing the distinct basslines, Frank Zappa and Tony Duran playing the guitar and Jim Gordon ( Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, George Harrison, Derek & The Dominos...etc) playing the drums. A great jam that one. Uncle Remus is a soul pop song with George Duke doing the lead vocals and The Ikettes doing backing vocals. I didnīt use to like this song much but itīs grown on me in recent years. It has that special nostalgic feeling to it that some music has. At least itīs the feeling of nostalgia I get when I listen to that song. The last two letters of my PA name actually comes from this song, so itīs got a special place in my collection. The album ends with a live favorite. The blues based Stink-Foot with itīs extented Zappa guitar solo is just great fun and another favorite on the album.

Zappa had collected a really strong batch of musicians for the recording of these songs. The lineup does suggest that the songs were recorded at different times between the years 1972 and 1974 and not nesseccarily in one session though.

The production lacks a bit of the pleasant warmth of the production on Overnight Sensation IMO but itīs still well sounding and professional as always when weīre talking Zappa productions.

Apostrophe (') is the sibling album to Overnight Sensation IMO. But while I regard Overnight Sensation as a masterpiece I find Apostrophe (') a bit more flawed. Itīs still a sure 4 star rating though and an extremely enjoyable album for me. One of the best and most accessible places to start for newcommers to Zappaīs musical universe IMO.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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