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Frank Zappa - Weasels Ripped My Flesh CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.75 | 332 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Frank Zappa: Weasels Ripped My Flesh [1970]

Rating: 6/10

"At this very moment on stage, we have Drummer A playing in 7/8, Drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his nose."

Best album title ever? Pretty much. Weasels Ripped My Flesh is probably Zappa's most avant-garde release. Like its sister album Burnt Weeny Sandwich, this album collects Mothers songs recorded during the late 60s. Unlike its companion, an album that focused on Zappa's harmonious jazz compositions, Weasels features dissonant free improvisational jazz. The majority of the tracks are taken from live performances; blowtorch sax, bizarre vocal experiments, and noisy soundscapes are thoroughly explored.

"Didja Get Any Onya?" opens the album with a pounding rhythm and blaring sax. Crazy vocalizations join in along with gut-punching improvisational sounds. This is a pretty good track, even though the vocals are a bit irritating. The album does a complete 180 with "Directly from My Heart to You", a Little Richard cover. It's a fairly straightforward track, but Don "Sugarcane" Harris's violin makes it a highlight. "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" is a throwaway track despite its great title. The song is pretty much nothing except vocal noise and maniacal laughing. "Toads of the Short Forest" improves things. Typical Zappa guitar hooks begin the track, and then it sharply transitions into a heavy rhythm with squealing sax and freeform organ. "Get a Little" is a short Zappa guitar solo; it sounds nice, but I wish it was longer. "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" has some excellent jazz moments, but more random laughing and a few unnecessarily minimalistic moments drag it down slightly. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" begins like a normal Zappa jazz track and then cuts into bizarre electronic noise. "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" is decidedly out-of-place here. This is a rather straightforward hard-rock song augmented with jazzy instruments a complex guitar solo; the lyrics are funny and clever. "Oh No" is another straightforward track (at least within the context of this album) with some more funny lyrics and another good solo. The title track is nothing but two minutes of harsh guitar feedback. This was probably meant to be a joke track, but that doesn't stop it from being highly unpleasant.

Although I'm a fan of avant-garde jazz, this album doesn't do a whole lot for me. There are some excellent sections, including the sax-centered avant-garde segments, the guitar work, and the "normal" tracks. However, Weasels Ripped My Flesh is brought down by throwaway moments. A lot of the vocal sections are annoying and un-enjoyable, particularly the moments that consist of nothing but manic laughing. There are also segments of noise; there's a difference between avant-garde dissonance and straight-up noise. Although I somewhat enjoy this album, it is heavily flawed and definitely unessential. However, I would still recommend Weasels Ripped My Flesh to adventurous fans.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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