Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.86 | 456 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars This is one of Zappa's easier to find albums but it is nowhere near his best. Basically the whole album is live recordings with lots of overdubs(mostly vocals) and the audience noises removed. There are a few short pieces here with mainly talking and incidental music in the background. These parts were originally supposed to be on the 4-LP set Lather. This is the only 'studio' album to feature Adrian Belew(before working with Bowie and the T Heads). Drummer/vocalist Terry Bozzio plays here just before joining UK.

It's on Sheik Yerbouti(a pun for the disco crowd) where you really start getting the smutty lyrics that some people love/hate. If that turns you off then stay away from Joe's only gets worse. This is some of Frank's most mainstream and accessible music up to this point. It's still weird though. Songs like "Dancin' Fool" and "Jewish Princess" are good the first few times you listen to them, but they don't hold up after repeated listenings. "Bobby Brown Goes Down" was a #1 single in Norway. I assume most people who bought the single didn't understand English.

"I Have Been In You" is Zappa's response to Peter Frampton's "I'm In You". "Flakes" has some of the best music and lyrics on the album. Belew does a funny Bob Dylan impersonation here. "Jones Crusher" is one of the stranger songs about oral sex("deadly jaws better get the gauze"). Many of the songs are either sung by Belew or Bozzio. In general, this is one of Frank's least progressive offerings. A lot of this would appeal to 14- year old boys.

The progiest songs here are "City Of Tiny Lights" and "Wild Love". The latter, although featuring the Belew/Bozzio line-up, has vocals from former Zappa bandmate Napolean Murphy Brock. There are some instrumentals and studio experiments which are hit-or- miss. Frank began using what he called 'xenochrony' on Zoot Allures. This is where, for example, he will take a guitar solo from a live recording and overdub it into the middle of a studio song. The effect is used here, most noticeably on "Rubber Shirt". As far as music theory goes, it's an interesting idea. But it doesn't always work for the best. But you have to give Frank credit; his experiments may not have always worked, but at least the guy tried!

It's interesting that in interviews Frank talked about having to have lyrics in his songs or else no one would buy his albums. But ironically his lyrics are usually offensive to most people. Zappa was one of the biggest paradoxes in the world of music. Some talk about the Flo & Eddie years as being the lowpoint of Frank's career, but I disagree. I think his music performed/recorded between 1977-1980 was the low point. Or in other words, the stuff released between 1979-1981. He concentrates more on the lyrics rather than the music in this era. I would put Sheik Yerbouti near the end of your Zappa shopping list, although it is one of his easier to get into albums. 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this FRANK ZAPPA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives