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Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.11 | 64 ratings

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5 stars When Frank Zappa put together the guitar solos that would appear on the 3 LP series, he never thought they were going to be as well received as they were, so they were originally only available through mail order. What ended up happening was that they were so popular with the critics and fans, that it would eventually lead to the separate LPs to be released together in a box set and also inspired several other guitar-solo albums in the years to come. These are all showcases of Frank's guitar talent, not for humorous purposes or to show off the talents of other band members. People that come into this listening for funny moments will be disappointed, but they will also not be people who understand the depth of Zappa's talent, that there is more than just crude humor in his music. There is also a serious side, and that side has a lot of heart and soul. You can be a fan of his humorous music without being a fan of his serious music, classical or rock, and that goes both ways, but you can't be a Frank Zappa fan unless you understand and appreciate all sides, like them or not.

Collection #2 in this original series was called "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More". There really isn't anything that separates the second collection from the first except for the actual solos. It's just a continuation of the same idea, most of the tracks were guitar solos that were edited out of a longer live performance. Frank would improvise a different way each time, even when the same song was played in a different concert, so each time you would get a unique performance. He took what he thought was some of his best performances and segued them all together into these collections. Unfortunately, due to a printing error, the early copies mixed up the titles so that the first two albums titles were switched, which ended up causing some confusion.

This collection begins with the humorously named "Variations on the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression". The story behind the title on this one comes from an idea by Arthur Barrow (bass player for Zappa during this time) during a show where Santana was the opening act. Barrow said maybe they should do a "Santana" take off using the riff from "Evil Ways" that goes from a G minor to C chord, and Zappa thought they should do it in "City of Tiny Lights". Much to everyone's surprise, Frank did that the same night. He was so impressed with that idea and the solo, that he put that solo as the opening track on this collection. The show that it comes from is at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium during the late show on December 11, 1980. On this solo, Zappa uses a technique where you fret the notes with your left hand and fret them with the pick in your right hand, which he learned from Jim Gordon. He ended up calling it the Bulgarian Bagpipe technique, which he also uses in the next track "Gee, I Like Your Pants", which is a solo from the performance of "Inca Roads" at London on February 18, 1979. In this solo, Frank suddenly decides to play the melody to Wooly Bully except a quarter note off played at half the speed of the band's foundation.

The basic idea for "Canarsie" comes from a jam session at Warren Cuccurullo's (plays the electric sitar on this track) house with some friends. This performance comes from Hammersmith Odeon in London on February 19, 1979 with overdubs done in studio. The sitar and Zappa's technique makes for a unique sound and style, one that only could be done in a Zappa solo. "Ship Ahoy" is a name that Zappa used for a unique sounding solo that he did in many venues, each time sounding different, but always using a voltage control filter. This give the guitar an echoing and almost "nasal" effect that sounds really great. This track is taken from an extended coda from "Zoot Allures" at Osaka Japan on February 3, 1976. He uses this solo on the "Lather" album for the track "A Little Green Rosetta" and also under the same name with some overdubs on the album "Quaudiophiliac". Dweezil also used in on the collection he put together "Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa".

"The Deathless Horsie" is one of Zappa's more beautiful solos which uses a consistent yet complex vibe riff which he solos over in a different meter. This performance is again from the Hammersmith Odeon on February 19, 1979. Similar sounding solos under the same name are also on the "Halloween" and "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1" live albums, but are different performances, the former being added on to the performance of "Black Napkins". This is a personal favorite of mine. The next track is the title track "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More". This one is a guitar solo taken from the performance of "Inca Roads" at the same venue one day earlier during the early show. Once you know the source of this guitar solo, you can easily pick out the "Inca Roads" theme that Zappa builds off of at the beginning of this track and alludes to throughout the solo.

The last track on this collection is "Pink Napkins", taken from the guitar solo of "Black Napkins", again at the Hammersmith Odeon, but this time a few years earlier on February 17, 1977. The engineer on this track was listed only as Alan P. who many thought was Alan Parsons for several years. Even though Alan Parsons did take outside engineering gigs at the time, he couldn't remember this particular concert. Later, it was determined it was actually Alan Perkins, who worked for the studio at the time (just an interesting side note). Again, knowing the source of the guitar solo gives a point of reference, and makes it all more interesting in my opinion. This is a nice, mellow sounding track, and you can hear the vamp from "Black Napkins" through it all.

I find that these guitar albums become much more interesting when you know the source. The tracks start to sound more individual giving them a personality. I also feel there is a lot more of this individuality in this collection than the first. Writing these reviews, I hope that it will also help shed some light on these albums, making them easier to listen to and appreciate. Bringing back the history of each track of this album gives it a new life, and learning these things helped me enjoy it much more in that the album is not just "one solo after another", but are actually individual songs with different personalities. Then you start to understand how amazing Frank Zappa was not only in his musicianship, but in his versatility, even in his guitar solos. Out of all of his guitar solo albums, this one is my favorite.

TCat | 5/5 |


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