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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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One Size Fits AllOne Size Fits All
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.52
$5.99 (used)
Over-nite SensationOver-nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.16
$6.00 (used)
We're Only In It For The MoneyWe're Only In It For The Money
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.94
$6.13 (used)
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$5.45
$5.99 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.66
$7.99 (used)
Roxy & ElsewhereRoxy & Elsewhere
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.49
$7.49 (used)
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar [2 CD]Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$8.64
$14.33 (used)
The Grand WazooThe Grand Wazoo
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.66
$6.74 (used)
Uncle Meat [2 CD]Uncle Meat [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.55
$10.67 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
THE MOTHERS (FRANK ZAPPA) - OVERNITE SENSATION - DISCREET 2149 - 1973 LP USD $12.95 Buy It Now 41m 12s
Vinyl lp - Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving too late to Save a Drowning Witch USD $10.75 Buy It Now 43m 9s
FRANK ZAPPA - SHEIK YERBOUTI - ORIGINAL CANADIAN STEREO COPY- NM. LP USD $125.00 Buy It Now 1h 25m
One Size Fits All Frank Zappa Audio CD USD $24.21 Buy It Now 1h 50m
Frank Zappa Hot Rats Reprise Records Vinyl LP Gatefold VG+ USD $20.00 [1 bids]
1h 52m
Frank Zappa / Cruising With Ruben & The Jets JAPAN Mini LP CD w/OBI VACK-1207 USD $44.50 Buy It Now 1h 59m
1995 FRANK ZAPPA BMG RECORD CLUB ISSUE STRICTLY COMMERCIAL MOTHERS OF INVENTION USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2h 10m
1974 KEITH IN AND OUT OF LOVE MONO / STEREO FRANK ZAPPA DISCREET WLP 45 RPM 7" USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2h 16m
FRANK ZAPPA "I don't wanna get drafted" BOB DYLAN "Saved"- RARE 7" PROMO ITALY USD $27.99 Buy It Now 2h 17m
1979 FRANK ZAPPA BOBBY BROWN / BABY SNAKES DUTCH 45 RPM W/ PICTURE SLEEVE SPIFFY USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 24m
The Mothers Of Invention Freak Out Frank Zappa Verve Release 2LP Set NM USD $85.00 Buy It Now 2h 25m
FRANK ZAPPA - CHUNGA'S REVENGE 2001 JAPAN MINI LP CD USD $36.02 Buy It Now 2h 25m
FRANK ZAPPA - SET OF 10 MIXED PROMO POSTER POSTCARDS # 2 USD $7.82 [0 bids]
2h 31m
FRANK ZAPPA & MOTHERS of INVENTION: Roxy & Elsewhere USA DISCREET vinyl LP USD $21.50 Buy It Now 2h 33m
Frank Zappa 2LP "Sheik Yerbouti" Zappa (SRZ 2-1501), Vinyl Near Mint USD $24.99 [0 bids]
2h 41m
FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS / BEEFHEART - BONGO FURY - STILL SEALED LP 1975 PRESSING! USD $66.66 Buy It Now 2h 52m
FRANK ZAPPA I Don't Wanna Get Drafted Original US 45 w/ Picture Sleeve USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3h 6m
Frank Zappa Boulez Conducts The Perfect Stranger 1984 NM Record Angel DS 2 38170 USD $49.90 Buy It Now 3h 13m
Frank Zappa Mothers of Invention Fingers POSTER USD $4.69 Buy It Now 3h 28m
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention POSTER #2 USD $4.69 Buy It Now 3h 28m
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention POSTER #1 USD $4.69 Buy It Now 3h 29m
FRANK ZAPPA Overture (200 Motels) LIMITED Ed PURPLE Vinyl 7" RSD 2015  USD $14.95 Buy It Now 3h 30m
Frank Zappa ?- Interview Picture Disc - Limited Edition USD $1.88 [2 bids]
3h 32m
Frank Zappa Beefheart Excellent Surfaces Original 1975 Discreet Pressing USD $20.00 Buy It Now 3h 33m
FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS Overnite Sensation ORIGINAL LP Discrete Records USD $19.00 Buy It Now 3h 42m
Mothers Of Invention and Frank Zappa Weasels Ripped My Flesh cd USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3h 44m
Frank Zappa the Mothers of Invention Over-Nite Sensation LP Vinyl Record MS 2149 USD $12.25 Buy It Now 3h 47m
FRANK ZAPPA Return of the son Kill Ugly Radio 1996 USA CAREER SAMPLER PROMO CD USD $49.99 Buy It Now 4h 3m
FRANK ZAPPA WILD MAN FISCHER AN EVENING WITH RARE '68 BIZARRE REPRISE NM 2 LP !! USD $149.00 Buy It Now 4h 6m
Frank Zappa apostrophe overnight sensation cd USD $12.52 [0 bids]
4h 12m
1975 RADIO SHOW LP FRANK ZAPPA VS ALBERT HALL ELP GRAND FUNK ROLLING STONES WHO USD $40.00 Buy It Now 4h 17m
One Size Fits All by Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention (CD, Aug-2012,... USD $3.25 [5 bids]
4h 24m
Frank Zappa Best Band You Never Heard (2x Cassette) Sealed Barking Pumpkin USD $14.00 Buy It Now 4h 31m
FRANK ZAPPA * DANCIN' FOOL & DANCIN' FOOL * PROMO USD $9.00 Buy It Now 4h 35m
Finer Moments by Frank Zappa (CD, Dec-2012, 2 Discs, Zappa Records (USA)) USD $16.55 Buy It Now 4h 36m
FRANK ZAPPA Them Or Us LP 74200 GATEFOLD VG+ VG+ USD $29.99 Buy It Now 4h 43m
BURT WARD (w/FRANK ZAPPA):Boy Wonder I Love You-U.S.7" 66 M-G-M Records K13632DJ USD $184.98 Buy It Now 4h 44m
FRANK ZAPPA "UNMITIGATED AUDACITY" The Mothers of Invention LIVE AT NOTRE DAME USD $9.99 Buy It Now 5h 3m
FRANK ZAPPA 200 Motels Soundtrack LP VG+ VG+ Mothers Of Invention MCA 2-4183 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 5h 17m
FRANK ZAPPA/MOTHERS OF INVENTION**FREAK OUT! (2012 REMASTER)**CD USD $12.98 Buy It Now 5h 25m
Here it is, The Music Vol 1 RYKO, FRANK ZAPPA, JIMI HENDRIX, DEVO USD $5.88 Buy It Now 5h 31m
Apostrophe'/Overnite Sensation by Frank Zappa RYKO RCD40025 LN USD $18.89 Buy It Now 5h 37m
Frank Zappa Mothers Lumpy Gravy 10 near mint CDs USD $49.95 Buy It Now 5h 41m
3LP Boxset Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar EX+ USD $62.66 Buy It Now 5h 45m
Frank Zappa - Studio Tan - LP USD $13.99 Buy It Now 5h 50m
Frank Zappa Mothers of Invention "The **** of the Mothers" LP Yellow Label RARE USD $40.00 Buy It Now 5h 52m
1982 FRANK ZAPPA STORIA E MUSICA RELEASED IN ITALY ONLY CASSETTTE 8 ZAPPA SONGS USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5h 54m
Frank Zappa Have I Offended Someone? Audio CD USD $5.95 Buy It Now 6h
1975 FRANK ZAPPA LIVE AT WILLIAM & MARY JOE'S MENAGE MOTHERS OF INVENTION CD USD $30.00 Buy It Now 6h 4m
FRANK ZAPPA**DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW/DOWN IN DE DEW (7 INCH)**VINYL USD $4.91 Buy It Now 6h 9m
FRANK ZAPPA/MOTHERS OF INVENTION**WHY DON'TCHA DO MY RIGHT? (7 INCH)**VINYL USD $4.91 Buy It Now 6h 9m
Frank Zappa-Joe's Camouflage-NEW PICTURE LP USD $39.99 Buy It Now 6h 11m
THE MOTHERS FRANK ZAPPA FILLMORE EAST ON REP.1971 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
USD $7.99 Buy It Now
6h 13m
1977 SOGENANNTES UNKSRADIKALES BLAS ORCHESTER W/ FRANK ZAPPA I'M SLIME GERMAN LP USD $45.00 Buy It Now 6h 25m
Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All [CD New] USD $13.72 Buy It Now 6h 34m
FRANK ZAPPA Anyway The Wind Blows Frank In Paris rare CD disc one 1991 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 6h 34m
1971 WORST MOTHERS OF INVENTION FRANK ZAPPA MGM SPECIAL DJ YELLOW LABEL PROMO LP USD $60.00 Buy It Now 6h 41m
1995 FRANK ZAPPA APOSTROPHE BMG RECORD CLUB PICTURE CD RELEASE JACK BRUCE CREAM USD $20.00 Buy It Now 6h 45m
* FRANK ZAPPA Zapped ALICE COOPER Captain BEEFHEART 1970 COMP Bizzare/Warner LP USD $12.50 [3 bids]
7h 11m
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD Can You Do It 1976 7" record 45 import Germany Frank Zappa USD $14.95 Buy It Now 7h 17m
1995 FRANK ZAPPA BMG RECORD CLUB SHEIK YERBOUTI PICTURE CD MOTHERS O INVENTION USD $20.00 Buy It Now 7h 22m
1976 GRAND FUNK GOOD SINGIN PROMO LP WITH PHOTO FRANK ZAPPA GUITAR AND PRODUCED USD $30.00 Buy It Now 7h 23m
1993 CAPTAIN BEEFHEART A CARROT IS AS CLOSE... UK COMPILATION CD FRANK ZAPPA USD $15.99 Buy It Now 7h 24m
1989 JEFF BECK GUITAR SHOP TERRY BOZZIO TONY HYMAS ORGINAL 1ST CD FRANK ZAPPA USD $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 26m
FRANK ZAPPA**PLAYGROUND PSYCHOTICS**2 CD SET USD $12.58 Buy It Now 7h 32m
FRANK ZAPPA**STUDIO TAN**CD USD $12.58 Buy It Now 7h 39m
1993 FRANK ZAPPA UNIVERSE STEVE VAI MIKE KENEALLY VERVE RECORDS CASSETTE SEALED USD $20.00 Buy It Now 7h 42m
FRANK ZAPPA ISRAEL LP SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE HEBREW ON LABEL & COVER NM Israel USD $45.00 Buy It Now 7h 57m
1992 FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS OF INVENTION 2CD FAT BOX W/ JOHN LENNON BARKING PUMPKIN USD $30.00 Buy It Now 8h 6m
1992 ALTERNATE CAPTAIN BEEFHEART I MAY BE HUNGRY RARE MIXES U.K. CD FRANK ZAPPA USD $30.00 Buy It Now 8h 16m
Frank Zappa Joe's Garage Acts 2 & 3, SRZ 2 1502 gatefold 1979 USD $19.00 Buy It Now 8h 17m
1978 JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON GIANT ORIG TEST PRESSING LP W/ INFO PAPER FRANK ZAPPA USD $40.00 Buy It Now 8h 19m
Frank Zappa Piquantique Rare Live CD USD $21.92 Buy It Now 8h 26m
Frank Zappa Chungas Revenge Rare CD USD $21.92 Buy It Now 8h 28m
1977 THE TUBES NOW PROMO LP + JACKET W/ CAPTAIN BEEFHEART HEAD SONG FRANK ZAPPA USD $24.99 Buy It Now 8h 30m
1987 FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS OF INVENTION PEACHES EN REGALIA 3 SONG MINI CD IN CASE USD $15.99 Buy It Now 8h 33m
1978 GEORGE DUKE TEST PRESSING LP W/ INFO SHEET FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS OF INVENTION USD $49.99 Buy It Now 8h 35m
NME 1993 DEC 18 BOO RADLEYS FRANK ZAPPA MEAT LOAF SUEDE USD $14.09 Buy It Now 8h 42m
FRANK ZAPPA - Uncle Meat 2XLP 180 Gram BLACK VINYL Gatefold German Pressing NEW! USD $25.99 Buy It Now 8h 49m
FRANK ZAPPA - THE MAN FROM UTOPIA - CASSETTE TAPE - EMI (1983) USD $6.02 Buy It Now 8h 58m
Frank Zappa Studio Tan NM wax Discreet Cover VG+ USD $30.60 Buy It Now 9h
GEORGE DUKE LP The aura will prevail 1975 Mps Basf frank zappa USD $5.00 [1 bids]
9h 7m
1994 OFFENSIVE W/ FRANK ZAPPA'S WHY DOES IT HURT WHEN I PEE?" +OTHER VULGARITIES USD $20.00 Buy It Now 9h 14m
Apocrypha: Thirty Years of Frank Zappa Audio CD - Box set, 1994 USD $133.00 [0 bids]
USD $180.00 Buy It Now
9h 24m
FRANK ZAPPA THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY VERVE LP VG+ USD $51.59 Buy It Now 9h 28m
BRAND NEW FRANK ZAPPA & MOTHERS OF INVENTION UNCLE MEAT VINYL 2LP FREEPOST USD $28.19 Buy It Now 9h 31m
1985 PATRICK O'HEARN X - FRANK ZAPPA MISSING PERSONS ANCIENT DREAMS PRIVATE LP USD $20.00 Buy It Now 9h 35m
1990 FRANK ZAPPA SUPPLEMENT OFFICIAL MAIL ORDER ONLY RADIO INTERVIEWS CASSETTE USD $60.00 Buy It Now 9h 37m
8 Track-Frank Zappa/The Mothers-Just Another Band From L.A. - 1972 - SEALED! USD $23.74 Buy It Now 9h 38m
Frank Zappa Joe's Garage Acts II & III 2 LP'S USD $9.99 [1 bids]
9h 43m
*ORIGINAL 80s VINYL* FRANK ZAPPA MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION"- GREAT SHAPE!! USD $9.99 [0 bids]
9h 45m
Frank Zappa:2 CDep Promo Sleeve Only [Japan Mini-LP mothers invention no cd Q USD $60.00 Buy It Now 9h 53m
GRANDMOTHERS LP/Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention/1980 Rhino/STILL SEALED! USD $32.99 Buy It Now 10h 2m
FRANK ZAPPA - HOT RATS - REPRISE 6358 - ORANGE LABEL - 1969 LP USD $19.95 [0 bids]
10h 3m
Frank Zappa [LP] Studio Tan *EX* [Discreet; DSK 2291] (1978) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 10h 8m
FRANK ZAPPA**ZAPPA IN NEW YORK**2 CD SET USD $11.95 Buy It Now 10h 11m
91 DR DEMENTO SHOW 2 LP +CUE W/ FRANK ZAPPA LIVE 1988 JOHNNY CASH'S RING OF FIRE USD $60.00 Buy It Now 10h 33m
Frank Zappa - We'Re Only In It For The Money [CD New] USD $10.65 Buy It Now 10h 46m
FRANK ZAPPA OVER-NITE SENSATION - BONGO FURY 8 TRACKS NO DILLS CAPTAIN BEEFHEART USD $23.33 Buy It Now 10h 50m
Frank Zappa - Apostrophe USD $7.99 Buy It Now 10h 59m
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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)

3.90 | 472 ratings
Freak Out!
1966
4.08 | 395 ratings
Absolutely Free
1967
3.27 | 287 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.14 | 498 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.70 | 204 ratings
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.11 | 390 ratings
Uncle Meat
1969
4.32 | 1168 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.92 | 301 ratings
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.76 | 303 ratings
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 249 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.03 | 167 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.92 | 358 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.30 | 668 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 453 ratings
Over-Nite Sensation
1973
3.99 | 499 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.30 | 650 ratings
One Size Fits All
1975
3.72 | 318 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.71 | 204 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.60 | 205 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.84 | 371 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
3.34 | 134 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
4.12 | 376 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.91 | 299 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.63 | 214 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.55 | 185 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.08 | 86 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.14 | 170 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.21 | 142 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.39 | 111 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.57 | 102 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.57 | 93 ratings
The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.24 | 108 ratings
Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.48 | 173 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
2.97 | 59 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.80 | 98 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.34 | 62 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.97 | 144 ratings
Läther
1996
1.98 | 48 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
3.28 | 33 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely (EIHN)
1999
1.89 | 34 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.97 | 32 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
2.16 | 26 ratings
Joe's XMASage
2005
3.49 | 26 ratings
Feeding The Monkeys At Ma Maison
2011
3.96 | 50 ratings
Läther
2012
3.09 | 13 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014

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

3.17 | 125 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.13 | 114 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.40 | 248 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.53 | 172 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.22 | 200 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.04 | 129 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.39 | 76 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.53 | 69 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.61 | 106 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.36 | 101 ratings
Guitar
1988
3.98 | 101 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.51 | 167 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.56 | 84 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.47 | 79 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.31 | 155 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.36 | 120 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
2.25 | 17 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.39 | 20 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.59 | 16 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.40 | 21 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.05 | 21 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.79 | 19 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.33 | 17 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
3.74 | 29 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
3.23 | 15 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
2.88 | 39 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.67 | 72 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.84 | 68 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
3.86 | 93 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.25 | 66 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.94 | 44 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.84 | 29 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.52 | 50 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
3.85 | 57 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.61 | 37 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
4.08 | 43 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.18 | 56 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.56 | 35 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.14 | 23 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.13 | 37 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.28 | 47 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.80 | 26 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.36 | 29 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.28 | 21 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.68 | 27 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
3.73 | 11 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.53 | 19 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014

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

2.84 | 46 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.48 | 21 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.65 | 46 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.10 | 61 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.22 | 27 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
3.97 | 36 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
3.82 | 11 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.17 | 35 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
4.36 | 14 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
4.00 | 9 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013

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

3.68 | 32 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
3.61 | 48 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.84 | 41 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.77 | 37 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.93 | 81 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.57 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.71 | 16 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
3.58 | 94 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.16 | 17 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.00 | 10 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
3.67 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.22 | 29 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.25 | 48 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.77 | 30 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.21 | 20 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.23 | 26 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.89 | 37 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.07 | 15 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.97 | 24 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.08 | 16 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.91 | 9 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
2.80 | 17 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.34 | 31 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.49 | 18 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.13 | 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)

3.86 | 7 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.25 | 8 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
4.00 | 7 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.16 | 6 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
3.80 | 5 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.43 | 18 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.43 | 7 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.75 | 4 ratings
WPLJ
1970
4.17 | 6 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.15 | 9 ratings
Montana
1973
2.69 | 10 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
3.20 | 5 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
4.09 | 11 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.13 | 8 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.29 | 9 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.97 | 10 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.40 | 5 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.75 | 4 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.82 | 10 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
3.67 | 3 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
2.50 | 4 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.50 | 8 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.25 | 8 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.40 | 5 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.14 | 8 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.06 | 8 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
3.90 | 2 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
3.86 | 3 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
4.40 | 5 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
200 Motels Overture
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Have I Offended Someone? by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.23 | 26 ratings

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Have I Offended Someone?
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If you like Frank Zappa's humor but you don't want to sift through his other great music to find it, then this is the collection for you. Yes, for the most part, these are remixes or different versions from what you might have heard previously, but they are not different enough to be disappointed for the lovers of his humor. For me, I would rather hear it in lesser concentrated amounts, because even though I find some of the humor funny, I would rather listen to the challenging music that he produces, so this album is a little too much of the same for me. But it does serve the purpose of gathering most of the funny music all in one place.

For those Zappaphiles that have to have everything, this collection might have some value because of the alternative versions that are one here. In some cases, like "Bobby Brown" and "We're Turning Again" the new versions are better than the originals (especially "we're Turning Again" because that annoying processed vocal has been replaced by a regular live vocal which is much better). In other cases, the changes are not better, but worse as in the case of "Disco Boy" which wasn't that great before but now have even worse vocals. "Goblin Girl" was bad enough before, but is another one that is even worse now with the stupid sound effects now put on reverb making them more annoying. By the way, did you know that song was originally written to sell to the Disney corporation?

There are some surprises here including "Yo Cats" which doesn't change much, and "Tinsel Town Rebellion" which are pleasant additions and lesser known of the tracks. The much better "Dumb all Over" is a much better live version compared to the original and is also extended to include a great guitar solo, but that is the only real guitar solo on the collection. This also contains no fusion or avant garde music, it's pretty much straightforward in order to appeal to those who are just looking for the humorous songs.

That's it, it's pretty much a novelty item with remixes and different versions. But some of the songs really don't sound much different while others are obviously different, some for the better and some for the worse. There is enough variation from the originals though to generate interest for Zappa collectors, including the addition of new lyrics in a few songs, but others are actually edits like "Titties and Beer". So just know that some changes are worth while where others are not or even non-existent. Decent enough with appeal for the masses, but nothing out of the ordinary is on this collection. 3 stars.

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 Hammersmith Odeon by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2010
4.28 | 47 ratings

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Hammersmith Odeon
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There are some Zappa live albums that are just okay, some that are not so great, and then there are those that are excellent and highly recommended. This one falls in the latter category and should be one that every Zappa fan owns and one that the curious listeners that want to explore Zappa should get if they run across it.

This is a collection of highlights from a four or five night concert at the Hammersmith Odeon recorded during the last days of January 1978. The band line-up was one of the best and included Adrian Belew, Tommy Mars, Terry Bozzio, Patrick O'Hearn, Ed Mann, and Peter Wolf. This was probably one of the best rock band line-ups that toured with Frank. One of the big pluses for these live performances is Bozzio's amazing drum work which give each track so much more new life.

Most of the excellent album "Shiek Yerbouti" was recorded during these live performances, even though that album is considered more of a studio album because of the addition of so many overdubs on top of the live sessions, and for most of the songs on that album, the audience noise is very minimal. This album includes all of the crowd noise and uses different performances than what was used on Shiek Yerbouti, so you get the concert performances pretty much as they happened during this period of time.

This album also contains 3 discs of over 3 hours of music. Even though a lot of the tracks come from the album "Shiek Yerbouti", there are also other great tracks, some of them well known and oft used and others rare and seldom heard. The 1st disc has the usual "The Torture Never Stops" but with Bozzio's drums, the song takes on a life of it's own and it keeps moving quickly. Bozzio enhances Frank's improvisations like no one else and keeps them from dragging like they sometimes do. There is also a 20 minute version of "Pound for a Brown" which turns into a jazz fusion piece with plenty of keyboard soloing between Tommy and Peter.

The 2nd disc is more centered around Frank's lewd humor and there is a lot more audience participation here. The first 13 minutes is devoted to "I Have Been in You" which is lampooning Peter Framptons "I'm in You" and has a long explanation of the purpose of the song. Just like on "Shiek Yerbouti", this track follows into an excellent version of "Flakes" and then "Broken Hearts are for Assholes". We then get away from SY and get the hijinx of "Punky's Whips" and "Titties and Beer" and a lot of audience participation to show you just how crazy FZ's concerts could be. "Black Page #2" in this case is done with synthesizers and drums instead of the slightly better version which previous to this concert had been done with the jazz band lineup. Even though I like the jazz version better, this one is still good and you can hear why it's so difficult for a jazz band to play. "The Little House I Used to Live In" is another great fusion piece that ends this disc.

Finally, the 3rd disc has some great rare material like "Dong Work for Yuda", "Envelopes", and an original drum solo "Terry Firma". "Bobby Brown" comes with another explanation about the inspiration for that hilarious song, "Disco Boy" is an interesting very rock-ish version that gets extended treatment that goes into a very avant-garde percussion solo, "King Kong" turns into a guitar improv piece for FZ (Usually this is an extended jazz fusion piece, but FZ uses it to jam on the guitar this time). After the band blasts quickly through some kind of lame versions of "Dinah Moe Humm" and "Camarillo Brillo" (this is the weakest part of the album because they hurry through them so fast, but then add in some "eyebrows" to keep it interesting) they go directly into one of the best versions of "Muffin Man" ever. If this wasn't enough, the band comes back for a double encore with another amazing version of a classic, this time "Black Napkins" which is also one of the best versions of that, then a very rockabilly version of a fairly rare old track called "San Ber'dino".

This collection ranks up there with some of Frank's best recordings, especially live recordings. It was released posthumously by the Zappa Family Trust in 2010 and is a definite essential album since it is one of the best live albums in Zappa's discography and has some of the best sound on any of his live albums. At times, you swear you are listening to new studio versions, even in some case, improved versions of songs. This album also carries a lot of the excitement from the concert. This one should not be missed and is a great representation of that time in Zappa history. 5 stars.....essential for anyone wanting to explore Zappa or already loves Zappa.

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 Guitar by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1988
3.36 | 101 ratings

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Guitar
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This album is simply a collection of guitar solos taken out of the context of the concert and the main song and renamed and pasted together so that you get over 2 hours of FZ jamming on the guitar. Each track is melded together and starts when the solo starts and ends before the band returns to the main melody again. The way these solos are presented makes for a somewhat painful listening experience if you are not a lover of FZ's solos. If that is all you want to hear without any context to the song they are being performed in, then you are in luck because this is wall to wall guitar. Or if you are a guitar student and want to hear what amazing things FZ can do on the guitar, then this is for you. Or if you are a completionist, then you must have it I suppose. However, if you want something entertaining or enjoyable to listen to, then there are many other FZ collections and recordings that are much better. To the layman, this will sound like a continuous guitar jam, which is basically what it is, but taken out of context like it is and pasted together as one jam after another, it takes all of the character out of the solo and sounds too much the same all the way through. So, in other words, for me at least, this is very hard to listen to in a single sitting. Little bits at a time, it isn't quite so bad.

The linear notes on this collection tell you the concert venues and dates (but they are not always correct) and it also tells you what performance (or the name of the song) the solo was taken from. If you are familiar with FZ's jamming songs, then these notes will be of some value and will help return some of the character of the jam as long as you can imagine the context that it was taken from. Many of the tracks are taken from performances of "Ride My Face to Chicago", "Black Napkins", "Let's Move to Cleveland", "Black Page", "Zoot Allures", "City of Tiny Lights" and so on. There are a few of the tracks that do stand out a bit, like "Ina-Gadda-Stravinsky" which takes the hook from the Iron Butterfly song as the base for the jam and includes the opening notes from the bassoon line of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and if you listen close you'll hear "Taps" played by the bass further into the song. This is one of the highlights of the album. There is a great solo taken from a performance of Gregg Allman's "Whipping Post" called "For Duane" in remembrance of Duane Allman who originally played the guitar solo for that song. There are other great solos that stand out in this mish-mash of solos, but you will only catch them if you are a careful listener and most of these get lost as it is hard to make a point of reference unless you are following closely along.

Zappa hardcore fans will be interested to note that the track entitled "Outside Now" is named after the track on Joe's Garage of the same name. However, the jam is not taken from a live performance of that song, the jam comes from a performance of "City of Tiny Lights" which was the original song where the "Outside Now" track was based on in Joe's Garage. There are little secrets like that here that wouldn't mean much to a regular listener. This album just does not hold a lot of appeal for the person that wants to explore FZ's discography, even if they are only interested in his guitar work. You are better off getting "Zappa Plays Zappa" or listening to some of his better albums like "Zoot Allures" or any number of live albums where he was likely to play extended jams.

Personally, I can only recommend this to hardcore fans, especially fans of FZ's guitar work who are more familiar with his repertoire. As such, I can only rate this with 2 stars. It's just not a collection that's easy to sit through, even for a Zappa fan like myself.

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 The Grand Wazoo by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 668 ratings

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The Grand Wazoo
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars At the time of the recording of this album and it's following concert tours, FZ was recovering from an accident where he was pushed off the stage by a crazed fan. The albums and tours during this time period were mostly jazz fusion, and FZ toured with a variety of personnel which varied in size. For a short time, during what was called The Grand Wazoo tour, he toured with his largest array of musicians ever and performed this amazing style of jazz fusion. Frank was at a compositional peak at this time (he reached many of those peaks during his life btw) and it shows in the excellence of his music and compositions. If you are a lover of jazz fusion and almost completely lyric free (except a few instances) then this is the period in FZ's discography that you need to check out.

There are a few albums that were released during this time and a few released posthumously that represent this period of time quite well. These albums are this one, "Hot Rats", "Waka/Jawaka" and "Burnt Weenie Sandwhich". The posthumous albums are "Wazoo" (which features the Grand Wazoo tour), "Imaginary Diseases" (featuring the Petit Wazoo line up--the smaller "big band") and "Joes' Domage" (this one features rehearsal sessions from the above mentioned studio albums). Those that love this music from FZ should put themselves in contact with these albums.

The album consists of all jazz fusion pieces with very little lyrical content. There is no humor (not much anyway) or guitar soloing in these albums. It is 100% jazz fusion with a very large brass and woodwind ensemble. The music is excellent here and showcases FZ's compositional prowess and his ability to lead a jazz orchestra. There are two track listing orders for this album, the original with "For Calvin" first and "The Grand Wazoo" as the 2nd track. The 1990 reissue reverses the order of the first 2 tracks. All of the other tracks are in the same order. FZ okayed the reissue and the new order of the tracks.

"For Calvin" features some lyrics, not many though, and the song is dedicated to Cal Schenkel who did a lot of album design for FZ over the years. The story behind the song is that Calvin had borrowed a '59 Jaguar from FZ (apparently it was Captain Beefheart's car) and was stopped at a traffic light, when two hippies came along and got into the car, thinking he had stopped to give them a ride. The hippies didn't talk or say where they wanted to go, so Cal took them to his studio and told them that the ride ended there. They stayed in the car while Cal worked in his studio and made themselves some bologna sandwiches, ate them then finally left. The song is dedicated to that incident, just as many of FZ's songs were dedicated to real life incidents. The song itself is more of an avant garde style of jazz with a lot of dissonance and strange off-kilter rhythms. A nice study in modern compositional style, except instead of classical, it's jazz. The centerpiece of the album is "The Grand Wazoo" which is a 13+ minute instrumental full of amazing musicianship and orchestration. There is a main theme that bookends the middle section which features both improvisation and structure in various segments throughout the piece. The end of the main them as it goes into the middle section is punctuated by a great boogie style, rhythmic driven foundation which serves as a great background for the soloing going on. This gives way to more modern stylings from time to time which revert back to straightforward jazz. This is an excellent example of mixing styles and FZ shows that it works very well here. Even with the mixing of styles, the song is solid and concise and is a great example of FZ's genius.

The 2nd half of the album starts with a short mid-tempo piece which continues the same jazz feeling but it also has some wordless vocals. This is a short interlude piece that separates the more up beat songs with some softer midtempo songs. Following this is "Eat that Question" which according to FZ was originally called "Eat that Christian". Why the title changed is anyone's guess. This piece features George Duke and his excellent piano playing. On this song, the production value given to the electric piano is better than what had ever been heard before this time and thus this track stands out not only on this album, but in production also with the improvement of sonic quality for this particular instrument. Without going into detail, this track was instrumental in improving certain recording techniques. The last track is again a more laid back jazz piece called "Blessed Relief"

This is definitely a masterpiece of jazz fusion and progressive jazz. It stands right up there with anything recorded by any jazz fusion great including Miles Davis. I don't understand why this recording doesn't get the respect it deserves, but I am happy to see that at least in the archives, most reviewers revere this album like it should be. It is one of Zappa's best line ups and is the album to have that shows his genius as a composer that was excellent in all of the genres of music that he wrote songs for. This is an essential recording, for collectors and jazz fans alike and should be a part of your progressive collection. 5 stars without a doubt!

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 FZ:OZ by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2002
3.94 | 44 ratings

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FZ:OZ
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a live recording of most of the show performed at Sydney, Australia in January of 1976. The line up is one that is a rare one when it comes to live documentation, but it consists of one of the smallest live line-ups in FZ's discography. The band was pared down to the bare minimum here and the timing was right between the Bongo Fury album and the Zoot Allures album (which utilized this line up for the most part). The album was released posthumously by the Zappa family trust and was quite an anticipated release because of the rareness of releases of this time in Zappa history, unless you didn't mind having a bootleg.

The line up isn't bad, but it was just before the best line up would be formed. The concert itself has some songs on it that were rarely heard live plus one song that was not recorded anywhere else. This fact heightened the anticipation for the release. The recording isn't too bad as far as quality most of the time, but it isn't as good as some. The tape used had to be changed throughout the concert and this left some spots in the show that were not recorded, so, in order to release this show, the gaps had to be filled in with whatever bootlegs were available, thus resulting in a few spots in the recording that are obviously not as well recorded as others. But, the fact that most of the release was from mostly one show was an exciting prospect and in fact, is the most attractive thing about this recording. Other than that, there are much better recordings of the staple songs on other albums, but there are also a lot of rare performances on this that might make it worth while for Zappa-philes.

This album starts out with an introduction of the small band and a little goofing around before slipping immediately into a decent rendition of "Stinkfoot", moving on to "The Poodle Lecture" and on to "Dirty Love". These first songs fit together because of a common theme and are usually performed together on plenty of other live albums. Next comes a less often heard instrumental called "Filthy Habits" which comes from the "Sleep Dirt" album which wouldn't be released until 1979. This shows that many songs existed before being officially recorded, that FZ would often try out songs in concert to perfect them before officially releasing them. Thus you get an early version of this great instrumental. This is the first reason to find this album. Next comes some very early r&b style music from the debut Mothers album "Freak Out!". Brock at this point takes over the lead vocals from Frank and it brings a new feeling to these songs that were originally sung by members of the original Mothers line-up, so these songs can really sound different from the originals, namely "How Can I Be Such a Fool", "I Ain't Got No Heart" and "I'm Not Satisfied". After this trio of songs, the band plays some tracks from the then future "Zoot Allures" and it is interesting to hear these tracks in their early development. An almost 12 minute version of the classic guitar barn burner "Black Napkins" kicks in and the instrumental is awesome here. The theme is pretty much the same as the official studio version, but the improvised keyboard and later guitar solos are amazing. Then comes an 11 minute version of "Advance Romance" (from Bongo Fury) but without Captain Beefheart singing, this falls once again to Brock. He does a good job and the soloing in the middle is in fine form once again. The famous "Illinois Enema Bandit" comes next, but there are better recordings of this out there. Going back again to the future past, the band picks from unreleased material and plays a mediocre "Wind Up Workin at a Gas Station" and a shortened and quicker version of "The Torture Never Stops" which you can tell is underdeveloped, but enhanced with a harmonica solo instead of what would later be a hallmark for the killer guitar solos in future shows. The harmonica is played by a local Aussie talent who throws in an attempt at humor.

Disc 2 continues where we left off with the rare short instrumental piece "Canard Dujour" followed by an otherwise unavailable live version of the ultra rare song "Kaiser Rolls". Is it worth the search of this album for this track.....not really, but Zappa-philes will have to have it you know. Another track from the future "Zoot Allures" follow in "Find Her Finer" which is just annoying as usual, then the ever popular concert staple "Carolina Hard Core Ecstasy" which is an okay version but has a great guitar solo in it. The rare live version of "Lonely Little Girl", "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" (with vocals!) and "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body" all from "We're Only IN it for the Money" follow, but the versions here are again a bit lackluster, so not really worth the trouble. After this, a great version of the rare "Chunga's Revenge comes next with a very long sax solo and finally a drum solo, this after 15 minutes flows into another long instrumental off of Zoot Allures (the title track) and this is also great, but it turns into what will be known as "Ship Ahoy" with the echoing effects of the guitar giving a great ambient sound. The show was supposed to end after the usual "Keep it Greasy" but after a demand for encores, the band comes back and ends with the excellent 1 - 2 -3 punch of the showstoppers "Dinah Moe-Humm" which had been requested numerous times through the show by some demented fan and in this case has a nice doo-wop section, then "Camarillo Brillo" followed by "Muffin Man". This was a favorite encore set for the fans and the band in that it ended the show on an upbeat and exciting way. On this album, we are treated to another version of "Kaiser Rolls (du jour)" which is the rehearsal of the song recorded a few weeks before the actual show, again this song is not available elsewhere.

So is it worth it? To the casual listener, it might be okay, but there are better choices out there with better sound. For the Zappa-phile, there is quite a bit to get excited about though. For me, I have to average it out to 3 stars. It is entertaining enough and there some great bits here, but for the most part, there are better recordings out there.

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 Freak Out! by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.90 | 472 ratings

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Freak Out!
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Yes it is true that this is the first official Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention album released. However, FZ was involved in a lot of doo-wop style bands and recorded a few things that involved the presentation of some of his early avant garde classical style music and if you can locate some of those recordings, they are definitely interesting enough if you are a big FZ fan. But, this was the first official major label recording. The Mothers were actually around before this release also, doing r&b covers under the name Soul Giants. When Frank joined the band, he convinced them to do his own original songs and they changed their name to The Mothers.

The band was signed on when Tom Wilson heard the song "Anyway the Wind Blows" which was the first song the band recorded. The record company thought they were signing on a white blues band. When the band next recorded "Who Are the Brain Police?", the execs were a little surprised and worried. They were suddenly getting a mixture of r&b and psychedelia and some really weird music they didn't understand. But Frank pushed on and was actually excited and pleased with what was coming together. Frank's love for doo-wop music and avant garde classical music came together in the songs that were made while the record company scratched their heads and wondered what was going on.

Most of America didn't understand this music at first either. However, in Europe, the album would become a hit and eventually it would become an underground hit in the States when the beatniks thought the album was made to represent an LSD trip of some kind. It was also strange that an album would be released as two discs, even though it had been done by Bob Dylan and a few others, I don't believe it was ever done as a debut album. Somehow, Frank got away with it. In Europe though, it was released as a single disc.

Historically, this is a very important album as far as prog is concerned. It was one of the first concept albums ever made, the concept being Frank's view of pop culture and his satirical take on it. The first disc is mostly made up of short doo-wop inspired songs and 60's inspired psychedelia. There are a few hints of progressive rock, even though it wasn't a genre yet, Frank used his classical training to add an extra dimension to the music. Some of the music is quite straightforward r& b while other songs are completely out in left field.

The 2nd disc includes the longer tracks which were "Trouble Every Day", "Help I'm a Rock (Suite in Three Movements)" and "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet in Two Tableaux)". The first of these is a blues influenced rock number with a strong political message at the time, the Mothers own protest song. "Help I'm a Rock" has a great driving rhythm, but quickly becomes an unconventional song as the lyrics are ridiculous and often don't convey any consistent theme. This was all on purpose, making fun of psychedelia and protest music. The music breaks down in the 2nd movement with a bunch of vocal sounds and chaos and is a homage to Edgard Varese who is one of Zappa's favorite musicians, then it suddenly goes to an accapella type craziness for the 3rd movement with some a sudden interruption with a piano interlude that is an avant garde jazz section before returning to more acapella sounds. The last track "...Monster Magnet" is a sound collage made into another avant garde piece that continues on for 12 minutes. At first listen, this all sounds like a chaotic, random composition, but it is actually a brilliant composition that shows it's similarity to other sound collages performed by The Beatles and other psychedelic bands, but this has a structure unlike any of those with a lot more vocal sounds than just random sounds.

This is definitely an essential recording especially when it comes to progressive rock music. It shows the existence of progressive elements were around even before progressive music became an official genre. FZ was one of the innovators and this album is a testament to that. You might think it is a strange recording at first, but as it grows on you and the genius of the album becomes apparent, you will begin to agree. FZ fans must have this and prog fans need to be familiar with it, it's all a part of your history. 5 stars.

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 Wazoo by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2007
4.18 | 56 ratings

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Wazoo
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is a recording of the last day of an 8-day concert in Boston in 1972. This was the first tour that Zappa did after his stage accident where a crazed fan pushed Zappa off the stage. Frank was still in a wheelchair during this tour and the Mothers of Invention were no more. FZ had put together a 20-piece band for the purpose of performing instrumental jazz/classical/rock fusion music which was the type of music Frank wanted to make above all else. That's what this live album consists of...mostly very long fusion tracks featuring him conducting his big band, which in this line up, was short lived. Some of the members of the band would continue in a smaller context, but this particular line-up has not been documented in an official recording before the release of this album, which was done post-humously in 2007. I'm not sure if the audience was expecting this kind of a concert from FZ after his stint with his "Vaudeville" band which included the annoying yet silly antics of Flo and Eddie. In fact, some member of the audience can be heard hounding Frank about Flo and Eddie and where they were. But the audience, when they can be heard, seem to be enjoying themselves anyway.

This is amazing fusion music that ranges from big band jazz to avant garde fusion, meaning some of it is accessible and some of it is quite non-traditional. The first musical track after band introductions is "The Grand Wazoo" which is a straightforward rock/fusion track which is bookended with a structured melody and a long set of improvised solos conducted by Frank. It is very enjoyable with a lot of great solos. The next number is "Approximate" which is basically a drum solo arranged for a full band. Frank claims that the song was written based upon a drum solo and he added in instruments to play on the beats from the percussion (which is still a strict pattern) but the instruments have only been given a range that they play in and not specific notes. That is the "melody" of the song which forms the basis for more improvised instrumentals through the rest of the piece. Of course, this particular composition is never played in the same way and is very avant garde all the way through, even on the improvised sections. This one is not so accessible, but hopefully with some understanding on the structure of the song, it can become more interesting and easier to listen to. I always love hearing what they do with this song, which has also appeared on a few other live recordings. The last song on the first disc is another more straightforward jazz piece called "Big Swifty" and this uses more traditional jazz stylings. You again have the structure of main melody bookending another great session of improvisation.

On the 2nd disc, Frank opens discussing and introducing the half hour long "Adventures of Greggery Peccary" which on this recording is divided up into 4 sections. This is basically the same song as the original recording of the song on the album "Studio Tan", but this version is only the instrumental version with the story line removed. The actual finished song had not been completed for this concert, but what you get is a great combination of structured music that you will recognize as the music that accompanies the story for the most part with some improvisation thrown in. This is more along the lines of a light avant garde ensemble piece which changes styles a lot. Fans of Zappa will recognize parts of the song easily where other parts are completely different.

The band comes back for 2 short encore pieces, the instrumental version of "Penis Dimension" from the Flo and Eddie days (just to keep those fans happy I suppose) and an early version of "Regyptian Strut" called in this recording "Variant I Processional March".

This is one of the best jazz fusion recordings and one of the best band lineups of Frank's and he was quite pleased to have such a big band to work with during this time. It is too bad the line up was short lived, but the more condensed version of the band was still around for a while and thankfully we have a lot of recordings featuring them. Anyway, for FZ fans and fusion fans, this is an essential recording. The music and production and sound is all top notch. For a recording representative of the more complex recordings and concerts of FZ, this is a masterpiece and does an excellent job of giving us insight into Frank's genius. Definitely an essential avant-prog recording.

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 Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.77 | 30 ratings

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Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In 1993, Frank Zappa passed away way too early in his life. His son asked his father what he would consider were his most definitive guitar solos and Frank said "Black Napkins", "Zoot Allures" (both of there from the Zoot Allures album) and "Watermelon in Easter Hay" (from Joe's Garage). Dweezil then put together this collection of guitar music to represent FZ at his best as a guitar virtuoso. The album is arranged by taking each one of these 3 titles and featuring an amazing live performance followed by the original recording of the same song. This may sound redundant, but, if you are familiar with Frank's amazing live performances, you know how that is not true. This album, which is available only by download from the official Zappa website, is an excellent example of how Frank was so versatile and prolific in his live performances and how much his music would vary as Frank would make each performance unique.

This collection starts out with "Black Napkins" performed live in Yugoslavia on November 22, 1975. This is a previously unreleased excerpt of that concert and featured the song before it was completely developed. It is definitely recognizable as the main melody is played, but takes on it's own life as Frank's improvised part commences. This is followed by the version off of the Zoot Allures album so it's easy to compare the two.

Next up is a 15 minute live version of "Zoot Allures" as performed in Tokyo, Japan on February 5, 1976. This long track seems to go by quickly and is an amazing version of the well-known solo. At about the 10 minute mark, Frank slips away into a version of his rare work "Ship Ahoy" which features some very nice and atmospheric guitar work that is quite minimal, especially on the part of the back up band, with a nice echoing melody that those familiar with the "Ship Ahoy" song will recognize. After this track, the pattern is temporarily disrupted by an original previously unreleased song called "Merely a Blues in A", which is not available anywhere else. This is an improvised piece done live at Paris, France in 1974, when the crowd demanded an encore and the band had run out of material to perform, so they improvised this on the spot. Again, another excellent example of Frank's ability. It is a simple blues base with Frank playing his guitar over it all. Following this is the original version of "Zoot Allures" from the album of the same name, as we find ourselves placed back into the pattern.

The next live performance is that of "Watermelon in Easter Hay" which is a favorite of a lot of Zappa fans because it is such a beautiful melody and an excellent starter for great improvisation. The live version is performed in Germany on February 24, 1978. The rhythm on this version is a little faster than the original and has very little backup from the band. To me, it is hard to compare this favorably to the excellent original version which follows. This version is from the "Joe's Garage Vol. 2 & 3" album and it also features a live version of Frank's solo with studio backing from the band. This is, like I said before, the most beautiful and memorable of all of Frank's solos.

This is an excellent collection of Frank's most inspired guitar work, but it's weakness is in the repetition of the songs, even if it is a minimal weakness because of the treatments of the songs here put together for your comparison. I can't fault the album too much for that, but there are a lot of other great guitar collections that are available from FZ. I will say, though, if you don't mind the high price tag of this collection, that this is still a 4 star collection just because it is the master, after all, doing what he does best. There are no vocals except for some announcements from Frank while conversing with his various audiences and a little bit of other minor interaction. The focus is entirely on Frank's guitar work.

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 Meets The Mothers Of Prevention by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.24 | 108 ratings

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Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This FZ album is a strange concoction yet also very interesting especially in a historical sense in FZ's history. It is strange in the collection of tracks that are on it. Some of the music sounds like outtakes from other albums, for the most part they are a lot of lesser used songs from FZ's huge library of music that were put together, most of them with questionable themes, yet the lewdness as for as sexual lyrics is not quite as prevalent as some albums, the themes that are questionable, at least to a certain sector of the public, range from several subjects. This was all to prove Zappa's point about the fight for free speech. But, on the surface, it is a little tougher to hear the "continuity" on this album if you are not familiar with the context of the songs and the titles.

The album starts out with something that sounds like it comes from the "You Are What You Is" sessions. "I Don't Even Care" is from a studio session and the only other instance of it in Zappa's discography is from "Understanding America". To me, it sounds too much like a "YAWYI" track for my liking, but it's okay I suppose. It's mostly vocals with no instrumental breaks to speak of, just like all the tracks from that time period. Next, we get 3 instrumentals of FZ on synclavier. You can hear that Zappa's talent has improved with the instrument and he is able now to get the sound that he prefers from his technically difficult and sometimes impossible compositions. These tracks tend to sound quite clinical sounding because there is not a lot of dynamism here, but there is a lot of genius present in the composition itself. These tracks are "One Man, One Vote", "Little Beige Sambo" (of course a take on the destruction of that fairy tale that got labeled as being racist [Little Black Sambo]), and (probably one of my favorite titles at least) "Aerobics in Bondage" (just try to do aerobics to this track). Next is a live track of "We're Turning Again" recorded at Santa Monica in December 1981. Not a bad song that sounds similar to the "Thing Fish" era that has lyrics regarding Jimi Hendrix and is also available at another concert recording on "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. 6".

Next up is an instrumental called "Alien Orifice" which this time is performed with an entire band in a concert setting circa Sept 1981 - June 1982. It is interesting in this album arrangement to hear how the band compares to the synclavier sound. The technicality is still there, but it's not as sterile sounding and the dynamics are better. Percussion on this track sound almost as good as Ruth Underwood used to sound, and you might be fooled into thinking it is her playing here, but it is in actuality Ed Mann. Quite impressive. I must say in most instances I prefer the full band anytime over the synclavier, but that's just me. Next is "Yo Cats" which only appears on one other album "Have I Offended Someone". This is probably the best vocal track on the album, is very lounge act/jazzy sounding. This one is somewhat entertaining as it lampoons lounge singers. The best track on the album follows, "What's New in Baltimore". This one is culled from several different concerts, but it all fits together well. It is an instrumental with a full band and an excellent guitar solo by Frank, but if you are looking for any more guitar soloing on this album, you'll be disappointed because this is the only one. But it sounds great here, especially because it is the lone track with a great solo. The rest of the line up shines through here too, but since the track is only over 5 minutes, no one else other than Zappa gets to shine here.

Next is the sound montage "Porn Wars". Contrary to what the title puts you in mind of, this isn't a mishmash of Porn movie sounds. It is really sound bites from senators and FZ talking in court, but arranged in ways that is very reminiscent of the sound collages on the album "Freak Out!". This is set to music and the arrangement of voices both untreated and treated is unbelievably entertaining. There are some very funny comments made, and many of those comments are from people that were arguing against free speech just to demonstrate how ridiculous their arguments were (and still are in many cases). There are also some lyrical bits from track by The Mentors called "Golden Showers". At least we're spared from the most disgusting parts of those lyrics, but there are a few snippets of lyrics from that song that are repeated throughout. The last track is "H.R. 2911" which is the name of the legislation act that FZ referenced in his testimony against censorship. The track itself is all performed by FZ on synclavier and really doesn't do much of anything for me, that is, I can't even remember it right after it plays, that's how small of an impression it leaves on me.

After all is said and done, this is a historical recording, but not really an essential recording in my opinion. There are much better representations of FZ's music out there. There are some good bits there though that save it from being only an album of interest to collectors though, so we can push this rating up to a 3 star album, but not any more than that.

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 Francesco Zappa by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.57 | 102 ratings

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Francesco Zappa
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Yes it is true....Francesco Zappa was a real Baroque composer, not someone that Frank made up. However, he was not related to Frank in any way. Frank discovered some of his music in a Mormon archive library and decided to take it on himself to make Francesco's music available to the public. So, he performed some of his works on the synclavier and released it. It is more of a novelty item than anything else. Unless you are a lover of Baroque music, you will probably find this boring. I do love Classical music, but I find the music made in the baroque period quite boring for the most part, except for the music composed by the genius Bach. He was a genius because he understood that baroque music was for entertainment, but to make it right, it had to rely somewhat on certain rules, usually math based rules. Hence, why so many right-brain thinkers (accountants, mathematicians, logical thinkers) prefer baroque music out of all the classical styles. Creative thinkers (left brain thinkers) prefer the Romantic and Impressionistic eras. Baroque was the math music of the day, but I find it lacking in variety, dynamics, ingenuity, experimentalism (except for Bach), and so on. This album is very painful for me to listen to. Apparently, Francesco wasn't a person that stretched the boundaries of his type of music, because it sounds very typical. But I guess from what I have read, that he was popular in his day. Many baroque musicians were hired by royalty and such to perform and compose music for dances and etc. It is repetitive, but usually made up of short pieces that have a main melody repeated twice, a secondary melody based on the first repeated twice, then a repeat of the main melody sometimes. That was the usual pattern. The geniuses of this type of music expanded on it a lot by adding counter melody, variations on the theme, and many other techniques and they are the ones you usually hear about in the present day. The other issue with Baroque music is that a lot of it was written for the clavichord which was a precursor of the piano, and it was very difficult to change dynamics with that instrument, which is why the music all sounds one dimensional.

So, on this album, Frank uses an instrument that allows him to change some timbre and such, but this was early on in Frank's exploration of the instrument, so the music sounds very unemotional and clinical. Also, he still hadn't tapped into the sounds of the instrument or expanded his talent on it fully. That would come later. I wouldn't really recommend this album to anyone unless they were a completionist or someone that might be interested in baroque music, but only if they weren't too picky. There is better baroque music out there, even though I am not a big fan of it, I do know what it takes to make it better and more interesting. Francesco was not a major composer and Frank hadn't developed his talent for the instrument yet. For those reasons, I can only squeak a 2 star rating for this, leaving for collectors or fans, which I am that more than anything and which is the only reason why I own this on vinyl. Sorry Frank....2 stars.

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