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JOE'S GARAGE, ACTS I, II & III

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Frank Zappa Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III album cover
3.53 | 90 ratings | 17 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one
1. The Central Scrutinizer (3:28)
2. Joe's Garage (6:10)
3. Catholic Girls (4:26)
4. Crew Slut (6:31)
5. Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt (4:45)
6. On The Bus (4:19)
7. Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? (2:36)
8. Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up (5:43)
9. Scrutinizer Postlude (1:35)
10. A Token Of My Extreme (5:30)
11. Stick It Out (4:34)
12. Sy Borg (8:56)

Disc two
1. Dong Work For Yuda (5:03)
2. Keep It Greasey (8:22)
3. Outside Now (5:50)
4. He Used to Cut the Grass (8:35)
5. Packard Goose (11:34)
6. Watermelon In Easter Hay (9:09)
7. A Little Green Rosetta (8:15)

Total Time: 115:21

Lyrics

Search FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, arranger, conductor, vocals, producer
- Ed Mann / percussion, vocals
- Ike Willis / vocals
- Dale Bozzio / vocals
- Arthur Barrow / bass, vocals
- Marginal Chagrin / sax (Baritone)
- Vinnie Colaiuta / drums
- Warren Cuccurullo / guitar, guitar (rhythm), vocals
- Jeff / sax (Tenor)
- Al Malkin / vocals
- Tommy Mars / keyboards
- Patrick O'Hearn / bass
- Craig Steward / harmonica
- Stumuk / sax (Baritone), sax
- Denny Walley / vocals, slide guitar
- Peter Wolf / keyboards

Releases information

1979 LP Zappa 1603 / Rykodisc #10530/31

Thanks to for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III ratings distribution


3.53
(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Hardly's Zappa's best stuff, this is full of excellent guitars solo but also full of obscenities to make kids buy it . Of course I bought it , and I loved very minute of it but nowadays , this has not aged well. The concept had been done by Rush in 2112 and this looks like an attempt to get in as many tits and ass into a record as possible. This would probably still have the Guinnes Record if such a record exist.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#29698) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Perhaps this is one of the most famous albums and of the best ones as well (perhaps the best one)... it's a sort of concept album telling the story of Joe and his role of "Central Scrutinizer", as He's obliged to hold an unnatural behavior, within such role, till becoming an outlaw.The album begins with the accessible title track: "Joe's Garage". After this easy intro, He becomes more and more ironical and quite bizarre too.

ZAPPA doesn't perform a particular complex job with his guitar here, that is simply his typical rock and roll guitar solo, but his inspiration also in the lightest things is high as usual. "Watermelon in Easter Hay" demonstrates his skillful technique on guitar: his guitar playing inside is fantastic and as an incredible testament for his life, this song was played at his funeral... anybody, except on his Son Dweezil, won't play this "cover song" anymore!! At last all the songs for instance on "Act I" are a must-have, but this "Watermelon in Easter Hay" in particular is an unforgettable tribute, whenever it can be played by a capable and amazing guitarist too! So this testament is essential for every kind of personal "discoteque".

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#29700) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars 4 stars really, but i give it the benefit of the doubt for two reasons: 1) It doesn't seem to have alot of support here, and 2) There are some really good musical moments.

In some ways this album is a masterpiece. Perhaps not the fullest sence prog, but there are some very progressive songs, and progressiveness mixed in with all the other styles present here. But, there are some incredable pieces of music, along with regular and not so good ones. Another thing that i think scares people off is the obscene nature of some songs. "Stick it Out" and "Sy Borg" in particular are at times very sexual in content. However, this does not decrease the value of the record, in my opinion. Granted, it doesn't add anything to it, and don't turn this down because for that reason. The plot: Music becomes illegal. Joe is arrested for making music. Through a series of events, Joe is eventually led to having sex with machines. He destroys one such machine, and again is thrown in prison, where he is "plooked", alot. He gets out and realizes now life without music is horrible.

Ok, now that that is taken care of, let's move on to the songs/music. As I said, i find the music to be extremly strong at times. "Fembot In A Wet T-shirt" is a great example of great percussion use that Zappa had. In fact, there are many other songs here that show off Ed Mann's ablity to play. "Why does it hurt when i pee?" is an amazing song. Forget the vocal (which are sung great) the music is just stunning, especially the middle instramental section. Wow!! Another fantastic song is "Outside Now". Very melancholy, very beautiful (at times). The lyrics slighty bend towards the lewd side, but that stops after the first few minutes. "Packard Goose" is another great song with an excellent guitar solo. Also, the drums deserve a mention as they are played expertly. "Watermelon in easter Hay" is one of the best guitar solos ever. The sadness that is produced from the guitar is stunning. This is one of Frank's best songs. It makes sense why they used it at his funeral. A very emotional song. Other great songs included: "Stick It Out" "A Token Of My Extreme" "Keep It Greasey" and "Joe's Garage". These show some great musical moments, despite having a sexual connotation to them ("Stick it out" and "Keep It Greasey"). There are only a few moments that drag the CD and nothing to the extreme that it makes it a bad song.

All in all, this record has some essential listenings on it, "Watermelon in Easter Hay" in particular. Zappa fans should have this one around, as well of fans of eithre naughty language or great music. Recommended.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#43598) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The 'Joe's Garage' trilogy was my first real introduction to the wonderful world of Frank Zappa. I didn't like it then so much as I do now, but it keeped growing on me, and now it's one of my personal favorites by him. Backed up with an excellent theme of musicians, including Vinnie Colaiuta, Tommy Mars and Arthur Barrow, this is one of Zappa's most well-constructed and tightest releases! Clocking in at 115 minutes, this album featuring almost every music genre out there, including reggae, pop, fusion and avant-garde influences not unlike his early days. The tracks are extremely well-produced and the music keep's the listener interested through the whole album. Act's 2 & 3 mostly contains guitar solo oriented songs with some really great intros to them.

The lyrics are incredible funny on the whole album, telling the story about Joe, who plays in a garage band and get's in trouble with the police because the neighbours are complaining that they play too loud. Then, he get's throwed in jail because he "plooks" a robot (when he finds out the his girlfriend, Mary, have cheated on him) so hard that it get's destroyed. When he get's out of prison, all music have become illegal and Joe turns nuts and begin working on a muffin kitchen. Lot's of hilarious details lurking in all of the lyrics makes this album even better than it already is.

The reason I give this album only 4 stars is because a couple of the songs could have been better. "A Little Green Rosetta", for example. A funny track, but not as good as most of the other stuff. Otherwise, this album is essentail for you in your FZ collection! It's a very acessible album, but you must spend some time on it so it can grow on you completely, though.

Favorite tracks: Crew Slut, Wet T-Shirt Nite, Stick It Out, Dong Work For Yuda, Keep It Greasey, Outside Now, Watermelon in Easter Hay.

Personal rating: 4.5/5

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#65903) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Joe's Garage is Frank Zappa's look into the world of a garage band gone horribly wrong. Joe goes from plugging away with his mates to prison for "plooking" a robot that his girlfirend cheated with. He is released into a world where music is illegal and this drives him insane. As Hugues already stated, it's Frank's take on 2112. As always, Zappa surrounds himself with some of the best talent in the world, including the masterful Vinnie Colaiuta behind the kit. Vinnie is the only person who can fill in for Terry Bozzio, Zappa's other favored drummer. The lineup is one of Frank's tightest coming in closely behind the Zappa in New York troupe.

Act I is the funniest and most enjoyable of the trilogy, with the acessible title track, and teh hilarious "Catholic Girls," "Crew Slut," "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" and "Wet T-Shirt." The other two acts have a more serious vibe, although the lyrics are no less lewd. For example, "Outside Now" looks at Joe's bleakness at the state of his world. The true highlight of the album is "Watermelon in Easter Hay," which is my favorite solo from Frank. It is beautiful, and it shows off his considerable skill.

I doubt if any genre of music isn't covered over this trilogy. Reggae, avant-garde, and of course jazz abound with poppy vibes. The problem is that Acts II and III, though full of great lyrics and composition, aren't as enjoyable as ACT I, with the exception of Watermelon. Zappa fans must have this, but it's a bad place to start, especially considering it's massive length.

Grade: B-

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#127874) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 08, 2007

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I guess I'm going to review this compilation, as such, because it's the only CD version I could seem to find.

I dare say this is the height of Frank Zappa's ridiculousness, which is a very dangerous statement to those who know his lyrical habits even in passing. What we have here is a three LP concept following Joe, an average guy who wants to be a rock star. Over the course of the album, we find Joe seducing a Catholic girl, who ends up becoming a groupie for some other band. Doesn't take long for Joe to find another girlfriend, who gives him some STI. Questioning things, Joe ends up at the Church of Appliantology (yes, a mildly clever satire on Scientology), where he is told to run off to a special nightclub full of machines who will service people, because in truth, Joe is a closeted appliance-fetishist. Apparently. Joe goes a little wild on the robot he hooks up with, and the thing fries, at which point Joe is thrown in jail. Hey, guess what happens to Joe in jail? I mean, these are FRANK ZAPPA songs, you know? Not much of a surprise, in the end. After a bit of awkward prison humor, Joe is released into a world where music is not allowed, sits around daydreaming about guitar solos, and then gives up and works in a muffin factory.

There's the plot. At least, plot seems to be the best word, though this story seems more like a connection of a bunch of naughty jokes.

Of course, these gags, whether humorous or not, depend entirely on the quality of the music. And here, thankfully, is where the album is able to rise above its juvenile drudgery. A very wide range of music is explored in Joe's Garage, from straight up commercial rock tracks to some very progressive (and slightly obtuse) bits. Some of the guitar solos found on this album can be argued to be among Zappa's very best ever. Aside from the guitar, which is almost a given in any of Frank's albums, the musicians all blend pretty well, play what they're supposed to. The only instrument that sticks out is the bass, with terrific flair and a lot of tasty slapping.

The music on Act I is the most commercial and generally least progressive, though that's a silly way of looking at it, all told. Joe's Garage features a (surprise!) garage band sort of feel, with references to some golden oldies, such as the surfer classic Wipe-Out. The next few tracks are standard Zappa bits, with dirty jokes and unique little bits here and there. All have terribly catchy and terribly inappropriate melodies, I must add. And speaking of terribly catchy and terribly inappropriate melodies, the kind of of all awkward Zappa tunes comes up here: Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? I swear, I have never come across a song so catchy, or so unwise to sing out loud in front of people. It truly is a stellar track, devoid of unnecessary parts--just bare bones quality.

Act II begins with A Token of My Extreme, where Joe is visiting the Church of Appliantology. The second act features slightly longer songs, a few more progressive bits, and more jamming. Also, Act II features the most explicit lyrics on the whole shebang, possibly in Zappa history. The strongest track here is Keep It Greasey, a rather unpleasantly-lyricked track with absolutely inhuman bass. Plus, we get a particularly long guitar solo over some strange time signature that I can't count out because I'm not good at math. Act II, I think, on the whole, is the weakest of the three.

The last act is only four songs, but here Frank stretches the songs out, building massive jams for the first three. Packard Goose features a wonderful, twisting guitar solo for a good portion of its length--the song is streamable from this site. Watermelon in Easter Hay is my personal favorite, featuring a lovely clean solo played in 9/4 time or something. I think. Did I mention that I'm not good at math? Anyways, the final song, A Little Green Rosetta, is a rather random concluding band jam with a lot of folks singing the title over and over again. It's fun, and I suppose Frank couldn't have ended the album in any better of a way.

This is, to me, one of Frank Zappa's last great albums. It's got something in it for fans of any era of his. The only real stipulation against it is a weak middle section and too many ridiculous sex jokes. Aside from that, I highly recommend this album. An okay place to start for people interested in Zappa, though I'd say starting with some of his earlier stuff would be wiser.

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Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think the biggest overall factor that makes me enjoy this album more than Sheik Yerbouti is that Frank doesn't pull any punches here. This album has a reputation of being the most morally offensive album Frank ever made (though I guess the later Thing Fish could give it a run for its money in that department), but what really makes the offensiveness work for me is the over-the-top context in which it's presented. The story manages to work both as a raving paranoid left-wing cautionary tale (what with all the Big Brother elements of music getting banned for the moral good of the nation) and as a raving paranoid right-wing cautionary tale of the "moral dangers" of a life heavily steeped in rock music (often reading like a Jack Chick tract gone berzerk), and the sexual elements accompanying the latter descend into "total ridiculousness" so thoroughly that I can't help but giggle the whole time. The whole thing is offensive in such a cartoonish way that it makes me lament the state of the human mind that this became such a lightning rod for groups like the PMRC; there is an overwhelming feel of "if you're completely mortified by this, you're only proving my point" throughout, and the fact that so many take the cop-out route in reacting to this bugs the hell out of me.

That said, there is a bit of a problem with the whole thing, namely that it's more than a bit musically thin. As you probably know, this was, in total, a triple album (and this just months after releasing a double with Sheik Yerbouti!); Act I was released on its own as a single LP, while Acts II & III were released three months later as a double LP (it's all together now as a 2-CD release, thankfully). As you might guess, Frank didn't have a triple-album's worth of solid tunes lying around in wait for use on this album, and the inevitable result is that large portions of the album break down into standard opera- style singing dialogue or the voice of the "narrator," The Central Scrutinizer (Zappa whispering into a megaphone) piping in with plot exposition. Plus, the whole of Act III largely abandons the overall storyline in favor of long guitar and keyboard wanks (not all of them are a negative, though; see below), reducing the "conventional" music value of the whole even further. Once again, though, I find myself much less concerned with the song quality than with the overall entertainment value of this "rock opera," which manages to be very very high as a whole.

There are some individual tracks that definitely deserve a mention as being, at the very least, minor Zappa classics. The title track is a very warm, nostalgic 'ditty' about Joe, the garage band of his youth, and the way they played the same tune over and over and caused his mother to call the cops on him. Much later and much more ridiculous is "Stick it Out," which, among other things, includes a callback to the monologue at the end of Dancing Fool (this time delivered by a robot, hehehehe) and has the most hilariously memorable "chorus" on the album ("Don't get no jizz upon that sofa sofa!"). The music manages to sound mechanical in a way that totally matches the fact that many of the lyrics are delivered in German, but it's mechanical in a way that still manages to be bouncy and dancable in a stereotypical Krautastic manner, which I'm betting was the whole point.

From a pure musical standpoint, there is one track that I've found tends to get overlooked, much because it's part of the general noodlefest that is Act III. Before fully surrendering himself to the totalitarian world into which he's emerged after leaving prison, Joe allows himself one last indulgence in dreaming one last imaginary guitar solo, and the solo performed by Frank in this track ("Watermelon in Easter Hay") is everything I'd want such a guitar passage to sound like. It's SOOOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL; the tone is dreamy and echoey, every note drips with a mix of sadness and longing, on one hand, and joy and gratitude for a life's worth of musical memories, on the other, and the length doesn't bother me one bit. I'm sure Zappa was trying to make a mockery of "heavenly" guitar solos with this passage, not intending this in the least as an earnest expression of emotion, but I don't really care; it may be a parody of gorgeousness, but it's still gorgeous.

Anyway, there are a lot of other little bits that jump out during a listen to this monster. "Catholic Girls" is a bouncy piece of slightly jazzy pop, "Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt" starts off as funny disco-pop before turning into a hilarious stretch of dialogue in which Joe's erstwhile girlfriend competes for $50 in, well, a wet t-shirt contest, "Sy Borg" is full of HILARIOUS dialogue (with some funny musical jokes too; "You're plookin' too hard, plookin' too hard on meeeeeeeee" kills me every time), and ... well, there's a lot of funny bits. Things sag a bit in the second half, yes, but it's listenable and fun (in Act II) and full of decent wanking (and occasional moments of beauty) in Act III, so it's hardly a serious letdown.

In the end, this gets a very hearty recommendation from yours truly. It's hardly one of Zappa's most "impressive" albums, but it's definitely one of his more entertaining ones, and that's enough for me. Among Zappa's releases from the second half of the 1970's, this should be one of the first stops.

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Posted Monday, November 29, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars It has always surprised me that so many people, usually not prog fans per se, but people that I know who are into some of the popular bands that we might consider prog, like Rush, Queensryche and such, know this album well, and consider it one of Frank Zappa's best. One even used to enjoy putting his speakers in his apartment window and blasting it out onto Broadway in Somerville Massachusetts. That's significant because this apartment was right above a store owned by the parents of Dale Bozzio, who appears on this album.

But the album, while not terrible (How could it be, with the great band Zappa assembled?) is nowhere near his best. It's an oddity in the Zappa catalog. Like the later "Thing Fish", this is a story told over a number of LPs, or in this case, compact disks. The narrative is disjointed, a story of Joe, a young guitar player, who meets up with a girl, Mary. Mary gets seduced away by a roadie for a passing band (maybe Toto), and Joe turns to gay robotic sex before getting thrown in prison, because for some inexplicable reason music is now illegal. Joe gets released from prison, but then resorts to playing guitar solos in his head. Along the way Zappa takes digs at authority, cult religion, and record company executives. Supposedly the story was inspired by the Iranian revolution, and some of the draconian laws that were instituted there at the time.

Confused? You should be. The narrative loosely ties the songs together, but just barely, and only if you don't think about it.

Some of the songs were older pieces Zappa used in other contexts. Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up was originally recorded for Jeff Simmons' solo album of the same name, and credited to Zappa under the pseudonym "La Marr Bruister". Stick It Out was part of the sofa routine played on tour during the Flo & Eddie years. And Dong Work For Yuda was originally written about John Smothers, that bald guy who protected Zappa on stage for most of the seventies and eighties. Look for the a capella version, it's much funnier.

The album contains a lot of filler, simple riffs for Ike Willis to sing over, or Frank to solo over. Surprisingly, one of his best solos is one of these. Watermelon In Easter Hay became one of the few songs Frank didn't want anyone else to play, as he held it so dear.

Most of the vocal songs are simple, but very well played tunes. The only really impressive composition comes in short bursts in Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? and Keep It Greasey.

This is by no means a great album, but it has some value. I wouldn't recommend this as a starter to a Zappa newbie, unless they really like sexual humor.

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Posted Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars St Francis of Asinine

I felt secure in the knowledge that the worst concept album ever made by anyone, anywhere was Preservation Acts I & II by the Kinks. This was a flimsy edifice of twee Orwellian drivel from a band I considered to be one of my favourites of all time.(and still do) Ray Davies' tale of a huge faceless corporation (read EVIL) that wished nothing more than to drive out ordinary people (read GOOD) from their humble villages (read GOOD) in the pursuit of mercenary gain, (read EVIL) for all its overreaching artifice and risible bravado, was at the very least sincere but grievously misguided.

Joe's Garage is much, much worse. Let me sum up the plot for you:

Rock'n'Roll is dumb and its practitioners often smell bad (yet somehow the prurient obsessions of hirsute guitar totin' plankton are our only hope of salvation from those who wish to stifle such sedition) Rock stars are the waay coolest enemies of the state as their music is subversive, dangerous and thus a threat to the pillars of convention.

Blow it out yer denim clad wazoo Frank, this document is all the proof needed that like charity, censorship begins at home. Had just one of his expensively assembled sessioneer luvvies had the cojones to advise Frank this whole disingenuous farce was a locker room summit, things may have turned out differently.

Circa 1979 in Zappa's post modern but pre Kinsey Report psyche, America 'hid' sex because it was 'dirty' and disapproved of 'Rawk' because it was the 'devil's music' and promoted 'carnal thoughts' ergo, he had a mandate to throw double entendres, blow-jobs, wet t-shirts, titties, beer and whatever other rotten fruit from his abandoned orchard at a prudish and blushing suburbia. In the soiled realm of the scatological (a non-sequitur to be sure) you get the overriding impression that toilet training must have been delivered by pets to their owners. The only individual or member of a demographic referenced in this album who actually has an undeniable hang up about sex, is Frank Zappa. In this cramped and humid FZ cosmology there are basically two types of female: Groupies and women who 'really' want to be groupies despite their protestations to the contrary.

As to what heavyweight chopmeisters such as Vinnie Colaiuta, Tommy Mars and Terry Bozzio were doing replicating the efforts of a bar band fuelled by Dutch Courage on many of these tracks is beyond me. If the Beatles White Album can be considered an affectionate and skilful homage to a wide variety of popular music styles, then Joe's Garage is its corollary: a spiteful and lazy parody of those styles that serves only to accentuate whatever vestige of merit remains in what is being ridiculed. One of the pifalls/benefits (you choose) inherent in lampooning musical genres is that your audience, if dumb or gauche enough, actually start to mistake your deceit for the genuine article. Zappa is certainly no lard-head but I'm sure that at this point from his embittered leer he would have derived great relish in passing off vinegar as Honky Château for under-age drinkers. All manner of scribbled approximations of what crass and venal popular culture represents are attempted here: parochial world music, motionless booty disco, Goths tackling funk, racist 'wops' doo-wop, farm-boy industrial, Not In My Back Yardies Reggae, debonair wino crooners and bogus boogie all merely serve to show Zappa's resentment that he couldn't write a single good pop song during his entire career. (It's harder than it looks Frankie snicker)

Many apologists for this archly conservative 'panto for longhairs' have cited Zappa's avowed inspiration sourced from the extant Iranian revolution. That someone might identify Islamic Sharia law, separation of the sexes, guardianship of the jurist and the veiling of females as representative of inalienable freedoms preferable to the brutal and violent imposition of western values can of course be debated at length, but FZ is clearly befuddled by a choice between the land of his birth propping up a dictatorial regime or replacing same with an equally repellent alternative.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that musicians as routinely accomplished as those gathered here cannot be unremittingly wretched for a whole 2 hours and there are a couple tracks on Joe's Garage that escape the prevailing puerile gigglefest:

Watermelon in Easter Hay is an exquisitely beautiful guitar solo that boasts a tone and timbre unmatched in the entire FZ oeuvre. Over a sparing and largo 9/4 groove Frank weaves and flexes sinews of controlled power and lyricism all too often neglected in his vast arsenal of admirable chops. Wet T Shirt Night would have made a decent instrumental but isn't so erm...

If you're 14 years old, (biologically or otherwise) live close to Lake Clearasil and giggle at the words 'Moby Dick' or 'crevice' then this is your holy grail.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#426942) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 02, 2011

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a 1987 compilation recording of the two "Joe's Garage" albums ("Act I, II & III") which were both originally released in 1979 the same year as "Sheik Yerbouti". No doubt a profitable year for Frank and his band. The first original "Joe's Garage" was a single LP while the second was a double which fits onto one cd, so we have a double disc recording here.This really is set up as a play in the liner notes with the different "Scenes" shown and it also shows who is speaking (singing) the parts and there is a narrator (The Central Scrutinizer) and so on. And it's great that they united these two recording into one because this is one long concept album about Joe and his life. Poor Joe (haha). This is very sexually explicit and bizarre to say the least. My maturity level isn't very high so there are times when i'm laughing right out loud.Yes this is freaking hilarious at times as we follow Joe and his [%*!#]ed up life.

"The Control Scrutinizer" is none other than Frank as he almost whipers the narration.There are times he can't help but laugh at what he's saying.The narration is really important here and it's definitely a plus not a negative. As he speaks we hear this groovy music. "Joe's Garage" might be Zappa's most known song.Yes it was on the radio back in the day. Heck there's even sax 2 minutes in.I really like the section from the 4 minute mark on. "Catholic Girls" was also one i'd heard back then but not on the radio. "Crew Slut" is crude as the Control Scrutinizer tells us that Joe's girlfriend Mary didn't show up at church to meet Joe because she was busy doing something backstage at the Armory. From there Mary travels with a band then enters a wet t-shirt contest because she needs the money to get home."Why Does It Hurt When I Pee ?" is where Joe finds out he contacted some disease after fooling around with the taco stand lady after he heard about Mary's escapades. "Why does it hurt when I pee? I got it from the toilet seat, it jumped right up and grabbed my meat." "My balls feel like a pair of maracis." "Lucille Has Messed Up My Mind" has a reggae vibe. Joe then gets desperate and joins a cult called the Church of Appliantology and meets it's leader L. Ron Hoover. Priceless ! After wrecking an appliance while having sex with it he's thrown in jail where things get worse for him.This is taken up on the second disc "Acts II & III".

Lots of extended instrumental sections on this second disc and so we get longer tracks. Frank is laughing as he talks to start this album. "Keep It Greasy" has a good instrumental section from 4 minutes to the end. "Outside Now" is a tough one as it's repetitive and slow going for the most part. "He Used To Cut The Grass" is a good track with narration and guitar. Guitar, vibes and drums lead early on "Package Goose" before the vocals come in. Nice instrumental section 4 minutes in to 8 1/2 minutes when the vocals return.The Scrutinizer is laughing again trying to say his lines to start "Watermelon In Easter Hay" then we get this laid back and beautiful guitar solo that goes on forever. A classic ! "A Little Green Rosetta" sounds like a celebration by the whole band to end the album.

4 stars for this insane show. And I love playing Zappa in the Summer, it just seems to fit.

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Posted Monday, June 06, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'll stick my review of this here as opposed to under the individual album entries since really they all form one single piece. Joe's Garage is an epic narrative concept album by Zappa in which Zappa really doesn't show that much interest in maintaining a narrative but goes about shoehorning one in anyway in as irritating a way as possible.

Don't get me wrong - there's some fun material on here. True, Acts I and II continue Zappa's tedious pandering to the novelty rock crowd, though at least Catholic Girls and Why Does It Hurt When I Pee are catchy. And Act III has some nice guitar solos if empty classic rock guitar heroism is your thing. That's all fine. But the material is padded out by tedious, monotonous, and unspeakably dull narration by Zappa in his goofy Central Scrutinizer voice, which completely ruins the flow of the album and completely fails to disguise the fact that Zappa took a bunch of utterly unrelated songs and crammed them into something resembling a story.

And on top of that, even though there are good moments such as I have outlined, they're hardly of the standard of the material on Uncle Meat, We're Only In It For the Money, One Size Fits All or other classic Zappa creations. It's far from Zappa's worst concept album - that would have to be the horrendous Thing-Fish, with its shamelessly recycled material botched with mammy-isms and the horrible acting from the "cast" - but it's a long way from his best concept album, or his best novelty rock record, or his best fusion album, or his best guitar solo collection.

There are as many different reasons to listen to a Frank Zappa record as there are Frank Zappa fans, but they all have one thing in common: pick any type of enjoyment you might wish to derive from a Zappa album, and there'll be one that delivers it better and with less bull[&*!#] filler than Joe's Garage.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#561694) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 03, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars When asked in interviews; about his favorite Frank Zappa song; Frank Zappa answered back 2 or 3 names; the only always constant one was "Watermelon in Eastern Hay" included in this far-off story of a "normal" guy who decides to travel the USA garage-band route of Rock n Roll stardom. And "musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#977232) | Posted by admireArt | Thursday, June 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars So, I'll restate what I said about Act I before. It's good. 4 stars. The humour is nice, the music is great and doesn't get boring (save for "Lucille Has My Mind Messed Up") and is full of short, nice compositions. So why don't I like this? Well the other two acts are beyond horrible in many w ... (read more)

Report this review (#572630) | Posted by DisgruntledPorcupine | Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Warning: This album contains jokes about: rebellion against the parents, children molestation by catholic priests, promiscuity, hardcore sex, venereal diseases and God knows what else. So, if you're a morally sensible person; get away of this album and never listen to it. Frank Zappa was, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#185841) | Posted by Pink_Gilmour | Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Nice moments (the guitar solo of Watermelon In Easter Hay, Packard Goose, Joe's Garage, Stick It Out), but very deceiving in totality. This triple disc - now double CD, an hour by disc - is often considered as one of Zappa's real best albums. Maybe his lest great work. Sorry, but this album, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#164046) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Why bother buying the other two separately? Recorded and written in the same year, all three acts belong together - it's clear from the first moment you hear them one after the other. Though I'm fonder of the first act by far, the second and third are not by any means bad. Some of Zappa's more acc ... (read more)

Report this review (#132265) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is quintessential Zappa as ROCK artist, no avant garde classical or even jazz, just good ol' rock 'n roll ... well, maybe not just; - it goes well past most peoples' idea of rock. A mini rock opera come social commentary and the best guitar solo you'll hear this side of heaven (or nirvana ... (read more)

Report this review (#29704) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 01, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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