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Frank Zappa - The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.30 | 1036 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Frank Zappa: One Size Fits All [1975]

Rating: 9/10

"Evelyn, a dog, having undergone further modification, pondered the significance of short-person behavior in pedal-depressed panchromatic resonance and other highly ambient domains... 'Arf!', she said."

I've been listening to Zappa's immense discography over the past few months, and it's simply impossible for me to be anything less than astounded. This man created such an enormous amount of essential music in such a short amount of time; he released string after string of essential albums, reinventing and building upon himself with each of them. It's hard to believe that one man was responsible for all of this. On second thought, perhaps "one man" is unfair phrasing. Zappa always was able to assemble the greatest musicians to form the most incredible bands. This is particularly apparent on One Size Fits All. The names that show up on this album's ledger constitute what is undoubtedly one of Zappa's greatest lineups, if not the greatest. George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ruth Underwood, Tom Fowler, and Chester Thompson come together with Uncle Frank to assemble yet another bodacious buffet of succulent sonic snacks.

The mind-blowing "Inca Roads" is one of Zappa's most complex and multifaceted tracks. Every member of the band is in top form here, and different sections of this incredibly dense composition allow different strengths to be shown. Duke's keyboard solo is particularly impressive. "Can't Afford No Shoes" is another example of Zappified blues-rock, with hilarious lyrics as per usual. "Sofa No. 1" harkens back to instrumental Mothers compositions of the late 60s. "Po-Jama People" brings even more blues. Zappa finally busts out his monolithic guitar-soloing prowess here. "Florentine Pogen" focuses primarily on Brock's vocals and Underwood's mallets. This is also one of the few moments on the album where reeds show up. "Evelyn, A Modified Dog" is a brief piano/vocal interlude with some of my personal favorite wacky Zappa lyrics. The blues-rock returns on "San Ber'dino", a harmonica-infused track with an absolutely fantastic conclusion featuring some of my favorite vocal work in Zappa's catalogue. "Andy" is a heavy, jazzy blues-rock song with more great vocals, guitar, and polyrhythms. The closing piece, "Sofa No. 2" is a loungey piano number.

This is yet another quirky masterpiece from the maestro known as Frank Zappa. Everything is firing on all cylinders: the composition, the musicianship, the balance of the band, the humor, the overall feel. This is also the most band-centric record in Frank's discography; every track makes it apparent that this is a group effort rather than a one-man outing. No other Zappa album features quite the same level of democratic balance between band members. What exactly is One Size Fits All? Is it blues? Is it jazz? Is it hard-rock? Is it prog-rock? It's all of these things, and none of them. It's Zappa, and that's enough of a description. This is an album of great musicians making great music; there is not much more anybody can ask for.

Anthony H. | 5/5 |


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