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Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set) CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.87 | 130 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Box Set, contains the whole Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar Trilogy. Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More and Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, it's all here in this box set.

The amount of musicians that worked with Frank Zappa is staggering. Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Ed Mann on percussion, Eddie Jobson on keyboards, Steve Vai on rhythm guitar, French virtuoso violinist Jean-Luc Ponty on well.. the violin, Ike Willis on rhythm guitar, Arthur Barrow on bass guitar, Terry Bozzio on drums, Warren Cuccurullo on guitar and sitar, Roy Estrada on bass, Bob Harris on keyboards, Andre Lewis on keyboards, Patrick O'Hearn on bass and wind instruments, Denny Walley on rhythm guitar, Peter Wolf on keyboards and finally Ray White on rhythm guitar duties. A line up of very accomplished musicians, no doubts about that what so ever.

five-five-FIVE is the crazy opening track, named because one of the signature features of the song is the use of 2 bars of 5/4 and one bar of 5/8. It's pretty crazy, and I always picture some sort of spy on a mission in my head when I hear this song. Whether that was the intention, I don't know for sure, but nonetheless pretty cool anyway. Unfortunately, I didn't find the rest of the songs that were originally on the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar to be particularly appealing.

Variation on the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression is an amusing name for a song, even if the song itself isn't particularly amusing. A good song nonetheless. I liked the fretboard pick tapping licks on Gee I like Your Pants, not a common guitar technique at the time, so pretty cool to be able to hear that from Zappa. After that I was particularly fond of the rest of the songs that were originally on Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More. They seemed to kind of just wonder a bit aimlessly and some of the improvisation, much like the stuff from the first set of songs from Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, is hit and miss. The opening words on Canarsie make me laugh every single time, but the rest of the song just grates on my nerves really.

The Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar is fortunately where the box set really begins to pick up. A much better sense of band dynamics here, which means the songs are overall, more satisfying and interesting to listen to.

Vinnie Colaiuta's drum work throughout, really captured my attention, enough so sometimes I would focus on the drum parts more than the other instruments.

Beat it with Your Fist, is an amusing title, with some occasional almost random bass tapping thrown through the track for more humor content, but not in way that negatively impacted how I felt about the song. That and combined with almost indecipherable conversation at the end, really add a touch of light heartedness to the proceedings.

Frank's playing on Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (the song) range from faster, more furious licks, to quieter moments and all in between, so he establishes a good dynamic range throughout. The rhythm section is strong, and keeps the listeners interest more so than I expected.

Pinocchio's Furniture, again, has an odd off kilter title, that will either have you feel amused or just plain confused. What is has to do with the actual song itself, I have no idea, but perhaps it's all the more amusing for it.

Why Johnny Can't Read is another odd title (A theme throughout this box set perhaps), with Frank playing around with different scales and modes to create some more tension and maintain more listener interest. Some not bad at all bass playing from Arthur Barrow is displayed throughout that song too, and can only help make the song more enjoyable.

Stucco Homes is the highlight of the FRANK ZAPPA Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Box Set experience. Great emotional range, great dynamics, and combined with a true band feel, makes it a winner. Frank's playing is for the most part, consistently on the money here.

Canard du Jour has Frank Zappa on the bouzouki and Jean-Luc Ponty as the only other musician to play on this song and what a great song it is, if perhaps not as good as the previous track. It's great to see Frank experimenting with other instruments on what is mainly a guitar instrumental trilogy.

It has it's rough moments, but also some great moments too. For the great songs, listen closely and there are hidden delights throughout. The rough moments are unfortunately, preventing me from seeing this as something that will have broad appeal, but it will certainly appeal to many guitarists and many Zappa fans.

A solid effort indeed.

Petrovsk Mizinski | 3/5 |


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