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Frank Zappa - Tinsel Town Rebellion CD (album) cover

TINSEL TOWN REBELLION

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.04 | 117 ratings

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Jim Garten
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars Tinseltown Rebellion finds Zappa's late 70's band during a period of transition; a couple of the old guard are still there (Tommy Mars, Patrick O'Hearn, Denney Whalley), but we start to see the faces who defined the 1980's band too, with Ike Willis supplementing Ray White's backing guitar/vocal, and Ed Mann in on percussion. It's also nice to hear a live recording of the Barrow/Colauita rhythm section - in my opinion, one of the most under- rated in the Zappa canon.

The album itself is generally Zappa-lite, concentrating on the shorter pieces, and the crowd pleasers (occasionally embarrassingly so, as in 'Panty Rap' and 'Dance Contest'); notwithstanding this, however, there are some fine instrumental workouts, especially during 'Easy Meat' and a strangely twisted version of 'Peaches III'.

As always with Zappa's live recordings, humour & satire are to the fore; Zappa's rant against the music industry, 'Tinseltown Rebellion' is as relevant now as it was then (perhaps more so), and the blues parody 'Bamboozled By Love' contains the inspired line "Oh Lord, the shit done hit the fan" (Robert Johnson would be proud.).

In conclusion, then, this is by no means an essential Zappa album, but it is certainly one of his most entertaining - now if it could only be re-released without 'Panty Rap' & 'Dance Contest' (please don't tell me those bought up on stage are representative of your average American Zappa fan.), there would be an extra star in the offing.

Jim Garten | 3/5 |

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