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Frank Zappa - Guitar CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.38 | 126 ratings

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3 stars I kinda get the feeling that any edition of this kind of album from Frank, unless something made it exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, would almost automatically get a high *** from me. This is a 2-CD successor to the Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar set from several years earlier, and here as there it's just one guitar solo after another. Here, as there, no context is given for the solos (though the title of one betrays that it comes from a performance of "Whipping Post"), and just as with the previous set, I absolutely cannot get through this in one setting. Once again, though, this absolutely works as a collection of individual performances.

The biggest difference between this and the previous set comes from the obvious: that set featured performances done with Frank's 70's bands, while this set features performances done with Frank's 80's bands. The 80's version of Zappa live was generally louder, more abrasive and more technophilian than the 70's version of Zappa live, and this set reflects that amply. Frank's playing style is essentially the same here as there, but there's more emphasis on noises and effects that weren't demonstrated on Shut Up. I would tend to say that a lot of the solos on here could easily pass for heavy metal solos, only more experimental on the whole. For that reason and others, I could actually see the possibility of somebody enjoying Shut Up and disliking this, but I can't really buy that. The relative weaknesses of Zappa's 80's live shows came from plenty of factors that had nothing to do with his guitar playing; if anything, his guitar playing was often what saved the day.

Some particularly memorable performances come from three tracks: "In-a-Gadda- Stravinsky" (where Frank starts off with the opening theme of "The Rite of Spring" before going in other directions, while the bass player plays the "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" riff), "Watermelon in Easter Hay" (not identical to the gloriously beautiful original, but a good listen regardless), and "For Duane" (taken from "Whipping Post," as mentioned before). Oh, and the opening Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace could actually pass for a regular 'song' on a regular Zappa live album. Other than that, none of the performances really stand out as either especially good or especially bad. They just kind of feed on one other, creating a good overall effect.

And thus they make a good overall album. Again, very few people will have any chance of suriving a listen to this from start to finish, but as music to randomly interspere with other tracks from your collection, it's totally worthy. I definitely recommend it.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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