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Frank Zappa Joe's Garage, Acts II & III album cover
3.97 | 505 ratings | 11 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Token of My Extreme (5:30)
2. Stick It Out (4:34)
3. Sy Borg (8:54)
4. Dong Work for Yuda (5:03)
5. Keep It Greasey (8:21)
6. Outside Now (5:49)
7. He Used to Cut the Grass (8:35)
8. Packard Goose (11:31)
9. Watermelon in Easter Hay (9:05)
10. A Little Green Rosetta (8:16)

Total Time: 75:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / lead guitar, vocals, arranger, conductor & producer

- Ike Willis / lead vocals
- Al Malkin / vocals & chorus vocals
- Dale Bozzio / vocals & chorus vocals
- Geordie Hormel / chorus vocals
- Barbara Issak / chorus vocals
- Terry Bozzio / vocals
- Warren Cuccurullo / rhythm guitar, vocals & chorus vocals
- Denny Walley / slide guitar, vocals
- Tommy Mars / keyboards
- Peter Wolf / keyboards
- Craig Steward / harmonica
- Earl Dumler ("Marginal Chagrin") / baritone sax
- Jeff Hollie / tenor sax
- Bill "Stumuk" Nugent / bass sax
- Arthur Barrow / bass, vocals
- Patrick O'Hearn / bass (6,7)
- Vinnie Colaiuta / drums
- Ed Mann / percussion, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Norm Seef (photo) with John Williams (art direction)

2xLP Zappa Records ‎- SRZ-2-1502 (1979, US)
2xCD Rykodisc ‎- RCD 10060/61 (1987, US) Bundled with Joe's Garage Act I, all remastered (see details on own entry in Compilations)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts II & III Music

FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts II & III ratings distribution

(505 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FRANK ZAPPA Joe's Garage, Acts II & III reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another double LP: the continuity of the "Joe's garage Act I" album, again with many of the Frank's vocal intervention as the Central Scrutinizer. This album has many excellent guitar solos, among the best Zappa's solos, sounding a bit like on the "Wet-T shirt" song: "Keep it greasey" contains such an outstanding combination of excellent long guitar solo, tons of fast drums and a catchy & fast popping bass. The guitar solo on "He Used to Cut the Grass" is absolutely delightful, but the best solo is on the next track "Packard Goose": along with "Black Napkins" (Zoot allures), this solo makes the history, with its unbelievable wah-wah effects. "Packard Goose" is also an excellent 11 minutes song: very catchy, full of rhythm & melody changes and excellent lead & backing vocals (even Dale Bozzio has its place!). The reggae & relax "Sy Borg" is about having sexual gratification by a robot. "Watermelon in Easter hay" has a perfect Oriental-like, echoed & atmospheric guitar sound: Zappa REALLY takes care of his sound here! The last track "Little green rosetta" has a party ambience: full of pleasant & childish xylophone and party vocals, you make it play while you eat a barbecue T-bone during a hot night of July: do not forget to turn on the multicolor plastic lights laying on the lawn! Some tracks are more ordinary, like "Outside Now", "A Token of My Extreme" and "Dong Work for Yuda". I you look for a Frank Zappa at his best on guitar, then this record is the right one!
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The stunning middle and conclusion to Frank Zappa's epic Joe's Garage series is a lot like Act I. Very guitar oriented, very blunt and to the point, and very technically complicated. From the 5/4 sections of Keep it Greasey, to the blistering guitar solo of Watermelon in Easter Hay, Acts II and III do not disappoint. Frank Zappa keeps the same crew of personnel this time around, but now has Terry Bozzio in on drums as well as Vinnie Colaiuta. Spot on performances and spot on vocals are highlights of this part of the story.

The Central Scrutinizer continues the tale in this section of the story, in which Joe is now in prison doing work to get by without getting sexually assaulted. Soon he imagines his own song, and then laments over the decisions he has made in life. Finally, he is released and decides to work in the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. Highlight tracks are Packard Goose, which has an outstanding vocal line, great guitar and bass play, and some awesome alternating time signatures during the verses. Watermelon in Easter Hay is a guitarist's dream, a 9 minute guitar solo that goes through all the motions, evolving and unevolving into a brilliant and emotional piece of work. And the finale, Little Green Rosetta, with its party atmosphere and a great ramble in the middle from Uncle Frank himself.

Overall, I feel that not only does this album surpass Act I, it totally exceeded my expectations of what Frank Zappa could do with his music. This is a masterpiece of an album in my opinion, and no one should miss it. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, and some might find it too crude to listen to, but to me it cannot get any better than Joe's Garage Acts II and III. 5/5.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars This album gets a three star rating for the same reason that Act I does: you need the compilation of all three acts together for the true experience of this story.

On its own, Acts II & III is a pretty good Zappa album, beginning with some very odd tunes and then exploding into full-blown progressive songs the like of which still remind me to Zappa's 1969 magnum opus, Hot Rats. We've got some commercial sorts of songs early on, but on the whole, this is complicated (and very weird; at least, more so than usual) music from Frank, and so it's certainly worth looking into if that's your favorite side of the man. However, without Act I, this album is fairly weak and incomplete. Not only is the story unfinished, but the musical styles present in the first release add so much build up and cleverness to the music in Acts II & III.

Again, I'm going to borrow my words from my review of the compilation, to save you time:

Act II begins with A Token of My Extreme, where Joe is visiting the Church of Appliantology. The second act features slightly longer songs, a few more progressive bits, and more jamming. Also, Act II features the most explicit lyrics on the whole shebang, possibly in Zappa history. The strongest track here is Keep It Greasey, a rather unpleasantly-lyricked track with absolutely inhuman bass. Plus, we get a particularly long guitar solo over some strange time signature that I can't count out because I'm not good at math. Act II, I think, on the whole, is the weakest of the three.

The last act is only four songs, but here Frank stretches the songs out, building massive jams for the first three. Packard Goose features a wonderful, twisting guitar solo for a good portion of its length--the song is streamable from this site. Watermelon in Easter Hay is my personal favorite, featuring a lovely clean solo played in 9/4 time or something. I think. Did I mention that I'm not good at math? Anyways, the final song, A Little Green Rosetta, is a rather random concluding band jam with a lot of folks singing the title over and over again. It's fun, and I suppose Frank couldn't have ended the album in any better of a way.

A good album, but denied its possibly deserved fourth star on account of you should buy the compilation of all three acts. It's the only way to properly listen to and enjoy this release.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A deranged high school play.

Joe's Garage is an amazing piece of work, Zappa really outdid himself with this.

Acts II and III are way better than Act I but I still have some small troubles with it for the same reason. The vulgarity. Now, Act III isn't really vulgar it's the most progressive act but Act II is extremely vulgar. It's funny at first but it just grows into something that I can't really handle...

All that aside, the playing on this album by Zappa is darn near his best and you have to love that. On pretty much every song the guitar solo is either emotional or stunning or sometimes both (like Watermelon In Easter Hay). The concept is a funny/serious one so there is a good mix of humor and "serious business" involved.

The songs on Act II are all wonderfully catchy and the ones on Act III are downright epic. Take your pick.

4 Stars everybody, hope you don't mind a little (lot) dirty humor.

"And for those of you in the 4th world where life is really hard, keep the record going by rubbing two sticks together..."

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars If Joe's Garage really were a live musical, I would walk out in the third act.

The first two acts are amazing, but this last disc drops the ball so staggeringly that I was genuinely let down. The sardonic wit which worked so well in the first disc misfires here completely, given that the first 13 minutes are about prison-rape, and the remaining songs don't advance the story in any worthwhile way. The lyrics are scatter-brained and unfocused, as the meandering songwriting. The satirical pop feel of the first two acts vanish entirely, and the art-rock style doesn't work as well with the timbre of Zappa's playing or vocals here.

That being said, there are some instrumental highlights which caught my eye-- though mostly because they were the fey bright spots in this release. "Keep it Greasy" has some funktastic bass work and a groovy jam section, while most tunes feature very smooth, extended Zappa guitar soloing, which isquite satisfying. However, these are scarce compensation for vacuous song-writing. If Zappa could read a review like this (which I am sure he never would), he'd probably laugh and say something snarky... but I know entertaining music when I hear it, and Joe's Garage Part 3 isn't.

Readers should note that the first two acts are contained on a single disc in the compilation of Joe's Garage, which is the way to go if you're interested in checking out this album; this third act isn't irredeemable, but I can almost garuantee that the first disc will see much more play then this one.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Latest members reviews

5 stars The story continues... Act II starts with A Token of My Extreme. Joe goes to a new church called "The first church of applientology." This is making fun of new religions. In this religion, they believe humans should have sexual relations with appliances. The spiritual leader tells Joe he need ... (read more)

Report this review (#1577171) | Posted by A_Flower | Thursday, June 9, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion some of the coolest Zappa songs can be found on here, Act's 2 and 3 of this fantastic concept release, although at this point in the album it does to drag on a bit and i think a couple of the songs could have been cut down a couple of minutes (Watermelon in Easter Hay is basically a ... (read more)

Report this review (#289290) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Joe's Garage was perhaps the FZ album that got me convinced that I had to be a Zappa follower! It's possibly the funniest album I have ever heard. Zappa as The Central Scrutinizer is simply genius. A lot of guitar soloing is on this album with Zappa depicting the main character Joe who is a guit ... (read more)

Report this review (#170142) | Posted by Devnoy | Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Frank Zappa's follow up to Joe's Garage Act I, released the same year, was a bit dryer in my opinion. There's very little jazz, no "Grand Wazoo" style big band songs, and the songwriting is a bit less interesting. In other releases, Zappa would throw in countless sudden changes, hooks, progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#132264) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Uncle Frank continues the story of Joe and Mary (Joseph and Mary?) and scores some major musical points along the way. Acts 2 & 3 carry on in the vein mined in Act 1. Tight band, pointed lyrics and some great soloing from Zappa combines with some stereotypical Zappa "oddness" to make up the se ... (read more)

Report this review (#35251) | Posted by | Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This review applies to the firs act too: a real masterpiece, great songs, many different styles masterfully arranged and perform, a successful blend between the mood of the music and the mood of the lyrics (sometimes whith the contrast of musical grandiosity and soap-opera situation of the ch ... (read more)

Report this review (#30269) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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