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FRANK ZAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Frank Zappa biography
Frank Vincent ZAPPA - December 12, 1940 (Baltimore, USA) / December 4, 1993 (Los Angeles, USA)

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 ind...
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FRANK ZAPPA discography


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

3.92 | 746 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out!
1966
4.02 | 617 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free
1967
3.23 | 451 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.11 | 756 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money
1968
2.74 | 336 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: Cruising with Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.03 | 606 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Uncle Meat
1969
4.36 | 1824 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.92 | 502 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.78 | 508 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.41 | 404 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.10 | 278 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.94 | 591 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.32 | 1100 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.01 | 730 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation
1973
4.04 | 812 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.31 | 1113 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
1975
3.73 | 488 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.75 | 330 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.66 | 355 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.89 | 595 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
4.13 | 616 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.98 | 500 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.64 | 337 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.61 | 303 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.15 | 279 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.16 | 141 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.32 | 231 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.40 | 188 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.61 | 161 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.52 | 149 ratings
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.22 | 173 ratings
Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.43 | 271 ratings
Jazz from Hell
1986
3.02 | 112 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.76 | 161 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.34 | 106 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
4.01 | 230 ratings
Läther
1996
3.17 | 68 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely [Aka: EIHN]
1999
2.95 | 65 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
1.67 | 66 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.18 | 49 ratings
Joe's XMasage
2005
3.49 | 55 ratings
Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
2011
2.91 | 42 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014
3.94 | 80 ratings
Dance Me This
2015

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

3.26 | 201 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.14 | 187 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.39 | 393 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.56 | 267 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.25 | 313 ratings
Zappa in New York
1978
3.41 | 190 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
3.17 | 202 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.29 | 115 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.62 | 106 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.64 | 156 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.41 | 143 ratings
Guitar
1988
4.06 | 155 ratings
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.48 | 247 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.75 | 130 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.64 | 120 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.38 | 226 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.41 | 176 ratings
Make a Jazz Noise Here
1991
3.75 | 43 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
2.37 | 27 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.39 | 31 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.66 | 24 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.44 | 29 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.18 | 30 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.81 | 27 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.39 | 25 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
1.53 | 20 ratings
At The Circus
1992
1.96 | 19 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.85 | 57 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.71 | 103 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.90 | 101 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
2.30 | 19 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.02 | 20 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.11 | 16 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.62 | 17 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.33 | 16 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
3.89 | 153 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.28 | 94 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.94 | 69 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.63 | 44 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.90 | 80 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.52 | 77 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
4.16 | 74 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.04 | 83 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.66 | 51 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
3.63 | 49 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.15 | 34 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.21 | 61 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.36 | 76 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.81 | 45 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.17 | 47 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.39 | 43 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.34 | 59 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
4.66 | 46 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.55 | 55 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014
4.55 | 20 ratings
Roxy: The Sountrack
2015
3.82 | 11 ratings
200 Motels The Suites
2015
2.41 | 18 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #3
2016
3.00 | 11 ratings
Little Dots
2016
3.88 | 16 ratings
Chicago '78
2016
4.16 | 23 ratings
Halloween 77
2017
4.24 | 28 ratings
The Roxy Performances
2018
3.56 | 9 ratings
Halloween 73
2019
4.67 | 6 ratings
Halloween 81 - Live at The Palladium, New York City
2020
4.23 | 13 ratings
Zappa '88: The Last U.S. Show
2021
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Mothers 1971
2022
4.00 | 3 ratings
Zappa '80: Mudd Club/Munich
2023

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

2.87 | 62 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.38 | 26 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.81 | 69 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.11 | 82 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.20 | 36 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
4.04 | 48 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
4.08 | 25 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.17 | 44 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.58 | 50 ratings
Zappa in Barcelona
2007
3.33 | 9 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.16 | 24 ratings
The Torture Never Stops
2008
3.14 | 7 ratings
Live In Paris 1980
2008
3.21 | 10 ratings
Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention: In the 1960's
2009
4.16 | 25 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.57 | 31 ratings
Roxy: The Movie
2015
4.89 | 9 ratings
Zappa
2021

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

3.73 | 44 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
2.00 | 3 ratings
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
1975
3.73 | 72 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
4.11 | 64 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.87 | 56 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.85 | 125 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
3.02 | 23 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.86 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.71 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.77 | 148 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.09 | 25 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.09 | 11 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
2.00 | 3 ratings
Cucamonga Years - The Early Works of Frank Zappa (1962-1964)
1991
4.00 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.51 | 50 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.24 | 60 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.73 | 37 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.14 | 29 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.23 | 34 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.91 | 46 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.05 | 56 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
2.06 | 18 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.97 | 30 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.54 | 11 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry Lalonde of Primus
2002
3.94 | 10 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
2002
4.73 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 1
2002
4.53 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 2
2002
2.67 | 9 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.86 | 23 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.42 | 40 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
2.95 | 3 ratings
The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Beat the Boots III
2009
3.64 | 26 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.14 | 25 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
4.38 | 17 ratings
Understanding America
2012
4.67 | 3 ratings
ZAPPAtite (Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks)
2016
3.91 | 15 ratings
The Crux Of The Biscuit
2016
3.81 | 14 ratings
Frank Zappa For President
2016
4.55 | 11 ratings
Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object Audio Documentary
2016
2.98 | 5 ratings
The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa
2019
4.83 | 6 ratings
Zappa in New York (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2019
4.89 | 9 ratings
Orchestral Favorites (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Under the Covers (The Songs He Didn't Write)
2019
4.21 | 14 ratings
The Hot Rats Sessions
2019
4.00 | 4 ratings
Zappa (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Deluxe)
2020
4.20 | 5 ratings
Waka/Wazoo
2022
4.13 | 7 ratings
Funky Nothingness
2023

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

4.09 | 11 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.50 | 14 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
4.00 | 12 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.74 | 14 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
4.20 | 10 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.66 | 29 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.45 | 11 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
4.00 | 9 ratings
WPLJ
1970
3.50 | 4 ratings
Tears Began To Fall
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
Magic Fingers
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning?
1972
4.27 | 11 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.28 | 15 ratings
Montana
1973
2.89 | 15 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
4.00 | 5 ratings
Cosmik Debris
1974
5.00 | 3 ratings
Du Bist Mein Sofa
1975
3.25 | 8 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
3.80 | 5 ratings
Disco Boy
1976
4.00 | 16 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.14 | 14 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.39 | 14 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.47 | 18 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.75 | 8 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.67 | 6 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.89 | 16 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
3.50 | 2 ratings
Love Of My Life
1981
4.00 | 5 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
4.00 | 4 ratings
Cocaine Decisions
1983
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
1983
2.67 | 6 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.50 | 6 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
3.50 | 2 ratings
True Glove
1984
4.63 | 16 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.50 | 12 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.67 | 9 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.23 | 12 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.13 | 10 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
3.91 | 3 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
3.87 | 4 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
3.67 | 3 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
3.33 | 3 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
4.50 | 6 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.33 | 3 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011
3.50 | 2 ratings
I'm The Slime
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow / Down In De Dew
2014
2.00 | 2 ratings
200 Motels Overture
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.02 | 617 ratings

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The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars On May 26, 1967, Verve Records releases Frank Zappa's THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION Absolutely Free. Much like their Freak Out! debut from the year before, Absolutely Free is a display of complex music fully supporting Frank's political and social satire.

- Absolutely Free (19:34) a seven-part ode to prunes:

1. "Plastic People" (3:40) a great start that let's you know straight off what the band's intentions are: Humorous satire! (8.75/10)

2. "The Duke Of Prunes" (2:12) so this is where The Soft Machine extracted the "Moon in June" phrase! And mock- opera/show tune fare. Todd Rundgren got the idea for his tongue-in-cheek operatic vocals on his early albums and "Freak Parade." An excellent song. (5/5)

3. "Amnesia Vivace" (1:01) quite possibly where Todd Rundgren got the idea for his tongue-in-cheek operatic vocals on his early albums and "Freak Parade." (4.5/5)

4. "The Duke Regains His Chops" (1:45) I love the pseudo-Broadway finish. (4.375/5)

5. "Call Any Vegetable" (2:19) some great performances despite the heavy satire. (4.375/5)

6. "Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin" (6:57) a mostly instrumental slash of Dick Dale/Surfer music and Roger McGuinn's famous 12-string guitar slash-fest in The Byrds' "Eight Miles High." The tight rhythm section keeps it together as guitarists Frank Zappa and Jim Felder and soprano saxophonist Bunk Gardner slash away on their respective instruments (Gardner's a tongue-in-cheek parody of John Coltrane??). Don Preston's keys are somewhere down in the mix--probably hidden beneath Ray Collins' tambourine. Nice jam. (13/15)

7. "Soft-Sell Conclusion & Ending Of Side #1 (1:40) the multi-style conclusion to the Vegetable Medley. (4.3333/5)

- The M.O.I. American Pageant (18:35) more parodies on American social and political events and themes:

8. "America Drinks" (1:52) (4.25/5)

9. "Status Back Baby" (2:52) impressive guitar solo in the second minute--and a great finish--to an otherwise quoditian song. (8.66667/10)

10. "Uncle Bernie's Farm" (2:09) funny vocal and lyric with masterfully-performed music to match. Great choral "bar room" vocals. (4.5/5)

11. "Son Of Suzy Creamcheese" (1:33) the encore return of Suzy Creamcheeze! Great construct--demanding very tight performances from all--now usurping the "Louie, Louie" melody. (4.5/5)

12. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" (7:26) more theatric cabaret for satiric social commentary. A veritable multi-part suite in and of itself. So many themes, so many motifs, so many quips. (13.25/15)

13. "America Drinks & Goes Home" (2:43) Frank's satirical "tribute" on the intoxicating and intoxicated world of the lounge scene. Amazing. Not the most progressive musically but an excellent indictment of a world that deserves the same criticism to this day. (9.25/10)

Total time 38:09

Though progressive rock music in general does not conform to the trail of socio-political satire as blazed by Frank's Mothers, the complex theatric entanglement of multiple themes within the framework of single songs and suites will become quite de rigueur.

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent album in the same satirical vein as Freak Out!--fodder for the formation and development of early progressive rock. Not sure I'm ready to welcome this album as something deserving of a true "progressive rock" label, but be assured: the seeds have been sown.

 The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.78 | 508 ratings

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The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #136!

A masterpiece. This is one of the albums that make it in my top ten of all time. Every song is equally amazing, unique, crazy, and fun. This, to me, is the peak of anything Frank Zappa ever worked on. It couldn't get much better than this with avant-garde tracks like "Dwarf Nebula", "Prelude", and the title track. The shorter and more accessible tracks are amazing too: "Directly", 'Oh No', and "My Guitar" are all amazing little ditties in Frank Zappa's discography. Chilled, laid back, and relaxed. Amazing. A masterful amalgamation of various genres that everyone can find something in if they try hard enough. Prog on.

 Funky Nothingness by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2023
4.13 | 7 ratings

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Funky Nothingness
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by isrort

4 stars The so called sequel of Hot Rats.

The violin solos alone throughout the album by massively underrated virtuoso Sugarcane Harris, who is on-par, if not above of Jean-Luc Ponty, cover the price of admission.

Not to mention the drum-and-guitar duet jams by Ansley Dunbar (one of best drummers of all-time) and El Maestro, and the supplied groovy organ flavors by virtuoso Ian Underwood.

Add to the equation that unreleased track, I'm Rolling Stone, is not only the root source of the iconic last track of the 10-charting, gold-selling 1975 Apostrophe(') LP, but the template of Chunga's Revenge's bluesy Road Ladies.

BUT if all the later were a little thing, the tracks that stand out are Sharleena, which for the first time you will have the opportunity to listen an unedited version from the master tracks, and unreleased Twinkle Tits, which took nine takes to get it done, and Frank didn't have the time to release it, and is finally available here to enjoy it.

Regarding the sound quality, it is top notch, but don't believe me, check out the reviews at Analogplanet and Audiophile.

Do I need to say more? A masterpiece and another home run by Vaulmeister Joe Travers and the boys.

 The Roxy Performances by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2018
4.24 | 28 ratings

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The Roxy Performances
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Drum roll please, Maestro... For my money, this - and nothing else - is the Holy Grail of 1970s progressive rock. I'll gladly admit I've cherished YESSONGS, GENESIS LIVE, BURSTING OUT, King Crimson's USA and even WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS for many and many a year, but this glorious set tops them all. After all those decades I still don't understand why proggers tend to call HOT RATS their favourite Zappa album when the band you'll hear on THE ROXY PERFORMANCES (featuring George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Tom Fowler, Ruth Underwood, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey and FZ) easily accomplish far greater miracles. For what have we got? Classic Zappa tunes such as 'Penguin in Bondage', 'Cheepnis', 'Inca Roads', Village of the Sun' and 'Montana' receive pristine performances here. The players' enthusiasm is palpable and their virtuosity is second to none, especially on breath-taking instrumentals like 'Echidna's Arf', 'RDNZL' and 'Big Swifty'. Should you worry about duplication? Well, if you're NOT a massive Zappa fan, you can do without this box set; you'll probably be very happy with the one-disc ROXY BY PROXY, which features some of the best bits from these gigs, as well as superb (highly detailed and illuminating) liner notes by percussionist Ruth Underwood. But if you've got some money to spare, or you can take the time to listen to all this music on streaming platforms, just don't hesitate - give the music a go and ENJOY!!! Why, the 21 minute performance of 'Dupree's Paradise' from December 10th's first show ALONE is worth your money and/or attention! That particular performance (not included in ROXY BY PROXY, by the way) showcases George Duke as one of prog's keyboard supremos. I simply don't understand why he's not more appreciated, since he's obviously in the same league as Patrick Moraz or Tony Banks... Just one caveat, perhaps: I could do without THREE separate performances of the annoying 'Dickie's Such an Asshole' and I'm sure many Zappa fans will agree. But let's not stare ourselves blind on a minor defect; let's just be grateful for all the riches.
 Lumpy Gravy by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.23 | 451 ratings

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Lumpy Gravy
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars I only discovered this amazing album upon embarking upon my recent historical research into the advent of the "prog epic" (long-playing multi-part songs or "suite" as well as extended jams and side-long songs). I absolutely love the music here: so much fusion and experimentation within so many musical genres, including jazz, big band jazz, cinematic scoring, classical, Latin, avant-garde, and, of course, rock and pop. As everyone knows, the music is presented within the flow of a kind of burlesque of the mundane life of the Everyman. At first I thought that the album-long radioplay was intended to serve as the interludes for the music, but now I'm almost convinced that the music serves more as the cinematic interludes within the burlesque. My reason for this conversion is due to the extraordinary amount of editing and overdubbing and sound effects applied to the spoken word passages. I mean, yes, the music is intricate and complex--and often stunningly beautiful--but the radioplay is even more so. Plus, the amount of time dedicated to the wacky dialogue scenes (or skits--which HAD to have inspired/motivated future comic legends, Cheech and Chong) eventually exceeds that given to the music! Because of my reverence for all things Cheech and Chong, the excellent (and highly inventive) engineering and production here, as well as for the often-jaw- dropping, envelope-pushing music, I am fully persuaded to give this album full marks. People! This was early 1967 (though the record company delayed the official release date to May of 1968)! The progressive progression to the phenomenon we like to call progressive rock music doesn't get more progressive than this!
 Tinsel Town Rebellion by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1981
3.17 | 202 ratings

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Tinsel Town Rebellion
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Per Kohler

5 stars T.R. was the first Zappa album I ever bought. Same year as release on vinyl double-Lp. It was issued during the early stages of what should be defined as phase two of Zappas career (which started shortly before with the equally excellent Sheik Yerbouti). As with quite a few other acts that appeared in the second half/late sixties this was an era that was dispised by the purists (late seventies/early eigthies). I don't know how many hesitant, so-so or even direct negative reviews I've encountered about this exquisite recording. Let's have a look at some of them; first book I read about Zappa didn't utter one negative word about his music until, you guessed it, T.R. Complaining about 'reshodded' material and content. Of the album's 16 titles only five of them are taken from previous releases. Most or almost all live albums are completly made up of old material. Here you find 2/3 of premiere recordings. Next one British music paper; similary dreadful. Mutual from people I've met and talked to; medium disc, belly splash, non-essential...I spoke to a record store owner and huge Zappa fan; up to -77, became the answer. No further! I was on the verge to implicate that Zappa had done an insurmountable amount of top music after that, but I kept quiet. This is far from unique for Mr. Zappa. Several other albums belonging to pure elite class like Genesis 'A.T.T.W.T.', Uriah Heep 'Fallen Angel', Allman Brothers 'Reach For the Sky', Caravan 'Back to Front'; were planed off in the same manner. Had Zappa's and the other mentioned here been released in -71 instead they had all in one way or another been much more admired by the pundits. It seems that if you're a fan of T.R. then you're lost in an arid desert, with water hole as mirage. Aside from one single studio track, T.R. is regarded as a live album and technically there's nothing to argue about that. It's even admitted in the album texts. Personally though, I don't consider it as such. The endless flow of new material from the composer means that you encounter it for the first time. There are no other versions to compare with. Add to this the ability from Zappa to transform it into, when wanted to, a musical piece free from either definition. It's simply a new Frank Zappa album. The studiotrack 'Fine Girl' opens the record; It's nothing but magic! It proves that the conjurer is the true master of simplicity. This wisdom appears when you imbibe 'Drowning Witch' and 'Big Swifty' at the other end of the spectrum. The midsection break is repeated eight times. There's never a dull nanosecond. The lyrical content won't nominate it's originator for a grammy nomination from The Coalition of Labor Union Women. Reggae tinged as you may detect, and if so the finest offering you've ever encountered in this genre. It's Zappa's rendition of 'No woman, No cry' in a more stylish manner. A wall of vocal parts flows over you from Zappa himself and his incredible co-operators.

If 'Fine Girl' theorizes with the taste buds of the family tyrant you are, then 'Panty Rap' goes into full action. All female private parts out in the fresh air. Even for a music professor, this is not a bad thing. If you want to go into privacy, then you'll come to the conclusion that Zappa must have had a well tought out escape route in front of his own wife Gail Zappa. As I reckon, they lived happily together through prolonged decades. An ignorant women's libber had unavoidably been chasing Frank up and down the stairs; with rolling pin in one hand, and signed divorce form in the other...Gail Zappa was at the same bright level as her spouse and grasped the dividing line between fiction and what we call reality. As it happens, you won't find a more daring collection of this magnitude from an equally established artist. At the same time, all done with tongue in cheek. The collected lyrical content on T.R. easily outgoes 150 normal main stream albums at your local record store. It only adds to the confusion why it's held so low by observers. The upcoming 'Easy Meat' becomes, in the context, as innocent as a white lamb. It says it all. Strategically put as second track it is definately a highlight on the record. Maybe the highlight. You've never heard a more meaningful and purposive guitar burst from F. Zappa. Not to mention the massive keyboard cascades delivered by a highly inspired Tommy Mars. A decade old composition with parts recorded in the mid seventies. A few lucky buggers have already encounterd it along the way, but for most folks it's a brand new experience. There are three major sections in the song, somehow very independent both in time/space but all melt together as one trophy. The longest track of the album. 'For the Young Sophisticate' offers an uninhibited bare layed xylophone. We're solely talking music terms. When all is said and done, this is what's it's all about. A relaxed and pleasant mid-tempo rocker. Even if not the most challenging cut on the record, it's not without merits. If you find the cover of Patti Smith album Easter repulsive then you'll find support from the young sophisticator. An overgrown armpit is just gradations below other unmentionable body parts.

With a to say the least comprehensive catalogue under his belt it is tempting to sort up and find some breathing space. 1979 had been a phenomenally high productive year with multiple releases. For the adventitious visitor at the record shop there was one new Zappa long play out at every occasion. Almost everything at highest standard to boot. How many artists reach this incredible level? -80 empty due to contractual reasons then it kicks off again with a vengeance 1981. T.R. was released simultanously with the voluminous 'Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar' (albeit through different channels. The latter via mailorder). Only four footling months later massive double-Lp 'You Are What You Is'. A burning conglomeration 79-81, for the normal artist enough to fill out an entire career. 'Sheik Yerbouti' was the start for something new and fresh; sound, production, package, attitude, whatever...Tinseltown Rebellion follows in the same direction. 'Roxy & Elsewhere' didn't bother with any radio friendly opening cuts. For my money at least, this is a milestone in music history in itself. Even though it's a limted slice in Zappa's career it's so full of musical enrichment. It becomes clear that you can't engulf in one bite but slice it up. Zappa's production can be difficult to overview even for the initiated, then imagine the ignorant. One true story; a Swedish acquaintence of mine lived with his host family in Florida for whom he intruduced the music world of Zappa. That is his lighter, approachable side. Encouraged by this, the family went out and bought album at random. It became 'F.Z. in N.Y'. They were, to put it mildly, perplexed.

Side A of the record has already swung you in opposite directions. If you thought that Side B differed then you were wrong. A cluster of 50ies rendered tracks, all filtered through the writers cunning sense of humour. Already mentioned 'Panty Rap' plus a guitar instrumental. Three previously released songs all around two unbelievably short minutes. For the Zappa rescued they serve as satirical elements just joking around with its contemporaries, for the less knowledgable they're just as great as anything in its style. It takes an outsider, other than the average Zappa fan at least, to fully comprehend his genious here. No single individual has the ability to overview Zappa's enormous production from all angels. We're all amateurs. The inevitable question looms large; why are these three tracks included at all? All the way back to already existing debut album. Just to fill out empty spaces? To make it a more desirable sales item? The emphasis ends up on the latter alternative. Recent albums gave Zappa a flirt with a wider audience. Suddenly all your high school mates were in possesion of at least one or two Zappa albums. 'Now you see it, now you don't' (can you figure out the title's hidden implication...?) may be written off as a mere guitar improvisation for a cynic. I've never seen it that way. It's simply too interesting. Obviously, a part of something much bigger, namely 'King Kong'.

Not only does the title track belong to side C of the double vinyl, it also possesses a rare trait. There's nothing like the formula that floods all over the album. That is the ever present female/male disputes. Since we left the unicellular pond this has been the main drama here on mother earth. T.R. is no exception as we already have dealt with. Instead we find a fully believable and realistic story about what could be practically any band (with the exception of Zappa's own). Why is F.Z. satirical or parodic as always pointed out? Is it so? It could perfectly well be the contrary. It's him telling the plain unbeautifying truth where others beat about the bush. He doesn't mince words for sure but why should it be that way? The laugh is just nothing than an ad-on. 'The Blue Light' is an ineluctable piece that just flows all over you. An Ocean of syllables in talk song manner. Cinematic in its delivery it takes an audience above average pop level to give it full justice. 'Pick Me, I'm Clean' is another stunning masterpiece like 'Easy Meat' and one of the pillars of T.R. Very well structured I will say in a manner that reminds you of progressive bands in the more melodic vein. Echolyn/Yes come up as healthy frames of referenece. Somewhat vague in meaning before you'll figure out its content. A groupie in the audience came up with the titlewords; yelled them out. Zappa lend her a helping hand, used his quill to fill up the remainder of it. Enter Ike Willis. Which album can be inferior with a singer of his capacity? Paired with one of the other vocalists here they form an unbeatable singing team. He's not unknown the other; it is Frank himself. It's worth pointing out alas. When you have so many irons in the fire as Zappa people tend to ignore or forget about his supreme world class vocal capacity. Not to mention palpable orginality. In how many reviews have you encountered the subject? He is Frank Sinatra, Ivan Rebroff and Chuck Berry in one. Zappa/Willis in tandem, they met for the first time 1977 in St. Louis, the hometown of the latter. For understandable reasons, Willis was double-quick in the the backing group. All the way up to the very end. The moment you note the voice of Willis, you already know you're in Zappa land. Second to none in import. Just like his fellow Zappa, he seems to have the built-in ability to do a volte-face from the weighty to the light-hearted(and back) in no time. No wonder that Willis had a major position in the ensemble. Plus the fact that seven other fully capable vocalists are present in various formations like back-up, co-lead or harmonies.

The distance to next pillar is proximate. The cryptic title comes, 'Bamboozled by Love'. A warning text is imminent if you want your timorous at a distance. Perhaps you're prepared for any daring subject, this is still an ultra tough playback. Even for the hardened Zappa follower. 'Money' from Dark Side of the Moon feels like a good choise if you're on the hunt for similarities. Not even Zappa lives on a desert island, he listens to other peoples stuff like all of us. It becomes dark side of the lawn in this case. In any case, it's another masterstroke. It opens side D and is the one and only unheard track here. Follows 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It' it doesn't require any introduction to a fan. As it is a double-Lp close to 70 minutes I suppose it's allowed to have at least one song under par. While it starts out great in standard Zappa manner I normally skip the second half. Actually it reminds me of another Z, namely Led Zeppelin and song 'The Ocean' from '73. In both cases fabulous start but end up in mere jam sessions. Final track on Tinseltown is not even heard for the second but third time. This is the best version, but at the same time I'm biased because it's the first I listened to.

Which is well known to the ardent Zappa fan, the idea of T.R. replaced the earlier intended 'Crush All Boxes'/'Warts And All' projects. Massive releases in tradition with earlier Läther. Just like Läther it was split up and spread out in fewer units. You may still wonder to this day why the cosmetic brand 'Warts And All' was never picked up by neither Abba nor Boyzone.

 The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.31 | 1113 ratings

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The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Zappa (and The Mothers; I can't give only Frank credit) always had a way of both ruining and improving songs with their use of time-signature shifts and sudden changes of beat. For that reason (among many others), I respect Zappa and his goofy crew greatly. They are and never will be afraid to utterly destroy typical music criteria by stepping outside the box (it's really more like running a mile away from it), and 'One Size Fits All' is the perfect representation of that. Badass, yet random solos ('Inca Roads'), goofy lyrics('Andy'), and breaking out in German for unknown reasons('Sofa No. 2'). Truly, a masterpiece, and it is but more proof of Zappa's whopping IQ, no matter how he shows it.
 Joe's Domage by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 2004
1.67 | 66 ratings

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Joe's Domage
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mirakaze
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

1 stars As much of a fan as I am of Mr. Zappa's music and would hate to think ill of the people entrusted to curate his oeuvre, I can't help but shake off the impression that those people sometimes abuse their position to rip off gullible fans, and this utterly pointless, worthless CD release, chronicling a rehearsal session from the early 70s featuring the same big band with which Zappa recorded the albums "Waka/Jawaka" and "The Grand Wazoo", is one of the most egregious examples of this. I might have been able to forgive how the music is regularly interrupted by barely audible spoken directions and random banter and I might have even been able to forgive the abysmal sound quality of the recording which constantly clips and cuts out, but I cannot forgive the fact that there aren't even any actual songs featured on this album: instead we get a mind-numbing collection of failed takes, musicians practicing short snippets of melodies without accompaniment and the band generally just messing around, randomly divided into multiple tracks and only occasionally interspersed with brief prototypes of songs that would eventually end up on the aforementioned studio albums. Maybe a few minutes of all of this stuff would have been cute to fill up an album featuring actual full takes of these songs; even releasing it in full for free on YouTube might have been interesting, but no one can convince me that the people who decided to release and sell CD copies of this recording could have honestly believed that anyone would willingly shell out 20 dollars and listen to 55 minutes of this crap if they weren't suckered into it. Do not buy this unless you're the most dogmatic of Zappa fans and need to hear absolutely everything that the man ever spat out onto tape.
 Thing-Fish by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.40 | 188 ratings

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Thing-Fish
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by GrafHaarschnitt

1 stars Why on earth is THIS my first review? I bet it must be something deeply psychologically concerning with me.

Nonetheless:

This Record is a great example of what happens if you throw some of the most dry Zappa recordings in your trash without having enough precaution that this might end in your trash turning mad and getting the intention of becoming a very slow and very doom Frank Zappa cover band whilst on heavy drug influence. And if that weren´t enough choosing a stage show presentation form with absurd creatures and racism sprinkled all over it just for a little bit of ornamentation.

I still find it incredible how an album with so many straight time drum beats can sound so rhythmically jarred.

Although I think its one of the few things in my life I listened too once and don't ever want to again, just caused by the pure aural and mental displeasure it provokes, this is like the logical conclusion to all of Frank Zappas satirical career. Its like the next step in Joe´s Garages evolution. I believe Zappa must have planned this one all along since the release of its first tracks on earlier Zappa Albums. But its also obvious why the critics shredded even what few of what was intended to hold this thing together.

On the whole I have to admit I was never a fan of Zappas "funny" operatic, gospel, soul etc. vocals, so I get nearly nothing from that part of the album. And the textures overall are nothing to be proud of. You might be interested by their sometimes proto industrial vibes, but we had that on Zoot Allures before, which is somewhat a blueprint for this albums sound. (and features more than one song from it)

Actually, even if painful to listen to, as a stageshow, this might´ve been quite funny. Mainly because of its fine sense of provoking the audience and even a nice opportunity for involvement. (Thinking of the Bozzios sitting amidst the audience)

Personal Enjoyment: 3 - 4/15

 Understanding America by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.38 | 17 ratings

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Understanding America
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by isrort

5 stars Undersdyanding America Album ?A Top-Notch Sound Quality GEM. With Understanding Comes Appreciation by Isra Ortiz

Man, grab a decent set of IEMs or Headphones and listen to this album, NOW! The recording quality is top-notch. First off I have to confense that I wasn't a hardcore fan (until now) of songs like Camarillo Brillo, Find Her Finer, Dinah-Moe Humm, Disco Boy, I'm the Slime, etc; ie the "poppy" catalog of Frank, BUT HERE, they shine and hit a home run since the quality of the recordings, mastering and alternete takes. Even if you already love those tunes, and you haven't listened to this, go and listen them, NOW! You'll be surprised, trust me. I started talking about the later tunes because while I liked them, they were never my favorite, but the rest of the menu is beyond amazing ?it will blow your mind.

The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only BUT those who appreciate great music will love it as well. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship.

This is what it took to produce this amazing deluxe version if you are asking yourself...

Includes Bow Tie Daddy, SEX and parts of It Can't Happen Here, Brown Shoes Don't Make It, What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?, Who Are The Brain Police? and He Used To Cut The Grass

TTG Studios, LA

March 9 & 12, 1966

March 9 & 12, 1966

Produced by Tom Wilson

Director of engineering for MGM: Val Valentin

Engineers: Ami Hadani & Tom Hidley

FZ?vocals & vocals

Ray Collins?vocals

Jim Black?drums & vocals

Roy Estrada?bass & vocals

Elliot Ingber?guitar

+

Eugene DiNovi?piano

Gene Estes?percussion

Neil LeVang?guitar

+

And maybe some other freaks

?oOo?

Mayfair & Apostolic Studios, NYC

July-October, 1967

Engineers: Gary Kellgren, Dick Kunc

FZ?guitar, vocals

Ian Underwood?piano

Don Preston?keyboards

Roy Estrada?bass

Billy Mundi?drums

Jimmy Carl Black?drums

?oOo?

Piano people voices from Apostolic Studios, NYC

October, 1967

Engineers: Dick Kunc

Spider Barbour?voice

All-Night John Kilgore?voice

Monica?voice

?oOo?

Village Recorders, LA

April, 1979

Engineers: Joe Chiccarelli, Mick Glossop & Steve Nye

Ike Willis?lead vocals

Peter Wolf?keyboards

Patrick O'Hearn?bass

Vinnie Colaiuta?drums

?oOo?

Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK

February 17-19, 1979

Engineers: Mick Glossop, Bob Stone

FZ?lead guitar & vocals

Ike Willis?rhythm guitar & vocals

Warren Cuccurullo?rhythm guitar & vocals

Denny Walley?slide guitar & vocals

Tommy Mars?keyboards & vocals

Peter Wolf?keyboards

Ed Mann?percussion

Arthur Barrow?bass & vocals

Vinnie Colaiuta?drums

?oOo?

UMRK

c. July-October 1982

Engineers: Mark Pinske and/or Bob Stone

FZ?guitar, vocals

Ray White?vocals

Bob Harris?vocals

Ike Willis?vocals

Tommy Mars?keyboards

Arthur Barrow?bass

Chad Wackerman?drums

?oOo?

Thing-Fish section (including some dialog from Galoot Up-Date) from UMRK

c. 1982-83

Engineers: Mark Pinske and/or Bob Stone

Ike Willis?Thing-Fish voice, rhythm guitar?

Steve Vai?guitar?

FZ?rhythm guitar?

Tommy Mars?keyboards

Arthur Barrow?bass

Chad Wackerman?drums

?oOo?

Voices from the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

September 19, 1985

Senator Danforth (R-Missouri)

Senator Hollings (D-South Carolina)

Senator Trible (R-Virginia)

Senator Hawkins (R-Florida)

Senator Exon (D-Nebraska)

Senator Gorton (R-Washington)

Senator Gore (D-Tennessee)

Reverend Jeff Ling

FZ

?oOo?

UMRK, c. 1985

Engineer: Bob Stone

FZ?Synclavier

Also, purportedly this release from the Zappa estate vaults is only one of a few compilations produced and sequenced by Frank himself, and his goal seems to have been to pool all of his high-shock-value outtakes and otherwise controversial material as a big middle finger to the Parental Guidance sticker LOL!

You'll love it, guaranteed!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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