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FRANK ZAPPA

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Frank Zappa biography
Frank Vincent ZAPPA - December 12, 1940 (Baltimore, USA) / December 4, 1993 (Los Angeles, USA)

When he was 10 years old, he moved to California with his parents. The first instrument he played was the drums. At that time, Frank ZAPPA really liked rhythm and blues music. But in 1954, ZAPPA found a copy of "The Complete Works Of Edgar Varèse, Vol. One". He was fascinated by the 'weird' avant-garde pieces and it was probably also ZAPPA's first encounter with atonal compositions, something that would later reappear in his own music. During high school, he played in several garage bands, but he didn't write rock and roll music himself until his early twenties. He began writing classical music at 18. Some of his early compositions he wrote for the B-films "The World's Greatest Sinner" and "Run Home Slow" (written by his high school English teacher). You can find the theme from "Run Home Slow" on the "The Lost Episodes" and "The Mystery Disc". From 1962 'til 1964, ZAPPA wrote several songs for different bands (You can find those songs on "Cucamonga" and "For Collectors Only"). In 1964 ZAPPA entered THE SOUL GIANTS. He renamed the band THE MOTHERS (which was a subtle abbreviation of 'motherfuckers') and soon after the band caught the attention of producer Tom Wilson. THE MOTHERS were contracted by the Verve-division of MGM and after they had changed their name into THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION (to satisfy some MGM Records executives, who thought the other name was too provocative), they released 'Freak Out!', the second double-album ever (after Bob DYLAN's "Blonde On Blonde") and also what is said to be the first concept album ever. This milestone contained a strange mix of rhythm and blues, satyrical lyrics and avant-garde dissonance. With this first edition of THE MOTHERS, Frank ZAPPA recorded a number of progressive rock masterpieces. All of his records from the sixties are fantastic, except for "Cruising With Ruben & The Jets", which is a satiric tribute to doo-wop music. Worth mentioning is the fabulous "We're Only In It For The Money", on which ZAPPA ridicules the hippie-culture in general, and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from THE BEATLES in particular. The entire sleeve of "We're Only In It For The Money" is a parody on that record. On August 20, 1969, ZAPPA disbanded THE MOTHERS. The most important members of the early MOTHERS OF INVENTION had been Frank ZAPPA (guitar, vocals, much more) Ray COLLINS (vocals), Jimmy Carl BLACK (the ind...
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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Music


Orchestral Favorites 40th Anniversary [3 CD]Orchestral Favorites 40th Anniversary [3 CD]
UMe 2019
$33.57
Hot RatsHot Rats
Zappa Records 2012
$5.19
$5.00 (used)
Zappa In New York [40th Anniversary][5 CD]Zappa In New York [40th Anniversary][5 CD]
Zappa Records 2019
$71.58
$58.80 (used)
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III [2 CD]
Zappa Records 2012
$8.37
$7.39 (used)
Apostrophe (')Apostrophe (')
Zappa Records 2012
$5.09
$6.43 (used)
The Grand WazooThe Grand Wazoo
Zappa Records 2012
$5.18
$5.00 (used)
Apostrophe [LP]Apostrophe [LP]
Zappa Records 2014
$20.76
$12.88 (used)
Over-nite SensationOver-nite Sensation
Zappa Records 2012
$6.00
$12.80 (used)
The Roxy Performances [7 CD][Box Set]The Roxy Performances [7 CD][Box Set]
Box set
Zappa Records 2018
$44.83
$51.39 (used)
Roxy & ElsewhereRoxy & Elsewhere
Zappa Records 2012
$5.87
$12.80 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FRANK ZAPPA 'Over-Nite Sensation' 180g Vinyl LP NEW/SEALED USD $27.09 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA CUGAMONGA ULTRA RARE NEW SEALED CD + HYPE STICKER! USD $23.71 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa joe's garage acts II and III - Cassette Tape USD $14.30 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa The Mothers Over-Nite Sensation 1973 Japan LP Discreet P-8380D rare USD $29.99 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE RARE NEW SEALED 2 X CD! USD $20.32 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - 200 Motels Soundtrack - 2xLP 1971 EMI 030-2 Bizarre/United Artists USD $13.50 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Waka Jawaka Japan Original CD w OBI Factory Sealed Copy USD $89.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Sheik Yerbouti 1979 Japan 2 LP Master Sound 76 CBS/Sony 40AP 1357~8 USD $45.00 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Them or Us JAPAN CD MINI LP USD $29.00 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - Mystery Disc [CD] USD $7.73 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa 2 Lp Vinile Them or Us Apribile Emi ?2-62 2402343 Gatefold Sigillato USD $49.68 Buy It Now
ZAPPA, FRANK - FRANK ZAPPA PLAYS THE MUSIC OF FRANK ZAPPA - CD - NEW USD $12.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart - Set of 2 Posters Size 84.1cm x 59.4cm USD $12.26 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar JAPAN CD VACK-1347/49 2008 OBI USD $127.97 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - Studio Tan Vinyl LP Discreet 1978 A1/B1 USD $20.85 [0 bids]
Frank Zappa The Mothers - Roxy And Elsewhere (NEW CD) USD $8.89 Buy It Now
Original 1979 - FRANK ZAPPA - Joe's Garage Act 1 - Press Advert USD $5.83 Buy It Now
Sin City RANDY CALIFORNIA, GREEN ON RED, FRANK ZAPPA NWA Uncut Magazine Cover CD USD $3.67 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa ?Lp Vinyl Zoot Allures / Warner Bros W 56298 Italia New USD $121.43 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - Freak Out Vinyl LP USD $34.98 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA - THEM OR US - CD - NEW USD $15.90 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA 200 Motels 1971 UK UA 1st PRESS + FILM POSTER + BOOKLET NEAR MINT USD $96.97 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa vinyl LP album record Orchestral Favorites UK K59212 DISCREET 1979 USD $32.77 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Absolutely Free UK vinyl LP album record 2317035 VERVE SELECT 1972 USD $63.46 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA/MOTHERS OF INVENTION Weasels Ripped My Flesh1995 CD issue Ryko (EX) USD $5.52 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa vinyl LP album record Over-Nite Sensation - EX UK K41000 DISCREET USD $45.05 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa 12" vinyl picture disc record You Are What You Is UK A111622 CBS USD $32.77 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa 7" vinyl single record Trouble Comin' Every Day Japanese DV-5010 USD $1,228.31 Buy It Now
Zoot Allures - EX Frank Zappa vinyl LP album record UK K56298 WARNER BROTHERS USD $23.26 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Tinsel Town Rebellion UK CBS88516 USD $23.63 Buy It Now
NEW FRANK ZAPPA MANCHESTER 1979 2CDR(WHITE LABEL)#Ke USD $63.63 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Over-Nite Sensation CD NEW USD $12.79 Buy It Now
Apostrophe/Over-nite Sensation by Frank Zappa (CD, 1986, Ryko Distribution) USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Roxy & Elsewhere CD NEW USD $12.79 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Apostrophe (') UK CD album (CDLP) 0238512 ZAPPA Sealed 2012 USD $21.47 Buy It Now
Have I Offended Someone? Frank Zappa CD album (CDLP) USA RCD10577 RYKO 1997 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Lumpy Gravy CD album (CDLP) USA RCD10504 RYKODISC 1995 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Them Or Us Frank Zappa USA CD album (CDLP) RCD10543 RYKODISC 1995 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Civilization Phaze III UK 2 CD album (Double CD) CDDZAP56 ZAPPA USD $68.43 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa CD album (CDLP) Strictly Commercial USA RCD40600 RYKODISC 1995 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa The Lost Episodes USA CD album (CDLP) RCD40573 RYKO 1996 USD $30.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Freak Out! CD album (CDLP) USA RCD10501 RYKODISC 1995 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Hot Rats German vinyl LP album record 44078 REPRISE 1979 USD $38.91 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Cheap Thrills CD album (CDLP) USA RCD10579 RYKO 1998 USD $15.33 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Freaks And Motherfu*#@%! UK CD album (CDLP) ESMCD958 ESSENTIAL USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Unmitigated Audacity CD album (CDLP) UK ESMCD959 ESSENTIAL 1991 USD $21.48 Buy It Now
Uncle Meat Frank Zappa 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Canadian 2MS2024 USD $45.42 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - Guitar Cassette - 1988 UK release - Zappa Records USD $6.14 [0 bids]
Rare Meat - 2nd Frank Zappa 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) USA RNEP604 USD $32.77 Buy It Now
THE ALLEGRO'S - Play Banjo Play / Dance Of Love (Cha Cha Cha) : Frank Zappa USD $135.49 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Anyway The Wind Blows UK 2 CD album (Double CD) EDMCD960/1/2 USD $38.91 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Freak Out! - Sealed 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) USA V6-5005-2 USD $616.18 Buy It Now
Over-Nite Sensation + Stickered Sleeve Frank Zappa UK vinyl LP album record USD $69.60 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Freak Out CD album (CDLP) Japanese VACK-1203 RYKODISC 2001 USD $43.27 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Them Or Us - EX 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) UK FZD1 EMI 1984 USD $33.14 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Weasels Ripped My Flesh - 1st - EX vinyl LP album record UK USD $51.18 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa 3-LP (Triple ) Zappa In New York - 180gra... UK USD $57.98 Buy It Now
One Size Fits All - EX Frank Zappa vinyl LP album record UK K59207 DISCREET USD $38.91 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Image 29 x 21cm Ideal to Frame Mothers of Invention USD $4.30 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Burnt Weeny Sandwich - 180gram Vinyl ... vinyl LP record UK USD $45.04 Buy It Now
THE MOTHERS FRANK ZAPPA OVER-NITE SENSATION LP RECORD USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1 - Rmst 2xCD MINT LISTEN USD $27.99 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa Lumpy Gravy LP MONO Burgundy Vinyl RSD2018 New! USD $36.81 Buy It Now
Mothers Of Invention FRANK ZAPPA We`re only in it for the ... Japan Mini LP CD USD $18.99 [0 bids]
FRANK ZAPPA / MOTHERS ORIG 1972 US BIZARRE REPRISE LP The Grand Wazoo RECORD EX USD $19.98 [1 bids]
Frank Zappa - Chunga'S Revenge - Frank Zappa CD S8VG The Fast Free Shipping USD $9.47 Buy It Now
FRANK ZAPPA 1976 US REPRISE LP ISSUE 1969 ALBUM Hot Rats RECORD EX USD $14.98 [0 bids]
Frank Zappa "Apostrophe" LP Record Vinyl (Original) Discrete Records 1974 USD $12.95 Buy It Now
Frank Zappa - Guitar (Live Recording, 2012) USD $1.84 [1 bids]
FRANK ZAPPA / THE MOTHERS ROXY AND ELSEWHERE CD VGC FREE UK POSTAGE USD $8.53 Buy It Now 7m 29s
Frank Zappa Studio Tan LP Discreet DSK-2291 Original Pressing USD $12.99 Buy It Now 14m 17s
Frank Zappa Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch NM Orig US USD $8.99 Buy It Now 14m 18s
Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving Too Late - Barking Pumpkin Records - 1982 - Vinyl LP USD $9.75 Buy It Now 21m 23s
THE MOTHERS THE GRAND WAZOO LP ORIG '72 BIZARRE REPRISE MS 2093 FRANK ZAPPA VG+ USD $24.99 Buy It Now 39m 19s
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention, One Size Fits All OP'75 Discreet,disc gr USD $20.00 Buy It Now 43m 24s
FRANK ZAPPA ROXY THE MOVIE BLU-RAY JAPAN DELUXE EDITION FREE SHIPPING USD $143.99 Buy It Now 45m 53s
RUBEN AND THE JETS~FOR REAL~FRANK ZAPPA~MERCURY 659~ POP LP USD $24.99 Buy It Now 57m 40s
Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison FRANK ZAPPA Vinyl Record USD $24.49 Buy It Now 1h
Frank Zappa Strictly Commercial CD include Dancin Fool Valley Girl and more USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 8m
Frank Zappa - Guitar [2 CD] [New CD] USD $18.56 Buy It Now 1h 13m
Kent Nagano FRANK ZAPPA London Symphony Orch avant '83 first press MINT lp inner USD $7.99 [5 bids]
1h 16m
Frank Zappa - Were Only In It For The Money [CD] USD $9.59 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Frank Zappa - Mothermania [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 23m
Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 24m
Frank Zappa - Broadway The Hard Way [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Frank Zappa - You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore Vol 6 [CD] USD $12.88 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere (Vinyl) USD $47.86 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Frank Zappa - Mystery Disc [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 28m
The Mothers - Just Another Band From L.A. 1972 Australian Reprise LP Frank Zappa USD $36.50 Buy It Now 1h 30m
FRANK ZAPPA - LUMPY GRAVY PRIMORDIAL RECORD STORE DAY RSD LP BRAND NEW SEALED USD $24.99 [0 bids]
1h 40m
Frank Zappa - Anyway The Wind Blows - Frank In Paris US 2LP 1991 /4* USD $50.90 Buy It Now 1h 45m
FRANK ZAPPA - 'The Best of Frank Zappa' - CD USD $1.84 [0 bids]
1h 49m
FRANK ZAPPA YOU CANT DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE SEALED UK COPY VINYL RECORD USD $49.09 [0 bids]
1h 51m
Frank Zappa - 200 Motels GER 2LP 1971 FOC + Insert .* USD $30.99 Buy It Now 2h 30m
FRANK ZAPPA - Sheik Yerbouti (CD, May-1995, Rykodisc) **GEM MINT CONDITION** USD $11.99 Buy It Now 2h 32m
FRANK ZAPPA - ZAPPA IN NEW YORK 40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION 3-LP NEW MINT SEALED USD $38.04 Buy It Now 2h 33m
Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving Too Late [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 2h 44m
Frank Zappa bundle vinyl records picture discs set and tour programmes x2 1980 USD $22.09 [6 bids]
2h 51m
FRANK ZAPPA / The Man From Utopia / Japan Import / VACK-1244 USD $29.18 Buy It Now 2h 52m
Frank Zappa / One Size Fits All / Japan Import / RCD-10095 USD $47.90 Buy It Now 2h 52m

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FRANK ZAPPA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FRANK ZAPPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 631 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out!
1966
4.06 | 522 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free
1967
3.19 | 379 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.11 | 650 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.79 | 276 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.07 | 509 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Uncle Meat
1969
4.33 | 1562 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.91 | 418 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.78 | 416 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.40 | 335 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.08 | 221 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.93 | 492 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.33 | 926 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.02 | 600 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation
1973
4.03 | 665 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.32 | 922 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: One Size Fits All
1975
3.73 | 415 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.75 | 274 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.64 | 281 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.87 | 489 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
4.15 | 519 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.98 | 413 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.66 | 280 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.53 | 248 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.16 | 231 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.10 | 115 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.28 | 188 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.45 | 154 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.59 | 133 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.52 | 124 ratings
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.25 | 143 ratings
Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.43 | 226 ratings
Jazz From Hell
1986
2.95 | 88 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.78 | 130 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.34 | 89 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.98 | 194 ratings
Läther
1996
3.18 | 53 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely [aka: EIHN]
1999
2.98 | 51 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
1.82 | 53 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.31 | 40 ratings
Joe's XMasage
2005
3.33 | 44 ratings
Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
2011
2.96 | 33 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014
4.00 | 63 ratings
Dance Me This
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 161 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.18 | 149 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.39 | 326 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.55 | 218 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.24 | 255 ratings
Zappa In New York
1978
3.34 | 156 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
3.09 | 157 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.27 | 98 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.58 | 85 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.62 | 129 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.42 | 120 ratings
Guitar
1988
4.03 | 127 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.55 | 207 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.63 | 105 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.55 | 97 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.36 | 192 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.42 | 146 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
3.76 | 38 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
2.38 | 25 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.40 | 26 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.68 | 22 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.44 | 25 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.14 | 26 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.82 | 25 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.39 | 23 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
1.50 | 16 ratings
At The Circus
1992
1.98 | 16 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.82 | 48 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.66 | 85 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.85 | 85 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
2.29 | 17 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.04 | 19 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.15 | 14 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.61 | 16 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.31 | 13 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
3.88 | 123 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.24 | 77 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.94 | 58 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.87 | 36 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.99 | 72 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.51 | 68 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
4.12 | 63 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.17 | 74 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.65 | 47 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
3.63 | 44 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.17 | 30 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.21 | 53 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.31 | 65 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.80 | 35 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.17 | 41 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.35 | 35 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.59 | 50 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
4.53 | 31 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.58 | 42 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014
3.43 | 7 ratings
200 Motels The Suites
2015
4.33 | 9 ratings
Roxy: The Sountrack
2015
3.13 | 5 ratings
Little Dots
2016
3.60 | 10 ratings
Chicago '78
2016
2.25 | 13 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #3
2016
4.10 | 10 ratings
Halloween 77
2017
4.50 | 10 ratings
The Roxy Performances
2018

FRANK ZAPPA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.85 | 56 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.40 | 25 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.76 | 60 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.09 | 78 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.20 | 32 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
4.00 | 44 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
3.95 | 20 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.16 | 43 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.56 | 44 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.33 | 9 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.15 | 22 ratings
The Torture Never Stops
2008
3.14 | 7 ratings
Live In Paris 1980
2008
3.21 | 10 ratings
Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention: In the 1960's
2009
4.07 | 20 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.41 | 21 ratings
Roxy: The Movie
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 37 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
1.95 | 2 ratings
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
1975
3.68 | 58 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.94 | 52 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.87 | 46 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.94 | 102 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.84 | 18 ratings
We're Only In It For The Money / Lumpy Gravy
1985
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Two
1986
3.50 | 7 ratings
The Old Masters, Box Three
1987
3.63 | 119 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.10 | 21 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.09 | 11 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cucamonga Years - The Early Works of Frank Zappa (1962-1964)
1991
4.00 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.27 | 41 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.24 | 57 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.74 | 31 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.09 | 26 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.26 | 30 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.91 | 44 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.02 | 53 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
2.06 | 17 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.95 | 28 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.54 | 11 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.92 | 10 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Jonathan Fishman Of Phish
2002
4.73 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 1
2002
4.53 | 18 ratings
Threesome No. 2
2002
2.38 | 8 ratings
For Collectors Only
2003
2.83 | 20 ratings
The Best of Frank Zappa
2004
3.40 | 37 ratings
The Making Of Freak Out! Project/Object
2006
3.59 | 22 ratings
The Lumpy Money Project/Object
2009
3.14 | 21 ratings
Greasy Love Songs
2010
3.93 | 14 ratings
Understanding America
2012
3.83 | 10 ratings
The Crux Of The Biscuit
2016
3.75 | 9 ratings
Frank Zappa For President
2016
4.50 | 2 ratings
Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object Audio Documentary
2016
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa
2019

FRANK ZAPPA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 9 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.42 | 12 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
3.80 | 10 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.70 | 12 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
4.00 | 7 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.59 | 25 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.38 | 8 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
3.80 | 5 ratings
WPLJ
1970
2.00 | 1 ratings
Tears Began To Fall
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Magic Fingers
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning?
1972
4.13 | 8 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.20 | 12 ratings
Montana
1973
2.82 | 13 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Cosmik Debris
1974
5.00 | 1 ratings
Du Bist Mein Sofa
1975
3.17 | 6 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Disco Boy
1976
3.93 | 14 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.17 | 12 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.32 | 12 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.97 | 12 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.50 | 6 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.75 | 4 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.87 | 11 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Love Of My Life
1981
3.67 | 3 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
5.00 | 1 ratings
Cocaine Decisions
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
1983
2.60 | 5 ratings
Rare Meat - Early Productions Of Frank Zappa 12''
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Baby Take Your Teeth Out
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
True Glove
1984
4.64 | 14 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.45 | 11 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.63 | 8 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.21 | 10 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.06 | 8 ratings
Stairway To Heaven 12''
1991
3.91 | 3 ratings
Clean American Version
1995
3.87 | 4 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio Some More
1995
3.67 | 3 ratings
Kill Ugly Radio
1995
3.33 | 3 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Kill Ugly Radio
1995
4.40 | 5 ratings
Zomby Woof (longpack)
1998
2.33 | 3 ratings
Penguin in Bondage/The little known story of the Mothers of Invention
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
I'm The Slime
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow / Down In De Dew
2014
2.00 | 2 ratings
200 Motels Overture
2015

FRANK ZAPPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Just Another Band From L.A. by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1972
3.18 | 149 ratings

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Just Another Band From L.A.
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While the first lineup of THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION focused mostly on studio albums which took them from the amazingly brilliant debut 'Freak Out' to the 1970 albums 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich' and 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh.' In the same year band leader FRANK ZAPPA decided to completely dissolve the band and start anew therefore the classic band members of the first phase such as Jimmy Carl Black (drums), Roy Estrada (bass), Bunk Gardner (tenor sax), Lowell George (guitar), Don Harris (violin), Don Preston (piano), Buzz Gardner (trumpet), Motorhead Sherwood (baritone sax), Art Tripp (drums) and Ian Underwood (alto sax) were out of the band and in was a whole new wily cast of characters with the primary lineup of Ian Underwood (organ, guitar, sax, piano), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), George Duke (keyboards), Jeff Simmons (bass, guitar) and three members of the sunshine pop band The Turtles. All of a sudden bassist Jim Pons and the singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan better known as Flo & Eddie were a part of the new reality of THE MOTHERS.

The new formation would perform on ZAPPA's solo album 'Chunga's Revenge' and then commence to release a couple live albums before ZAPPA's infamous accident at Montreaux, Switzerland and the subject matter of the classic rock song 'Smoke On The Water' by Deep Purple. The first of the live albums 'Fillmore East - June 1971' was released followed by this second offering JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A. which came out the following year in 72. This album was recorded live on August 7th, 1971 in the Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, CA and was the last performance before the ZAPPA's serious injuries resulting from the incident at the Casino de Montreaux. The album was originally intended to be a double LP that included solos from 'Studebaker Hoch' and 'The Subcutaneous Peril' which were to take up the majority of the second LP as well as additional parts to 'Bill The Mountain' but nothing seemed to flow smoothly in the world of FRANK ZAPPA and he was forced to land on his feet like an improvisational jazz cat.

JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A. found the short-lived second coming of THE MOTHERS at its peak and in the end contained only five tracks. The massive sprawling parody of rock operas, 'Billy The Mountain' which swallowed up an entire side of the original vinyl release as well as four additional tracks on side B. This included reworkings of "Call Any Vegetable' from 'Absolutely Free' and "Dog Breath' from the many variations on 'Uncle Meat.' Two more tracks "Eddie, Are You Kidding?' and 'Magdalena' were new renditions of earlier ZAPPA ideas channeled into the current lineup's focus on the humorous antics of Flo & Eddie. In a way JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A. returned the band focus to humor, parody and social critique of earlier albums like 'Freak Out' only with time specific references to the greater Los Angeles area as well as show biz personalities, politicians and various commercial enterprises. Gone were the sizzling jazz-fusion and focus on instrumental passages (for the most part) and in were hilariously constructed improvised storylines that offered variations from show to show therefore this album is just one mere glimpse of the myriad possibilities that the band performed.

'Billy The Mountain' is the focal point of the entire album experience and one of my personal favorite tracks of the entire ZAPPA universe. While the song was originally designed to be an entire hour and a half musical experience that was reinventing the notion of what a rock opera should be in response to its popularity of the era, the track was whittled down to a mere 25 minutes in order to fit on the record. For years this was only album to host this wacky and often silly parody that played out like 'Peter and the Wolf' but alternate versions would finally emerge on 1992's 'Playground Psychotics' and 2011's 'Carnegie Hall.' The track is ingenious in how it juxtaposes disparate musical passages that included the theme for Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show' and Stephen Stills' 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,' 'The Star Spangled Banner,' 'Over The Rainbow' and more! The story of a talking mountain named Billy and his wife Ethel who is a tree growing on his shoulder was the ultimate satire which showcased the shallowness of American culture and material society in general. Flo & Eddie in particular add a whole new level of silliness and although many hate this period of THE MOTHERS, i have always had an affinity for their clownish behavior as well as being a Turtles fan.

While side A was the clear attention getter on JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A., the rest of the album is excellent as well. The remade versions of 'Call Any Vegetable' and the new chapters of the ongoing 'Dog Breath' series are performed more in a rock band fashion focusing more on singing rather than the mostly narrated storylines of 'Billy The Mountain.' Same goes for the new tracks 'Eddie, Are You Kidding?' and 'Magdalena' which take the band into progressive rock territory with challenging musical time signature changes and intricate compositional fortitude. Like many ZAPPA offerings, all of these offer a plethora of musical styles that range from vaudeville styled outlandishness to heavy rock, country, doowop and pop with extra segments that offer humors conversations between Flo & Eddie while ZAPPA provides background vocals. The entire album takes potshots at the local L.A. scene with a whopping middle finger to the material consumer culture. 'Where can i get MYYYYY poodle clipped in Downey?' LOL

When it comes to the wealth of live albums that ZAPPA released with THE MOTHERS, this one has always been one of my first go to experiences when i'm less interested in lengthy jam based instrumental workouts and just want a heavy injection of the most ridiculously biting humor that has been released on record. The album was notorious as being badly recorded and produced but newer remastered versions have corrected all that. JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM L.A. displays ZAPPA and his band at the height of the silliest version of his entire career and although his 80s solo albums would revisit the humor and comedic parodies, nothing ever matched the magnificence and brilliance of tracks like 'Billy The Mountain' which has to be experienced to be believed. No words can do it justice! For some reason this live release doesn't get as much respect as some of the others. While many claim Flo & Eddie didn't integrate into the band very well, i'd have to disagree. I think they were a perfect match for Zappa's most whimsical and laughable moments. Not only did they nail the most absurd lyrical contents without losing composure but their vocal styles added an even more hilarious element to the process. Personally i love this album!

 Strictly Commercial by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
3.24 | 57 ratings

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Strictly Commercial
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars "Strictly Commercial. The Best of Frank Zappa" is a collection of some of Frank Zappa's popular music. The other album in this series is "Strictly Genteel" which gives an excellent collection of Frank's classical (and jazz) tracks from previously released albums. "Strictly Commercial" also takes songs from previous albums, most of which are the commercial, or popular side of Frank. All of the songs on this collection are quite radio friendly in that they are single versions that don't need to be censored, radio-friendly.

Unlike the "Strictly Genteel" collection though, this collection is not as cohesive. Since these tracks are more rock oriented, it is very apparent when you are listening to the "newer" tracks and "older" tracks. There is a very noticeable difference in the music styles, and this makes this collection sound choppy.

It's not a complete wash out, however. Most of the tracks have vocals and are humor oriented. Again, the humor is quite safe as the crude humor is left off of this collection. There are the great like "Peaches en Regalia", "Dancin' Fool", the guitar solo "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace", "Muffin Man" and so on. However, there are also the songs that aren't so great, and they are mostly the repetitive ones like "Disco Boy", "Fine Girl", "Joe's Garage" and "Valley Girl". A lot of the songs seem to lose their significance when taken out of their album settings.

The collection is decent enough I suppose, but there are better collections out there that have better selections on them, but, as is the problem with many collections based on popular music, you are going to get some good and some bad. The collection is not the best representation of Zappa's rock and roll and mixing all of these songs in something other than chronological order tends to make it suffer too. Anyway, unlike the sister album Strictly Genteel, this is only an OK collection.

 Strictly Genteel by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
4.09 | 26 ratings

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Strictly Genteel
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars Frank Zappa's compilation album "Strictly Genteel: A 'Classical' Introduction to Frank Zappa" is the perfect album for those who are interested in some of Zappa's more classically inclined music. It is not a completionists album because all of the tracks on this collection are already available on other albums, but more of one for the general masses interested in getting their feet wet in his vast array of his more classically composed music, and it has quite an excellent bunch of tracks that illustrate his various styles and means of recording his compositions.

Starting out with a track from "Uncle Meat" the album begins with the Main Title Theme from that album. It is short track (1:55) that doesn't quite reach the 2 minute mark, but still gives good proof that Zappa was inspired by Stravinsky and wanted to give exposure to that music by using it in his own. The last 20 seconds of Stravinsky's "Trios Poesies de la Lyrique Japonaise" is the opening melody for the main title theme and also uses a rhythmic variation that also shows up later in another section of that classical composition. The music is produced by various keyboards mostly and tonal percussion. The last 20 or so seconds is a lot of processed sound and noise. "Regyptian Strut" (4:37) comes from the album "Sleep Dirt". This track utilizes George Duke on keyboards, Bruce Fowler playing all of the brass instruments, James Youmans on bass, Ruth Underwood on percussion (xylophone and such), and Chad Wackerman on drums. This one is probably somewhere between true classical and jazz.

"Pedro's Dowry" (7:41) is the version from "Orchestral Favorites" where the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra performs. The composition actually had a sub-title, "Yes, That's Right" but that was seldom used. This composition was the musical score for a ballet that Zappa had written, but because of expenses of hiring a ballet company to perform, Frank usually just read the story when it was performed. The score is quite complex with several different themes and melodies and in the performance of the track, the orchestra not only plays the instruments, but follows stage directions. Several strange and unusual instruments are also used, including party noisemakers at the end. "Outrage at Valdez" (3:09) comes from "The Yellow Shark", this version using the Ensemble Modern. The track was written for a documentary about the Exxon Valdez disaster. Since Frank loved to slip in musical references in almost all of his music, he does so here when he sneaks in a snippet of "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?". Again the music is complex.

"Little Umbrellas" (3:03) comes from the album "Hot Rats" and, like the first track, is more of a jazz ensemble piece. This track features Frank playing guitar, octave bass and percussion, Ian Underwood on keys, Lowell George on rhythm guitar, John Guerin on drums and Max Bennett on bass. This version comes from the CD version because of the recorder that comes in after the 2 minute mark. The recorder is not on the vinyl version. "The Run Home Slow Theme" comes from the Lost Episodes collection. It is a short (1:25) track which again uses more of a jazz ensemble, but sounds more like soundtrack music. This track is one of Frank's earlier works for an actual soundtrack. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" (2:12) comes from the album "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" and features the rock band line-up which probably consisted of Frank on guitar, Ian Underwood on keys and woodwinds, Bunk Gardner on woodwinds and Art Tripp on drums. This track actually started as a piano exercise which Zappa recorded backwards and then added several different sounds that were put through a noise generator over the top of that. During the March section, the woodwinds do establish a melody, but all of this gets swallowed up by the goofy noises.

"Dupree's Paradise" (7:53) comes from the version on "The Perfect Stranger", and is more of a traditional, 20th century classical piece performed by the Ensemle InterContemporain conducted by Pierre Boulez. The music is inspired by a bar at 6 AM on a Sunday in 1964. It represents the customers of the bar and what they do to separate themselves from the rest of society. The music is complex again and very cinematic with several thematic elements and also features a section led by the piano. "Opus 1, No. 3, 2nd Movement, Presto" (1:48) comes from Zappa's tribute to Francesco Zappa (an actual baroque composer) where he plays the pieces on a synclavier. "Duke of Prunes" (4:19) is another track from "Orchestral Favorites" and features the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra which was recorded here with no overdubs, except for the guitar because Frank couldn't record guitar feedback while recording the orchestra, and he liked the sound of guitar feedback supported by an orchestra. The guitar and orchestra play the main theme together. As the guitar improvisation starts, the orchestra plays supporting backup with flourishes, and it does make for a nice combination.

"Aybe Sea" (2:46) is from "Burnt Weenie Sandwich" and is a short, surprisingly gentle piece featuring FZ on acoustic guitars and Ian Underwood playing harpsichord and the piano solo. "Naval Aviation in Art?" (2:45) is from "The Perfect Stranger" again featuring the Ensemble InterContemporain conducted by Pierre Boulez. The short, orchestral track has a 20th Century, Impressionistic style, tense and dissonant. "G-spot Tornado" was originally written for an ensemble, but is so difficult to play that FZ used the synclavier to get the desired results he wanted for this impossible piece. The version comes from "Jazz From Hell". It is based an a very fast moving melody that goes through variations and includes a synth solo in the middle. One listen and you will understand why it is so complex.

"Bob in Dacron, First Movement" is from the album "London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II" and it features said orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano and is joined by David Ocker on solo clarinet, Chad Wackerman on drums and Ed Mann on percussion. The entire piece was about an urban scoundrel named BOB in his quest for erotic gratification in a singles bar. This movement represents the clashing colors of the outfit he picks out as he dresses for the night on the town. It utilizes "laugh boxes" which are the imaginary girls that BOB tries to impress. The style is again the impressionistic classical style, which is one that Frank loved to work with because of the freedom it gave him in composition. Another track from "Francesco Zappa" follows with "Opus 1, No. 4, 2nd Movement, Allegro" (3:01) and again features Frank and the synclavier (or what he fondly referred to as The Barking Pumpkin Digital Gratification Consort). Again, the music has that baroque style as the music comes from that period.

The next two tracks come from "The Yellow Shark", both of them are familiar themes that Zappa used from early and throughout his career, usually performed by his band, but this time performed by the Ensemble Modern giving them a new orchestral sound. First we have "Dog Breath Variations" (2:06) followed by "Uncle Meat". Both songs are easily identified as they retain their original melodies and this treatment give these jazz fusion tracks a nice symphonic treatment. The last track is "Strictly Genteel" (6:56) from "London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II" again conducted by Kent Nagano. This piece was originally written as the finale for the "200 Motels" project and the tune was originally sung by The Mothers. The version in this case was recorded quickly with very few re-takes because the recording session was in it's last hour. FZ said that the last brass section features a bunch of drunk, British trumpeters, and try as he might, he couldn't get the final product to his liking. Even though it sounds pretty good, Frank thought the version was far from perfect and was upset that he had to pay a lot of money for a sub-par performance.

This album works as a great sampler for Frank's "classical" style music in that most of the tracks are fairly short, there is a wide variety of styles not just among classical styles, but with the addition of some jazz pieces too, but it shows a wide array of some of Frank's best serious work. It also demonstrates why he is a respected musician, and that he also incorporated humor in his instrumental music. The one main drawback is that it doesn't feature just classical music, but other types of instrumental music, but for the average listener wanting to hear what the classical Frank sounded like, it will give you a great idea with a ton of variety. It is a strong compilation and easily merits 4 stars because even though the music is culled from various albums, it all sounds very cohesive and not chopped up at all. Highly recommended as a sampler for Frank's instrumental and classical styled music.

 Studio Tan by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 274 ratings

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Studio Tan
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars The link between "Studio Tan" and "Läther"

The story behind Frank Zappa's album "Studio Tan" can be a bit confusing. In actuality, it is one of Zappa's best albums, but many have noted that the album has quite a strange mix of song styles, which is a little odd for Zappa albums. The reason for this is that this album was one of four albums put out by Warner Brothers without Zappa's permission. Most Zappa-philes know the story behind this, but what happened, basically, was Zappa and Warner Brothers were planning on going their separate ways, but there was this issue of a contract where Zappa owed more albums. Well, Zappa made enough music for a 3 album set that was going to be called "Läther", and this is the music he gave to Warner Brothers for their final contractual release. However, WB didn't want a 3 disc album because they didn't think it would sell, so they went ahead and split up the music and released 4 albums without Zappa's permission. The albums they released are "Studio Tan", "Sleep Dirt", "Orchestral Favorites" and "Zappa in New York". WB even hired an artist to do the covers. For many years, this was the only way to get the music Zappa made for this period of time, which was around 1977. "Läther" wasn't released until 1996 and it wasn't until then that the public was able to hear all of this music the way Zappa wanted it heard.

So, Studio Tan is one of these albums WB put out. It contains four unrelated tracks as it was more of a catch all album for the left over tracks from Läther. Much of the music on these four WB albums was altered somewhat, and Zappa didn't like the mix of the albums saying that there is no top end sound on them, so he thought they sounded bad, though he did like the music that was on them. On Studio Tan, the only track that is significantly different is the 20 minute track "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary", but the difference is only on the CD version of the album, which contains a remix/reedited version of the original. The other tracks have no huge differences, except for the fact that everything is out of sequence.

The Adventures of Greggery Peccary

Beside the fact that this isn't the way that Zappa wanted this material to be presented, it is still a great album, and the variation in the styles of music gives one a taste of the different styles and wide talent that Zappa had. The album starts out with "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary" which takes up the entire first side of the record. This track is a story type track with narration, characterization and orchestration. The song was originally written in 1972. and was an idea similar to the concert favorite "Billy the Mountain" (which, by the way, is referenced in this story). The music is a complex style with a cartoonish, soundtrack style of music that accentuates what is going on in the story. The silly story is about a corporate pig person, who, as a result of pressure from the higher ups in the corporation, invents the next "new big thing", which is a calendar. Of course, people love it at first, but then many also hate this new device all to Greggery's peril. The vocal parts are both narrated and characterized with processed vocals so you can easily tell who is saying what. Not all of the parts are simply spoken, however, many are sung also. The story and music is quite entertaining and is a testament to Zappa's genius.

The track was performed by Zappa on guitar and vocals, George Duke on keys and vocals, Burce Fowler on trombone, Tom Fowler on bass and Chester Thompson on drums. The overall recording took about a month to complete. The rhythm section was recorded first which included bass, drums, percussion and four keyboard instruments. Then the guitars were added. The regular instrumental parts that were hard to get "perfect" were done by a synthesizer so that speed and accuracy could be adjusted. After that, the rest of the score was transcribed for orchestra with strings, brass and woodwinds all recorded on two tracks each over separated days. Then the narration was added in last. An interesting side note is that one of the violinist's manuscripts was run over by a tire of some sort and had the tread marks on it. She denied that it was intentional.

Most people think this track is named after the actor Gregory Peck, but in reality, it was named after Pope Gregory XIII, who is responsible for correcting the calendar in 1582, thus creating leap year and determining a table of moon phases in order to help when to celebrate Easter, a holiday actually based on the pagan holiday for Spring Equinox. The music on this track is quite complex, and it almost sounds like much of it is improvised, but in reality, each and every note is written down as a score. The full orchestra was known as "Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra" and actually consists of a very large collection of performers, some of the best that were available. Even with the cartoon-soundtrack style of the music, there are returning themes throughout that pop up from time to time, and there are several styles of music throughout the track that support the story that is going on. The entire thing is a masterpiece, albeit a very humorous one, even the section that represents "a six-foot pile of transistor radio (each one tuned to a different station)". It is so easy to let the craziness of the music overshadow the genius behind it all. But, Zappa's humor is as multi-layered as his music, so just enjoy it for what it is, that is what it's all about.

Revised Music for Guitar and Low-budget Orchestra

This track is an example of Zappa's ability to transcribe impossible music. In its original form, this track was composed to show off the talent of one of Frank's violinists Jean-Luc Ponty. Frank took the underlying part of the track and improvised a guitar solo in the place of Ponty's violin and then had it transcribed (by trombonist Bruce Fowler) for various instruments for his band to play. If you have heard Frank's guitar solos, then you know how complicated they could be. Also, in Frank's instrumental music, you can often hear several instruments playing the same musical line, usually a very complicated one, that sounds like it was improvised. Well, many times, it originally was improvised. But to blow everyone's mind, he has many instrumentalists play the same line in tandem so that it doesn't sound like it is made up. Zappa said that he liked the idea of several instruments all trying desperately to play the same line.

The basic band line up is the same as in the previous track, but there are several other musicians also involved as there are several other instruments involved here too. Listening to this track as a guitar solo transcribed for several orchestral instruments makes the entire thing make better sense. Otherwise, it seems to be a track without any real aim to the novice listener, when in reality, it is a work of orchestral genius, which is also a testament to the instrumentalists, because it is one of Zappa's nearly impossible to play compositions. The sound is much less of a soundtrack style and more like a classical piece. From heavy guitar to orchestra, it all just shows how music of any genre is connected, yet interpretation through instrumentation makes all of the difference in the world as to how it is perceived.

Lemme Take You to the Beach

This short track is really the oddest duck out of all of the tracks here, but at the same time, is the most traditional as far as rock and roll is concerned. This was the track that Zappa thought would be his hit single. Apparently, Frank got Mark Farmer from "Grand Funk Railroad", Eddie Jobson (one of Frank's keyboardists who also worked with "roxy Music" and "UK" among others), Davey Moire (one of Frank's recording engineers) and himself together, went into a studio and recorded the vocal parts for this fun little beach song. The credited performers here are Davey Moire on vocals, Frank Zappa on guitar and vocals, Eddie Jobson on keyboards and yodeling, Max Bennett on bass, Paul Humphrey on drums and Don Brewer on bongos. The end result is a fun, but silly song satirizing beach music with bongos and everything.

RDNZL

The name of the last track was always a mystery for quite some time. Eventually, Dweezil Zappa explained that it was a combination of the word "redundant" and the fairy-tale character "Rapunzel", pronounced Redunzel. This was Frank's nickname for his wife Gail because she liked to repeat things that Frank found funny. Gail's liscence plate apparently was "RDNZL", which also backs up this theory, but the fact that Dweezil said it was about Gail pretty much solidifies this theory.

The band line-up for this track is FZ on guitar, George Duke on keyboards, James "Bird Legs" Youman on bass, the amazing Ruth Underwood on percussion and synth, and Chester Thompson on drums. This track is a definite showcase for Ruth's talent with the use of percussion, specifically the xylophone. It also showcases George's piano. The track is more avant jazz oriented with some complex rhythmic passages, but is also quite melodic. Frank comes in with a guitar solo after two minutes, but the background is a lot more complex than many of the supporting patterns that back up Frank's solos, so the track remains interesting for everyone involved. The guitar solo stops before the 5 minute mark, and the spotlight returns to the tonal percussion, piano and synths again for the remainder of the 8 minute duration. The music changes style, meter and rhythm quite often, and then settles into a fast and jazzy piano solo that rivals some of Keith Emerson's best. The last minute takes it back to complicated rhythms and passages for the last minute of the track.

Summary

So, even though this is one of the unauthorized WB albums, it is a great showcase of several of FZ's styles in one album. Of course the centerpiece is the epic first track, but all of the tracks easily stand on their own, even the short Rock n Roll song. But, the variety is a big plus for this album, and it goes by rather quickly because it is so entertaining. Digging into the album also helps one appreciate it more, seeing the work that Frank would put into his music and that each and every one of his compositions had rationale behind it and not just a random set of noises as many naïve Zappa listeners might want you to believe. Frank Zappa was an amazing composer who knew music as well as any classical composer, but simply liked to put humor in his music. He used humor to help bring attention to his music and it really worked in his case. Many Zappa fans only like certain styles and tend to shun his more classical or complex style compositions, but at least they get exposure to them. Those that are curious about music, however, want to explore the reasoning behind some of the more complex compositions, and, to me, when you understand more, you appreciate more. Still, some of his music may not be for everyone, but that doesn't mean the music is not the work of a genius. Anyway, this is a great album, and, even though it is not the way Zappa intended for people to hear these songs, it is still a great representation of his styles, 4 excellent masterpieces on one album. Sweet!

 Zappa In New York by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1978
4.24 | 255 ratings

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Zappa In New York
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Zappa in New York" is a live double album release by US rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through DiscReet Records in March 1978. The album actually saw a limited release in the UK in early 1977, but it was soon withdrawn from the record stores. Warner Bros. Records who Frank Zappa had signed a distribution deal with, insisted on removing and thereby censoring the track "Punky's Whips" and also removed references made to "Punky's Whips" on the "Titties & Beer" track. This meant that a small war broke out between Warner Bros. Records and Zappa, who in his contract with the distribution company had made sure that he had complete artistic freedom. The censored March 1978 version of "Zappa in New York" was therefore released by Warner Bros. Records without the consent of Zappa. The full uncensored version of the album was re-released in 1991 by Zappa. It was originally Zappa's intention to include some of the live recordings on his 4-record box set "L'ther" release in late 1977, but the box set release was shelved as a consequence of the lawsuit between Zappa and Warner Bros. Records.

While recording of "Zoot Allures (1976)" took place Zappa began to form a core touring lineup for a world tour in 1976/1977 (the tour lasted from October 1976 to February 1977) featuring Zappa on vocals and guitars, Terry Bozzio on drums and vocals, Ray White on guitars and vocals, Eddie Jobson on keyboards, violin, and vocals, and Patrick O'Hearn on bass and vocals (Bianca Thornton was part of the lineup through November 11th 1976 on vocals and keyboards). The material featured on "Zappa in New York" were recorded in December 1976 at a series of concerts at the Palladium in New York City. The recordings feature quite a few guest/session musicians in addition to the above mentioned core lineup. Among the guests are the Brecker brothers on tenor sax, flute, and trumpet and Zappa- regular Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer.

Most of the tracklist consists of tracks which had not seen a studio recording (except "Sofa" and "Big Leg Emma", and on the 1991 re-release version also "Cruisin' for Burgers", "I'm the Slime", and "The Torture Never Stops"), and in that respect "Zappa in New York" is a more interesting live release than most. The opening trio of tracks (on the 1991 version of the album "Cruisin' for Burgers" is placed as song number 2 on the tracklist) "Titties & Beer", "I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth", and "Punky's Whips" (the middle one is an instrumental), are comical rock tracks with loads of sexual references, and especially "Punky's Whips", with it's homo erotic suggestions proved to be a bit too much for the censor people at Warner Bros. Records. "Titties & Beer" is a great example of how good Zappa and his band were at improvising. Most of the track is tightly structured and prepared, but when the biker protagonist (played by Zappa), and the devil (played by drummer Terry Bozzio) have their talk about signing a deal with the devil, they both improvise which is great fun (while Bozzio also keeps the beat).

Other highlights on the album are the impossible to play instrumental "Black Page #2" and the humourous dating song Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me?. "The Illinois Enema Bandit" is a great heavy blues rock track, although it's a bit overlong and some people may be offended by its controversial subject matter (telling the story of the crimes and conviction of real life armed robber and sexual offender Michael Hubert Kenyon). The 16:57 minutes long "The Purple Lagoon/Aproximate" is in large part an improvisational piece, and to my ears not one of Zappa's best, although it's a very well performed mostly improvised piece of music, featuring a lot of jazz type soloing. Personally I prefer the structured "Aproximate" part of the track, but that part is only a few minutes long.

The sound production is raw, organic, and maybe most important, feels like a "real" live recording, although Zappa made many overdubs on the recordings in early 1977. Appearing here the tracks and the flow of the album can sometimes feel a bit fragmented, because the material were recorded at different shows but overall "Zappa in New York" is a good quality live release by Zappa. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Swiss Cheese / Fire! by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1992
3.61 | 16 ratings

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Swiss Cheese / Fire!
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Everyone pretty much knows the song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and about the incident that happened on December 4, 1971 that is referred to in those lyrics right? Well, for those that don't, that was when the Casino de Montreux in Geneva, Switzerland caught fire during a Frank Zappa concert. This incident was immortalized in the lyrics for the afore mentioned Deep Purple song. So, with all of the recorded Zappa shows that are available, why isn't there a recording of this concert. Well, there is! It was recorded by a bootlegger and was called "Swiss Cheese/Fire!"

So, the next question is, how do I get a copy of this bootleg? Well, that might be a little tough, however, Frank Zappa decided that the only way to get back at the bootleggers that were making money off of his show while he wasn't seeing a penny of it, was to do some mass releasings of these bootlegged shows. So, he officially released them so that the public wouldn't demand the bootlegged albums. This is how the "Beat the Boots" collections were formed. The bootlegged shows were made available in different box sets. The thing that makes this album harder to acquire is that "Swiss Cheese/Fire!" was part of the "Beat the Boots, Volume 2" collection, and the albums in that collection were not sold as individual albums like the ones included in Volume 1. Frank released these bootlegs "warts and all". They were not enhanced or cleaned up, rather they were released with their original terrible sound, so, in most cases, they were not very appealing to listen to and mostly only recommended for hardcore fans and collectors.

"Swiss Cheese/Fire!" is probably the most important and sought after of the bootlegs, mostly because of the historical value. The actual sound is awful, but the fact that this album documents the infamous fire makes it quite an important collector's item. Originally, the bootleg was released as 2 different albums even though they were different segments from the same show, hence the reason for the title as the first was called simply "Swiss Cheese" and featured Zappa on the cover clad in nothing but a red scarf and leopard skin skivvies. The second was called "Fire!" and had pretty much the same cover except Zappa is wearing a white suit and hat. These two bootlegs were brought together for the purpose of the officially released bootleg. Just to make things even more confusing, there are copies of the bootleg that do have both albums together and it was re-issued as "Smoke on the Water".

The band line up for this album was Zappa, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan, Jim Pons, Don Preston, Ian Underwood and Aynsley Dunbar. Since I am not a big fan of the years when Mark and Howard were in the band (they were otherwise known in the Mothers as Flo and Eddie and were originally from the band "The Turtles" in case you didn't already know), I find the album a bit obnoxious, but there are many who love their hijinx.

So, the first half of the album, "Swiss Cheese", begins with a 14 minute introductory track simply called "Intro". This track features a long sustained synth drone and a lot of strange noises, feedback and effects. Finally around the 6 minute mark, you start to hear drums come in with a bit more melody in the synths and some crowd noise. After 8 minutes, Flo and Eddie come in and try to mimic vocally some of the strange instrumental effects and then there is some faux French speaking or something. After this strange and overly long warm up, we finally get to hear Zappa's guitar after 11 minutes and things begin to finally get interesting. This leads into "Peaches en Regalia", one of Zappa's most famous jazz fusion instrumental songs, this performance ruined by Flo and Eddie's wordless vocals singing the melody. The real vocals start in the next track, which is a medley from "200 Motels": "Tears Begin to Fall/She Painted Up Her Face/Half-a-Dozen Provocative Squats". These are examples of Zappa's "Teenage Rock Music".

"Call Any Vegetable" comes next originally from "Absolutely Free". This is a silly song about eating your vegetables. One of the earliest Mothers songs, this one is actually quite funny, but again, Flo and Eddie do some extended goofing around expanding this track to nearly 10 minutes. The studio version is better. Besides, this is a bootleg and sounds quite awful and uneven. For those interested in the "eyebrows" of this album, there is a comedy exchange between Frank, Howard and Mark that comes after a Zappa guitar solo, and then some penis and fondue fun thrown in and it ends with a story from Howard that features cheese (hence the name of the first half of this album). This section of the album ends with the song "Anyway the Wind Blows" originally from "Freak Out!" This is a slower version of the song, but other than that, it is relatively straightforward with no special incidents occurring.

The "Fire!" portion of the album begins with the medley "Magdalena/Dog Breath". The Magdalena portion of the track is about the sexual exploits of a politician from Montreal and his daughter. Of course, there are several "eyebrows" here provided in the usual obnoxious way of Flo and Eddie. The "Dog Breath" portion is based on the track originally from "Uncle Meat" and it includes a great FZ guitar solo towards the end. Next is the 18 minute version of "Sofa" which would later be released on "One Size Fits All" in a shorter studio version. This version includes other songs that were often done in concert, but not necessarily released on studio albums: "Once Upon a Time", "Sofa No. 1", "Magic Pig", "Stick it Out", and "Divan". For those looking for those "eyebrows", this is where this album is replete with them, plus there are a lot more German lyrics in this version too plus a section where they sing the English translation. The long track is pretty much all made up of silliness and singing, no instrumental sections if that's what you are looking for.

Finally, after that long track, the always interesting instrumental "A Pound for a Brown (On the Bus)". This is bookended with the usual short theme and then goes into a long guitar solo. After the 7 minute instrumental, there is another medley of favorites, namely "Wonderful Wino", "Sharleena" and "Cruisin' for Burgers". This starts with Flo and Eddie singing "Bringing in the Sheaves" (or maybe its "Cheese") before going into "Wino". After this track, the band starts to settle into a long improvisation of "King Kong" but don't get very far into it before either Flo or Eddie exclaims "Fire! Arthur Brown, in person" and then you hear Zappa as he directs the audience to go calmly to the exit. People start to exit when they see that he is serious. You hear some conversations in German which prove that even the roadies thought it was a joke. Fortunately there were no deaths in the fire, but there were some injuries. The place did burn down however, and the bands equipment was all destroyed.

There have been various stories about what happened. Of course, "Smoke on the Water" claims it was a flare gun which Ritchie Blackmore, guitarist from Deep Purple, also claimed in an interview with Guitar magazine in 1999. However, others claimed it was someone with sparklers or fireworks and others say it was faulty wiring. Also, Blackmore claims that Zappa threw down his guitar and dove out a window because he wanted to be the first one out. Blackmore was in the audience, but he was probably drunk as he was known to take a drink a lot, where many in Zappa's band did not. Many other eyewitnesses said that the band took an amplifier and busted out the window and then Frank helped people reach safety by directing them through the window. So there are a lot of conflicting stories, as can be expected with the chaos that was going on.

Anyway, this album is mostly important to collectors for its historical value. The sound quality is not very good, as it is a bootleg, but at the same time, it isn't exactly impossible to listen to. The performances are pretty decent and there are a lot of "asides" and "eyebrows" to keep the fans happy. However, there are much better live recordings out there that have better versions of the songs, so this is definitely not one that is recommended for Zappa beginners. It is more for the curious and for those that are interested in the historical importance of the show. Mostly because of that, it can get a 3 star rating, which is actually better than most of the "Beat the Boots" albums which are mostly lacking because of their sound quality.

 Thing-Fish by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.45 | 154 ratings

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Thing-Fish
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Harold Needle

2 stars Spoken Word: The Album

Ah, Thing-Fish, perhaps the most hated Zappa album. You probably know the story: this parody of a Broadway show was supposed to be performed on Broadway, but it didn't happen because of the financial problems. Eventually, it was performed live, though after Frank's death.

As much as I love the concept for this thing, ridiculous abstract humour, grotesque characters and even some intrumentals, this thing (fish) falls flat on its face. The shift of focus (from music to lyrics) is way too big for Thing- Fish to be a successful music record. It's not worth much without the visuals. Also, Ike Willis speaks on almost EVERY TRACK, which gets boring really fast. I like his character creation though, as well as Harry and Rhonda, performed by Terry and Dale Bizzio.

As for the music itself, this record is very, very bland. Most of the music in here is supposed to be just a background to the spoken word, so it's not really interesting. To make things even worse, some tracks in here actually come from the previous Zappa albums (with changed lyrics to match the plot). That's just lazy, shame on you Frank. I mean, it'd be tolerable on a live play, but definitely not on a separate music album! Also, the extensive usage of digital synthesizers must've been cutting-edge back in the early 80's, but this sound has aged really badly.

There are just a few mild highlights: "The Mammy Nuns" is a very catchy song with awesome background vocal harmonies. "Clowns on Velvet" is the only track in here that reminds me of Zappa's best stuff. Quirky rhythms and the use of percussion instruments is really nice. Too bad it's so short. "He's So Gay" is a hilarious song, though the studio version sounds kinda sloppy (check out the outstanding performance of this one on "Does Humor Belong in Music?" DVD). "Wistful Wit a Fist-Full" is a nice vocal-piano track. Also, some spoken word pieces are pretty funny on their own, such as "Harry-As-a-Boy" or "Briefcase Boogie".

What else there is to say? Thing-Fish just doesn't work as a musical album. 2 stars, no more. A live play DVD would be of much bigger value.

 Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.52 | 124 ratings

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Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Harold Needle

4 stars Consider this one a contemporary music release. This record consists of chamber pieces conducted by Pierre Boulez (as the title sugests) as well as Synclavier compositions performed by Zappa himself (disguised as The Barking Pumpkin Digital Gratification Consort). Right off the bat, let me acknowledge that this is one of the most (if not THE most) unsettling Zappa records. The mixture of slow-paced, contemporary chamber compositions with inhumane Synclavier pieces creates an exceptionally dark and creepy dynamics, and it works really, really well for me. Although, it is worth mentioning, that this record actually is supposed to have a comedic side to it as well (as portrayed by each track's backstory, written on the inner booklet). So, in actuality, this one is rather a mixed bag of emotions and moods, although the sinister tones are much more present here. Also, let me say that the cover paiting by Donald Roller Wilson is fantastic as well.

Let's start off with the chamber part of the album. The title piece, "The Perfect Stranger" was commissioned by Boulez himself, and it is excelent. Very mature, contemporary writing with strong hints of Edgard Varèse's influences. As it usually is with Zappa, there is also a lot of attention for the percussional elements. Great composition. "Naval Aviation in Art?" is a short, eerie piece, also featured on "Orchestral Favourites" and "Läther". It's played well, although I prefer the other version - seems a bit more tense than this one. "Dupree's Paradise" is one of the brightest highlights here, with a combination of neo-classical and modern spices all over. Intricate, dynamic and diverse, simply magnificent.

Now, as for the The Barking Pumpkin section of the record: "The Girl in the Magnesium Dress" is one of the most uncanny Zappa pieces I know. The atmosphere is both very magical and unsettling. The rhytm is quite fluid, which I like a lot. It is also complex to the point of being seemingly impossible to play (though it was proven not true by Ensamble Modern on "The Yellow Shark" album). Love this track to death. "Outside Now, Again" is a recreation of one of Zappa's guitar solos from "Joe's Garage Acts II & III". It's the least interesting track on the album, with repetitive rhythm and seemingly never-ending, synthetic solo. I consider this one a filler. "Love Story" is short and quirky, supposedly depicting "and eldery Republican couple attempting sex while break-dancing". Yup, pretty accurate. The closer, "Jonestown" is a pure nightmare fuel, regarding the infamous Jonestown mass- suicide in 1978. Deeply disturbing.

Overall, a very unique and exceptional record in Zappa catalogue. I consider this one as one of his greatest and most mature works. Also, definitely a huge hightlight in his 80's (mostly mediocre) discography. 4,5 VERY SOLID stars.

 Zoot Allures by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.73 | 415 ratings

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Zoot Allures
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Zoot Allures" is an album release by US, California based rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through Warner Bros. Records in October 1976. It's the successor to the 1975 "Bongo Fury" collaboration album with Captain Beefheart. "Zoot Allures" was originally meant to be released through the DiscReet Records label, but Herb Cohen (Zappa's then manager/business partner and co-owner of DiscReet Records) and Zappa had a falling out (which ended in a lawsuit), and the album was therefore released through Warner Bros. Records. It would be Zappa's only release through the label, as he would also experience great trouble with that label and their business methods resulting in one of the longest release breaks of his career, as his next release "Zappa in New York" wasn't released until March 1978 (through the DiscReet Records label, although still distributed though Warner Bros. Records).

Many of Zappa's albums consist of both studio and live recordings recorded at various locations and times (sometimes combined on the same track), and that's also the case on "Zoot Allures", although most tracks on the album were actually recorded in May-June of 1976 at the Record Plant Studios on Los Angeles. There are three exceptions on the album. The first is "Wonderful Wino", which is a track that Zappa co-wrote with former Mothers of Invention bassist Jeff Simmons, and which in its original version was featured on the latter's 1969 solo album "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up". The version of "Wonderful Wino" included on "Zoot Allures" was recorded in 1972/1973. The second exception is "Friendly Little Finger", which was recorded partially in 1973 and finished in October 1975. The last exception is the instrumental "Black Napkins", which is a live recording from Osaka, Japan from February 1976.

Most of the basic tracks (bass, guitars, drums, vocals, keyboards) which were recorded at the Record Plant Studios, were recorded by the duo of Frank Zappa and Terry Bozzio. The latter recorded all drum tracks, and the former recorded everything else. The album however does feature quite a few guest appearances by Zappa regulars like Ruth and Ian Underwood, Roy Estrada, Captain Beefheart, and Bruce Fowler.

In usual Frank Zappa mode "Zoot Allures" is a stylistically eclectic release. It's one of Frank Zappa's more easily accessible and humourous releases and tracks like "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station", "Ms. Pinky", "Wonderful Wino", and "Disco Boy" are all both funny and a little silly (in a good way). In the other end of the spectrum are the two instrumentals "Black Napkins" and the title track, which both feature a darker and more melancholic sound. The same can be said about "The Torture Never Stops", which is a long atmospheric track with some thought provoking lyrics.

"Zoot Allures" features a warm, organic, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly and upon conclusion it's a good quality release by Frank Zappa. It's not among his most standout releases nor among his best, but it's still highly entertaining and filled to the brim with excellent musicianship, adventurous songwriting ideas, and strong production values. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Thing-Fish by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.45 | 154 ratings

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Thing-Fish
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by handwrist

4 stars If you are on this site, you certainly like challenging music. Yet, some releases can be maybe a little bit 'too challenging'.

Zappa's 'Thing-Fish' is perhaps one of the best examples of this. You only have to go through the existing reviews and ratings of this album on this site to see just how non-consensual it is. On the one hand you have tried and true classics like 'Torture never stops' and 'You are what you is' ? on the other hand they are sang in what can only be called 'ebonics', masterfully incorporated by Ike Willis (Zappa's best singer in my opinion). You also have weird broadway-like story telling, in which the spectators become part of the show, in a downward spiral of weirdness and scathing social commentary. Having criticized in earlier albums the hippies and their phony-revolutionary mindset, Zappa now turns its sights to its direct consequences in the 80s, the yuppie greed and consumerism, gay culture and feminism, tying it all to government social engineering.

Too far fetched? Perhaps, but Zappa was never consensual, and never tried to appease anyone ? its political and social perspectives are, after all, as avant-garde as its music, and that certainly will not make everyone happy.

I think it's a terrific album, musically and lyrically, and in another dimension, a creative stage show that subverts the very expectations of what a broadway show should be. Regardless, it is undeniable that the musical and lyrical craziness perfectly mimic the craziness of the social situation Zappa was trying to portray.

It's not an album that will be an instant favourite. Zappa is perhaps my favourite artist, and still it took me a handful of times across a couple of years to fully comprehend it and appreciate it. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try. But beware, not for the faint of heart. I will say that our fast-paced society is not conductive to appreciate this type of album ? it's simply something you have to pay attention from start to finish, otherwise it will not make sense. You need to sit down and just listen, without distractions, to immerse yourself in this odd masterpiece.

I give it 4 stars and not 5 only because it is not an instant classic, and I doubt anyone that came to like it did it at the first try (me included). Accessible is definitely not the word for it, but if we were looking for that, we wouldn't be prog fans anyway.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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