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Frank Zappa - Cucamonga (1962 - 1964) CD (album) cover

CUCAMONGA (1962 - 1964)

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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2 stars Well what could you expect from this record are musics from the begining of the 60s but with a strange touch, here we have romantic songs, funny songs, beach songs, this record is not bad but maybe interest only for fans or when you come home drunk thinking about a girl...
Report this review (#30295)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This stuff doesn't really sound like Zappa. I guess, since he only produced much of it, it's not really Zappa. Most of these tracks would fall into the surf and novelty genres. It's not at all bad. I do enjoy listening to it. And it is interesting in a historical background sort of way. It's just not what we've come to love and expect from FZ. One interesting bit of trivia: The brief surf music snippet heard on We're Only In It For The Money comes from one of these tracks.
Report this review (#30296)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here's a compilation made for the real Zappa freaks. If you've read any Zappa biography that goes through those "Cucamonga" years, there are big chances that you'll enjoy listening to this. I, personally, read the book "Zappa" from Barry Miles and a lot of songs from "Cucamonga" are mentioned in his book. In any other cases, especially if you don't really know Zappa, I don't think you should care about listening to "Cucamonga".
Report this review (#97887)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
TCat
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Team
2 stars This is simply a collection of recordings that Frank Zappa either performed in or produced. On the songs he performed on, he usually played guitar and provided low bass harmony. The songs are from various groups he had some kind of relationship with way before he produced his debut Mothers of Invention album named "Freak Out!". FZ loved these doo wop and novelty songs and this is the type of music he released with these band that included The Penguins, Baby Ray & the Ferns, Mr. Clean, The Hollywood Persuaders and many others.

This compilation album was released twice, once in 1998 and reissued with additional tracks and a different track order in 2004. I believe both issues are hard to find now. There were other compilations out there that featured the doo wop era and it's hard to find any of them. As FZ started recording his Mothers and his solo albums, he would revisit doo wop and r&b several times and you can hear that influence in many of the "Freak Out!" songs as many of them are in the doo wop style and some of them were revised and released on the "Cruisin' with Ruben and the Jets" album which was performed and released while the original Mothers were together. If you are interested in FZ's doo wop style, that would be the album I would recommend, but if you want a taste of the original doo wop songs released before FZ's rise to fame, then this would be the best collection. Approach it with an open mind as you would any FZ release.

So there some hit and misses here. The collection starts off and end with the worst of the bunch: "Dear Jeepers" and "Letters from Jeepers". These tracks are plain awful and stupid. But there are some excellent doo wop songs here too like "Memories of El Monte", "Everytime I See You", the instrumental surf rock tracks "Tiajanna Surf" and "Grunion Run" and several others. I believe there is overall more good than bad tracks, but the music will only appeal to 2 groups of people: doo wop and novelty music lovers and Frank Zappa collectors/completionists, so for that reason this album gets 2 stars. No prog, no guitar solos, a little comedy, and a lot of 50s-60s style music. Also good for music history buffs.

Report this review (#1322437)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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