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Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes CD (album) cover

BABY SNAKES

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Some transcendent musical performances, mixed in with some good claymation sequences, mixed in with some "okay" backstage/behind the scenes shenanigans. Since the entire film is over 2 1/2 hours long, I found myself skipping through the aforementioned "comedy" to get to the music. Zappa's bandmates really show their stuff here, and the sound quality is excellent for a live 70's concert. Since I'm the first to review this DVD (which has a few nice extras), I'll leave the long-winded, detailed expository remarks for later pundits. Now, more than ever, I wish that I had gone to see him at least once. He came to the Armadillo World Headquarters several times in the 70's, and I put off going for another time........

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#35016)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
rogerhouston2
5 stars A great document from my favorite period of the Zappa band. The chemistry of this band(w. Bozzio/Mars/O'Hearn/Wolf/Mann/Belew) is one of the greatest ever. Along with "Lather" and "Shiek Yerbouti", this is the definitive document of this vibrant period of Frank's work. The Halloween shows at the Palladium were one of the great Zappa traditions and this one is spectacular.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#40682)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
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

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#46985)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If your a fan of Zappa...actually if your a fan of music you need this dvd!This one of my favourite musc dvds ever,it has everything you need,not only a great preformace it' shows Zappa at work creating videos,songs and more of the man behind the music.

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Send comments to mrcozdude (BETA) | Report this review (#134783)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "A movie about people who do stuff thais not normal"?

How about a film where a musician who doesn't use drugs hooks up with a clay animator who most certainly does? The film drags on a little bit sometimes, but Bruce Bickord certainly has a talent for claymation. This was the age before computer graphic capabilities really had developed so it was hard work for him to pull off the visuals.

What you get is a nice assortment of live concert footage, backstage hijinks, and bizarre clay animation. Also a few segments with the fans waiting in line for a show. Be afraid, very afraid. Actually, that goes for the band as well.

I first saw thin in VHS format. Can't imagine why it didn't make it to the local theater. The DVD package, released posthumously, is done up nice and includes a little manila folder with "documents" some real, some jokes, some reviews. There's also a nice set of No-D Glasses (cardboard) that comes with it's own Zappa nose (also cardboard). No, I have not punched them out and put them on, but it is tempting.

If you want to stick to just the music of this Zappa period, go straight to Yerbouti, but if you want to see Zappa and company creatively in action, this is a lot of fun. And, Frank's not with us anymore.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#168448)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars An amazing DVD with the creation of one amazing video in cartoon's and is one of better concert's of Zappa ever. For me, this concert have one of my favourite solo drum's by Bozzio. The complicity of all the musicians they create a special effect to the hurt double of the letters of the songs. Amazing teats and beer's version. We can see how they make the music and how Zappa conduct the band. Zappa, one of more virtuous musician of 20 century. When you see this concert I think that you never be the same, because you begin love Zappa Universe. A masterpiece of progressive live concert ever.

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Send comments to Joćo Paulo (BETA) | Report this review (#208950)
Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars More like Teen-aged Snakes

Not to be confused with Chunga's Revenge with a similar album cover illustration, but there isn't much a risk as Baby Snakes is a movie with plasticine/clay figures animation and live footage from a concert played on Halloween night. Two completely different eras and vastly different line-ups (this one with Adrian Belew, Terry Bozzio and Estrada, amongst others), as this is definitely more related to the later 70's with Peckary references and their obsessional under-the-waist stuff, while not being too graphically scatological ? everything being relative with Francesco.

The movie starts very slow with Zappa setting patiently the tone, and one must wait a while, as we must suffer the Poodle Boogie after the plasticine figures, the studio, the inflatable doll, before finally kick-starting with a Belew-sung track. After more backstage antics, the group fires off on a fusion piece that starts with City Of Tiny Lights that opens with O'Hearn's bass solo and later Mars' synth solo. After a boring and predictable Disco Boy, marred by a lengthy drum solo, the group returns to a fusion piece segueing in some extremely tiring Estrada stage antics, before the classic Bobby Brown, Titties & Beers and the Broken Hearts song are offered to the public and the Dynah-moe Humm bizness and San Bernardino are for the long encores with some fine musical moments, but a lot of precious time is wasted in meantime.

There is a bit too much backstage goofing around, but the studio footage is actually quite interesting as you can see that these guys had a ball doing the music, probably even more so in their forced horsing-around. But despite these flaws, Baby Snakes is interesting enough if you've never see a Zappa show during the late 70's, but for my part, I find it a bit sad such fine musicianship and some moments of sheer brilliance being drowned out in an ocean of dumb pre-puberty idiocy. Actually, one has to wonder about Zappa's sincerity as he denounces the rock music business and stardom fantasy, but offers exactly that same [&*!#] to teenagers and not sure the derision factor is on their audiences instead of them, including during some of his wild guitar solos. Your call on this shot. Try to rent this movie first, to see if you really want to own it.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#293352)
Posted Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | Review Permalink

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