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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$7.31
$7.70 (used)
We're Only In It For The MoneyWe're Only In It For The Money
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$5.50
$4.95 (used)
Over-Nite SensationOver-Nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2013
Vinyl$12.99
$13.66 (used)
MothermaniaMothermania
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.68
$8.60 (used)
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.66
$5.99 (used)
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.92
$9.96 (used)
The Grand WazooThe Grand Wazoo
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.66
$4.45 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.90
$10.29 (used)
Sleep DirtSleep Dirt
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$5.67
$6.88 (used)
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FRANK ZAPPA - PUTTIN ON THE RITZ (2CD) - GOLF009 USD $18.52 Buy It Now 1h 5m
Frank Zappa The Mothers Of Invention - One Size Fits All NEW CD USD $14.80 Buy It Now 1h 8m
7"-Single FRANK ZAPPA - Love Of My Life (1981) HOLLAND PS USD $29.99 Buy It Now 1h 54m
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FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS 200 MOTELS VG++ Double album vinyl UAS-9956 United Artists USD $29.95 Buy It Now 2h 42m
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FRANK ZAPPA "Guitar" JAPAN Limited Mini LP CD obi USD $49.99 [0 bids]
4h 9m
FRANK ZAPPA WAKA/JAWAKA LP BIZARRE LABEL 168 USD $34.99 Buy It Now 4h 9m
FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS FILLMORE EAST JUNE 1971 LP BIZARRE LABEL 168 USD $18.99 Buy It Now 4h 9m
Waka/Jawaka by Frank Zappa (CD, May-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $5.00 [1 bids]
4h 26m
Zoot Allures by Frank Zappa (CD, May-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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4h 29m
Just Another Band from L.A. by Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention (CD,... USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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4h 31m
? FRANK ZAPPA ? song lyrics/quote typography poster art print - A1 A2 A3 A4 #18 USD $31.77 Buy It Now 4h 31m
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? FRANK ZAPPA ? song lyrics/quote typography poster art print - A1 A2 A3 A4 #18 USD $13.57 Buy It Now 4h 31m
? FRANK ZAPPA ? song lyrics/quote typography poster art print - A1 A2 A3 A4 #18 USD $21.16 Buy It Now 4h 31m
Francesco Zappa by Frank Zappa (CD, May-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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4h 34m
Cruising with Ruben & the Jets by Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention (CD,... USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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4h 37m
Frank Zappa, Joe's Garage Act I, Zappa Records SRZ-1-1603, 1979, Includes insert USD $32.00 Buy It Now 4h 39m
Weasels Ripped My Flesh by Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention (CD,... USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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4h 40m
FRANK ZAPPA '78 Live in Knebworth UK SBD 2CD USD $18.00 [0 bids]
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4h 47m
FRANK ZAPPA '88 Last Live in Genova Itaty 2CD USD $18.00 [0 bids]
USD $24.00 Buy It Now
4h 48m
MOTHERS OF INVENTION FRANK ZAPPA~ FREAK OUT~ VERVE V6-5005-2 USD $89.99 [0 bids]
4h 54m
Frank Zappa, Joe's Garage Act II & III, Zappa Records SRZ-2-1502, 1979, 2 LPGate USD $32.00 Buy It Now 4h 54m
Frank Zappa, Zoot Allures, Warners Bros., BS 2970, 1976 USD $19.00 Buy It Now 5h 5m
Lumpy Gravy by Frank Zappa (CD, Apr-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 5h 16m
Strictly Commercial Radio Rare Frank Zappa CD George Duke Ryko USD $49.99 Buy It Now 5h 32m
Frank Zappa - Big Leg Emma - 2012 RSD Picture Sleeve 45 rpm PS 7" USD $19.99 [0 bids]
5h 38m
FRANK ZAPPA CD lot of 2 USD $9.95 [0 bids]
5h 52m
FRANK ZAPPA VINTAGE ORIGINAL ADVERT 1980s USD $12.12 Buy It Now 5h 56m
FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS Fillmore East June 1971 GREEK ORIGINAL 1st PRESS LP NM USD $19.99 Buy It Now 6h
FRANK ZAPPA - HOT RATS NEW CD USD $17.43 Buy It Now 6h 5m
FRANK ZAPPA RELATED R&B 45 RPM RECORD - RENE AND RAY - DONNA 1360 USD $40.00 Buy It Now 6h 8m
Frank Zappa The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life 2CD USD $9.10 [0 bids]
6h 22m
FRANK ZAPPA Just another band from LA LP 1971 NM EX- USD $18.00 Buy It Now 6h 37m
Frank Zappa Beat the Boots! #2 Limited Edition 8 CD's Box Set USD $175.00 Buy It Now 6h 57m
FRANK ZAPPA you are what you is 88560 A1/B1/C2/D2 uk cbs DOUBLE LP PS VG+/EX- USD $25.99 Buy It Now 7h 2m
Frank Zappa, Disco Boy 7" 45, Both Mono and Stereo on Promo 45 USD $39.95 Buy It Now 7h 4m
Frank Zappa Rare Meat 1st Delphi Precision Press, Excellent USD $19.99 [0 bids]
7h 7m
FRANK ZAPPA Mothers Of Invention "Uncle Meat" 2LP BIZZARE/REPRISE 2024 USD $14.99 [0 bids]
7h 8m
The Mothers "Just Another Band From L.A." Reprise MS 2075 - FRANK ZAPPA USD $9.99 [0 bids]
7h 8m
FREAK OUT Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention Verve 1st LP 1966 Map Ad! USD $14.99 [0 bids]
7h 9m
Frank Zappa Sheik Yerbouti LP Vinyl Canada 2 Record Set Zappa Label USD $18.00 Buy It Now 7h 12m
"7"-Frank Zappa-Bobby Brown Goes Down/I have..PS German USD $16.00 Buy It Now 7h 16m
FRANK ZAPPA: Sheik Yerbouti LP CBS RECORDS CBS 88339 Netherlands 1979 NM- USD $20.69 Buy It Now 7h 19m
Cash Box Magazine August 3, 1974 Frank Zappa Cover USD $11.80 [0 bids]
7h 20m
Frank Zappa Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar CD USD $6.00 [1 bids]
7h 23m
Guitar by Frank Zappa (CD, May-1995, 2 Discs, Ryko Distribution) USD $8.00 [0 bids]
USD $14.00 Buy It Now
7h 24m
Frank Zappa cassette tapes (8) USD $9.99 [1 bids]
7h 34m
FRANK ZAPPA Vitamin Deficiency 2 X LP Aussie Press TAKRL NM Vinyl USD $64.99 Buy It Now 7h 36m
Lumpy Gravy Japan Lp Sleeve Frank Zappa CD USD $54.99 Buy It Now 7h 36m
Frank Zappa Studio Tan LP Record Discreet K59210 UK A1B1 first pressing Ex- USD $13.63 Buy It Now 7h 44m
FRANK ZAPPA - FRANCESCO ZAPPA (UK CASSETTE/TAPE) BARKING PUMPKIN RECORDS USD $7.57 Buy It Now 7h 48m
FRANK ZAPPA / CAPTAIN BEEFHEART / ~ THE MOTHERS BONGO FURY ~ RARE CASSETTE ALBUM USD $4.09 [2 bids]
7h 53m
RARE Frank Zappa "The Man from Utopia" UK press EMI 1983 OOP EMC 3500 USD $20.00 [0 bids]
USD $40.00 Buy It Now
7h 56m
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention ROXY & ELSEWHERE 180g New Vinyl 2 LP USD $31.99 Buy It Now 7h 58m
FRANK ZAPPA - THE TIME TO SING AND DANCE AND LOVE - 2 CD (sealed) USD $79.99 Buy It Now 8h 8m
NM Frank Zappa Record Studio Tan 1978 DiscReet Records DSK 2291 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 8m
FRANK ZAPPA RSD 2015 "OVERTURE" PURPLE VINYL 7" SINGLE RECORD STORE DAY USD $29.99 Buy It Now 8h 18m
Grand Funk Railroad Good Singin' Good Playin' Vinyl LP Produced By Frank Zappa USD $6.82 [0 bids]
8h 27m
Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning - CD - (Universal 2012) USD $16.67 Buy It Now 8h 31m
FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS OF INVENTION Uncle Meat 2 X LP Clean EX USD $27.99 Buy It Now 8h 36m
FRANK ZAPPA "200 MOTELS" 2 RECORD SET--FACTORY SEALED-LAST ONE!! RARE LP!! USD $259.99 Buy It Now 8h 48m
Frank zappa 200 motels record store day 2015 BRAND NEW NEVER PLAYED beefheart USD $9.99 [0 bids]
8h 51m
FRANK ZAPPA - IPHIGENIA - SUPER RARE 2 CD JAPAN IMPORT USD $49.99 [1 bids]
9h 6m
The Mothers of Invention ABSOLUTELY FREE Cassette SEALED! RARE! FRANK ZAPPA USD $25.00 Buy It Now 9h 37m
FRANK ZAPPA Tinseltown Rebellion CD 1990, Ryko Barking Pumpkin Records USD $5.00 [0 bids]
9h 53m
MFSL 24K Gold CD Frank Zappa We're Only in It for the Money USD $50.00 [0 bids]
USD $75.00 Buy It Now
9h 53m
FRANK ZAPPA~ SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE TO SAVE DROWNING... USD $22.99 Buy It Now 9h 53m
Ahead of Their Time - Frank Zappa The Mothers of Invention CD Mar-1993 Ryko USD $5.00 [0 bids]
9h 59m
1979 Frank Zappa ?- Sheik Yerbouti 2x LP PROMO GF w/ Poster SRZ-2-1501 VG+/GD- USD $26.25 Buy It Now 10h
FRANK ZAPPA 2 BOX SETS LP'S OLD MASTERS UNPLAYED SHRINK & SHUT UP N PLAY USD $99.99 [0 bids]
10h 4m
Frank Zappa- 200 Motels USD $12.00 Buy It Now 10h 4m
The Lost Episodes by Frank Zappa (CD, Feb-1996, Ryko Distribution) USD $3.50 [0 bids]
10h 4m
Baby Snakes by Frank Zappa (CD, Apr-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $9.70 Buy It Now 10h 8m
Does Humor Belong in Music? by Frank Zappa (CD, Apr-1995, Ryko Distribution) USD $5.00 [0 bids]
10h 9m
FRANK ZAPPA VINYL over night sensation LP VgVg1973 jean luc ponty NO BAR CODE USD $18.99 Buy It Now 10h 27m
Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention One Size Fits All AU20 24 KT Gold Disc CD USD $34.99 [0 bids]
10h 27m
FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION FREAK OUT X 2 LP 180GM 2013 MINT USD $33.35 Buy It Now 10h 39m
FRANK ZAPPA - Cheap Thrills [ECD] (CD, Apr-1998, Ryko Distribution) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 42m
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION FRANK ZAPPA POOT FACE BOOGIE TAKRL 1909 USD $19.99 [1 bids]
10h 44m
Frank Zappa 'Jazz From Hell' LP Vinyl Barking Pumpkin ST 74205 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 10h 47m
FRANK ZAPPA - Son of Cheep Thrills [ECD] (CD, Apr-1999, Ryko Distribution) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 10h 48m
FRANK ZAPPA Hot Rats LP Bizarre reprise RS6356 Gate '69 mothers of invention oop USD $59.00 Buy It Now 10h 52m
CD Frank Zappa The Grand Wazoo 1995 Rykodisc rock jazz prog USD $5.00 [1 bids]
10h 54m
FRANK ZAPPA - Freak Out! [Remastered](CD 1995) USA Import EXC Rykodisc USD $12.10 Buy It Now 10h 59m
FRANK ZAPPA - Have I Offended Someone? (CD 1997) USA First Edition EXC Rykodisc USD $9.07 Buy It Now 10h 59m
Just Another Band from L.A. by Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention (CD, 1990 USD $0.99 [2 bids]
11h
1982 FRANK ZAPPA PARODY PALOLO VALLEY GIRLS MADE IN HAWAII ONLY SINGLE 7" 45 RPM USD $40.00 Buy It Now 11h 11m
1979 FRANK ZAPPA MISPRINT ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES 1 OF A KIND LP GARY PANTER ART YO USD $45.00 Buy It Now 11h 14m
FRANK ZAPPA - Strictly Commercial (CD 1995) USA Import EXC Best Of/Greatest Hits USD $13.62 Buy It Now 11h 24m
NEW Strictly Commercial: The Best Of Frank Zappa Frank Zappa USD $52.48 Buy It Now 11h 40m
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention mono GF LP Absolutely Free USD $49.99 Buy It Now 11h 46m
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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 | 394 ratings
Absolutely Free
1967
3.27 | 286 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.14 | 494 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.70 | 204 ratings
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.11 | 387 ratings
Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1161 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.92 | 299 ratings
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.76 | 300 ratings
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 246 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.03 | 166 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.92 | 356 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.31 | 664 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 448 ratings
Over-Nite Sensation
1973
3.99 | 496 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.31 | 643 ratings
One Size Fits All
1975
3.72 | 316 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.71 | 204 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.60 | 203 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.85 | 366 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
3.34 | 134 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
4.12 | 372 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.91 | 295 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 | 85 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.14 | 169 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.21 | 141 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.39 | 110 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
2.99 | 58 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.81 | 97 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.34 | 62 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.97 | 143 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
3.94 | 51 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 | 75 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.53 | 69 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.61 | 105 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.35 | 100 ratings
Guitar
1988
3.98 | 100 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 | 83 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.47 | 78 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.31 | 154 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
3.40 | 20 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.61 | 16 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.40 | 21 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.03 | 20 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.79 | 18 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.33 | 17 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
3.74 | 28 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 | 38 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.66 | 70 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.84 | 66 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 | 56 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.61 | 37 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
4.08 | 43 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.18 | 55 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
4.06 | 46 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.77 | 25 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.36 | 29 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.29 | 19 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.68 | 26 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
3.24 | 28 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
3.31 | 24 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)

3.71 | 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
4.57 | 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
2.00 | 1 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Guitar by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1988
3.35 | 100 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
4.31 | 664 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 | 55 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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 Fillmore East, June 1971 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1971
3.17 | 125 ratings

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Fillmore East, June 1971
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first official completely live album that Zappa released was this one credited to the Mothers at Fillmore East. It's purpose was to spotlight a Mothers show and the concept was to illustrate life on the road, mostly in a humorous way. The album cover was meant to look like a bootleg type recording, but I'm not sure if the sound and production was supposed to intentionally sound like a bootleg, because it does, albeit on the better side of a bootleg. But definitely not up to the sound and production standards of the typical FZ live recording in upcoming years.

This album of course, is a representation of the Flo and Eddie years (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) who were formerly of The Turtles. This is, in my opinion, one of the most obnoxious times of Zappa history. I am not a big fan of their hijinx and the skits that they were a part of. I find them quite annoying. I can deal with the school-boyish humor, but I don't like their delivery. They always seemed to take the focus off of the music which is exactly the opposite of what FZ wanted, but they served their purpose by attracting certain listeners to the concerts.

This album is definitely not for those with tender ears or closed minds. It is mostly centered on the humor of the band at the time. There are only 3 short instrumentals here and everything else is mostly dialog. It starts out with the fusion number "Little House I Used to Live In" which more or less introduces the band to the stage. It's not a bad rendition of the song, but there are better versions out there. From there it goes right into the storyline of "The Mud Shark" which is FZ and the band narrating the mostly true story of the sexual hijinx of the band Vanilla Fudge as it was told to the band in an airport. Actually, VF was only involved with making a video of the incident. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin was also involved, but apparently only as a witness to the events. Richard Cole who worked with LZ claims he was the one totally responsible for what happened. Apparently, there is a hotel in Seattle where you can fish for sharks from your hotel window. Of course, just for fun, the musicians had to try it out. But there were some groupies in the room at the time, and when one of the sharks was caught, one of the groupies and Cole got involved in some sexual games that involved the mud shark, which is actually a Dogfish. I'm not going into anymore detail than that. Anyway, the 2nd track is FZ's recounting of the incident as it was told to him and then teaching the audience how to do the dance that he had made up. Flo and Eddie of course do their obnoxious brand of humor during the track.

The album goes on with tracks about rock stars and groupies and how the girls would only have sex with bands that had a number 1 hit. That is pretty much what the rest of the album is about, except for a few short instrumentals. Yes, it can get a little explicit, but that's not really the problem because it is Frank Zappa after all. The problem is the silliness of Flo and Eddie. It's just annoying and any semblance of enjoyable music is completely ruined by the duo. But that's my opinion because I know there are people that like their style. The humor is funny in a one-off sort of way, but for me, the delivery of Flo and Eddie is just annoying.

I don't enjoy this album much and only have it because I like collecting Zappa's vinyl. Everyone of the important tracks on here are on better live albums and if you want to hear these skits and humor, then it would be worth it to search them out. At least you get a better dose of FZ's more serious music with other recordings, this one is only for those who don't want to hear the serious side of Zappa. But, the sound quality just isn't that good here, and I'm not saying that this is not an important recording, I'm saying there are better options out there for the "not so serious" Zappa listener. Yes, it's Zappa's first foray into recorded concerts, and I guess I can excuse him for using it as a learning experience. But I don't recommend this album because there are so many better live albums out there that are better at documenting Zappa's live shows.

Just as an aside, during this same show that is recorded on this album, John Lennon and Yoko Ono joined the Mothers on stage for about a half an hour. If you are interested in hearing this strange part of the show, you can hear it on the live album "Playground Psychotics" which is a better documentation of life on the road and much better produced as far as FZ concert recordings go.

A lot of Zappa aficionados would probably disagree with me on this, but I can only consider this as a collector's item, only a little better quality than a bootleg, but not much. There are just so many much better FZ live albums out there for the casual or curious listener.

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 Zoot Allures by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 316 ratings

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Zoot Allures
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the Zappa band stripped down mostly to a rock quartet (and a quintet in some cases). There is no jazz or orchestral music here, it's all rock. It's also probably Zappa's darkest album. There are several concert classics that seen their first light of day on this (mostly) studio album.

I remember the first time I heard this album, I bought it looking for something that I though was as good as "Sheik Yerbouti", and bought this as the follow up, even though it was released 3 years earlier. I was disappointed. I've grown to appreciate it a little more now, but I still don't consider it one of my favorite Zappa albums. I think this is some of Zappa's worst vocals and he sings lead vocals on all but 2 of the songs (those songs are instrumentals). His vocals are kept subdued and kind of whisper-y so to me he just sounds like a grumpy pervert. The rest of the music is pretty good, but it is very dark, except for "Wind Up Workin" and "Disco Boy" which are a little more "cheery" I guess. The best tracks on this album are the instrumentals, and it's because of them that this is an excellent recording. If it was a completely vocal album like "You Are What You Is" then it would have been just as bad as that terrible album.

"Wind up Workin at a Gas Station" is one of the few tracks with several vocal styles which you tend to find on some of Zappa's better albums. The vocals are similar to doo wop harmonies, but this is not a doo wop song, so, there you go. Next is one of Zappa's best guitar pieces called "Black Napkins" I love this song and find it always tends to produce the best solos out of all of Zappa's instrumentals. It was named after the color of the napkins at a Thanksgiving dinner that Zappa attended where he describes the turkey as so full of preservatives that you could see them gleaming and some beat up cranberry material. The black napkins where the final stroke to the ridiculous dinner. But at least the song is great.....This song is actually a live performance in Osaka Japan on 2/3/76.

"The Torture Never Stops" is the first studio version recorded of the concert staple that is on an innumerable amount of live recordings out there. This version has the screaming girls on it who are actually Gail (Zappa's wife) and a friend. Zappa gets all the credit for this one except for the drum. This version has the keyboards more to the front than the concert performances tend to have, but still has a guitar solo, though more subdued than most of the concert performances. After that is the funny song about a blow up doll named "Ms. Pinky"

Side 2 starts out with "Find Her Finer" which I find annoying. Then we get another outstanding instrumental. First is "Friendly Little Finger" which involves the best full band line-up in Zappa's career and the only non-rock song on here, more of a jazz fusion with a guitar solo type track. The basic track was recorded in concert at Hofstra University on 10/26/1975 with FZ, Roy Estrada on bass, Terry Bozzio on drums, and the amazing Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer. The brass section was recorded at a different time and place, 2 years before at Bolic Sound in Inglewood with Ian Underwood on Sax, Bruce Fowler on trombone and Sal Marquez on trumpet on 6/1/1973. Frank used his technique of xenochrony where he takes a studio recording and edits in a solo or section from a completely different source or song, usually live in Zappa's case, and combines it all together, usually in songs that have tricky rhythms.

Next is another vocal about an alcoholic which I don't care for either. Then is the title track which is another excellent instrumental in the same vein as the one on side 1 which is also a huge concert staple. This one was recorded completely in studio. It all ends with the slightly brighter "Disco Boy" which is the single from the album and one of Zappa's most popular satirical takes on the disco movement.

This album was originally supposed to be a double album and included other Zappa greats like "Sleep Dirt", "The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution" and several others that appeared on other albums. The addition of those songs would have helped strengthen this album. One other song called "Night of the Iron Sausage" was also supposed to be part of the double album but it was never released. It was reportedly a very long guitar solo. Not sure how that would have added or taken away from the album.

So, the vocal tracks are disappointing here, but the instrumentals are stellar. That leaves me with a split decision on this album. I totally respect FZ's music and enjoy the humor on most of his comedy tracks, but I can't rate this album at 5 stars when I hate the vocal tracks. The instrumentals however are so good that it actually raises this from a 2 star album to 4 stars. That's how good they are.....and are actually essential tracks. So 4 stars here. Get it for the instrumentals.

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