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


Frank Zappa



3.40 | 344 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars the music's revenge

If memory serves, Chunga is the album that follows Hot Rats and also a Zappa "solo" album and seems to take some example on its predecessor, because this album is much more instrumental compared to his other works than Rats. With a rather sober artwork (but showing Francesco in an soporific mood, yawn), the main crime partners are Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood and drummer Ainsley Dunbar, but not yet in his best Jawaka/Wazoo form. There is a small text explaining the "camp fire in the forest" artwork gracing the album's inside and it relates loosely with some tracks of the album.

Opening on an obvious jam excerpts, Transylvania Boogie could easily fit on Rats, as it is close to the instrumental jazz-rock that is Rats' "fond de commerce". Road Ladies is a fairly standard blues track, where Frank has its guitar orgasming on the said ladies. Twenty Small Cigars is more like a standard jazz tune, if it wasn't again for Frank's delightful string caressing, but Nancy & Mary Music is a dissonant live track that veers into a small drum solo in its middle section, before coming back to reality and then veering very weirdly dissonant and ending in a drumming quagmire. The A-side closes on the rockiest tell You Love Me.

The flipside opens on the rockiest Go All The Way, much like the other side closed. The title track is a very pleasing jazz-rock instrumental that could find space on Rats, followed by Frank catching the Clap from his percussion instruments before going silly (almost clown-esque) on Rudy Wants To, a bit of a return to previous works. The closing Sharleena is almost a soul piece that border on doo-wop, but nothing like his earlier 50's music obsession.

This is an ideal point of entry for discovery of the Zappa World as this is not too absurd and might not turn off beginners. This is about life on the road and is full of humour, but avoids the dumb sketches that ruined his earlier works, while the music is not too over the top, but sufficiently interesting to grasp Francesco's musical genius.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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