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Frank Zappa - Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa


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5 stars What do Jon Fishman of Phish and Larry Lalonde of Primus have in common? Well, first, they were nice enough to give of their time and secondly they both feel an inherent bond with Frank Zappa and his music. Rykodisc is just beginning of what will be a series of compilation releases covering the career of the rock legend. These two CDs are the inaugural releases to kick off the program that will offer more of the Zappa catalog through the eyes of other musicians.

Zappa was an original; I think that it is safe to say that there was nobody like him nor will there ever be. His music was just as unique. Bizarre, funny, complex...those are some of the words that come to mind when describing the way he presented his music live and in the studio. He was undoubtedly one of the world's premier guitar players. He also was an outspoken activist, a father, and a tremendously respected man in and out of music circles. His absence has left a huge void in the music world. He was that special. We still have his music to remember him by and these CDs are quite a devotion to his craftiness.

There is a lot of music to take in on these two discs. Fishman's picks has 17 tracks and Lalonde's 19. The liner notes are terrific, as each artist relates his own personal experiences growing up listening to Zappa. I am completely taken aback as to what I can say about all of this music. It's all great stuff! Most of it is very weird, and that's what makes it so interesting to listen to. Keeping in mind that I have a warped sense of humor ... the sexist and politically satirical nature of some of the songs I thought were funny as hell. I am sure some of the material may offend some folks; if so, just listen to the music, its some of the most amazing music ever made, and most have found it nearly impossible to duplicate.

My favs were "Doreen," "Dog Breath," "I'm The Slime," "five-five-FIVE," and the unforgettable "Camarillo Brillo." Simply put, every song has its own personality and sound. You have to immerse yourself in Zappa's music to understand it, and those that do can find the appreciation for everything he did. Some of his recordings may have sounded out there, and for the most part, they were, but they were all Frank, 100%. Whoever said he did not have any commercial potential? (Reference to a book called No Commercial Potential, Zappa's story). There is more than enough information in each song to stick in your craw, chew, and mull over. Zappa made thinking man's music, and he was the ultimate musician's musician.

These CDs are a wonderful primer to his music. If you are a longtime fan or even if you have not experienced the pleasures and oddities of Zappa's world, it is a great way to get some of his best material on one CD. Any way you look at it, you should try the music, who knows? You may just come back for some more. Keep it real and keep it greasy, the main thing is to get these CDs before you leave this earthly domain.

Report this review (#30299)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It was a very good idea by record label Rykodisc to ask the guitarist Larry Lalonde (Primus) and drummer Jon Fishman (Phish) to search into the huge Zappa catalogue to select the subject of a compilation of the works of the great composer.

I simply envy and at the same time sympathise with them because the task should have been very difficult to acomplished. That's what they both say in an interview back in 2002 when the album was released.

Although difficult to say what selection between the choice of Lalonde and the one from Fishman is the most interesting, I think Lalonde is presenting a set in which all the pieces are linked together, as was often Zappa and thus a little more interesting. While Fishman is pretty lazy, leaving even a full face of Roxy & Elsewhere (vinyl era ...) which is a splendid album anyway.

There is no doubt that any fans of Zappa should have a very close look into this compilation because, as oppose to the other compilation Stricly Commercial, there is no compromise here. It is also a good introduction for newcomers who will have a magnificent example of the eclectism, craziness and genius of this great master. Five stars.

Report this review (#168323)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars What an insane and eclectic mix of music this record contains! If you can't find something to like out of these 19 songs, then you probably don't like Zappa anyways. I realize that making a "greatest hits" package of Frank Zappa's music is an impossible task, but this is a good mixture of songs from many different ages and styles and works pretty well as a whole. There is little to no filler here. Highlights for me are "Dunb all Over", "VIllage of the Sun", "Doreen", and the goofy "Fembot in a Wet T-shirt". Take a look at the players involved in these songs and you have a virtual Prog-masters list: Eddie Jobson, Jack Bruce, Adrian Belew, Jean-Luc Ponty, Terry Bozzio, etc..... This is a great package at a great price and is a good introduction for those curious about what this "Zappa-thing" is all about without buying his other 60 million albums! (Maybe not that many, but it sure seems like it!) 4 stars.
Report this review (#294748)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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