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Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong In Music? CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



2.79 | 66 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Of all the Zappa videos available, this is probably my least favorite. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a terribly awful video, it's just it doesn't show Zappa as a musician, but more as a comedian. There are moments here and there where he really lets loose on guitar, but for the most part this set is just for the comedy numbers and the ones that are supposed to make you laugh. In the end, though, I was never terribly fond of the album that is toured for this video (Them or Us) and the material played here from that album doesn't really change my opinion either. The audio quality is a usual Zappa affair, nicely balanced and everyone gets a little piece of the mix. The video, though, is not to the best quality that it can be, it feels a bit low-budget in my opinion.

Anyway, this concert (although it's only parts of it) focuses mainly on the funnier and more obscene songs in the Zappa catalogue and most of the songs are less than 4 minutes in length. Because of this there is a lot of material played within the 50 minutes from a wide variety of albums. It opens nicely with a cool rendition of Zoot Allures with an (pun intended) alluring Zappa guitar solo. After that, expect short pieces that focus mainly on vocals and little instrumental snippets. Tinseltown Rebellion gets a rousing version here with some nice interplay between Thunes and Martin. It's one of the better pieces on the entire video, really good stuff here. Trouble Everyday and Hot Plate at the Green Hotel follow with some nice vocal harmonies from Ike Willis and Ray White, but nothing more than that.

The Dangerous Kitchen is a song that Zappa shouldn't have ever played live, in my opinion. It's such a disatrous song that Zappa should have kept it on the studio album where it gets a zanier and more enjoyable presenation. Some of the You Are What You Is material here is somewhat decent, but I wasn't too fond of that album, either. The best songs following Zoot Allures are Bobby Brown Goes Down, which has always been a favorite of mine, Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?, another favorite, and Cosmik Debris, which is always a fun song when played in the live realm. Everything else, though, is a bit underwhelming and I'm not terribly impressed with the presentation. The live interview segments with Zappa act as little interludes between the music, and they offer a little humor from Zappa with his comments and his cynical sense of humor.

In the end, Does Humor Belong in Music? Yes, it does. Is this a great video? Not a great video, but there are some redeeming moments in it. If you want to see Zappa as a musician and not a comedian, you may want to steer clear of this video, as there are two other videos that more than show his musical talents. I would get this video last if you are a collector, but if you're a fan of this type of Zappa and this era of Zappa, you may also find some enjoyment out of it. Overall, though, Baby Snakes is a better video in terms of comedy and in musicianship and pretty much everything else. Not bad, but not terribly great. 2.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 2/5 |


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