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Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy CD (album) cover

LUMPY GRAVY

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.29 | 255 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars " The way I see it Barry, this should be a very dynamite show " and what a zany, zany display of complex music and drug-fuelled banter it is. I adore this recording - I even bought the red T-Shirt featuring the album cover on it whilst on holiday in New York....anyway, Zappa composed this very strange and unique album with the idea of conducting an orchestra of sorts, so he assembled the 'Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra (& chorus)' featuring many performers, playing on both Rock and Orchestral instrumentation, with much dialogue scattered throughout. However, this is a far cry from the famous 'group and orchestra' recordings we tend to be more familiar with. On the original LP there are no titled sub-sections, just 'Lumpy Gravy' - Part 1 (15.45) and Part 2 (15.56). With this I'll describe the first half of Part one, quite possibly as disjointed as the parts are constructed and put together, and maybe, just maybe, you'll latch onto this weird and wonderful creation from one of the 20th century's greatest composers. Well, he is/was/always will be. Opening with said quote at the start of this review, the first music heard is a sort of surf music with brass eventually joining in. This merges into a brief orchestral link then into a jazzy piece with piano introducing the familiar themes of 'Oh No' - an instrumental piece here, which gradually appeared in a vocal version on the excellent 'Weasel's Ripped My Flesh' album. This song is jazzy and includes intelligent use of odd time sigs and varying instrumentation. What evolves after this is a comedic collage of sounds and a woman advocating 'dark clothes'. More loopy conversation follows - the guys here sound well and truly 'baked'. Then we get a brief sample of Dixieland jazz, some amusing, almost oriental sounding music, with more sounds, like coughing recorded at high speeds (which I find hilarious - well, I'm immature - so what...), a cartoon-like ditty and then back into 'Oh No'. Part 2 features extended avant-garde, free-form orchestral bits (which can get a little tedious) and more off-the-wall dialogue (with someone laughing like a rabid turkey, I always have a chuckle myself) and finishes off with a psychey/surfy version of 'Let's Make The Water Turn Black' - correction, 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance' (from the equally creative 'We're Only In It For The Money' album). This is such an unusual album, a real one-off - 4 bright stars.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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