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Frank Zappa - Guitar CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.40 | 145 ratings

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2 stars This album is simply a collection of guitar solos taken out of the context of the concert and the main song and renamed and pasted together so that you get over 2 hours of FZ jamming on the guitar. Each track is melded together and starts when the solo starts and ends before the band returns to the main melody again. The way these solos are presented makes for a somewhat painful listening experience if you are not a lover of FZ's solos. If that is all you want to hear without any context to the song they are being performed in, then you are in luck because this is wall to wall guitar. Or if you are a guitar student and want to hear what amazing things FZ can do on the guitar, then this is for you. Or if you are a completionist, then you must have it I suppose. However, if you want something entertaining or enjoyable to listen to, then there are many other FZ collections and recordings that are much better. To the layman, this will sound like a continuous guitar jam, which is basically what it is, but taken out of context like it is and pasted together as one jam after another, it takes all of the character out of the solo and sounds too much the same all the way through. So, in other words, for me at least, this is very hard to listen to in a single sitting. Little bits at a time, it isn't quite so bad.

The linear notes on this collection tell you the concert venues and dates (but they are not always correct) and it also tells you what performance (or the name of the song) the solo was taken from. If you are familiar with FZ's jamming songs, then these notes will be of some value and will help return some of the character of the jam as long as you can imagine the context that it was taken from. Many of the tracks are taken from performances of "Ride My Face to Chicago", "Black Napkins", "Let's Move to Cleveland", "Black Page", "Zoot Allures", "City of Tiny Lights" and so on. There are a few of the tracks that do stand out a bit, like "Ina-Gadda-Stravinsky" which takes the hook from the Iron Butterfly song as the base for the jam and includes the opening notes from the bassoon line of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and if you listen close you'll hear "Taps" played by the bass further into the song. This is one of the highlights of the album. There is a great solo taken from a performance of Gregg Allman's "Whipping Post" called "For Duane" in remembrance of Duane Allman who originally played the guitar solo for that song. There are other great solos that stand out in this mish-mash of solos, but you will only catch them if you are a careful listener and most of these get lost as it is hard to make a point of reference unless you are following closely along.

Zappa hardcore fans will be interested to note that the track entitled "Outside Now" is named after the track on Joe's Garage of the same name. However, the jam is not taken from a live performance of that song, the jam comes from a performance of "City of Tiny Lights" which was the original song where the "Outside Now" track was based on in Joe's Garage. There are little secrets like that here that wouldn't mean much to a regular listener. This album just does not hold a lot of appeal for the person that wants to explore FZ's discography, even if they are only interested in his guitar work. You are better off getting "Zappa Plays Zappa" or listening to some of his better albums like "Zoot Allures" or any number of live albums where he was likely to play extended jams.

Personally, I can only recommend this to hardcore fans, especially fans of FZ's guitar work who are more familiar with his repertoire. As such, I can only rate this with 2 stars. It's just not a collection that's easy to sit through, even for a Zappa fan like myself.

TCat | 2/5 |


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