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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 Videos (YouTube and more)


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The Roxy Performances [7 CD][Box Set]The Roxy Performances [7 CD][Box Set]
Box set
Zappa Records 2018
$43.59
$56.99 (used)
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
$5.34
$11.50 (used)
Over-nite SensationOver-nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
$10.05
$7.99 (used)
Halloween 77 [3 CD]Halloween 77 [3 CD]
UMe 2017
$22.39
$27.41 (used)
Greasy Love SongsGreasy Love Songs
Zappa Records 2017
$6.89
$9.61 (used)
Chicago '78 [2 CD]Chicago '78 [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2016
$16.21
$11.85 (used)
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
$10.06
$10.07 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
$5.17
$7.76 (used)
Philly '76 [2 CD]Philly '76 [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2017
$15.64
$16.66 (used)
Freak Out!Freak Out!
Zappa Records 2012
$5.17
$9.41 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FRANK ZAPPA MONTANA (WHIPPING FLOSS) 2 SONG 3" CD VG++/VG+ GATEFOLD! $1.95! USD $1.95 [1 bids]
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Frank Zappa Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar 3 CD Set USD $23.00 [0 bids]
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Frank Zappa / Captai - Providence College Rhode Island April 26th 1975 [New CD] USD $21.36 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention USA CD US 1986 USD $20.79 Buy It Now
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USD $10.99 Buy It Now
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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)

3.92 | 602 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out!
1966
4.05 | 499 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free
1967
3.22 | 365 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.11 | 627 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.79 | 265 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.07 | 487 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1492 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.91 | 399 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.77 | 395 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 326 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.06 | 213 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.93 | 469 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.32 | 881 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 576 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation
1973
4.03 | 636 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.32 | 869 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: One Size Fits All
1975
3.72 | 397 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.70 | 262 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.62 | 266 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.86 | 465 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
4.13 | 483 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.96 | 389 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.66 | 264 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.53 | 236 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.14 | 222 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.07 | 111 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.22 | 178 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.39 | 145 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.58 | 129 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.49 | 118 ratings
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.24 | 137 ratings
Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.43 | 216 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
2.90 | 85 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.78 | 126 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.32 | 87 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.98 | 188 ratings
Läther
1996
3.16 | 52 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely [aka: EIHN]
1999
2.94 | 49 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
1.77 | 51 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.26 | 39 ratings
Joe's XMasage
2005
3.33 | 44 ratings
Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
2011
2.93 | 32 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014
4.02 | 60 ratings
Dance Me This
2015

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

3.22 | 154 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.12 | 142 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.39 | 312 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.55 | 211 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.24 | 243 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.33 | 152 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
3.08 | 152 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.26 | 95 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.58 | 83 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.62 | 126 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.42 | 119 ratings
Guitar
1988
4.02 | 123 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.53 | 201 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.62 | 102 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.54 | 95 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.33 | 186 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.42 | 143 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
3.78 | 37 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
2.38 | 25 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.40 | 26 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.68 | 22 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.44 | 25 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.14 | 26 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.81 | 24 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.39 | 23 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
1.50 | 16 ratings
At The Circus
1992
1.98 | 16 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.84 | 47 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.66 | 82 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.84 | 80 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
2.29 | 17 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.04 | 19 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.15 | 14 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.97 | 15 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.31 | 13 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
3.88 | 121 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.24 | 77 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.95 | 56 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.87 | 36 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.99 | 72 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.57 | 66 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
4.13 | 61 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.17 | 73 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.65 | 46 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
3.63 | 44 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.17 | 30 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.21 | 53 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.31 | 64 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.79 | 34 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.16 | 40 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.34 | 34 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.58 | 49 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
4.53 | 29 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.59 | 40 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014
3.43 | 7 ratings
200 Motels The Suites
2015
4.17 | 6 ratings
Roxy: The Sountrack
2015
3.13 | 5 ratings
Little Dots
2016
3.50 | 8 ratings
Chicago '78
2016
2.25 | 13 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #3
2016
4.07 | 8 ratings
Halloween 77
2017

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

2.86 | 55 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.40 | 25 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.74 | 57 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.10 | 76 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.20 | 32 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
4.00 | 43 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
3.95 | 19 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.16 | 42 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.55 | 41 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.33 | 9 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.13 | 19 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
4.05 | 18 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.38 | 17 ratings
Roxy: The Movie
2015

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

3.69 | 37 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
1.95 | 2 ratings
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
1975
3.68 | 58 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.94 | 52 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.87 | 46 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.94 | 100 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.84 | 18 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.50 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.61 | 114 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.10 | 20 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.09 | 11 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
4.00 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.25 | 39 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.27 | 55 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.74 | 31 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.15 | 25 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.26 | 30 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.90 | 43 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.02 | 53 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
2.06 | 17 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.95 | 28 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.54 | 11 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.92 | 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
2.38 | 8 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.83 | 20 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.40 | 36 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.59 | 22 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.14 | 20 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
3.85 | 13 ratings
Understanding America
2012
3.83 | 10 ratings
The Crux Of The Biscuit
2016
3.75 | 9 ratings
Frank Zappa For President
2016

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

3.88 | 8 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.30 | 10 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
3.89 | 9 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.68 | 10 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
3.83 | 6 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.52 | 22 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.43 | 7 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.75 | 4 ratings
WPLJ
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tears Began To Fall
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Magic Fingers
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning?
1972
4.14 | 7 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.15 | 10 ratings
Montana
1973
2.73 | 11 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cosmik Debris
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Du Bist Mein Sofa
1975
3.20 | 5 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Disco Boy
1976
3.92 | 13 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.00 | 10 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.33 | 11 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.97 | 12 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.40 | 5 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.75 | 4 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.87 | 11 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love Of My Life
1981
3.67 | 3 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cocaine Decisions
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
1983
2.60 | 5 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
True Glove
1984
4.64 | 14 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.45 | 11 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.63 | 8 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.21 | 10 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.06 | 8 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
3.91 | 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
4.40 | 5 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.33 | 3 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
I'm The Slime
2013
0.00 | 0 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
 Waka / Jawaka by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.93 | 469 ratings

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Waka / Jawaka
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Waka/Jawaka', otherwise known as 'Another Hot Rats' album, is FZ's 4th solo album. It is comprised of 4 tracks, 2 are instrumental and 2 have vocals. It is a good example of FZ's jazz leanings and is one of my favorite FZ albums. Being that it was released along with other FZ jazz albums, it is considered the prelude to The Grand Wazoo line-up. Don't expect a lot of humor in this album, it is jazz oriented.

It starts out with the 17 minute jazz instrumental 'Big Swifty', which has it's distinctive theme bookending several improvised solos. On this studio version, it starts off with the theme that has alternates between several different time signatures, 7 / 8 then 6 / 8, with a 4 / 4 melody. It's not a very long theme, before we get into a keyboard solo, then a muted trumpet and guitar begin fighting it out with the keyboard, while the tricky meters continue in the background. The band featured here was by all means an improvisation band including Aynsley Dunbar on the drums who played with many greats like Jeff Beck, David Bowie, John Mayall and others (and who later left the band because Zappa had gotten to where he was writing every part and not allowing for enough improv, or at least that's what he claimed), Tony Duran on slide guitar who had played in Zappa's bands like the Mothers and Ruben and the Jets previously, George Duke on keys who everyone knows is a Funk Master and also played with Cannonball Adderly, Sal Marquez on trumpet who went on to play for Joe Sample and both Don and Dave Grusin, Alex Dmochowski (Erroneous) on Bass who was with Zappa on The Mothers albums and also played with John Mayall and FZ on guitar and percussion. If you are not into jazz improvisation, then you probably won't understand what is going on here, which is why so many people didn't understand what FZ was doing at the time. This takes up an entire side of the album.

Side two starts out with what is a satirical song titled 'Your Mouth'. It features Kris Petersen's only appearance with Zappa on vocals except for a passage in 'Waka/Jawaka' where she sings along with the horns, and it is very difficult to hear, in addition to the previous line up and also Joel Peskin on tenor sax and Mike Altschul on baritone sax and piccolo. Quite a line up for a song that only lasts a little over 3 minutes. It is, however, a straightforward, yet loaded blues/jazz number with several uncredited background singers on the choruses.

'It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal' is supposedly a song about hallucinations. It is one of the most surprising and interesting FZ songs out there in that it guests Jeff Simmons playing a Hawaiian guitar and doing vocals and 'Sneaky Pete' Kleinow, who has in bands for Jackson Browne and many others doing a crazy-awesome pedal steel guitar solo. It also features Janet Ferguson on vocals who worked with Frank on 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich'. This song has a country-lilt to it which makes it unique in FZ's repertoire. But just before it goes into that amazing pedal steel guitar solo, there is a very strange passage that sounds like it was spliced into the song, but it was in actuality recorded in real time, and it is a very strange meter that was very difficult for the musicians to finally get right. Many complained that it was impossible to play, but Frank insisted that if he could play it, then it was possible. They finally got it right and kept the result as the final product. Then, there's another strange passage again after the solo. This is a FZ song that has to be heard to be believed because of its uniqueness more than anything. This song always reminds me why I love FZ's music so much.

The last track, at over 11 minutes is the title track 'Waka/Jawaka'. This is another mostly improvised jazz instrumental. This one features a more melodic theme that is a lot easier to pick out, and is a more standard meter. Where 'Big Swifty' featured combined soloing and improvisation, this one is more soloing of one instrument at a time. This features Don Preston on the keyboards and mini Moog. The few vocals in this track are wordless and follow the trumpet in its solo starting at 6:32. This section must have been written out since the vocalists could sing right along with the trumpet. You get a horn solo, keyboard, then guitar, then trumpet, a short return to the theme, a drum solo and back to the theme again. After that, there is a variation to the theme, which is a very tricky passage where horns and flute play together.

This is an amazing album that serves as a testament to FZs skill as musician and band leader. It sits up there with some of the best jazz albums of its kind and signals what would be coming up in FZ's discography. This is an essential FZ album and all serious fans of Zappa should have and be familiar with it. It is also one of the true tests of who FZ's fans really are. Highly recommended, especially for progressive jazz lovers.

 Roxy: The Movie by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.38 | 17 ratings

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Roxy: The Movie
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The more I watch this blu-ray, the more I get the impression this has to be the best 1970s prog film of all. I can think of only a few rival films of classic prog bands at the top of their game. There's YESSONGS, which has terrible sound and far too many silly graphics. There's that live recording of PG-era Genesis you will find on YouTube, but the sound doesn't really match the images, so properly speaking it doesn't count. There's JETHRO TULL LIVE AT MSG 1978 but it's not very long and the editing is terrible: we hardly see Martin Barre, even when he is soloing his heart out. No, if you long to see an eclectic, avant-garde, jazzy and at times highly symphonic prog ensemble in full flight, ROXY THE MOVIE is the real deal! And let's not beat around the bush. Frank Zappa on lead guitar, vocals and occasional percussion; George Duke on keyboards and vocals; Napoleon Murphy Brock on sax and vocals; Ruth Underwood on vibraphone, marimba and other percussion; Tom Fowler on bass and Bruce Fowler on trombone; with both Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson on drums - well, together they give most of the classic British prog bands a run for their money. (And I say this as someone who grew up on Yes, Genesis & tutti quanti and who dearly loves them still.) Zappa's band are simply more accomplished, more virtuosic, more spontaneous AND more ecstatic than any other 1970s rock act. (Purely as multi-instrumentalists, perhaps only Gentle Giant come close, as the GENTLE GIANT ON THE BOX DVD will demonstrate, but the Giant never had the crazy audience interaction that Frank Zappa so clearly encourages.) Let's just face it. In spite of its technical deficiencies (e.g. why is the entire programme performed against a background of cheap silver paper?) this has to be the best possible recording of some of FZ's best music by (most likely) his most accomplished and most likeable band. Lovers of Zappa's classic ROXY AND ELSEWHERE album waited for decades to be able to watch this. A progressive rock masterpiece, no doubt about it.
 Road Tapes - Venue #2 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2013
4.58 | 49 ratings

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Road Tapes - Venue #2
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The mid-1970s lineup of the Mothers which existed (with a few tweaks here and there) from around 1973 (inaugurated on Overnite Sensation) to about 1975 (exiting on One Size Fits All) is already well-regarded in terms of its live releases. The Helsinki Concert of 1974 - released as volume 2 of the You Can't Do That On Stage Any More series - displayed the straight fusion fire they could conjure up, whilst Roxy & Elsewhere is a beloved mashup of wacky comedy and weird music.

Does this make Road Tapes #2 redundant? Not in the slightest. Recorded in Helsinki in 1973 - a couple of months after the Overnite Sensation sessions, but before the Roxy concerts or the more famous 1974 return engagement - it captures this incarnation of the band in perhaps their most musically progressive and arcane mood. Some of the more sedate, jazzy passages here sound positively like Hatfield & the North or National Health - a connection which sounds much less unlikely when you recall that Zappa once jammed with Caravan at a European festival, as a result of the rest of his band being caught up in work visa problems.

Weaving their way through a range of extended medleys and compositions, the band come as close to Zappa's ideal of fusing classical music, rock and jazz in a seamless blend as they ever did, and as such despite occasional little discontinuities and sound quality issues this volume of the Road Tapes nonetheless sheds new light on an incarnation of the Mothers which we'd thought we'd already plumbed the depths of - and as such, more than justifies its inclusion in the flood of archival releases which continue to issue from the family vault.

 Zoot Allures by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 397 ratings

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Zoot Allures
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Frank Zappa's 1976 album is one of the more perplexing items in his mammoth (and, 25-years after his death, still expanding) discography, presenting yet another composite of studio and live tracks, condensed from an aborted two-disc project and with a grab-bag of backup musicians enlisted to fill the various gaps. Even the cover portrait is misleading, showing the touring band assembled after the album was completed (so don't expect to hear Eddie Jobson anywhere on the record).

It must have been difficult for Zappa to maintain his habit of Conceptual Continuity with such a mix-and-match, scattershot production. But the end results are surprisingly coherent, evenly spread across a collection of (mostly) shorter songs: if not for the nearly 10-minute slow burn of "The Torture Never Stops", the album would have fallen well below the 50-minute margin.

The economical, entirely instrumental title track is an obvious highlight, despite the long, unresolved fade-out. According to the official Frank Zappa website, he considered it one of his three signature tunes...so what were the other two? Not "Disco Boy", closing the album on a sour note of now-dated social misanthropy. And certainly not "The Torture Never Stops", a concert favorite better suited to the stage, with plenty of room allowed for live instrumental vamping. In a studio environment it sounds a bit inhibited, and the eerie background wailing (by Zappa's wife, Gail) is more suggestive of the fake sex tape that led to Zappa's arrest in a 1965 Cucamonga vice-squad sting.

Here and elsewhere Zappa's lead vocals are curiously and very closely miked, delivered at just above a whisper. It was probably unintended, but the result is very effective alongside the atypically basic and often quite aggressive rock 'n' roll heard throughout the album. Clearly more effort was spent on the words than on the musical arrangements: one reason perhaps why the instrumental tracks stand out.

Expect to be entertained, not challenged. At his best, Frank Zappa will usually do both.

 Baby Snakes by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1983
3.26 | 95 ratings

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Baby Snakes
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This 'Baby Snakes' album is really a partial soundtrack of the DVD recording of the concert that this music comes from. Even though the concert is great, full of energy and great and hilarious music and other antics, and the music on this CD reflects that, the CD is not even 40 minutes long. Yeah, it's a good reflection of the concert, but you would be better off either getting the DVD, which is excellent, by the way, or getting the 2012 CD release which contains the music from the entire DVD. So, this CD is now pretty much obsolete, but collectors will still be interested in it.

So anyway, the CD is well produced and recorded, the music is great, but it is now pretty much obsolete. Also, the CD version has an Intro Rap which is not available on the LP version. The Intro Rap relives the story of how Warren Cuccurillo got to be introduced to FZ and eventually be part of the band. It segues right into 'Baby Snakes', which happens to be the exact same version as the one on the 'Shiek Yerbouti' album, just in an edited version. However, the 'Intro Rap' is not on the 'Shiek Yerbouti' album, so there you go. Confused yet?

Anyway, the antics and music continue on after this, reflecting a very enthusiastic and well done show, which is much better reflected in the DVD version. The CD does include the part of the devil played by Terry Bozzio in the hilarious adaptation of 'T*tties and Beer', the outstanding and nearly impossible to perform performance of 'Black Page #2' which is a song that was originally a drum solo that FZ rearranged for the full band, resulting in a manuscript page that was nearly black from all of the notes on it, hence the name, you also get to hear Adrian Belew (later from King Crimson) in action along with Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio, Peter Wolf and all of the other excellent band members. This is one of FZ's tightest band line-ups, which makes this performance that much more enjoyable and exciting to watch.

So, yes it's a good performance, but you would be better off getting the DVD or the newly reissued full performance on audio. This particular CD is obsolete and short, let alone the fact that it is only partial. So unfortunately, I can only give this one a rating for collectors only, but you should get yourself hooked up with one of the other available releases because this is an excellent performance, essential for any Zappa fan or anyone curious about his performances as it is a great example of Zappa in a live setting.

 The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.77 | 395 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' is a potpourri of sounds and styles from Frank Zappa and the Mothers, and was the 2nd album from The Mothers released after the band broke up (it is their 7th overall and FZ's 10th overall). The first album released after The Mothers break up was 'Burnt Weiny Sandwich' which consisted of outtakes and other songs that didn't make any album cuts, and was made up of rather structured songs. This one was also made up of outtakes and etc., but this one consists of more free form or improvised tracks, most of which are recorded live. But there are a couple of straightforward tracks too. Because of this, you get quite a sampling of different styles of FZ's music on this album.

FZ said that he wanted to put together a 12 record set of leftover music, but then decided it would cost a quarter of a million dollars, so trashed that idea. He said that 80% of this album is made up of group improvisations where he conducted spontaneous music and that some of those songs that were intended for that huge project. The interesting cover and title of the album was inspired by a magazine cover of 'Man's Life' with the tag line 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh'. FZ saw the magazine and decided it doesn't get any worse than that. The studio didn't want to use the cover illustration which was based on a shaving ad, but released it anyway.

The opening track 'Didja Get Any Onya?' has a reading from Lowell George (who would go on to form 'Little Feat'). This is a person recounting his time as a German boy in Baltimore who's father made poison gas for the government for WWII. The name of the track comes from a Lenny Bruce routine. The track was recorded live at the Philadelphia Arena. The original CD was 3 minutes longer than the LP. The track starts right off with an improvised trumpet and sax with funny vocal sounds. You can hear how tight the band was to the changes that FZ was directing throughout the track. This is what makes it all amazing in the way the band reacts to FZ's direction. Remember, this is all pretty much spontaneous. The Lowell George part comes in quite early and is hard to hear with another band member doing operatic sounds. After some more goofing around, the band breaks into another sax improvisation with a repeating riff in the background. Then it goes into a start/stop style, again as directed by FZ. Since it is improvised, you get a lot of dissonance, but that is what FZ was looking for. It is all based on 20th Century classical styles.

'Directly From My Heart to Yours' is a studio outtake from the 'Hot Rats' session and is a cover of a Little Richard song. It is a straightforward blues/rock track sung by Don Harris who also plays the electric violin in the song. It is a surprising contrast from the previous track, but that is what give the album it's charm. 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask' is a sarcastical take on a title from a Debussy composition. Frank based it on a space helmet that he made out of a gas mask and mustard gas container that his father had brought home from work. He opened it with a can opener and rendered it useless, which his father was upset about. But FZ used it as a space helmet. The track is again a group improvisation based on FZ's direction. It has an avant garde feel and also some strange improvised vocals from the band, including laughter and so on. It was recorded live in London and partially in Miami Beach Florida.

'Toads of the Short Forest' was also recorded live in 2 different places, the first half in Glendale, California and the second half in Miami Beach, Florida. It starts out rather straightforward with a nice melody and then suddenly switches to improvisation where nothing is straightforward. In the recording FZ announces all of the different meters the band members are playing in at the same time. Improv continues.

'Get a Little' comes next. This is a short improve featuring FZ's guitar recorded when they were opening for 'Vanilla Fudge'. This was recorded in The Bronx, and apparently the audience wasn't very receptive because FZ said in an interview that a member of the audience said 'You guys stink! Bring on the Fudge!'

Next is another group improvisation called 'The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque' recorded in studio. This was titled as homage to Eric Dolphy who was a jazz instrumentalist that died in 1964. The song itself is not anything like Dolphy's music, though it does include a sax improvisation throughout the song, along with improv from the band. FZ admired Dolphy, however and there are credits as to his inspiration on the 'Freak Out!' album. This track changes meter and style several times through it's nearly 7 minute time frame and is very much a free form jazz composition.

'Dwarf Nebula' is based on a piano exercise done by FZ with other instruments added in. This doesn't last long though and soon we get a processed sound collage with FZ using his famous gadget 'The Apostolic Blurch Injector'. After this is a straightforward blues/rock track called 'My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama'. This one is composed, as Frank says, for stupid teenagers and record company executives. This track is used many times in Frank's concerts. Both of the previous tracks were recorded in studio, with the latter one being quite polished, contrasted from the previous track which is improvisation.

'Oh No' is another vocal track which acts as a satirical response to The Beatles 'All You Need is Love'. The track isn't as straightforward as the previous track and has some tricky meters. The vocals follow the instrumentals which is quite difficult. This track was actually written as an instrumental during the 'Freak Out!' sessions and the lyrics were added later. It has an extended instrumental section at the end, and even though is is not your average rock song, it is a more structured track. The melody is one of FZ's more familiar melodies as it is used as a basis for individual improvisational numbers. This track goes directly into 'Orange County Lumber Truck' which is the improvised jazz track featuring FZ's guitar . This is cut short all of a sudden with a laugh, and then the title track, which is the last track. All this is, is the band all playing at the same time any random note they wanted at full volume'.2 minutes of straight noise improvisation, which FZ said sounds like your average vacuum cleaner improvisation.

That's all of the tracks on this conglomeration of an album. Yet, with all of this editing and pasting of songs from unreleased Mothers tracks, it is still surprisingly good. The variety of the album only adds to the enjoyment, because you not only get a good sampling of the different types of Zappa music, but you get a fun album too. It's not one of the 5 star Zappa albums, but it is one I enjoy nonetheless. It is full of progressive styles throughout, there is still plenty of humor and plenty of 'serious' music. Hopefully, some of the short explanations of the tracks will help with the understanding as to why it is so varied in it's style, because usually Frank wouldn't mix styles like this so much on a single album. Anyway, each track has it's own story and not only Zappa-philes should appreciate this one, but also your average art rock listener too.

 The Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.11 | 627 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'We're Only In It For the Money' is definitely an interesting album, to say the least. The cover and title is a direct slam to The Beatles and their album 'Sgt. Pepper', who Zappa claimed was all done for the money, not the music. The album, however, is a statement to the condition of society at the time, police violence, the hippy movement (how everyone thought they could be a hippy because it was cool) and the music business. The album is full of music, noise collages and field recordings, sometimes a song is interrupted by whatever FZ wanted to put there. It is one of the most censored albums in rock history. It was also Zappa's way of saying that classical music was being held hostage by the old ladies that tell the concert halls and radio stations what classical music to play. So much to pack in 33 minutes and 19 tracks.

FZ always felt that the Mothers filled the gap between serious music and the mass public who were being denied access to good serious music. This is why his music was never 'normal' in the radio friendly sense. When someone listens to FZ (and especially this album) for the first time, they have certain expectations, that while it is known that FZ's music is complicated, that with his crazy and crass humor, they still expect it to be normal music, not Avant-prog or RIO. When the music doesn't reach that expectation, most people turn away from it. While it is true that there is a lot of humor in this album, it isn't always apparent laugh out loud humor as much as it is sarcasm and satire, with large doses of art rock mixed in. It is a rough album, not clean and polished. It is also pretty much a continuous suite more than it is a bunch of individual tracks. Keeping this in mind, it may make more sense when a person hears it for the first time.

The frustrating thing to Zappa, was that the music and it's purpose was misunderstood. People automatically thought that the Mothers were the ones that were only in it for the money, and they missed that it was all making fun of The Beatles, even though Frank wanted to make it obvious by copying the Sgt. Pepper cover. He was upset that people could not make the connection, that they never even looked at the similarities of the album covers, and that people just thought The Beatles were sent from heaven. He felt that they were plastic and commercial, but he knew that was an unpopular view among the public.

The album starts off with a field recording that Zappa was famous for making without telling anyone and then putting it on a record. The music starts on the 2nd track with 'Who Needs the Peace Corps?' which was meant to make fun of the hippy movement and not necessarily the Peace Corps. Why work for a government run organization built to help young adults make a difference in the world when you can just be lazy, join the Dead Heads and 'be a hippy'? Then comes another musical number (mostly) called 'Concentration Moon' about how San Francisco and it's citizens were being used for a government LSD experiment and also about police brutality and they feared the hippies. 'Mom & Dad' is one of the Mothers most heartfelt lyrical songs about how parents would ignore what was going on in their world with violence until they have to be told that their own child has died. 'Telephone Conversation' is an actual taped phone conversation which is tied into the song 'Bow Tie Daddy'

'Harry You're a Beast' is about the plastic society again, women specifically. This is one of the songs that got censored quite heavily, and there is a part that sounds like it is being played backwards. That is one of the censored sections of the song. 'What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?' is a satirical take on a Steve Allen song written for children called from an album called 'How to Think'. 'Absolutely Free' starts off with a short routine involving Suzy Creamcheese (one of the Mother's recurring characters) and is another one of the songs that didn't get completely past the censors. 'Flower Punk' is a parody on the song 'Hey Joe' made popular by Jimi Hendrix, but the version they were basing it on was the version recorded by 'The Leaves'. It makes fun of the flower child movement. It turns into a sound collage during the last half with FZ saying different things through each speaker at a high speed, along with other people talking. 'Hot Poop' continues this collage with another backwards section that was censored. 'Nasal Retentive Calliope Music' continues with the sound collage, but this time with processed sounds and noises. The gizmo they used to make this collage was called an 'Apostolic Blurch Injector' (named by Zappa) that would take any source material put into it and mash it up into things that pretty much could not be understood. Some of the things put into this gizmo were police busts, censored sections, interviews with dope pushers trying to get FZ to use drugs and so on. Yes it's hard to listen to, but it's Zappa's way of experimenting.

This is followed by a song that was the creation of a theme that would be used by Zappa's band a lot and would become a very popular theme for Zappa fans. 'Let's Make the Water Turn Black' is that song, and this time you get the lyrics, which is based on actual events from Zappa's childhood, specifically certain disgusting habits by certain children he didn't care for much. I won't go into detail, but it's funny in a sick way. Quite a catchy melody though and one that's easy to recognize when Zappa's bands would be playing long improvisations. 'The Idiot Bastard's Son' is a continuation of this song and again, it didn't make it past the censors, so once again, we get it backwards. 'Lonely Little Girl' comes next followed by another familiar Zappa theme 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance' which was probably a parody possibly based on an old song. After that there is a reprise for 'What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?' followed by 'Mother People', which would later become a sort of theme for The Mothers. Again, more censored nonsense here. 'The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny' wraps up the album with a 6+ minute sound collage featuring that strange gizmo again.

So, yes this album really has no commercial appeal whatsoever, so go into it knowing that, and you won't be disappointed by your preconceived notions of what Frank would call Teen Age Music. This is Avant-prog music, and like I said previously, it is rough. Zappa's music would become more polished as time went on, of course. But this was the style of music he was making at the time.

There is a lot going on in this album, and the things I have pointed out in this review only brushes the surface. You literally need some kind of listener's guide to read while listening to this, it would be impossible to cover it all in this review. However, it is an important album, made before Prog music was a thing, but it would help open doors to musical exploration and was also an important movement against commercialism of music. Personally, I don't like it as much as 'Freak Out!', but I do understand it's importance and hopefully this will help shed some light on the album. And there are plenty of internet sites that explore this album quite thoroughly, and I suggest finding one that will help you listen to this crazy album. Things will make a lot more sense, believe me.

 At The Circus by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
1.50 | 16 ratings

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At The Circus
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars 'At the Circus' is the 4th disc in the box set 'Beat the Boots Vol 2' which is a collection of bootleg releases that FZ commissioned to make them official releases. This was done by Zappa to get back at the many bootleggers that were making money off of his concerts by taping them and selling them. This was also made available as an album on its own. The venue for the recording throughout most of this album is a televised rehearsal at the Circus Krone in Munich in Sept 1978. The only tracks not recorded at that concert are both tracks 6 and 7, which for some strange reason, are from Uddel at The Netherlands in June of 1970. These official bootlegs kept 'all the warts' of the original bootlegs, as they were recorded without any enhancements.

The recording is atrociously terrible. The volume fades up and down, the songs are all partial with some weird editing. This is probably the worst of the entire bunch of bootlegs that were in both of the box sets. There is plenty of places where you can hear people talking near the microphone of the recording unit, which was probably a cheap cassette recorder.

There really is nothing on this recording that makes this a worthwhile album. There are only 2 original one-offs on the collection; 'Seal Call Fusion Music' where FZ has Vinnie Colaiuta play the drums and make seal noises at the same time, and 'I'm on Duty' which is a silly routine that isn't that funny. Other than that, there is nothing unique about the tracks on this album. (No 'eyebrows' in other words.) All the rest of the tracks are found on much better recordings. Don't bother with this one. Don't say I didn't warn you.

 Hot Rats by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.33 | 1492 ratings

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Hot Rats
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars Frank Zappa -Hot Rats

Listening to a Frank Zappa album can be a deeply frustrating experience for me.Often there are just a few great sounding tracks on each album but often alongside some really irritating or tedious music. Hot Rats is a good example although at least this time the tracks I rate highly are grouped together so I can give my thumb a rest!

The album starts off so well with "Peaches On Regalia". It truly has so many musical ideas crammed in its three and a half minutes. It is one of those pieces of music that seems so much longer than it really is. Far and away my single favorite track by Zappa period.

The second track, "Willie The Pimp" featuring Captain Beefheart's typical growling vocals also starts off brilliantly with a great down and dirty violin riff.The track turns into a vehicle for Zappa's relentless shredding and although I think the track could have been shortened a few minutes without losing its power, there is no doubting his inventiveness on the guitar.

The third and final track on side one "Son of Mr Green Genes" is an instrumental version of the previous album Uncle Meat's "Mr Green Genes".This is a very jazzy take and again showcases Zappa's playing as never before. It also helps that the main melody is very strong and the actual improvising is fairly inventive making this another bit of jazz fusion.

The opening track on Side 2, the cutely titled "Little Umbrellas" is another compact track, similar in structure to "Peaches" at just over three minutes but again crammed with so many musical ideas including a very feisty sounding recorder solo.I am fairly that this track and "Peaches" must have been an inspiration for some of those Canterbury Scene groups of the early seventies.They are both supremely whimsical and accessible.

Unfortunately this is where the good news stops."The Gumbo Variations" at nearly seventeen minutes is just pure tedium itself and just does my head in basically. I realize that Hot Rats is an "important" album because it came before "Bitches Brew" etc (another album that I cannot listen to) and therefore "invented" Jazz Fusion.The track actually starts off promisingly with a cool riff but that is basically it and the rest of the track really goes nowhere other than a series of increasingly tedious solos on sax and guitar and even a drum solo. Ultimately I think the problem for me is that if Jazz Fusion in its purist form consists of musicians jamming over a repetitive single riff without a central melodic theme or at least interesting chord progression then I suppose I simply do not like the genre itself. The final track "It must be a Camel" is another fusion but this time is a rather formless piece but has a rather meandering melodic line. It is actually more interesting than the previous "Gumbo" and is at least underscored with some rich chordal voicing. Unfortunately the playing is actually rather jarring in places making it rather irritating.It reminds me a little of Henry Cow.

My final verdict: A great first half, a rather painful second half apart from "Umbrellas". 3 Stars

 Apostrophe (') by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.03 | 636 ratings

BUY
Apostrophe (')
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Following on the heels of the successful album 'Over-nite Sensation', Zappa's next album 'Apostrophe (')' would turn out to be his biggest selling album. FZ was trying to make his music more accessible, so he added a lot more humor, a lot more lyrics, and some more commercial beats, while still retaining some of his usual complexity. However, where 'Over-nite Sensation' had no completely instrumental tracks, 'Apostrophe' would have one, namely the title track. There really isn't a whole lot other than that that distinguish the two, but 'Apostrophe' is a definite step forward and more interesting with more variety.

The band is more or less the same as on the previous album. In fact, most of side 1 of Apostrophe was created during the same sessions. This album was created from material that was written over a 2 ' year period, so the band lineup changes somewhat through the tracks, but, for the most part, it remains the same. This was also, in my opinion, one of FZ's most talented lineups featuring Ruth Underwood, Jean Luc-Ponty and even Tina Turner doing background vocals. Jack Bruce also helps out on the title track, but there is some controversy regarding the amount of his contribution.

The album starts out with one of Zappa's most popular songs 'Don't Eat the Yellow Snow', a song that was inspired when FZ watched a dog pee on the band's tour bus. Most people know this song is a simple humorous song, short but sweet, but in reality it is the beginning movement of a longer suite, most of which follows on this album. This flows (get it, flows?) into the next song which is a continuation of the adventures of our protagonist Eskimo Nanook. 'Nanook Rubs It' is a longer, dramatic song about an encounter with a fur trapper. Nanook rescues his favorite baby seal by rubbing yellow snow into the eyes of the fur trapper and a battle ensues. This one is based on a blues riff. We then follow the fur trapper at this point as he runs to 'St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast'. The tempo is sped up again for this short ditty that was inspired by a commercial for Imperial Margarine, which the furtrapper uses to restore his sight after being blinded by yellow snow and accidentally pees on the bingo cards. The main story gets a little confusing at this point as the viewpoint of the singer/narrator shifts around and you realize it's not really a story per se anymore, but who cares? The last part of the suite is called 'Father O'blivion' who is in charge of the St. Alphonzo parish, and things get quite confusing as a masturbating leprechaun is brought into the mix. After that you are left to your own imagination as to what happens. There is actually another part to this suite that did not make it onto this album, called 'Rollo'. It is a longer song which was originally about a dog who watches his master copulate. The lyrics were pretty much abandoned when it was decided that they were too vulgar for the album, and after that, it was just completely left off the album except for the riff that serves as the introduction to 'St. Alphonzo'. By the way, there is a full live version of this suite on 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1' with the instrumental version of 'Rollo' still attached if you are interested.

'Cosmik Debris' finishes up side one. This is a stand alone song about a peddler trying to sell psychedelic paraphernalia. FZ hypnotizes him and steals all of his stuff and blows the peddler's mind. There are references to the previous album which indicates that the two albums are all part of FZ theory that his music has continual continuity. The song has a sort of mysterious vibe to it reflecting the topic of the lyrics and it is all enhanced with Ruth Underwood's exceptional xylophone playing.

The next side starts with a short lyrical song in the same vein as 'CD', this one called 'Excentrifigul Forz'. I'm not exactly sure what it is about, but my guess is it's Zappa's sarcastical take on psychedelia and drugs. The track that follows is one of my favorite Zappa instrumentals and is the title track of the album. Jack Bruce is credited with the amazing bass on this track, and FZ claims that is was Bruce doing this during a jam session. Bruce however, claims that he only did the strange sound effect at the beginning that had something to do with a cello. I tend to believe Zappa's story here as FZ goes on to say that Bruce was difficult for him to improvise with because he treated the bass as a solo instrument and didn't provide the typical bass support that was expected. However, the track turned out quite amazing, even when FZ provides his guitar solo.

'Uncle Remus' is a mid-tempo song that expresses FZ's sentiment on racial slurs. Many thought that the lyrics were written by George Duke, but in reality they were written by Zappa to a tune that was written by Duke. 'Stinkfoot' is a Zappa classic that closes the album. It is a nonsensical song based upon a commercial by Dr. Scholls foot spray where a dog keels over when he brings his master's slippers. FZ provides another great solo, but the song fades out too quickly in my opinion.

Overall, this is a fairly decent album for those who want to be introduced to FZ and his music. It has no shortage of his brand of humor and also gives a sample of his instrumental music. It does not have much in the way of jazz improvisation or classical style and there is very little avant-prog material on this album, but it is quite accessible as a result. I would suggest 'Shiek Yerbouti' as a better all-around example of his music, or maybe 'Hot Rats' as a good beginner album for the instrumental improvisational style. In the end, it is an excellent 4 star album that gives you an easy entry into his style.

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

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