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Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.40 | 322 ratings

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3 stars The first FRANK ZAPPA album to feature Flo & Eddie! Frank retains the usual format here, mixing blistering guitar workouts, quasi-orchestral instrumentals, and demented songs. However, with Flo & Eddie in the band, vocal songs -- once the exception -- were fast becoming the rule. "Chunga's Revenge" features five of 'em. (That's one half of the album.) They're good songs, and some have gone on to attain semi-classic status ("Tell Me You Love Me"), but with FRANK ZAPPA you either get philharmoniacal music, fiery fretwork, or funny. I'm not knocking the funny, but with it Frank inevitably slips into auto-cruise. Better by far are instrumentals that show off his skill as an arranger ("Twenty Small Cigars") or his fret-tacular fingerwork ("Transylvania Boogie", ""Chunga's Revenge""). The record also marks the first appearance of George Duke and Jeff Simmons alongside ZAPPA. Despite the talented lineup, "Chunga's Revenge" remains ZAPPA's show (which would explain why he again chose to drop THE MOTHERS moniker), including FZ unleashing his heretofore hidden percussive fury on "The Clap" (ah, we can't all be Ruth Underwood). I like "Chunga's Revenge", but I'm as likely to queue up "Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink" and "Sharleena" and be done with it as listen to the whole album. Though a multi-faceted musical artist, I like FRANK best when he's doing one thing and doing it very well.

"Chunga's Revenge" skips around too much for my tastes; I'm rarely in the mood for serious instrumental music and guitar pyrotechnics and irreverent novelty songs all at the same time. ZAPPA's genius condensed to a single disc can come across a little too strong; taken in smaller doses, "Chunga's Revenge" is an appreciable effort.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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