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FRANK ZAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Frank Zappa biography
Frank Vincent ZAPPA was born in Baltimore on December 12, 1940. When he was 10 years old, he moved to California with his parents. The first instrument he played was the drums. At that time, Frank ZAPPA really liked rhythm and blues music. But in 1954, ZAPPA found a copy of "The Complete Works Of Edgar Varèse, Vol. One". He was fascinated by the 'weird' avant-garde pieces and it was probably also ZAPPA's first encounter with atonal compositions, something that would later reappear in his own music. During high school, he played in several garage bands, but he didn't write rock and roll music himself until his early twenties. He began writing classical music at 18. Some of his early compositions he wrote for the B-films "The World's Greatest Sinner" and "Run Home Slow" (written by his high school English teacher). You can find the theme from "Run Home Slow" on the "The Lost Episodes" and "The Mystery Disc". From 1962 'til 1964, ZAPPA wrote several songs for different bands (You can find those songs on "Cucamonga" and "For Collectors Only"). In 1964 ZAPPA entered THE SOUL GIANTS. He renamed the band THE MOTHERS (which was a subtle abbreviation of 'motherfuckers') and soon after the band caught the attention of producer Tom Wilson. THE MOTHERS were contracted by the Verve-division of MGM and after they had changed their name into THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION (to satisfy some MGM Records executives, who thought the other name was too provocative), they released 'Freak Out!', the second double-album ever (after Bob DYLAN's "Blonde On Blonde") and also what is said to be the first concept album ever. This milestone contained a strange mix of rhythm and blues, satyrical lyrics and avant-garde dissonance. With this first edition of THE MOTHERS, Frank ZAPPA recorded a number of progressive rock masterpieces. All of his records from the sixties are fantastic, except for "Cruising With Ruben & The Jets", which is a satiric tribute to doo-wop music. Worth mentioning is the fabulous "We're Only In It For The Money", on which ZAPPA ridicules the hippie-culture in general, and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from THE BEATLES in particular. The entire sleeve of "We're Only In It For The Money" is a parody on that record. On August 20, 1969, ZAPPA disbanded THE MOTHERS. The most important members of the early MOTHERS OF INVENTION had been Frank ZAPPA (guitar, vocals, much more) Ray COLLINS (vocals), Jimmy Carl BLACK (the indian of the group, drums and percussion), Roy ...read more

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Joe's Garage Acts I II & IIIJoe's Garage Acts I II & III
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$10.91
$9.82 (used)
Apostrophe ( ' ) (40th Anniversary Vinyl)Apostrophe ( ' ) (40th Anniversary Vinyl)
Zappa Records 2014
Vinyl$19.93
$34.06 (used)
One Size Fits AllOne Size Fits All
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.10
$5.97 (used)
Over-Nite SensationOver-Nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.58
$5.44 (used)
Sheik YerboutiSheik Yerbouti
Double CD
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$5.42
$5.19 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.16
$6.98 (used)
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.09
$6.50 (used)
Freak OutFreak Out
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.37
$6.15 (used)
We're Only In It For The MoneyWe're Only In It For The Money
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.10
$4.99 (used)
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FRANK ZAPPA - ZAPPED - ROCK LP - PROMO USD $9.99 [1 bids]
10h 17m
ROCK LP-FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" DISCREET 1975 USD $9.99 [2 bids]
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13h 40m
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13h 41m
Frank Zappa -Joe's Garage:Act 1, 2 & 3 (CD, 1987, 2 Discs, Rykodisc)-BMG Release USD $9.95 Buy It Now 13h 51m
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13h 57m
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FRANK ZAPPA MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION LP, *~SEALED~* USD $24.95 [0 bids]
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14h 55m
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15h 32m
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FRANK ZAPPA The Lost Episodes CD USD $2.55 [4 bids]
15h 56m
FRANK ZAPPA & MOTHERS FILLMORE EAST-JUNE 1971 RARE ORIG MS-2042 LP 1st USD $29.99 [0 bids]
16h 7m
FRANK ZAPPA - WAX FLAGS - LIVE AT UCLA NEW YEARS EVE 1977 - RARE 2 RECORD SET! USD $29.99 Buy It Now 16h 43m
Adrian Belew Lone Rhino LP Autographed Frank Zappa Talking Heads King Crimson USD $39.99 [0 bids]
16h 51m
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17h 23m
FRANK ZAPPA CDs "HOT RATS-FREAK OUT-WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY/LUMPY GRAVY" USD $25.00 [0 bids]
17h 25m
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FRANK ZAPPA Them Or Us CD Early Japan-made Release NO BAR CODE Heavy Case *MINT* USD $9.99 Buy It Now 17h 56m
FRANK ZAPPA The MOTHERS OF INVENTION We're Only In It For The Money 1968 USA LP USD $56.33 Buy It Now 17h 56m
FRANK ZAPPA Strictly Genteel: A Classical Introduction CD 1997 18 tracks RYKO USD $24.00 Buy It Now 18h 6m
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FRANK ZAPPA shows & tickets


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FRANK ZAPPA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FRANK ZAPPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 446 ratings
Freak Out!
1966
4.09 | 371 ratings
Absolutely Free
1967
3.28 | 266 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.15 | 465 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.70 | 189 ratings
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.15 | 361 ratings
Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1075 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.91 | 280 ratings
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.77 | 281 ratings
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 232 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.04 | 153 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.92 | 334 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.31 | 609 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 424 ratings
Over-Nite Sensation
1973
3.99 | 467 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.31 | 581 ratings
One Size Fits All
1975
3.71 | 294 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.72 | 191 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.60 | 193 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.84 | 344 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
3.34 | 126 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
4.12 | 352 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.91 | 278 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.67 | 199 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.56 | 174 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.12 | 79 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.14 | 161 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.22 | 135 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.38 | 103 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.62 | 96 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.60 | 89 ratings
The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.27 | 101 ratings
Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.48 | 165 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
3.08 | 55 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.77 | 93 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.32 | 58 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.97 | 138 ratings
Läther
1996
1.97 | 45 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
3.42 | 29 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely (EIHN)
1999
1.89 | 31 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.97 | 28 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
2.14 | 24 ratings
Joe's XMASage
2005
3.51 | 24 ratings
Feeding The Monkeys At Ma Maison
2011
4.16 | 39 ratings
Läther
2012
3.16 | 12 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014

FRANK ZAPPA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.22 | 115 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.13 | 107 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.40 | 235 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.52 | 159 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.20 | 186 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.05 | 122 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.40 | 71 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.52 | 63 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.62 | 99 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.49 | 87 ratings
Guitar
1988
3.98 | 93 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.50 | 156 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.51 | 75 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.57 | 70 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.32 | 146 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.38 | 113 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
2.25 | 16 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.26 | 23 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.69 | 14 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.51 | 19 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.19 | 19 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.88 | 17 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.05 | 15 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
3.60 | 30 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
1.59 | 10 ratings
At The Circus
1992
2.07 | 13 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.49 | 13 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.63 | 13 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.07 | 10 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.87 | 11 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.53 | 10 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
2.91 | 36 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.63 | 63 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.83 | 62 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
3.78 | 88 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.26 | 61 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
4.14 | 41 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.50 | 33 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.53 | 48 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
3.87 | 54 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.94 | 32 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
4.11 | 41 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.08 | 52 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.58 | 33 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.20 | 21 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.19 | 35 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.08 | 44 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.80 | 22 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.41 | 25 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.21 | 20 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.81 | 21 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
4.00 | 7 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.61 | 14 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014

FRANK ZAPPA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.85 | 44 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.50 | 20 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.64 | 44 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.10 | 59 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.08 | 28 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
3.99 | 34 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
4.10 | 10 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.17 | 33 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.61 | 29 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.63 | 8 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.46 | 13 ratings
The Torture Never Stops
2008
3.17 | 6 ratings
Live In Paris 1980
2008
3.21 | 10 ratings
Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention: In the 1960's
2009
3.79 | 10 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013

FRANK ZAPPA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 31 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
3.62 | 45 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.83 | 38 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.78 | 34 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.93 | 79 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.57 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.68 | 15 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.53 | 90 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.14 | 16 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
3.60 | 10 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
3.67 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.25 | 26 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.24 | 46 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.47 | 31 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
3.73 | 24 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.30 | 23 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.89 | 36 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.08 | 14 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.93 | 22 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.08 | 16 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.82 | 14 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
2002
4.03 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 1
2002
4.20 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 2
2002
3.20 | 10 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.79 | 16 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.33 | 30 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.36 | 17 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.11 | 17 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
3.63 | 8 ratings
Understanding America
2012

FRANK ZAPPA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 7 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
3.78 | 9 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
3.86 | 7 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.21 | 5 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
3.60 | 5 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.45 | 17 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.29 | 7 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.50 | 4 ratings
WPLJ
1970
4.00 | 6 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.17 | 8 ratings
Montana
1973
2.70 | 9 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
3.00 | 5 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
4.30 | 10 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.00 | 8 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.33 | 8 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.83 | 11 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.20 | 5 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
4.33 | 3 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.84 | 9 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
4.50 | 2 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
2.67 | 3 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.75 | 4 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.38 | 8 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.00 | 7 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
5.00 | 4 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.17 | 7 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.46 | 5 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.09 | 7 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
4.17 | 5 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
4.12 | 6 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
5.00 | 4 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Disconnected Synapses by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
2.49 | 13 ratings

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Disconnected Synapses
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

1 stars Here is another bootleg recording of an early Zappa concert that was made official by FZ in order to discourage people from buying the bootleg copy. The album is available as part of the "Beat the Boots, Vol. 2" but was also later made available on it's own. FZ did not enhance these recordings much if at all, so they retain their questionable bootleg quality. The concert featured on this disc is entirely from Palais Gaumont, Paris, France, on December 15 1970.

This particular recording is not very good, though the show itself is not bad if you are a fan of the Flo and Eddie years, which I am not. I find their vocals and hijinx annoying. To me it's because of their delivery, not because of the material, that doesn't bother me. However, for those who are fans of that period of time in FZ's chronology, there might be some special things on this recording that you would be interested in. As a FZ fan, I can find other recordings that have a much better quality of recording, so I don't recommend this except for completionists. I am one of those, but I don't listen to this recording much because there are better ones, I just like the idea that it's in my collection, if you know what I mean.

Now the version of King Kong on this one is very good, but again the quality of the sound is not so good. And again, there are other great live recordings of this song. King Kong is a jazz piece with a lot of improvisation and solos, and this version as with all versions of the piece is unique. The biggest and most attractive feature of this version is it is one of the few recordings of Jean Luc Ponty (who is one of the most outstanding jazz violinists in the world) performing with the Flo and Eddie team and his solo, as usual, is amazing. But I just can't get over the poor sound on this album, so I have to stick with a 1 star on this one. There are better live versions of all of these songs on other live albums.

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 Chunga's Revenge by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.40 | 232 ratings

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Chunga's Revenge
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by HoldsworthIsGod

4 stars The third FZ solo album (Lumpy Gravy and Hot Rats preceded it), Chunga's Revenge, plays out like a more blues-oriented Hot Rats, with jokey lyrics courtesy of Flo and Eddie, formerly of the Turtles. Imagine going from "Happy Together" to "Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink"! The album opens with "Transylvania Boogie", a guitar jam with exotic gypsy scales. It segues into the next song, "Road Ladies", before it gets too boring. "Road Ladies", however, is a blues song verging on parody, not too dissimilar to "Andy" off of One Size Fits All. The obligatory guitar pyrotechnics are subdued, yet still manage to satisfy. "Twenty Small Cigars" sounds like a straightforward jazz tune, yet Zappa manages to convolute it by playing the harpsichord on it. The following side-ender, "The Nancy And Mary Music" is a three-part suite accented by Aynsley Dunbar's drums (who would later join Journey, for some reason unbeknownst to me). Side 2 opens with "Tell Me You Love Me", which presages the cock rock of Aerosmith, Foreigner and post-Physical Graffiti Led Zeppelin. The following "Would You Go All The Way?" follows the same subject matter. In my opinion, it's the weakest song on the album. However, the title track is a barrage of guitar and wah-wahed sax, with soft Soft Machine-esque interludes interrupting the gargantuan riff. The last two songs, "Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink" and "Sharleena" are jokey style parodies of Country and Western and 50s Doo-Wop, respectively. All in all, the album isn't a classic like Apostrophe or Hot Rats, but it's still an enjoyable listen.

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 Roxy By Proxy by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2014
4.61 | 14 ratings

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Roxy By Proxy
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I've got eleven live Zappa albums so far and this is without question my favourite. More on why that is later. The songs here are taken from the Roxy shows in LA on December 9th and 10th and unlike the "Roxy And Elsewhere" live record there is no "elsewhere" on this one. These shows happened after a year long World tour by Zappa and his mates. Jean-Luc Ponty left in the summer of 1973 while Ian Underwood left in November. Enter Chester Thompson and Napoleon Murphy Brock to help fill out the lineup. I should mention that these particular live versions haven't been released until here on this recording. What is the appeal for me here? Well for one it's the jovial mood of the concerts. Frank is so into this and in great humour. He seems to be having so much fun along with the rest of the band. The audience is also very much into this as we can here them react many times throughout this recording to what is going on. Also the music itself for my tastes is perfect. I kept thinking how uplifting the music is, and how I just feel so good everytime I put this album on. It takes me back to a much different time in my life even though I wasn't there(I was 12).

"Carved In The Rock" opens with Zappa saying "Hello folks!" Then he introduces the band before telling the story behind the song "Inca Roads". He mentions Chariots Of Fire and Extraterrestrials as these high pitched spacey synths sounding like theremin play in the background. This is what consists of track one, no music yet. "Inca Roads" wasn't officially released until the 1975's "One Size Fits All" album so here we get an early look at it and it is quite different from the studio version as it is slowed down here, especially early on. George Duke is on vocals and it's pretty funny when he laughs in the middle of singing. These guys were having too much fun. The pace does pick up 2 minutes in and we get lots of percussion as well. It's freaking amazing 3 1/2 minutes in with the keyboards as the the vocals have stopped. Check out the bass as well. A horn solo after 5 minutes then the fast paced vocals return 6 1/2 minutes in. When the song ends Frank talks about how great it is living in Hollywood because of all the perverts. He says perverts make ordinary people look good. This is an intro of course for "Penguins In Bondage". Man this is good with those funny lyrics and "lights out" playing while Frank almost speaks the lyrics. Nice guitar solo 2 minutes in that is the start of a killer instrumental section. Man! The vocals are back 4 minutes in.

"T'Mershi Duween" is a "bongo number" as Zappa describes it. Other instruments join in around 30 seconds. A cool but short tune. "Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat" has such a feel-good vibe to it throughout. Lots of percussion and the crowd roars it's approval before 2 minutes. "RDNZL" has so much going on and the horns remind me of CHICAGO. The guitar arrives just before a minute and solos. Nice. Listen to the avant horns 3 minutes in and i'd call the vocals avant as well(haha). Some crazy keyboards too. "Village Of The Sun" is dedicated to John and Nelly Wilson and it's another feel good song. "Echidna's Arf(Of You)" features honking horns, percussion and so much more as the guitar comes and goes. "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing" is incredible with the turn on a dime instrumental work on display here. A trombone solo after 1 1/2 minutes and it ends with Frank saying "Watch Ruth all during our program". And he goes on about it for a while. Check out the electric piano 4 1/2 minutes in then the drum solo a minute later as this song blends into "Cheepnis-Percussion" with the talents of Thompson, Humphrey and Underwood. Huge applause when it ends then Zappa explains that that was actually "Cheepnis" then they play the full band version next with vocals. It gets pretty crazy late.

"Dupree's Paradise" is fantastic and the band is having so much fun. It kicks into a solid groove before 5 1/2 minutes. Nice flute solo after 7 minutes then a bass solo follows. Awesome stuff. Check out the drum fills here as well. Frank solo 10 1/2 minutes in and i'm feeling really good. Horns are back 14 minutes in. After the song ends Frank introduces the band once more as they leave the stage. They come back out and Zappa says "Alright we're going to play "King Kong" for ya, it's also hooked up to "Chunga's Revenge" and the ending of "Mr. Green Genes". He then tells Ruth to hurry up and she says "no" as they banter. Man this is such an impressive instrumental. Some excellent guitar starting before 5 minutes and I love the prominant bass as well.

So while many will call this inferior to "Roxy And Eleswhere" I will have to strongly disagree. But then there's no accounting for taste is there?

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 Over-Nite Sensation by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.02 | 424 ratings

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Over-Nite Sensation
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by HoldsworthIsGod

5 stars On this album, Zappa ditches Jazz fusion (even though elements of the genre are still there) for dirty funk. Also, he uses much more sexual innuendo to great effect, songs like "Dinah Moe-Humm" being the most obvious example. All of this makes Over-Nite Sensation the best "gateway drug" to Zappa. The opener, "Camarillo Brillo" sounds awfully like a west coast folk rock song, but with lyrics about aliens, dwarf breeding and authentic ponchos, the song couldn't be any further from its source. "I'm The Slime", a song denouncing the news as brainwashers, uses a riff that wouldn't be out of place in a Grand Funk song, yet advances the level of creativity with an interlude that sounds like an outtake from Sesame Street. Zappa doesn't sing the song, but he uses a pseudo-rap technique that pops up on the album even more. "Dirty Love" follows, with a funky clavinet/guitar interplay reminiscent of Stevie Wonder. The lyrics implore the listener to give your dirty love to Frank, and not caring about "your sweet devotion". The song "Fifty-Fifty", sung by Zappa acolyte Ricky Lancelotti, is a tale of the common man who is incredibly self-loathing. But Jean-Luc Ponty and Zappa are absolutely ripping on their respective solos, with Frank's "tweezed" guitar tone jumping out of the speakers. "Dinah Moe- Humm", as mentioned earlier, is the most pornographic song on the album. The plotline goes like this: boy meets girl, girl bets boy he can't make her orgasm, boy tries to make girl orgasm, boy has sex with her sister, girl gets aroused by that. Frank Zappa didn't do drugs, but he did do tons of groupies ;). The next track, "Zomby Woof", once again sung by Lancelotti, talks about a zombie who has a taste for college girls. Zappa's solo, also using the "tweezed" tone, would be a solo vehicle for Steve Vai in the future. Finally, "Montana". The story line is even more convoluted than DMH, with a man moving to Montana to farm dental floss. How weird is that? And even weirder, the Ikettes (as in Tina Turner) provided backing vocals on every song! Try telling Tina Turner to sing quintuplets while talking about dental floss. Even though this album has its idiosyncrasies (it is Zappa, after all), it's still a refreshing listen

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 We're Only In It For The Money by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.15 | 465 ratings

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We're Only In It For The Money
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Thai Divone

5 stars A full blown attack on our ears and minds. I don't think that there is any other way to describe this work of genius. From the moment it starts, till it's end less than 40 minutes later, this album doesn't slow its pace, downplay its satire or let us stray away from it. It was shocking in the 60s, when it was first released, and it is still shocking today.

Some SFX lead us to the voice of Eric Clapton, asking a girl if she's hung up. Then we hear the technician talking about erasing all the masters, before we get Jimmy Carl Black talking about being the Indian of the group. It's hard to call this track a song, but? It does lay the ground for the things to come.

Who Needs the Peace Corps is where our journey really begins. We follow a hippie, or should we say a generic hippie. He drops out, goes to San Francisco, and buys a wig. The song is quick-paced, and has a great rhythm. The guitar part is great. The style of the song, though, is classic, is normal. But the words are so satirical and brilliant. On third listen and onwards, one starts to identify even more layers in this "simple" song, showing yet again the genius of Zappa. "I will love the police as they kick the [&*!#] out of me on the street".

Then we cut to the Concentration Moon, a slow paced song, lamenting about the freedom lost when one is in the jail. 37 seconds and the pace pick up, and it's a different beast. A hippie dies. The technician and JCB again, and we're back to the slow pace of the beginning. The US is afraid of us, the hippie says before dying.

Then Zappa sings for the parents, who stay for themselves, busy with their jobs, straying away from their children, letting them roam free and kill themselves. Then we get a short phone call, showing us the fear from one's dad, before getting to the next song- Bow Tie Daddy- a happy song about a beating dad.

Then a nice piano leads us to an almost Kinks's like song, or maybe just a Who's song, about the phony-ness of the hippie movement, and then some famous Zappa's SFX, still kept to a minimum.

What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body is another masterpiece, combining three complete songs into a single minute. Some short keyboard riff, then two lines said by Suzy and then Franki Zappa before the song begins, letting us experience the feeling of being on drugs. Or at least, letting us feel like seeing it from the side. It always reminds me a bit of Hendrix combined with the Beatles, but I think that it's just me. The song is yet again a quick travel between so many different musical styles, like a trip around the music industry in 3 minutes and a half.

Anyways, then comes Flower Punk which is a parody of Hendrix's Hey Joe, attacking the music industry and the hippies alike. It's quick and sounds almost like a kid's show taken to the extreme, only with some dirty lyrics and strange musical style. Around the 1:30 mark Zappa breaks loose, and the attack renounces. Screams, voices, SFX, high voices moving way to fast, and Zappa saying completely different things from each side of the sound- system. It's a cacophony, but a way too funny one to be taken seriously, much like the psychedelic music of the time.

Hot Poop is like the opening track, moving in 3 times speed. The second side was opened, and what a side it is. It sounds like all those things that Zappa kept at bay? Well, now they've got their opportunity to go out, enjoy themselves, be free for the first time in forever.

Let's Make the Water Turn Black sounds like a combination of the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, on steroids, with lyrics devoid of any inherent beauty. Zappa screams of their phony-ness. The Idiot Bastard Son continues the line the earlier song started, telling us yet another story before being cut short by the people listening.

Lonely Little Girl is a lament about a deserted girl, for whom her parents don't really care. It goes from being sad to being happy, and then all the way back, traveling through earlier songs, and going KABOOM in the middle. It even gets middle-eastern for a few seconds. And all this attack on the hippies? It all culminates in Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance. Then a reprise for What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body, taken on even greater steroids, before getting to Mother People which is a peculiar and very strange little gem. Here Zappa asks us questions, and throws some nasty words on us, in an almost way too naïve presentation. And after that? We're closing with The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny which sounds something like an avant-garde piece from 1940's Paris, combined with some nasty horror-soundtrack elements and then taken to the extreme. I can't really describe it, but I don't think that I should. It is a track one has to listen to for herself/himself.

And then we're left with a void, alone in the dark, staring at the record, and starting this musical journey all over again. Because the album doesn't end on first listen, nor does it end in the 30th. It just needs more and more time, growing better with each listen, amazing us again and again. So yeah, I don't think that I can give this album any less than 5 stars. It is essential not only for the Prog Fun, or for the historian` it's not essential only for the music lover or for the literature-student. It is one of those records that one just needs to have, to hold dear and true. This record? This one is one of those unique experiences. It just needs a listen. And then a bit more?

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 Cucamonga (1962 - 1964) by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
2.08 | 14 ratings

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Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

2 stars This is simply a collection of recordings that Frank Zappa either performed in or produced. On the songs he performed on, he usually played guitar and provided low bass harmony. The songs are from various groups he had some kind of relationship with way before he produced his debut Mothers of Invention album named "Freak Out!". FZ loved these doo wop and novelty songs and this is the type of music he released with these band that included The Penguins, Baby Ray & the Ferns, Mr. Clean, The Hollywood Persuaders and many others.

This compilation album was released twice, once in 1998 and reissued with additional tracks and a different track order in 2004. I believe both issues are hard to find now. There were other compilations out there that featured the doo wop era and it's hard to find any of them. As FZ started recording his Mothers and his solo albums, he would revisit doo wop and r&b several times and you can hear that influence in many of the "Freak Out!" songs as many of them are in the doo wop style and some of them were revised and released on the "Cruisin' with Ruben and the Jets" album which was performed and released while the original Mothers were together. If you are interested in FZ's doo wop style, that would be the album I would recommend, but if you want a taste of the original doo wop songs released before FZ's rise to fame, then this would be the best collection. Approach it with an open mind as you would any FZ release.

So there some hit and misses here. The collection starts off and end with the worst of the bunch: "Dear Jeepers" and "Letters from Jeepers". These tracks are plain awful and stupid. But there are some excellent doo wop songs here too like "Memories of El Monte", "Everytime I See You", the instrumental surf rock tracks "Tiajanna Surf" and "Grunion Run" and several others. I believe there is overall more good than bad tracks, but the music will only appeal to 2 groups of people: doo wop and novelty music lovers and Frank Zappa collectors/completionists, so for that reason this album gets 2 stars. No prog, no guitar solos, a little comedy, and a lot of 50s-60s style music. Also good for music history buffs.

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 Cruising With Ruben & The Jets by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
2.70 | 189 ratings

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Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

3 stars Believe it or not, this is a concept album. Frank Zappa created the fictional band....the band consisted of a bunch of teenagers that an old man (Uncle Meat) turned into "dog snout" people under the lead of singer Ruben Sano. The album itself belongs to the "No Commercial Potential" project. The other albums that belong to that project are "We're Only in it For the Money", the revised version of "Lumpy Gravy" and "Uncle Meat". FZ said that the song order from these 4 albums could be cut apart with a razor blade and reassembled in any order and it would still make one piece of music that you could listen to and then cut them apart again and assemble them in another order and still listen to it.

This is Frank Zappa's funny yet loving tribute to the 50s style doo wop the he loved so much. Yes he loved it. This album has both new and re-vamped songs on it, all written in the doo-wop style. There is no prog here, but out of all the FZ doo-wop collections, this one is the best, so in a way it is essential if you want to understand and appreciate the artist. FZ always did what he wanted, even though most of the time, he wanted to be recognized for his serious jazz/classical music, and he used popular music to get more people to listen to his serious music.

On the surface, the music here sounds really simple. Apparently, it was a really easy album to record. However, FZ still adds some strange harmonies, some winks to one of his favorite composers, Igor Stravinski. There are some odd key changes throughout the album and even a few weird meter changes. That was FZ adding his touch so that listeners that were listening would know that it really was him. But for the most part, don't expect to find much other than doo wop music, somewhat enjoyable and entertaining for the most part. No guitar solos here except for on the last track, and it is kind of out of place, but still good. Some of the songs are better than others, but on the whole, it's a fun record and a novelty to own the vinyl.

Strangely enough, a 2nd Ruben and the Jets album was recorded by an actual band by the same name. The album name was "For Real" and it was produced by none other than Frank Zappa. Good luck finding that one. Nothing prog here, but essential for those interested in FZ, so I'll call it a 3 star album.

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 Conceptual Continuity by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
2.07 | 13 ratings

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Conceptual Continuity
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

1 stars This album is another one of the audience-recorded bootlegs that FZ re-stole from the bootleggers and made it officially available as part of the "Beat the Boots II" box set in order to thwart the bootleggers from making money illegally from selling these poorly recorded live shows. This particular concert recording is from Cobo Hall, Detroit Michigan on November 19, 1976.

This is not at all a very good recording. The sound is poor, the audience noise is too noisy and you can hear audience members talking to each other. Of course, FZ did not bother to make these bootlegs sound any better. He wasn't about to wait more time and money on something that he had already lost money on because he never received money for the bootlegs before he officially released them. He just wanted to make it so that the bootleggers wouldn't make money on it either. By the way, the track listing as it stands was also put together like that by the bootleggers. It wasn't a matter of laziness, it was all part of the plan to not change anything about the bootlegs.

The Conceptual Continuity title comes from a reoccurring FZ theme where he said everything is eventually all tied together in his music. I suppose that it was also named by the bootlegger, though I don't know that for sure.

As far as "eyebrows" on this recording.....there isn't anything on here that you don't hear anywhere else that would otherwise make this recording or this concert special. It's all pretty standard except for where FZ chides a person for selling t-shirts in front of the stage right during the concert. The singing is quite lackluster, there are a few good guitar solos, but these are minimized by the quality of the recording. This might be worth something to a completionist, but a casual listener or even a fan would find this a very unessential recording. Avoid unless you need to have everything recorded by FZ.

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 Civilization Phaze III by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.77 | 93 ratings

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Civilization Phaze III
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

5 stars What I seem to find is that most Rock-in-Opposition music is so closely related to 20th Century Classical music. That is what this album is, for want of trying to describe it. This is the last album FZ was working on. In fact, he died before it's completion and release. But this type of music was the music he wanted to produce. He was a genius in the fact that he understood classical music and I think it was a constant frustration to him that so many people did not understand it. He had his contemporaries, his favorite composers if you will, that he followed just like composers of classical music were always "students" of the famous composers of their own times. Just because they learned the style and techniques doesn't mean they copied them. Usually, the best composers added to the styles, stretched them to other limits, and that is how music progresses and changes over time. FZ was only following in the footsteps of hundreds of excellent composers like himself.

So, there is a concept here. If you read the other reviews here or even look it up on Wikipedia, you'll find out that this is the 3rd phase of a concept FZ had. The 1st phase was "We're Only In It For the Money" and the 2nd phase was "Lumpy Gravy" (the re-edited version). The original title of this album was "Lumpy Gravy Phase Three" but was changed to "Civilization Phaze III" which gives some insight as to what this is all about. The concept is the vocal parts are performed by a civilization that lives inside of a piano called "piano people" and their discussions about the menacing outside world. Just to make things even more fun, these people discover pigs and ponies living in the piano with them. This is not a story per se as it is a study on thinking and society, the ideas and thoughts of these "piano people", and their relationship to their music. One of the funniest things on here is the discussion on the track "How the Pig's Music Works" and it's satirical explanation which makes fun of people who think they understand avant-garde music and try to interpret it. The discussion makes no sense but the people sitting around discussing it all act like they understand what it's about, just like the so-called "hipsters" that you still run in to even today.

The strange voices are created by several speakers talking through a piano. The timbre of the voices are created by the vibration of the piano strings inside the piano. The instrumentals on here are mostly created by the synclavier and performed and composed by FZ himself. In his later years, this was FZ's instrument of choice because it was so much easier and faster to perform this way than with an orchestra or band. The additional instruments are performed by the Ensemble Modern.

There are no guitar solos here. There is no chorus, verse, chorus form here. There is no melody here, at least not in the traditional sense. This is modern classical music and this is FZ's way of advancing music to another level. It is not easy to listen to, even knowing everything that I have just explained. But, it is hard not to admit that it is genius, a masterpiece. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to appreciate the music, but like so many other reviewers have said, it's hard to listen to but undeniably genius. Anyway, it is not entry level Frank Zappa by any means unless you are trying to get a classical professor to listen to FZ.

So, hopefully I have helped you make some sense out of this music. With understanding comes appreciation. I don't know if I will ever completely understand this album, so I will always have a hard time completely appreciating it, but I will always continue to try, because I love challenging music. But this is a long album and somewhat difficult to sit through, so it is a tough one for sure. Anyway, if you love FZ and are familiar with his many styles (because this is only 1 style of hundreds of his styles), then this is essential to understanding his discography. 5 stars. Now, if you choose to continue by listening to this, I wish you good luck!

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 Chunga's Revenge by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.40 | 232 ratings

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Chunga's Revenge
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat

4 stars Chunga's Revenge is an important album in Zappa's history for a few reasons. First, it is the 3rd solo album by Frank (the Mothers aren't mentioned in the titles). Second, it is the first album with Flo and Eddie, who would appear in many of FZ's albums in this period of his career. Flo and Eddie are not my favorite Zappa sidekicks in that some of their antics and vocals are very annoying to me and take away the focus from Zappa's real music. It's not that I don't appreciate the humor in Zappa's music, I just don't like Flo and Eddie's delivery. But I must say that whenever I hear "Happy Together" being piped through the muzak system in a retail store, while the shoppers are "rocking" along to the happy melody, I'm laughing to myself. Even though that particular joke isn't explored on this album, it will be in "Live at Fillmore East" and a few other albums.

Anyway, more about this album. It is kind of a hodgepodge of FZ music. The main style of music on this one (because it does change on each album) is more blues oriented rock. But, you actually get quite a variety of styles here from avant-garde to soul music and a few excellent high quality instrumentals along the way. There is also a combination of live and studio takes here (as there are in a lot of Zappa's albums). The editing here isn't quite as good as it would be on later albums. However, this one is a lot of fun and it is a good way to get a taste of all of FZ's styles. The other good thing about this one is, you get to hear some early jamming and Frank keeps Flo and Eddie reigned in on this album, so I feel it is one of the best from that era.

It's also fun to hear the crowd reaction to the on stage antics. It makes you want to be there to see what's going on. Most of the humor on this is music oriented, but there are some silly lyrics too. The tracks are "Transylvaina Boogie" which I feel is one of FZ's most accessible guitar solos, "Road Ladies" which features lyrics about groupies, which would become a favorite topic during this era, "Twenty Small Cigars" a short serious jazzy instrumental, "Nancy and Mary Music" which is more avant garde but also has a lot of styles throughout and even some fun scatting going on (this is where most of the musical humor is), the terrible version of "Tell Me You Love Me", followed by the fun and excellent (but short) "Would You Go All the Way", the excellent instrumental "Chunga's Revenge" featuring more great Zappa soloing, which follows directly into the short percussive solo "The Clap", and then followed with a couple average vocal tracks. It ends a little weak, but overall it is an entertaining album considering the era that it came out in.

Not the best, but a good representation of Frank's styles and an album of some significance in the history of Zappa. I enjoy it for the most part. I think it is an excellent addition to my FZ vinyl collection, at least and one of the best from the Flo and Eddie period.

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