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Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes CD (album) cover

BABY SNAKES

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.10 | 59 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The concert film from my favorite era of Frank Zappa's career is definitely a spectacle of the eyes and ears. With precision versions of some of Zappa's best material, some trippy claymation sequences and some all around nonsense, this movie is easily one of the best concert films available. From the introduction rehearsal of Baby Snakes to the exciting Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man medley, there is gold dispersed throughout this monumental spectacle.

Shot during a Halloween stint in New York, and with plenty of new material to play, Frank Zappa wows the audience with sheer audacity and musicality. From the soaring Adrian Belew vocals of City of Tiny Lites (which includes a monster Frank Zappa solo) to the "adorable" Terry Bozzio performance of Punky's Whips (again with another great Frank Zappa solo), the concert portions of this film are flawless. My only real complaint is that the claymation scenes tend to go on and on and do the same thing over and over again (which is shapeshifting objects and psychedelic sounds). With fan interviews dispersed around, some wacky Roy Estrada backstage scenes, and some band member interviews in between, every aspect of the Zappa live show was included flawlessly.

By far the best songs are Titties 'N Beer, Punky's Whips, Broken Hearts are for Assholes, and the Camarillo Brillo/Muffin medley. Three of these songs feature Terry Bozzio on vocals, one as a love-struck man confused with his sexuality, one as a very discerned devil, and the last as an overly agressive screamer. In any sense, these songs are excellent representations of their studio counterparts (apart from Titties 'N Beer and Punky's Whips, which were never released as studio tracks). The line-up of Adrian Belew (later of King Crimson fame), Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio, Tommy Mars, Pete Wolf, and FZ himself are cohesive and play the material flawlessly.

Overall, there is much to like about this film, if you can get past the overly boring claymation sequences. I cannot fault this film except for that, which is only about 20 minutes of an almost 3 hour movie. For Frank Zappa fans, this is a must own. But let it be known, this will be an excellent collection into any prog fans collection. But read the subtitle before making any moves, "A movie about people who do stuff that is not normal". 4.5/5

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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