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FRANK ZAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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

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One Size Fits AllOne Size Fits All
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.12
$7.70 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.99
$4.98 (used)
Over-nite SensationOver-nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$6.88
$5.96 (used)
Absolutely FreeAbsolutely Free
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.12
$6.27 (used)
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$7.11
$11.94 (used)
Freak Out!Freak Out!
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.01
$7.71 (used)
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$5.65
$8.14 (used)
We're Only In It For The MoneyWe're Only In It For The Money
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.03
$4.18 (used)
Zoot AlluresZoot Allures
Zappa Records 2012
Audio CD$4.99
$3.63 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Frank Zappa - Chungas Revenge CD (Rykodisc Canada 1995) USD $10.00 [0 bids]
USD $13.00 Buy It Now
38m 18s
* * SALE! FRANK ZAPPA's MEMORIES OF EL MONTE by THE PENGUINS: UNPLAYED MINT 45!! USD $7.99 Buy It Now 44m 10s
Guitar - 2 DISC SET - Frank Zappa (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.54 Buy It Now 1h 5m
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar by Frank Zappa (CD, May-1995, 3 Discs, Ryko... USD $10.00 [1 bids]
1h 6m
FRANK ZAPPA Waka Jawaka 1972 US ORG White Label Promo LP Mothers USD $50.00 Buy It Now 1h 25m
Frank Zappa LP LOT Zoot Allures 1976, Sheik Yerbouti 1979, Joe's Garage Act 1 79 USD $94.90 Buy It Now 1h 47m
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1962 THE ASCOTS PERFECT LOVE PRODUCED BY PAUL BUFF "BLUFF" MISTAKE FRANK ZAPPA USD $90.00 Buy It Now 2h 9m
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FRANK ZAPPA MOTHERS OF INVENTION Pregnant RARE GERMAN PSYCH PROG LP USD $38.23 [0 bids]
5h 45m
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6h 8m
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FRANK ZAPPA - STEAMING JUKEBOX - EPPELHEIM, GERMANY LIVE RECORDING (1978) 2LPSET USD $49.99 [0 bids]
6h 27m
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Frank Zappa - 20 Extraordinary Renditions CD USD $4.59 [0 bids]
8h 3m
Roots Of Frank Zappa (CD Used Very Good) USD $8.75 Buy It Now 8h 31m
Frank Zappa - 10c Rare Meat LP US 1983 VG+/ EX Psych / Classic Rock USD $38.23 Buy It Now 8h 43m
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FRANK ZAPPA -(LP)- APOSTROPHE (*) - FEATURING "DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW"- 1974 USD $69.69 Buy It Now 9h 50m
Frank Zappa Sheik Yerbouti 1979 1st RL Ludwig ARCHIVE MASTER Ultrasonic CLEAN USD $80.00 Buy It Now 9h 54m
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Frank Zappa Official Product Maxi Poster 91 X 61 TOILET - 106 USD $13.29 Buy It Now 10h 8m
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Frank Zappa Them or Us 1984 1st Pumpkin Press, ULTRASONIC CLEANED, A+ Sound! USD $48.00 Buy It Now 10h 10m
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10h 37m
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10h 55m
Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers of Prevention LP 1985 Barking Pumpkin Records USD $20.00 Buy It Now 10h 58m
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FRANK ZAPPA-STRICTLY COMMERCIAL-ORIGINAL GREEN CANADIAN CASSETTE TAPE 1995 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 12h 39m
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13h


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FRANK ZAPPA shows & tickets


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FRANK ZAPPA discography


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

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

3.90 | 491 ratings
Freak Out!
1966
4.08 | 406 ratings
Absolutely Free
1967
3.28 | 298 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.14 | 514 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.70 | 209 ratings
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.10 | 400 ratings
Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1201 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.92 | 317 ratings
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.76 | 311 ratings
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 261 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.03 | 174 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.92 | 370 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.31 | 695 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 465 ratings
Over-Nite Sensation
1973
4.00 | 513 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.30 | 679 ratings
One Size Fits All
1975
3.72 | 324 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.71 | 209 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.60 | 211 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.85 | 381 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
3.33 | 137 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
4.12 | 386 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.92 | 307 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.64 | 220 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.54 | 190 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.07 | 89 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.14 | 176 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.21 | 148 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.39 | 118 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.57 | 106 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.56 | 94 ratings
The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.24 | 111 ratings
Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.47 | 180 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
2.98 | 63 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.78 | 101 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.32 | 67 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.96 | 150 ratings
Läther
1996
1.98 | 49 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
3.24 | 35 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely (EIHN)
1999
1.72 | 36 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.99 | 35 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
2.16 | 26 ratings
Joe's XMASage
2005
3.52 | 27 ratings
Feeding The Monkeys At Ma Maison
2011
4.20 | 46 ratings
Läther
2012
3.06 | 14 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014
4.53 | 13 ratings
Dance me This
2015

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

3.17 | 128 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.07 | 120 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.39 | 254 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.53 | 177 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.22 | 206 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.05 | 134 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.39 | 77 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.56 | 71 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.61 | 109 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.37 | 103 ratings
Guitar
1988
3.99 | 103 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.52 | 169 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.57 | 85 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.47 | 81 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.32 | 156 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.36 | 124 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
2.27 | 18 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.39 | 20 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.61 | 16 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.40 | 21 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.05 | 21 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.79 | 19 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.31 | 18 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
3.74 | 29 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
1.59 | 10 ratings
At The Circus
1992
2.07 | 13 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.49 | 13 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.23 | 15 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.07 | 10 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.87 | 11 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.53 | 10 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
2.87 | 40 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.65 | 71 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.84 | 70 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
3.85 | 97 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.24 | 68 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.93 | 45 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.82 | 30 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.51 | 52 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
3.97 | 59 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.51 | 38 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
4.05 | 45 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.17 | 58 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.55 | 36 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.12 | 24 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.12 | 39 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.29 | 48 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.80 | 27 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.34 | 31 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.24 | 22 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.67 | 29 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
3.71 | 14 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.54 | 20 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014

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

2.85 | 48 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.48 | 21 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.66 | 47 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.11 | 62 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.22 | 27 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
3.97 | 37 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
3.85 | 13 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.16 | 36 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.63 | 31 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.63 | 8 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.36 | 14 ratings
The Torture Never Stops
2008
3.17 | 6 ratings
Live In Paris 1980
2008
3.21 | 10 ratings
Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention: In the 1960's
2009
4.00 | 10 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013

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

3.67 | 33 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
3.64 | 50 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.87 | 43 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.81 | 39 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.94 | 84 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.74 | 16 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.14 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.58 | 95 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.13 | 18 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.00 | 10 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
3.67 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.22 | 30 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.26 | 50 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.76 | 31 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.17 | 21 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.25 | 28 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.89 | 39 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.07 | 15 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.97 | 25 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.08 | 16 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.90 | 10 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
2002
4.03 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 1
2002
4.20 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 2
2002
3.20 | 10 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.80 | 17 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.35 | 33 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.54 | 20 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.12 | 19 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
3.78 | 9 ratings
Understanding America
2012

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

3.86 | 7 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.25 | 8 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
4.00 | 7 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.16 | 6 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
3.80 | 5 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.46 | 19 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.43 | 7 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.75 | 4 ratings
WPLJ
1970
4.17 | 6 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.15 | 9 ratings
Montana
1973
2.69 | 10 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
3.20 | 5 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
4.09 | 11 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.13 | 8 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.29 | 9 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.97 | 10 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.40 | 5 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.75 | 4 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.82 | 10 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
3.67 | 3 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
2.50 | 4 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.50 | 10 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.33 | 9 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.50 | 6 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.19 | 9 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.06 | 8 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
3.90 | 2 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
3.86 | 3 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
4.40 | 5 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
200 Motels Overture
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Freak Out! by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.90 | 491 ratings

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Freak Out!
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Help! I'm a rock! Help! I'm a rock!

I'm so tired of reading things like this album "must have been a blast when it came out" so, as one who was actually around at the time Freak Out! was released, I'll give you my thoughts as well as the thoughts of others at that time. Freak Out! is without a doubt a product of it's time but I'm afraid that Frank's love/hate relationship with fifties Doo Wop music would make little sense to anyone born after this album was released. While the Zappa/MOI's Doo Wop meets Cheech and Chong outings seem strangely familiar to modern audiences, it's real impact was geared at the fifties 'baby boomers' who were desperately trying to disengage themselves not only from the plastic mores of the nineteen fifties, but also any pop culture references of those plastic times. And Frank was trying not to let these free spirited hippies run too far from where they came from.

The fact that Zappa saw the burgeoning American counter culture as a substitute for the plastic culture that they were fleeing from is the starting point of Zappa's social commentaries for the nineteen sixties. The MOI use a scattergun approach to verbal humor on Freak Out! that works well one second and falls flat the next. But it was innovative at the time and the absence of profanity in the lyrics would strike most latter FZ album listeners as quite strange and censored. But the individual is what Frank preached and it come out well in songs like Hungry Freaks and Who Are The Brain Police?

Doo Wop pastiches such as How Could I be Such A Fool and Wowie Zowie are trite and add up to little than album filler as there's not much musically exciting going on until we get to the end of this double album. Trouble Everyday is a timeless social reflection of race relations in the US that is still, unsurprisingly, relevant in the 21st century while Help, I'm a Rock is a wonderful slice of absurdum mixed with avant gard vocalizations that's still a blast to listen to this day.

The twelve minute album closer The Return of The Son Of Monster Magnet is pure sixties studio manipulated psychedelia that's every bit the equal of any Beatles studio concoction found on the Revolver album from the same year. It's 'Magnet' that shows off Zappa's early mastering of studio trickery that includes numerous overdubs, speeded up tapes and his penchant for mastering the meter and tempos of vocals the same way a musician would when playing an instrument. It's hard to believe that people tripped to this recording while Zappa was denouncing drug use, but so it was.

Freak Out! is the prototype for many Zappa/MOI albums to come and would ultimately improve on. But as a double album debut release that was single handedly composed and produced by the great auteur in the draconian recording era of 1966, it remains a true American classic. Just like it's highly regarded creator. 4 stars.

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 Dance me This by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.53 | 13 ratings

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Dance me This
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars This is a bitter-sweet album from Frank Zappa. It is poignant in that, according to the liner notes, this "is the last album Frank Zappa completed before his death". It is sweet because, even twenty- two years after his all-too-early death, we still have "new" Frank Zappa music. Unlike many other artists whose posthumous releases have been pieced together decades after their demise from left overs, out-takes and unfinished sessions, Frank was well aware of his fate for some time, and created a number of finished albums for his family to publish for years to come.

Also of note, the opening track has an all too brief (only 10 to 15 seconds long) guitar solo from Frank himself, and again from the liner notes: "As far as we know that was the last time he played guitar". This title track is actually the closest thing to a rock song on the album. Although completely sequenced on his Synclavier (with assistance from Todd Yvega) , Frank has created a piece similar to those that he often used to open his shows, a light vamp with space for solos. This space in this case is mostly filled with the eerie sound of a trio of Tuvan throatsingers, who appear in a number of tracks on this album.

The second track, "Pachuco Gavotte"' while played on the Synclavier, has the feel of Zappa's classic "Black Page", and sounds somewhat organic.

The centerpiece of the album is the half-hour long, six-part exploration, "Wolf Harbor". This is an amazing work, an extension of the work of Edgard Varese, whom Zappa has quoted and imitated often through the years. While Varese was limited to analog tape effect to create his unearthly sounds, Zappa has, of course, his Synclavier to expand the palette extensively. Although Zappa was known for musical excess, here he uses restraint to give the percussion and sounds room to come to life.

The closing track, "Calculus"' is notable as it contains a process invented by Yvega dubbed by Frank as "burglar music". Burglar music uses an algorithm to take a number of short sequences and play each one concurrently at different time intervals. This Yvega would use to give possible intruders the impression that someone was in the studio working. On "Calculus" the track was finished with the Tuvans singing over the results. The track is actually astounding.

I will admit that this album is not for everyone. The album is adventurous, sublime, and also beautiful, but the experimental nature may scare some listeners away. Scaring listeners away was never a deterrence to the incredible Mr. Zappa.

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 Just Another Band From L.A. by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1972
3.07 | 120 ratings

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Just Another Band From L.A.
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is basically the 2nd part of the Fillmore East album for those of you who are Flo and Eddie fans. Personally, I think most of their shenanigans are obnoxious and I don't like most of the albums that they are involved with. This one probably has a little better quality recording than Filmore East did, but it's still very annoying, even more so. This album is loaded with humor and vocals, not much in the way of solos or instrumentals, though Frank does go into a short guitar solo in the middle of "Call Any Vegetable".

The opener on this is the 24 minute epic that was not recorded on any official album before this point. It is FZ satirical take on the rock opera trend that was popular at the time. It's a funny enough skit, but most of it is goofing around and spoken word with very little to offer musically. It takes up an entire side of this album, and after the first listen, kind of loses it's impact. The other tracks on the B-side don't get much better either. It's just full of a lot of Flo and Eddie hijinx and some of it is original to this album and most of it is Flo and Eddie's takes on past Mother's tracks.

If you are a fan of the era in FZ's history, then you will enjoy this. Personally, I would rather listen to almost any other era in FZ's discography than anything with Flo and Eddie in it, and this album does nothing to win me over either. Not that great for me.

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 Joe's Domage  by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 2004
1.72 | 36 ratings

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Joe's Domage
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars This one is definitely only for hard core FZ fans. This was recorded during rehearsals for the Waka/Jawaka and the Wazoo sessions. It is a very interesting insight into the rehearsals of FZ and his band, and helps to show that Zappa's music wasn't just a bunch of sounds thrown together, but that the very technically difficult parts of his music were not just accidents, but were structured and well composed pieces.

On the second track, we have mostly a rehearsal of "Little Brown Clouds" which somehow got a snippet of "Big Swifty" in there. When it hits that spot, it sounds almost like a bad edit in there, so I question as that was one specific session or not. The third track (all 17 minutes of it) is the band trying to rehearse the very challenging section of "One Shot Deal" from "Waka/Jawaka". This is the section that bookends the instrumental section of that song, and if you are familiar with it, you know the strange section I'm talking about, the part that is unbelievable that the musicians were able to ever play together. For those not familiar with this material, this will mean nothing, and this is why this is a recording only for completionists, because it won't make sense to anyone that isn't extremely familiar with Zappa's music, or only of interest to a musician who understands some theory or who has had to deal with rehearsals and know what the band is going though. The entire 55 minute run time of this album is only rehearsals all the way through. Don't expect to hear any full run thru's at all, it's all about Frank coaching his band how to play his difficult music and them practicing over and over those difficult sections in the music that was created during this time period.

This period of FZ's career is one of my favorite periods, but that doesn't help this recording. You must get the original studio albums "Waka/Jawaka" or "The Grand Wazoo" to know how excellent this era in his career really way, but "Joe's Domage' is not the way to listen to this era unless you are already familiar with it, and even then, it is not entertainment as it is a curiosity for completionists. Acoording to Gail Zappa, these recordings were all taken off of a rehearsal tape that FZ carried around with him during the tours supporting this part of his history. The recording is bad, the subject matter is only good for occasional interest and not for entertainment so to speak. 1 star.

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 Joe's Corsage  by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.99 | 35 ratings

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Joe's Corsage
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Released posthumously in 2004, this is a collection of very early Mothers of Invention tracks, probably recorded mostly before the Mothers was even the name of the band. These tracks are early versions of tracks from "Freak Out!", "Absolutely Free" and "We're Only in it For the Money". Some have different names. There are also a few covers that don't appear on other albums.

This is a rather valuable collection for the Zappa fan and also a good collection for lovers of Doo Wop/R&B music from the 50s and 60s. The recordings are pretty decent, but there is nothing prog about any of this music. There are also some interview clips included here from a radio show (Canadian I think).

"pretty pat" is a short interview clip about how the band came up with the name "Mothers of Invention". Tracks 2 - 5 are demos from 1965 and are all songs that should be recognized from the early albums, but these are versions that you probably haven't heard, mostly with different lyrics.. For example, "Motherly Love"'s lyrics are more specific when talking about specific members of the band instead of the group in general. "Plastic People" includes lyrics that were probably too questionable for the time it was released officialy for the album.

Tracks 6 - 8 are taken from a live performance possible in California sometime around 1964 or 65. The first snippet from track 6 is from an interview, but it flows into the performance of "My Babe" which is a cover of an old Righteous Brothers song. Next is a short instrumental and after that is "Hitch Hike" which is unique to this collection.

Tracks 9 - 11 are more demos from before the Freak Out! album and include more songs that made some of the early albums. Again, these are rare recordings that were not available previously. The last track is a 5 minute spoken word taken from the interview again where Frank talks about the early history of the group and how tough it was. There are some interesting tidbits here for sure.

There have been other collections from these early years, but these tracks are all pretty much unique to this collection as far as early demo versions mostly. Probably not a lot here to interest the casual listener, but for those interested in the Mother's early history, this is a great collection. No prog though, so don't go looking for it here. 3 stars.

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 Jazz From Hell by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.47 | 180 ratings

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Jazz From Hell
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This entire album is instrumental and (except for one track) all done on the synclavier. Out of all the clinically sounding synclavier albums, this one is one of the best ones, but personally I would rather hear an orchestra or one of Zappa's bands try to perform the songs, because the tracks are near impossible for a human to perform them, though many have tried. This is why Zappa used the synclavier, because the notes could be processed into whatever he wanted and put into a computer. Thus, the computer is the instrument on most of the tracks here.

Now, contrary to those who are unenlightened, these compositions are not just noodling or random goofing off on the computer, these are actual written compositions. They are quite brilliant and in the realm of classical/jazz/rock fusion. But the synclavier can be quite clinical sounding, and it makes the performances not very dynamic and very same-y sounding. However, the tracks are all unique.

"Night School" is the one of the better synclavier pieces in that it is programmed to have the piano sound as the main "instrument" and since the synclavier is related to keyboards, it is very realistic sounding. This is a very nice piece and not as complicated sounding as the other tracks here. It starts the album off in a nice way. This track is named after a late night TV show that Frank was asked to host on a nightly basis. It was to take the place of the Joan Rivers show. Frank even had guests lined up and a regular band that would play and also claimed that one of the topics he was going to discuss why it was okay to show a native female human's breast on TV but not okay to show a Caucasian breast. Yep, this was Frank. But it also sounds like he had some very serious issues and guests to discuss also. Anyway, I have no idea if this track is taken from the theme song or not.

"The Beltway Bandits" is a rather chaotic piece that is all over the board and sounds like a traffic jam. "While You Were Art II" is transcribed from a guitar solo that is featured on the "Shut Up and Play Your Guitar" collection called "While You Were Out" that was transcribed by Steve Vai for guitar. Frank took that transcription and adapted it for orchestra when it was requested by a conductor. He made a few changes and mixed up the melody so that it jumped around to different instruments. The conductor took a look at the finished manuscript and said that they wouldn't be able to learn it. So Frank suggested they put the music into the computer and let it play the song for them while the orchestra faked it. Believe it or not, they did it. Frank was quite amused that the music critics didn't even realize that it was a computer playing it, and they never knew until a few of the orchestra members decided to apologize. Frank's last laugh for this one was to give it the name he did after the conductor whose name was Arthur. The "II" in the title is because this version played here is not exactly the same as what he transcribed and programmed for the orchestra, it has a few changes. In any event, it is another chaotic piece with so many meter changes it just as well be written in free meter. However, it does have some variance at least during it's 7 minute run time, there is a calmer middle section where the percussion sounds quit for a while and then return later.

"Jazz From Hell" is a little more interesting where it has some jazz harmonies and aspects and it also contains some realistic brass sounds for a short time. This one has more structure than the previous two. "G-Spot Tornado" is the most interesting of the synclavier tracks and it's one that I actually enjoy because it sounds like it's supposed to be electronic. It doesn't try to imitate another instrument, at least the main melody. It is quite a complicated piece nevertheless, and is one that Frank specifically points out as being humanly impossible to play. The next track is "Damp Ankles" and is named after some youth group leader that made his kids lick his ankles in order to pay homage to him. Weird. The track doesn't really stand out much among the other tracks though.

"St. Etienne" is the only track on the album that involves the band in a concert setting, and is the guitar solo from the song "Downing Witch" recorded at the place that the track is titled after in France in May of 1982. It is quite a nice break from the similar sounding tracks from before and a decent enough guitar solo from Zappa. I think it was added here to fill in time however since it is a completely different source. The last track is the short "Massagio Galore" which ends the album in the usual synclavier mode. This is very sarcastic sounding, so I'm sure there is a story behind it, but I'm not sure what it is.

Anyway, not a bad album considering it is rather clinical sounding. It got great reviews, and considering the compositions and the genius of FZ, I can understand it, but, like I said, I would rather hear an orchestra or band try to attempt it, even if they massacre it than listen to the flat and fake sound of the computer. It gets high marks simply for the genius of the composition, not necessarily the performance or sound of the computer here. I would rather hear these tracks intermingled with more traditional instrument pieces for variety, one of these on this album isn't enough to carry it. 3 stars, but those stars are all because of the greatness of the music, not the sound. Yeah you can call me a purist if you want, but there it is.

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 Imaginary Diseases by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2006
3.97 | 59 ratings

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Imaginary Diseases
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Finally, the band line-up with no real official documentation as far as live recordings go, was finally released posthumously by Joe Travers. The news of this release had all the Zappaphiles salivating because of the rarity of official recordings of the band know as The Petit Wazoo Tour. This album is a collection of various live recordings done during that tour in 1972.

This is the one to get for the small version of the jazz band (consisting of 10 members-the compact version of The Grand Wazoo tour which consisted of 20 members). If you love jazz fusion, this is essential. It is completely instrumental except for some very short comments by Zappa, mostly instructions for the band or introduction of songs. This album is a jazz feast and also has many amazing guitar solos thrown in for good measure.

The first track is a strange avant-garde piece just over a minute long which I think is actually a snippet of a longer song. It involves some strange sounds and audience chanting. Not really sure why this is here as it doesn't really introduce anything or give any indication of what the rest of the album is like. The next track is "Rollo" which would later become the closing instrumental to the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite that would later be released on the album "Apostrophe(')", but the interesting thing is that "Rollo" was left off of the album and up until the release of this album, was largely unheard on any recorded album by FZ. It is a short, yet ambitious piece, which here sounds like it was part of a larger performance. It's the third track that really gets things going for the rest of the album. "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" is a very nice jazz-blues track which goes on for 10 minutes. It starts out innocently enough but it picks up steam as it rolls along featuring some great solos with brass and woodwinds and culminating in a rip roaring guitar solo from FZ. At this point, you know what you are in for with the rest of the album.

Following this is a 16 minute track called "Farther O'Blivion". Note the spelling on this track. Remember that this tour was before the release of "Apostrophe(')" and this track has absolutely nothing to do with "Father O'blivion" (again notice the difference in spelling) from the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite. It is an extended jam given the jazz treatment in this instance and contains hints of future Zappa classics. You can hear where "Gregory Peccary", "Be-Bop Tango", and "Cucamonga" come from. This is the highlight of the album and features solos extraordinaire throughout the piece. The 16 minutes fly by as themes change and styles vary throughout going from a swing section to a drum and tuba solo.

The next track is "D.C. Boogie" which starts out as a jazzy guitar solo at mid--tempo and eventually, Zappa takes a vote from the audience on how the songs should end, to which the audience demands it end with a Boogie. which he gladly obliges. You can hear hints of the guitar solo that would become the title track for the "Apostrophe (')" album. The title track comes next, and it has a basis of a funk groove which is the base for Zappa soloing at first which finally breaks into echoes of "The Gumbo Variations". The last track is "Montreal" which takes on a mid-tempo sound with more guitar soloing and some great backing by the band.

These tracks don't fall into the trap of some later FZ solos where the guitar is underplayed by an uninteresting backup. The band rolls right along with Frank through his solos and it sounds very full and jazzy throughout with the rock undertones of his guitar. This is a great collection of tracks from live show and it is an essential collection for those interested in the jazz music of Frank Zappa. It is one of the best posthumous released and features a lot of music unavailable officially anywhere else. Zappa fans will consider it a must have, but jazz fans should consider it essential also because it highlights Zappa's composition skills and musicianship, but also the talent of his band at the time. This is a 5 star collection all the way, just don't pay attention to that strange first track and you will agree.

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 Burnt Weeny Sandwich by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.92 | 317 ratings

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Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Overall an excellent, highly instrumental showcase of the creative jazz/rock/satirical music that Zappa (and the Mothers of Invention) are known for. You'll hear a little bit of everything on this album, with the exception of vocals. This makes Burnt Weeny Sandwich a fun album to play in the background for most any task around the house, but also interesting enough to explore critically and discover new sounds each time you play it. This a Zappa definitely wearing his hat as a composer more than a guitar or comedic dynamo.

The showcase piece, "Little House I Used to Live In" is wonderful; probably one of the all time great Zappa tunes. Running at 18 minutes it'll give you plenty to enjoy as it jaunts its way through myriad styles, tempos, instrument sections, and straight up jamming. Other songs aren't as strikingly good, instead being like quirky little melodies or interludes from TV or movies of the era. That may not sound appealing when compared to the sweeping or epic music of other prog groups, but Zappa's style as a composer, and the group of outstanding musician that he constantly surrounds himself with, creates a personality and charm that is irresistible.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich is very accessible and a lot of fun. Despite being a little weird, it isn't so experimental that newcomers will be turned off by the Zappa sound. Highly recommended.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: NA - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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 Hot Rats by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.33 | 1201 ratings

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Hot Rats
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Those interested in the jazz fusion side of Frank Zappa need to invest in this album and be familiar with it. Most people know there are many sides to Frank Zappa and his music, some are turned off by his humor and others are turned off by his eclectic jazz or classical works, and yet others love his doo wop music. How does one tell which album has which kind of music on it? You have to explore because his discography is so immense. But let it be known that this album "Hot Rats" is a necessary album, especially for jazz fusion lovers. This was FZ's first official, complete (well almost) jazz record and it is essential.

This is also the first studio recording by Zappa after the breakup of The Mothers (though not necessarily the first solo album because he released solo projects while The Mothers were formed). The album itself is completely jazz fusion and instrumental, that is all except for one track, which is a straightforward rocker, which has vocals by Captain Beefheart. That track is "Willie the Pimp". The vocals are not very long though, and most of the track is devoted to an electrifying guitar solo.

As far as the rest of the album, it starts off with FZ's most recognizable jazz fusion work "Peaches en Regalia", which is a short structured jazz work recorded at a faster than normal speed, but when it is performed live, is performed at this speed. This little gem is a quick study in jazz fusion progressive with tricky rhythms and quite a complex melody which is Zappa's trademark. This track works as a great introduction to the album and prepares you for what is ahead. Following this is the aforementioned "Willie the Pimp". This is one of FZs best straightforward guitar solos which stands out on the album since it isn't really jazz oriented as the other tracks. Next is another long track called "Son of Mr. Green Genes" which returns us back to the great jazz fusion that makes up most of the album. This track is based on the melody from "Mr. Green Genes" from the Uncle Meat album. FZ fans will definitely recognize the melody played as a jazz band and the melody acts as the basis for the mostly improvised piece. Zappa solos again but the feeling is different this time. Also, a rarity in Zappa tracks that feature his guitar, he returns to a clear variation of the melody in the middle of the improvisation. Other instruments are acting not only as support but also do improvisations. These things make this track unique among the many improvised solos in Zappa's repretoire.

The second half of this album starts out with another short structured piece called 'Little Umbrellas' which is similar to the structure of 'Peaches en Regalia'. This is followed by an epic fusion piece called 'The Gumbo Variations' which is over 16 minutes on the CD re-issue which had originally been trimmed down to just under 13 minutes on the vinyl version. The longer version starts with some instructions from FZ to the band for starting the track. This is a perfect improvisation piece which features a brass solo followed by an amazing and quite excellent violin solo and followed by another Zappa guitar solo. There are short interludes between each solo involving different sections of the band, including a short percussion solo. Excellent music. The album ends with the 5 minute track called 'Must Be a Camel' which is mostly structured and involves the entire band. Apparently, the title for this track comes from the large melodic jumps that are in the main melody and how this made the notes on the written manuscript look like camel humps. Again, this is an example of Zappa's 'not-so-apparent' humor in his music.

This album remains a staple in the Zappa catalog and is a great introduction to his fusion music. It should be in every progressive rock library and it sets a lot of standards for this style of music. People can't say they don't usually like Zappa music based on a single facet or style of his music. His style would change from one album to the next. You can be a fan of a style of his music and not so much of a fan of another style. The man, overall, is a musical genius, and anyone with a love or an understanding of music will recognize this. That is why Zappa's music is studied in universities and institutions alongside the music of Bach, Bartok, Gerswin and other music geniuses. Of course, Zappa had some not so great endeavors, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the man understood music and had a desire to make his music known to all people, hence the reason for so many different styles and also for his off-color humor. This album is a great representation of the jazz-fusion style of his music and is an essential album. 5 stars.

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 Have I Offended Someone? by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.25 | 28 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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