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4 stars I dont review many CDs, but I was kind of shocked when I realized this album had no reviews AT ALL! Yeah, it IS a short, almost 'spin off' album of the movie that bares the same title, but I have to say that I feel all the songs on this album are much superior versions to the others available. The main reason to even pick this up is the version of 'Punkys' whips', which I think, is much, much better than the 'Live in New York' version (even though that is my fave Zappa album!). The guitar solo at the end is just amazing. The elaborate use of time changes and layered synths in this song make it almost 'mainstream prog'. Maybe that is why I love it so much.

As for the other songs, they are all good, but 'The black page' is the other stand out (for me). Check out the disk then see the movie and put the faces to the names!!!

Report this review (#60748)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As Richard W said in a previous review for this album, "If you have the Baby Snakes DVD, then you don't really need this CD version", this is very true for this "soundtrack" if you will. In the late 70s and early 80s, Zappa was tirelessly pumping out album after album (most of them double albums, at that), and this was one of those albums. Four years after the film of the same title was released (read my review for that if you want a description of it), Zappa released this album which is essentially highlights from those shows. That said, there were better songs played, but for the most part this is a nice collection of pieces. The musicians are tight and cohesive together, with possibly one of the best lineups that Zappa ever had.

Beginning with an introduction from future Zappa backing guitarist Warren Cuccurullo about his New York shows, it breaks into a ripping version of Baby Snakes (which is essentially the same version from Sheik Yerbouti). Titties 'N Beer has always been a favorite of mine mainly because I love the vocal improvs between Zappa and Bozzio. This version is quite nice, but there are versions of it available. Special credit goes to Adrian Belew who would wear a dress during this part and perform the "female" vocal. I'm quite fond of the version of The Black Page #2, the synthesizers are quite lush and they make up for the missing horns quite well. Visually during this piece they are having a dance contest (which brings some great humor while watching it).

Jones Crusher was never a terribly great track even on Sheik Yerbouti, but I like this one. Belew's vocal is dynamic and Zappa's guitar work is great. Disco Boy might be the only song on this album that I like better than the original version. The original was too guitar driven, and this one has the perfect mix of guitar and great keyboards from Peter Wolf and Tommy Mars. Ed Mann is also a treat on this song. Dinah-Moe-Humm gets a nice sped up version and Zappa really rips through it vocally. The final piece on this album is Punky's Whips, which is one of my all time favorite Zappa songs. This version has no real differences from the other versions of it, except Don Pardo doesn't give the great introduction, and the horns are missing. But other than that, this is a ripping version that has a great Zappa solo at the end.

In the end, this is a nice audio collection, but on the whole the original versions of these songs are better, there are a few exceptions of course (Disco Boy). The other thing is he had a lot better songs to put on here. Where's the Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man medley, San Bern'dino, Black Napkins, or City of Tiny Lites? Other than that, this is a nice collection that is fun and there's a lot of humor here. Good, but not essential. 3/5.

Report this review (#83915)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Arggh! Did you see the movie? Why did they release it this way? Just a half hour? They could've done this so much better. What the world really needs is a double-record of the Halloween 1977 shows! There were tracks that were 10 times better than these! The movie includes 'Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man', a fantastic nine minute 'Black Napkins', a great version of 'San Ber'dino', and ten minutes of jamming on 'City of Tiny Lites' sung by the great Adrian Belew. That's what they should have included on this disc. Instead we get 'Disco Boy' and 'Dinah Moe Humm'. The record isn't a complete disaster. 'Black Page #2' is very good and it segues into 'Jones Crusher', a very underrated Zappa song. But I already had the lithoeroticization of 'Titties 'N' Beer' and 'Punky's Whips' on Zappa in New York. Shame on him!
Report this review (#126682)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In fact, I have seen the DVD of this weird album. As the opening track "Intro Rap" which contains a narration that says Frank Zappa is a mad man, the music offered here is not just weird but also mad. It's basically hard to classify under what category the music of Frank Zappa is, that's why it's totally progressive in nature because there is barely no similarity from one album to another. "Baby Snakes" is a short track which introduces the concept of the whole album with unique and weird music using female and male vocals. "Titties 'n' Beer" is basically another weird music with rude dialogues between Frank Zappa and another man, like an opera. That's Frank Zappa! He delivers the music the way he wants it and nobody can stop him. However as he said it through the dialogue he bluntly said "I have signed for eight f*ing years with Warner!". "The black Page #2" is a complex arrangements with jazz rock style using vibraphone and bass guitar as main instruments, augmented with dynamic drumwork. It's an interesting track for me. "Jones Crusher" runs with fast tempo with vocal line and rhythm section by guitar. "Disco Boy" as you might expect is built around disco music but with unique melody and rhythm section. There are parts with obvious disco music. "Dinah Moe Hum" brings Frank Zappa's voice as main vocal line accompanied with backing vocal and dynamic vibraphone work and dazzling drums and bass guitar work. "Punky's Whips" is the longest song with long narration by Frank Zappa introducing the players of his big band to the audience. This is the best song (my view) offered by this live album especially parts with long guitar solo. It's really stunning!

Overall, it's a unique music, as usual with Frank Zappa. If you don't get used to his music, it might be very hard for you to digest because it contains abrupt changes throughout each track this album offers. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#138544)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This short disc was released when the movie was first released on VHS. The CD was probably meant as a sampler from the movie. No matter, it's still a lot of fun.

Prudes beware, other than the instrumental The Black Page, the disk contains most of the more, how shall I put it, scatological songs from the movie. But who can resist the fun of +!++!es & Beer or the classic Dinah Moe Hum (played at breakneck speed, I might add). And for a while, this was the only version of Punky's Whips on a legitimate release.

Musically, this might not be as complex as many of Zappa's albums, and I would recommend getting the DVD over this, it's still a blast.

Report this review (#308453)
Posted Friday, November 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the soundtrack to a film of performances from the late 70's, and while it's a decent enough listen, it's nowhere near essential. The best performance on here is one of "Titties and Beer," which is a lot of fun but not terribly different from the rendition on Zappa in New York. The least interesting track on here is also from Zappa in New York, in the form of "Punky's Whips." Blah blah blah, "I ain't gay," blah blah blah. It does enter some cool jamming at the very end, but that's hardly enough to make up for the rest of the track.

Much of the rest of the album is also devoted to the smutty side of Frank's writing style. There are faithful renditions of "Jones Crusher" and "Disco Boy," and "Dinah Moe Hum" (which strangely sounds slightly better here than in the original; there's a stronger, less overtly porno cheese groove here than there) features Frank grabbing a guy from the audience and making him dance and lip synch while Frank performs. There's a quick runthrough of "Baby Snakes" (is this the exact same studio version as before?), a decent runthrough of "The Black Page #2," and ... crap, that's it, except for an "intro rap" at the beginning. Gosh this album is short.

Basically, this album is a nice little historical curio, but while I do enjoy it, it's not essential. Get it if you find it cheap, but don't expect anything from it that you can't already get elsewhere.

Report this review (#377478)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This 'Baby Snakes' album is really a partial soundtrack of the DVD recording of the concert that this music comes from. Even though the concert is great, full of energy and great and hilarious music and other antics, and the music on this CD reflects that, the CD is not even 40 minutes long. Yeah, it's a good reflection of the concert, but you would be better off either getting the DVD, which is excellent, by the way, or getting the 2012 CD release which contains the music from the entire DVD. So, this CD is now pretty much obsolete, but collectors will still be interested in it.

So anyway, the CD is well produced and recorded, the music is great, but it is now pretty much obsolete. Also, the CD version has an Intro Rap which is not available on the LP version. The Intro Rap relives the story of how Warren Cuccurillo got to be introduced to FZ and eventually be part of the band. It segues right into 'Baby Snakes', which happens to be the exact same version as the one on the 'Shiek Yerbouti' album, just in an edited version. However, the 'Intro Rap' is not on the 'Shiek Yerbouti' album, so there you go. Confused yet?

Anyway, the antics and music continue on after this, reflecting a very enthusiastic and well done show, which is much better reflected in the DVD version. The CD does include the part of the devil played by Terry Bozzio in the hilarious adaptation of 'T*tties and Beer', the outstanding and nearly impossible to perform performance of 'Black Page #2' which is a song that was originally a drum solo that FZ rearranged for the full band, resulting in a manuscript page that was nearly black from all of the notes on it, hence the name, you also get to hear Adrian Belew (later from King Crimson) in action along with Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio, Peter Wolf and all of the other excellent band members. This is one of FZ's tightest band line-ups, which makes this performance that much more enjoyable and exciting to watch.

So, yes it's a good performance, but you would be better off getting the DVD or the newly reissued full performance on audio. This particular CD is obsolete and short, let alone the fact that it is only partial. So unfortunately, I can only give this one a rating for collectors only, but you should get yourself hooked up with one of the other available releases because this is an excellent performance, essential for any Zappa fan or anyone curious about his performances as it is a great example of Zappa in a live setting.

Report this review (#2036349)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | Review Permalink

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