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Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge CD (album) cover

CHUNGA'S REVENGE

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.40 | 334 ratings

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TCat
4 stars Chunga's Revenge is an important album in Zappa's history for a few reasons. First, it is the 3rd solo album by Frank (the Mothers aren't mentioned in the titles). Second, it is the first album with Flo and Eddie, who would appear in many of FZ's albums in this period of his career. Flo and Eddie are not my favorite Zappa sidekicks in that some of their antics and vocals are very annoying to me and take away the focus from Zappa's real music. It's not that I don't appreciate the humor in Zappa's music, I just don't like Flo and Eddie's delivery. But I must say that whenever I hear "Happy Together" being piped through the muzak system in a retail store, while the shoppers are "rocking" along to the happy melody, I'm laughing to myself. Even though that particular joke isn't explored on this album, it will be in "Live at Fillmore East" and a few other albums.

Anyway, more about this album. It is kind of a hodgepodge of FZ music. The main style of music on this one (because it does change on each album) is more blues oriented rock. But, you actually get quite a variety of styles here from avant-garde to soul music and a few excellent high quality instrumentals along the way. There is also a combination of live and studio takes here (as there are in a lot of Zappa's albums). The editing here isn't quite as good as it would be on later albums. However, this one is a lot of fun and it is a good way to get a taste of all of FZ's styles. The other good thing about this one is, you get to hear some early jamming and Frank keeps Flo and Eddie reigned in on this album, so I feel it is one of the best from that era.

It's also fun to hear the crowd reaction to the on stage antics. It makes you want to be there to see what's going on. Most of the humor on this is music oriented, but there are some silly lyrics too. The tracks are "Transylvaina Boogie" which I feel is one of FZ's most accessible guitar solos, "Road Ladies" which features lyrics about groupies, which would become a favorite topic during this era, "Twenty Small Cigars" a short serious jazzy instrumental, "Nancy and Mary Music" which is more avant garde but also has a lot of styles throughout and even some fun scatting going on (this is where most of the musical humor is), the terrible version of "Tell Me You Love Me", followed by the fun and excellent (but short) "Would You Go All the Way", the excellent instrumental "Chunga's Revenge" featuring more great Zappa soloing, which follows directly into the short percussive solo "The Clap", and then followed with a couple average vocal tracks. It ends a little weak, but overall it is an entertaining album considering the era that it came out in.

Not the best, but a good representation of Frank's styles and an album of some significance in the history of Zappa. I enjoy it for the most part. I think it is an excellent addition to my FZ vinyl collection, at least and one of the best from the Flo and Eddie period.

TCat | 4/5 |

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