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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 Var鑣e, 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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FRANK ZAPPA discography


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

3.92 | 667 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out!
1966
4.05 | 546 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free
1967
3.20 | 398 ratings
Lumpy Gravy
1968
4.10 | 682 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money
1968
2.78 | 290 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
1968
4.06 | 537 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Uncle Meat
1969
4.34 | 1671 ratings
Hot Rats
1969
3.91 | 441 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970
3.78 | 438 ratings
The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1970
3.41 | 350 ratings
Chunga's Revenge
1970
3.07 | 237 ratings
200 Motels
1971
3.93 | 519 ratings
Waka / Jawaka
1972
4.32 | 999 ratings
The Grand Wazoo
1972
4.00 | 640 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation
1973
4.03 | 709 ratings
Apostrophe (')
1974
4.30 | 999 ratings
The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
1975
3.73 | 432 ratings
Zoot Allures
1976
3.75 | 284 ratings
Studio Tan
1978
3.63 | 297 ratings
Sleep Dirt
1979
3.90 | 519 ratings
Sheik Yerbouti
1979
4.15 | 552 ratings
Joe's Garage, Act I
1979
3.99 | 437 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts II & III
1979
3.66 | 293 ratings
You Are What You Is
1981
3.59 | 265 ratings
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1982
3.16 | 242 ratings
The Man From Utopia
1983
3.12 | 119 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I
1983
3.28 | 195 ratings
Them Or Us
1984
2.43 | 160 ratings
Thing-Fish
1984
2.58 | 136 ratings
Francesco Zappa
1984
3.52 | 126 ratings
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
1984
3.25 | 147 ratings
Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1985
3.43 | 234 ratings
Jazz from Hell
1986
2.95 | 90 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II
1987
3.78 | 135 ratings
Civilization Phaze III
1994
3.33 | 92 ratings
The Lost Episodes
1996
3.99 | 200 ratings
L鋞her
1996
3.17 | 56 ratings
Everything Is Healing Nicely [Aka: EIHN]
1999
2.98 | 52 ratings
Joe's Corsage
2004
1.79 | 56 ratings
Joe's Domage
2004
2.22 | 41 ratings
Joe's XMasage
2005
3.50 | 46 ratings
Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
2011
2.96 | 34 ratings
Joe's Camouflage
2014
3.98 | 67 ratings
Dance Me This
2015

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

3.25 | 175 ratings
Fillmore East, June 1971
1971
3.18 | 159 ratings
Just Another Band From L.A.
1972
4.36 | 342 ratings
Roxy & Elsewhere
1974
3.56 | 233 ratings
Bongo Fury
1975
4.24 | 269 ratings
Zappa in New York
1978
3.35 | 160 ratings
Orchestral Favorites
1979
3.10 | 169 ratings
Tinsel Town Rebellion
1981
3.28 | 101 ratings
Baby Snakes
1983
3.61 | 90 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
1986
3.64 | 135 ratings
Broadway The Hard Way
1988
3.38 | 126 ratings
Guitar
1988
4.04 | 131 ratings
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1988
4.46 | 214 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
1988
3.65 | 110 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1989
3.57 | 100 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
1991
4.36 | 199 ratings
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
1991
4.42 | 152 ratings
Make A Jazz Noise Here
1991
3.76 | 39 ratings
Piquantique - Stockholm 1973
1991
2.42 | 26 ratings
As An Am
1991
3.39 | 27 ratings
The Ark
1991
2.72 | 23 ratings
Freaks & Motherfuckers!
1991
2.43 | 26 ratings
Unmitigated Audacity
1991
2.18 | 27 ratings
Anyway The Wind Blows
1991
2.83 | 25 ratings
'Tis The Season To Be Jelly
1991
2.42 | 24 ratings
Saarbrucken 1978
1991
1.52 | 18 ratings
At The Circus
1992
1.96 | 17 ratings
Conceptual Continuity
1992
2.85 | 51 ratings
Playground Psychotics
1992
3.67 | 89 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
1992
3.87 | 88 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
1992
2.35 | 19 ratings
Disconnected Synapses
1992
3.04 | 19 ratings
Electric Aunt Jemima
1992
3.15 | 15 ratings
Our Man In Nirvana
1992
3.61 | 16 ratings
Swiss Cheese / Fire!
1992
2.38 | 15 ratings
Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
1992
3.89 | 128 ratings
The Yellow Shark
1993
3.25 | 82 ratings
Ahead Of Their Time
1993
3.94 | 61 ratings
FZ:OZ
2002
3.87 | 37 ratings
Halloween (DVD-Audio)
2003
3.99 | 73 ratings
Imaginary Diseases
2006
3.51 | 69 ratings
Trance-Fusion
2006
4.14 | 67 ratings
Buffalo
2007
4.16 | 79 ratings
Wazoo
2007
3.66 | 48 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2007
3.63 | 45 ratings
One Shot Deal
2008
3.18 | 32 ratings
Joe's Menage
2008
4.20 | 55 ratings
Philly '76
2009
4.33 | 68 ratings
Hammersmith Odeon
2010
3.84 | 38 ratings
Carnegie Hall
2011
3.16 | 41 ratings
Finer Moments
2012
3.39 | 38 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #1
2012
4.41 | 53 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #2
2013
4.58 | 36 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.58 | 46 ratings
Roxy By Proxy
2014
3.50 | 8 ratings
200 Motels The Suites
2015
4.58 | 12 ratings
Roxy: The Sountrack
2015
3.08 | 6 ratings
Little Dots
2016
3.73 | 11 ratings
Chicago '78
2016
2.36 | 14 ratings
Road Tapes - Venue #3
2016
4.18 | 14 ratings
Halloween 77
2017
4.59 | 17 ratings
The Roxy Performances
2018
3.29 | 5 ratings
Halloween 73
2019

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

2.85 | 58 ratings
200 Motels (The Movie)
1971
3.40 | 25 ratings
Uncle Meat (Video)
1988
2.79 | 62 ratings
Does Humor Belong In Music?
2003
4.10 | 81 ratings
Baby Snakes
2003
4.19 | 33 ratings
QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-Audio)
2004
4.04 | 47 ratings
The Dub Room Special!
2005
4.05 | 22 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2005
4.17 | 44 ratings
Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
2007
4.57 | 46 ratings
Zappa In Barcelona
2007
3.33 | 9 ratings
Tratto dal filmato 'A Token Of His Extreme'
2007
4.17 | 23 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
4.10 | 21 ratings
A Token Of His Extreme
2013
4.55 | 26 ratings
Roxy: The Movie
2015

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

3.71 | 39 ratings
Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers
1969
2.00 | 3 ratings
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
1975
3.74 | 62 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
4.16 | 55 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More
1981
3.88 | 48 ratings
Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
1981
3.85 | 108 ratings
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
1982
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Old Masters, Box One
1985
2.84 | 19 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
3.65 | 125 ratings
Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III
1987
4.08 | 23 ratings
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Sampler
1988
4.09 | 11 ratings
Beat The Boots 1
1991
2.00 | 1 ratings
Cucamonga Years - The Early Works of Frank Zappa (1962-1964)
1991
4.00 | 9 ratings
Beat The Boots 2
1992
3.28 | 42 ratings
London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I & II
1995
3.24 | 57 ratings
Strictly Commercial
1995
3.75 | 33 ratings
Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1996
4.15 | 26 ratings
Strictly Genteel
1997
3.24 | 32 ratings
Have I Offended Someone?
1997
2.92 | 46 ratings
Cheap Thrills
1998
2.04 | 55 ratings
The Mystery Disc
1998
2.11 | 18 ratings
Cucamonga (1962 - 1964)
1998
2.96 | 29 ratings
Son Of Cheep Thrills
1999
4.56 | 11 ratings
Zappa Picks - By Larry LaLonde Of Primus
2002
3.94 | 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
2.67 | 9 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
2.95 | 2 ratings
The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Beat the Boots III
2009
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
0.00 | 0 ratings
ZAPPAtite (Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks)
2016
3.87 | 11 ratings
The Crux Of The Biscuit
2016
3.88 | 11 ratings
Frank Zappa For President
2016
4.50 | 4 ratings
Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object Audio Documentary
2016
2.98 | 5 ratings
The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa
2019
4.75 | 4 ratings
Zappa in New York (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2019
4.80 | 5 ratings
Orchestral Favorites (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Under the Covers (The Songs He Didn't Write)
2019
5.00 | 5 ratings
The Hot Rats Sessions
2019

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

4.00 | 10 ratings
How Could I Be Such a Fool?
1966
4.46 | 13 ratings
Trouble Comin' Every Day
1966
3.91 | 11 ratings
It Can't Happen Here
1966
3.70 | 12 ratings
Big Leg Emma
1967
4.22 | 9 ratings
My Guitar
1969
3.65 | 28 ratings
Peaches en Regalia
1970
3.40 | 10 ratings
Tell Me You Love Me
1970
4.00 | 8 ratings
WPLJ
1970
3.67 | 3 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
4.20 | 10 ratings
Cletus Awreetus - Awrightus
1972
3.24 | 13 ratings
Montana
1973
2.87 | 14 ratings
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
1974
4.00 | 4 ratings
Cosmik Debris
1974
5.00 | 2 ratings
Du Bist Mein Sofa
1975
3.14 | 7 ratings
Find Her Finer
1976
3.75 | 4 ratings
Disco Boy
1976
4.00 | 15 ratings
Bobby Brown
1979
4.23 | 13 ratings
Joe's Garage
1979
3.38 | 13 ratings
Dancin Fool
1979
3.63 | 16 ratings
I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 12''
1980
3.71 | 7 ratings
Stick It Out
1980
3.80 | 5 ratings
Goblin Girl (picture)
1981
2.91 | 15 ratings
Valley Girl
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Love Of My Life
1981
4.00 | 4 ratings
Harder Than Your Husband
1981
5.00 | 2 ratings
Cocaine Decisions
1983
3.00 | 2 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
4.67 | 15 ratings
Peaches En Regalia (longpack)
1987
4.50 | 12 ratings
Montana (Whipping Floss)
1988
4.67 | 9 ratings
Zomby Woof
1988
3.21 | 11 ratings
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1988
2.09 | 3 ratings
You Can't Do That On the Radio Anymore
1990
3.08 | 9 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
4.50 | 6 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
5.00 | 1 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
 Guitar by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1988
3.38 | 126 ratings

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Guitar
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

2 stars ZAPPA in the eighties was not good. I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't be that direct and make such a daring statement but with the exception of "Ship arriving too late", all the ZAPPA albums in the eighties are extremely hard to swallow for me because most of them sound as they have a lot of instruments playing all kinds of stuff at the same time and making the music incomprehensible or, like in this case, there is only one instrument taking all the space of the album.

"Guitar" is a double live album released in 1988 and, as its name implies, it is only a guitar and guitar and guitar. Yes, Frank ZAPPA was a very good guitar player, there's no doubt about that, but we can appreciate that in several brilliant guitar solos he played in some of his 70's songs such as "Black napkins", "Muffin man", "Zoot allures" and the immortal "Watermelon in Easter hay", but all of those songs were in albums with other songs that showed the brilliance and creativity of the other musicians who played with Frank: the drums by Terry BOZZIO, the keyboards by George DUKE, the saxophones of Napoleon MURPHY BROCK or the xylophones of Ruth UNDERWOOD (just to name a few and those names depend on the album we're talking about), in "Guitar" it's just that: guitar.

The album starts with "Sexual harassment in the workplace" which is a really good song when you hear it isolated from the album; my first encounter with this song was in the compilation "Strictly commercial" and I thought (and I still think) it is a great song with a powerful guitar line filling it almost entirely. Further than that, the album falls in the "everything sounds exactly the same" kind of record and it is very hard to tolerate it because it lasts a whole hour and just when you thought it is over you realize there is one more CD with another hour of the SAAAAAAAAAAAAAME stuff.

Maybe "In a gadda Stravinsky" would be the second song that I'd save from this album: you don't have to be extremely smart to understand that it is a weird (ZAPPA-like) cover of IRON BUTTERFLY's "In-a-gadda-da-vida" with a touch of Igor STRAVINSKY's influence; this song reminds me a lot to the early albums of ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS (especially "Burnt weeny sandwich" and "Uncle Meat"). It is a good (but not that much) song.

If we talk about an artist who has sooooooo many records as Frank ZAPPA it is easy to find some albums that are not that amazing. Even when I adore Frank ZAPPA and almost everything that he recorded from 1966 to 1982 I sincerely wouldn't recommend to listen to this or any other ZAPPA album recorded after 1982 (it is important to mark a difference between recorded and published and in this case I think it is especially important) in it's entirely; however, I would recommend to listen maybe one song of this album today, another one in two or three days, then another one after a week and maybe listening to it song by song with a lot of huge intervals and maybe then it would be a nice (not great) record.

DO NOT LISTEN TO IT AT ONCE!!

 Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set) by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
3.85 | 108 ratings

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Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lupton

1 stars As a fairly casual Zappa fan with only 14 of his albums in my collection ( meagre compared to most fans collections I am sure) I particularly love his instrumentals like "Peaches En Regalia "but I have to be brutally honest honest here- I really do not rate his actual soloing . "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar" may be manna from heaven for Zappaphiles- imagine 3 albums with nothing but guitar solos pure muso bliss- what's not to like? you ask. Well plenty, unfortunately. While his soloing is fine when in support of his songs, taken out of context they are, how can I say this politely?- "Blah".Sorry- I wanted my critique to be a little more eloquent but I just can't this time.Flat out boring and seemingly endless noodling does not constitute music .

For absolute Zappa completists and guitar (especially Fusion) nerds only.

1 star

 The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
2.98 | 5 ratings

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The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This particular album shows that it was released in 2019, which was actually when the LP version of it was released. In reality, it was originally included with the purchase of the magazine "Guitar World" sometime in 1987. The question that comes up is whether this was an official release in 1987 or not, since it was free if you bought the specific edition of the magazine. The collection contains some tracks that were not available anywhere else in 1987, so FZ fans wanted to get their eager hands on it, especially after the popularity of the 3 "Shut Up and Play Your Guitar" albums that he released in 1981.

The nice thing about this collection is the amount of versatility that exists on the album, which is something that was hard to convey on the previous guitar albums (and even on the subsequent guitar-solo-only double album that would come out shortly after this collection). There are some things that FZ fans will be familiar with on this short (31 minutes) collection, but which are added in to show Zappa's versatility on the instrument.

It starts off with "Sleep Dirt" which comes from the album of the same name. This is a somewhat acoustic guitar track where Frank plays along with "Bird-Legs" Yeoman, and props to him for being able to keep up with Frank. FZ didn't often release acoustic solos, so this one is quite unique in his catalog. This is followed with another familiar track called "Friendly Little Finger" which comes from the "Zoot Allures" album, this one clearly showing another color in the guitarist's palette. A short excerpt from "Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra" gives a glimpse of the "classical" side of Zappa and this excerpt is taken from the album "Studio Tan", but is the version with drum over-dubs by Chad Wackerman, so it differs slightly. The last track on this side of the album is "Things that Look Like Meat" which wasn't available when this was originally put out, but was going to be included on the "Guitar" album. Since there was some trademark issues with the original cassette recordings, Zappa ended up putting a longer version on the "Guitar" album thus making this version about a minute shorter. This one is recorded live in Salt Lake City and pulls out the stops on Zappa's heavy guitar work.

The 2nd side will be more interesting to collectors than anyone else. "Down in De Dew" is a cool, fretless guitar solo which was an outtake from the "Apostrophe" sessions. It would be quite a while before this track would be made available elsewhere, but it would eventually end up on the "Lather" album in this same version. Next are 3 different solos taken from live performances. "Solo from Heidelberg" which is a live solo taken from a performance of "Yo Mama" (originally from "Sheik Yerbouti"). This is also on the "One Shot Deal" album which was to be released a few years later. This is followed by "Solo from Cologne" which was also on the "Guitar" (under the name "But Who is Fulcanelli?") album in a shorter edit. This one is actually 1 minute longer. The solo comes from a live performance of "Drowning Witch". The last track would also be included on the forthcoming "Guitar" album (under the name "For Duane"), again in a shorter edit, this one also being about a minute longer. The solo comes from a performance of the Allman Brothers song "Whipping Post".

The original cassette can be really hard to find, and if you do find it, it is quite expensive. It's best to get this collection on the newly available LP, and at least it is also an official FZ release. With the availability of this on vinyl, it gives it more of an interest than before. If you love FZ and find yourself interested in the longer edits of a few of the tracks here, then you will definitely be interested in this. Otherwise, it's a great, enjoyable album with a nice variety of guitar solos, and easier to digest than the entire "Guitar" album, at least for the novice in FZ's discography. For those interested in whether they would be interested in FZ's longer guitar collections, then this is also a great one to begin with since it doesn't go so "in-depth" as the other collections. However, if you have the "Guitar" album already, it may not be as interesting as it would be to others, except for the slightly longer edits. Personally, I find it a bit easier to listen to in one single setting than the other guitar collections. But I would rather hear it all in the original contexts of each track. I will say, though, that for the beginning FZ solo listener, this is a great place to start.

 Roxy: The Movie by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.55 | 26 ratings

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Roxy: The Movie
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I've had the vinyl double album of this performance in heavy rotation on my turntable since it came out in the 70s. I still consider it one of the best live LPs I've ever heard. I won't go too far into the music end of things because you can just read my glowing review of it for yourself. But recently I came across the film version on Amazon Prime and, impossible as it seems, made me even more appreciative of what Frank and his band accomplished that particular night. What the record wasn't able to convey was the pure joy the musicians were exuding while playing some of the most complex material imaginable purely from memory. You'd think they were playing something akin to "Gloria" by their casual mien when, in fact, it's obvious throughout the show they're having the time of their lives. If you are of the younger set and have often wondered what all the fuss is about Mr. Zappa I highly recommend you dial this movie up soon and get ready to pick your jaw up from the floor often. No fancy light show or special effects needed for this uber-talented bunch. In my estimation there's never been anything quite like it in the history of progressive music and I'm tickled pink that it's been preserved for all time to come.
 Frank Zappa For President by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
3.88 | 11 ratings

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Frank Zappa For President
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Released in 2016, the year that a 'stable genius' was voted in for president (there must have been a time in his life that he worked at mucking out horse stables, and I'm sure he was the best one in history), 'Frank Zappa for President' was unfortunately not to be taken seriously because it was, of course, released posthumously. However, even though he has long left this earthly plane, he probably would have been better in his current state than the real one in his current state. Anyway, no more political views here, this is an album review.

Zappa actually considered running for president. Would he have been a good one? Well, we'll never really know, but I usually don't like to encourage voting for celebrities. At any rate, in an interview for Gig in 1977, Zappa said he would be a perfect president, but at that time, he said he wasn't ready yet. He said some day he would be, but not until he thought it would be fun. But in 1991, in an interview with Spin magazine, he was seriously considering running for the next election. It never happened because after many volunteers had offered to help, he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He continued with his music, mostly doing synclavier compositions.

'Frank Zappa for President' is a combination of synclavier works and previously unreleased band tracks, all of them having to do with politics and the like. The album was compiled by Joe Travers and produced by him and Ahmet Zappa. The thematic element works well in the collection of these tracks that easily merit a full album. It all starts off with the long, synclavier piece 'Overture to 'Uncle Sam'', a 15 minute track that was part of an Opera that he was working on. It was performed on synclavier and used as a demonstration piece for that instrument and was included on tapes that also included tracks used in the album 'Everything is Healing Nicely'. The first 5 minutes of the piece was also performed by the Ascolta Ensemble in 2007. The music on this track is not as inaccessible as some of his other more impressionistic pieces, and it is easy to imagine how great this would have been with a full orchestra. But the recording and performance is great and more along the lines of the tracks on the album 'Jazz from Hell', so it isn't abstract for the most part.

Following this is a remix of 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It', one of Zappa's more famous comedic songs/sketches inspired by Lyndon B. Johnson, or a city hall official fantasizing about a 13-year-old girl. It's one of the Mother's most famous tracks. When asked why it was remixed, the answer was that it was probably going to be used for the 'Uncle Meat' soundtrack, but never was, so it seemed to fit well with this album. Next is 'Amnerka' performed on the synclavier again, but in this version, Napoleon Murphy Block sings vocals that were meant for the 'Thing-Fish' album, but never used. More synclavier continues on the next track 'If I Was President' which also has spoken words from Frank (recorded at a separate time as the instrumental track) over layered on the music. This was combined by Joe Travers. Frank talks about mostly how he would campaign differently than the norm, but also how he would differ from the usual politician. It's quite an interesting track.

'When the Lie's So Big' was originally found on the 'Broadway the Hard Way' album as a live track, but on this album, we get an unreleased live performance of the track which was recorded at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY on March 25, 1988. Both Frank and Ike Willis do vocals backed up by the full band on this version. 'Medieval Ensemble' is a 6 minute synclavier piece that takes on a more baroque style, again written for a full orchestra. The album finishes with the band accompanying Ike Willis singing a seemingly heartfelt rendition of 'America The Beautiful'. This is also taken from the same show as 'When the Lie's So Big' on this album, and must have also been an encore performance as Frank calls out 'This really is good night' at the end.

Overall, this is quite an enjoyable album with a timely thematic element, and includes a good variety with both excellent synclavier compositions and full band pieces. Some might think the opening track is a little too long, but it is one of those tracks that gets better when you get more familiar with it. Of course, these pieces show of Frank's versatility and his ability to write complicated classical music, but the album quite effectively breaks this up with vocal and band performances, so you get the best of both worlds. However, it does seem a little inconsistent because of this, but that is only a minor problem. It easily ranks as one of the better posthumous compilations of unreleased material and the thematic element easily ties it all together and makes it seem more like an album than a compilation. 4 stars.

 The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
2.95 | 2 ratings

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The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This collection, which is only available through digital download (as far as I know), is the first of several "Birthday Bundles" that were released around every two years. These bundles usually collected previously unreleased tracks from Frank Zappa and from some of his family/friends. These will mostly appeal to the rabid Zappa fan, but others might find some enjoyment from them also. The first bundle was released in 2006, and it definitely has an interesting array of tracks, some good and some pretty bad.

First of all, each of these birthday bundles also contain different variations of the AAAFNRAA. This is an acronym for one of Frank's favorite mottoes "Anything Anytime Anywhere for No Reason At All".

The first four tracks are taken from what were previously unreleased concerts. The tracks are not necessarily anything to write home about. They are typical great performances of Zappa's songs. "Tryin' to Grow a Chin" was first originally on the "Sheik Yerbouti" album and is performed in Sydney Australia on Jan. 20, 1976. This is followed by "Dead Girls of London", a track that was mostly unheard by the public at that time. Again, it's an okay track, it's the typical Zappa fun track recorded live at the Odeon Hammersmith in London in February 1979. The bad thing about this particular version of the track is that it has a bad fade out at the end. Next is "You Are What You Is", a track that comes from the album of the same name, but this time performed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on December 11, 1980. The song is way too repetitive as far as the melody goes and it was an attempt at trying to make a hit single, not a good song at all and this live version isn't any better. The last live track is "Bamboozled by Love" performed in Wien, Austria on May 8, 1988. This version is actually pretty good, but doesn't vary much from the original. The last of the Frank Zappa tracks here is a remix of "Fine Girl". There's nothing really interesting here that is worth noting except that Chad Wackerman's drums were overdubbed over the original version. It's all good, but nothing really noteworthy.

The last 6 tracks are all contributions from various family members. First there are two tracks with lead vocals by Diva Zappa with some guitar and songwriting help from Dweezil Zappa. The first song, "Girlie Woman" was the only track that was available on another album, one of Dweezil's solo albums. The song is just awful, the singing is terrible (and not in a funny way), the lyrics are awful and so is the instrumentation. This is followed by "When the Ball Drops" which is maybe just a tad better, but still quite bad. The song is about desperately searching for someone to kiss on New Year's Eve before the "ball" drops. These are followed by a pair of tracks from Ahmet Zappa with help from Jason Nesmith. The first of this pair is a pretty decent track "Bring it Back". This track brings back interest in the overall collection as it is much better than the Diva contributions, but the second track from Ahmet "Feel How I Need You" is quite sub-par and boring. A very good instrumental called "Rhythmatist" by Dweezil Zappa follows that centers more around his synth skills than his guitar skills, but still pretty good nonetheless. The biggest surprise comes from "Moon Zappa" with the track "Everyone is Going Mad". She has help from Paul Doucette (from "Matchbox Twenty") and the song is actually really good. Of course, Moon Zappa provided the vocals for Frank's song "Valley Girl", but this track is much better than that was. Her vocal ability is much better and on this track, you can actually hear how good her singing voice is. This is the best track on the album and it's too bad that she didn't get more exposure like this.

So, in the end, this ends up being of more interest to Zappa-philes, but is still okay enough that occasional Zappa fans would also find something to like also. Moon Zappa's track is the best, but many will probably still want to check out just how bad Diva Zappa's songs are. When considered as a whole, however, this album comes out with 3 stars. Good, but not great and nothing worth getting too excited about.

 The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out! by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.92 | 667 ratings

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The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out!
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by The Anders

5 stars Along with the compilation The Lost Episodes which consists of mostly previously unreleased recordings, Freak Out was my introduction to the world of Frank Zappa (I copied it from CD to a cassette tape and bought The Lost Episodes on CD in 1997 when I was 13 years old).

I tend to favour the 1960's Mothers of Invention over Zappa's later work. I do like some of his later work which, by the way, seems to be more well known and appreciated by more people. Still, his early music, though musically elaborate, often has an anarchistic mood that is somehow missing in his later, more jazzy and more technically perfect productions with cream-of-the-crop musicians. His early creations sound more causal and spontanous to me, almost a bit punky, not to mention that they have it all: pop, rock, elaborate compositions with advanced harmonics and elements of both jazz and contemporary classical music, doo wop, avant-garde, musique concrete, weird sonic freak shows and witty satire. And they are funny as hell.

The good thing is, it is not just weird and funny for the sake of cheap laughs. There is a lot of seriousness behind it all: rebelliousness, criticism of society, and especially great compositional craftsmanship. You can be humorous and dead serious at the same time, and Frank Zappa is an obvious example of that.

The tone of Freak Out is set already in the first number, "Hungry Freaks Daddy". The verse is based on a groove which perhaps resembles the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" a bit too much, but it is quickly clear that it has much more to offer. Apart from unusual instruments such as marimba and kazoo there's a surprising change of harmonic mode with the title phrase: From a mostly bluesy verse, the title phrase surprises with the non-functional iii-ii-V-ii progression, and a melody line paralleling the bass note at a fifth. Not exactly a usual musical pattern to the average pop listener. Similar patterns can be found in songs such as "Ain't Got No Heart", "I'm Not Satisfied" and "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" (the latter contains an especially hilarious use of the kazoo).

Then there is the harsh society criticism in songs like "Hungry Freaks Daddy": "Mister America walk on by / the schools that do not teach / Mister Amercia walk on by / the minds that won't be reached". The tone is equally direct in "Trouble Every Day" which - on a musical level - is more traditionally bluesy. I don't really know why that had to be the lead single from the album. The most radical song is perhaps "Who Are the Brain Police" with its sinister, unstable harmonic structure and especially the instrumental middle section after the second verse.

At other times the album is using pop banality but deconstructing it. "Wowie Zowie" could have been a simple love song, but then there are lyrics such as "I don't even care if you brush your teeth". "Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder" is a break up song to a traditional vamp progression (I-vi-IV-V), but with a grotesque doo-wop choir in the background and a remarkably unsentimental lyric. "Motherly Love" turns out to be about groupies whereas "Amyway the Wind Blows" is perhaps the most conventional song on the album. Zappa sarcastically writes in the cover notes: "If I hadn't got divorced, this trivial piece of nonsense would never have been recorded. It is included in this collection because, in a nutshell, kids, it is... how shall I say it?... it is intellectually and emotionally accessible for you".

The tracks where Freak Out lives up to its name the most are the last two, "Help I'm a Rock" (the last part is sometimes listed as a separate track, "It Can't Happen Here") and "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet". While I really enjoy these tracks for their complete craziness, it is harder to describe them from a musical point of view. In any case, the "It can't happen here" section is extremely funny ("Whoooo... could imagine... that they would freak out in Minnesota.... Mi-mi-mi-mi-minesota" etc.).

The best part of the album is however the... if I may say so... "real songs" which make up the first two sides and the beginning of side three. The compositional qualities are astonishing. It is never just weird, there is a lot of beauty in even the most elaborate chords and melody lines, and there is often a pop sensibility to it. Also the production deserves praise. It clearly goes further than most pop/rock had done up to this point with orchestral arrangements and unusual instruments. This high level of professionalism is however counterpointed by the anarchistic and sometimes purposely off-key singing, mostly by lead singer Ray Collins and with Zappa often singing backing vocals (perhaps most striking in the intro of "Who Are the Brain Police"). But once again the balance between humour and seriousness is a big attraction of the album.

 Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.50 | 46 ratings

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Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This album, which is #90 in the list of official Zappa releases, was released (posthumously, of course) by the Zappa Family Trust. However, it was recorded by Zappa around 1986 and was meant to be a 3-track vinyl album released at that time, but never was. The music is all performed by Frank on his synclavier, which he used more and more extensively in his later years. The instrument provided Frank a way to hear the 'impossible music' that resided in his head, music that he deemed impossible to play by a human-based orchestra/band. It was also an instrument that was becoming more and more complex and useful, allowing him to record longer and more complex compositions as its memory capacity grew larger through the years and its sound became better.

In the case of this album, Gail Zappa and Joe Travers decided to finally release this album in 2011 much to the joy of Zappa- aficionados everywhere. Imagine how happy they were to get new music from their hero. Gail and Joe decided to add two more tracks to the album (the last two on the track listing for the CD), thus actually making the album a 'compilation' in their reckoning. Since Frank planned on releasing this as an original album, I think it is best to consider it an original recording, however, and just think of the last two tracks as bonus tracks. Either way, all 5 tracks are performed on the synclavier (with a guest appearance from Moon Unit).

The first track, the 20-minute title track, is original to this album and hasn't appeared in any form any where else prior to its release. Trying to describe this music is a bit tough as it is very complex. This (and pretty much everything on the album) is quite avant-garde and dense with no real traditional melody as you might expect in some of Zappa's more rock or jazz influenced tracks. This one is considered the more 'classical-influenced' style of music, with what might seem like random, orchestrated sounds to the untrained Zappa-listener, but in reality, it is all structured usually by certain sets of rules that are not easily apparent. If you like the music from albums like 'Jazz from Hell' or 'Civilization Phaze III', then you will like this. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you might want to approach this with caution. It does take some time to adjust your 'ear' to this style of music.

Speaking of 'Civilization Phaze III', the next 2 tracks, 'Buffalo Voice' and 'Secular Humanism' originally appeared on that album. However, they were both edited for that album. Now, for the first time, you get to hear the complete versions of these tracks, the former runs over 11 minutes, the latter is over 6 minutes. They both have some interesting vocalizations with Frank's vocalist of choice, Moon Unit Zappa. I'm pretty certain he must add some of his own vocalizations in the later one, which also seems to have more of a humorous edge to it. With all of the vocal manipulations, you will be reminded of something Mike Patton would do.

The last two tracks are the 'bonus tracks' that were added by Gail and Joe. It starts with the shortest track on the album, 'Worms From Hell'. Most of this one is exclusive to this album, but about 30 seconds of it was used for the introduction to the video release 'Video From Hell' released in 1987. Since the track is over 5 minutes, most of it is original to this album. This one is a little more traditionally structured than the previous tracks with some repeating riffs, but really not by much. It also seems to be more lighthearted, but it's still quite complex. The last track is the 2nd fully original track on the album, the 11 minute 'Samba Funk', a track the mixes bizarre complexity with some off-beat percussion.

Strangely enough, I find this music quite intriguing. It did take me some time to get to that point though, I will admit. It's not something that I tend to listen to a lot as I have to be in the right mood for it, but when I am, I find it full of color and moods. I can even make sense out of it which makes it even more interesting. One thing for sure, the sound of this and some of the latter synclavier albums is much better than those that came earlier, and that also helps. The sound is more dynamic and realistic, not as choppy as the albums produced that way from earlier years.

This is definitely not for everyone. As I said earlier, I have to be in the right mood to listen to this, and it's much more complex that 'Jazz From Hell', but more along the lines of 'Civilization Phaze III', but without the intelligible spoken word sections. This is definitely not one for first-time Zappa listeners, and probably even for many Zappa fans, but it is intriguing nonetheless, and it is well constructed and produced. I can easily give it 4 stars for its complexity, but I know there will be many out there that won't be able to listen to it at all, so I think 4 stars is fair enough.

 Sheik Yerbouti by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.90 | 519 ratings

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Sheik Yerbouti
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars "Martian Love Secrets". Those were the words that Zappa claimed he saw on a toilet paper dispenser in a restroom (Steve Vai said it was actually on the wall) at the Record Plant, the studio where Zappa was recording at the time. That was going to be the title of this album, or at least, it was the working title for quite a while during the process. Then, Lynn Goldsmith, the photographer for the album cover, convinced the reluctant Frank to wear a sheik head-dress, she took pictures, suggested that since the album had some parodies of disco music, it should be called "Shiek Yer Bootie", and the name stuck, though it ended up being stylized and spelled a little differently. And so, Frank's most popular album (to that point anyway) was born.

"Sheik Yerbouti" is one of my all time favorite albums ever, and it was my first real introduction to Zappa. While attending a concert for a mostly unknown band (at the time at least), the roadies played this album over the loud speakers, and I fell for it right away. Suddenly, this band called "Van Halen" that I had 2nd row seats to but whom I knew very little about, was starting to sound like a great idea after all. Of course, the band came out and blew everyone away, and David Lee Roth was pretty much jumping off the stage and singing in the audience, but I will always remember that night more because that was where my love for Zappa began.

So what makes this album so great, other than it is a sentimental favorite? Well, it is one of Zappa's funniest and most engaging of them all. Though it is hard to tell, most of the album is live. However, the songs that are on it were never presented on an album before, and with all the overdubs and etc. on the finished product, it is very hard to tell. The production is so slick, you would never know, and the tracks flow from one to the other almost seamlessly. All of the tracks work so well together, and the track line up is virtually perfect.

The band involved on this album is one of the best line-ups also. Even though some of the personnel changes from one song to another, it is still pretty solid. It wasn't at the time, but now it all seems like a who's who supergroup of artists: Adrian Belew, Tommy Mars, Peter Wolf, Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio and others are on almost every track. Belew later said that most of the tracks were actually soundchecks, and that is believable seeing that the audience is only heard on a few of them.

The album starts off with "I Have Been In You" which is a satirical take on Peter Frampton's "I'm In You", which was a big hit at the time. The basic track here comes from the Hammersmith Odeon in London on January 25, 1978 and this is also the case with the first four tracks (though some were recorded on the 27th). Of course, you get Zappa's irreverent lyrics that poke fun at Frampton's lyrics. The next track is "Flakes" which is about the plumbers' union and also has a section with Adrian Belew imitating Bob Dylan. Again, hilarious lyrics and an engaging, progressive sound make this one stand out. More hilarity follows with "Broken Hearts are for Assholes" which features some more progressive sound and changing meters. "I'm So Cute" makes fun of sexy rock stars and their egos, but has a definite punk sound to it as it was lampooning punk music.

"Jones Crusher" (recorded at The Palladium in NYC on October 31, 1977) shouldn't take a lot of imagination to know what this track is about. However, one non-English reporter was a bit confused when she asked if the song was about Zappa's hatred for cult leader Jim Jones. Of course, Frank had to explain it had to do with strong vaginal muscles, to which she replied "Oh?.Well that's very different". The following track is just some group banter and noises about one of the road managers that committed suicide and connects the next track "Rat Tomago", which is a guitar solo taken from a performance of "The Torture Never Stops" performed in Berlin on February 15, 1978. The title of the track comes from the name of a drawing from Ahmet Zappa that he made and named when he was a child which Frank found quite amusing. The track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. After another short, connecting track featuring more banter, "Bobby Brown" comes next, and of course it is the main reason the album was such a big seller. The track was a single and was the label's (CBS) biggest hit in history in Scandinavia. Funny, irreverent lyrics made this one nearly impossible to play on the radio in the US. Since it was made long before the artist of the same name became popular, so it has nothing to do with him, but more to do with self-pleasuring devices. "Rubber Shirt" is another instrumental which originally comes from 3 different solos, a guitar, the bass, and the drums, which Frank edited together making the separate tracks work with each other. O'Hearn's bass solo comes from an overdub used on the "Inca Roads" track. The 3 instruments playing on this track were never played together, but they sound like they were.

Another instrumental follows with "The Sheik Yerbouti Tango" which is from the guitar solo taken from the performance of "The Little House I Used to Live In" in Berlin on Feb. 15, 1978, another complex little ditty. This is followed by "Baby Snakes", a song with many different meanings sung by Zappa and Tommy Mars. "Tryin' to Grow a Chin" is another silly track that uses a riff and quote from a song by The Velveteens called "Dog Patch Creeper". Then there is the ever popular concert staple "City of Tiny Lights", a song about drug dependence and the crazy mind trips that accompany it, sung by Adrian Belew. This is always one of my favorites in concert as it always seems to inspire amazing guitar solos from Frank. This track was actually used many times in concert before being premiered on this album.

More fun follows in the disco satire "Dancin' Fool" and the kooky "Jewish Princess" which continues to offend people. The very interesting "Wild Love" is one of Frank's oddest tracks. I find it interesting the way he takes musical clich閟 from disco music here and then incorporate them into a complex and entertaining song. The album couldn't end better than the blistering "Yo' Mama", with silly lyrics and a killer, cinematic guitar solo, one of Zappa's best. It is said the lyrics were written about two of his band members, one had previously been ousted and the other was still active, but it is not certain who they were. Like most of the tracks here, the vocal sections were recorded at the usual Hammersmith Odeon, but the guitar solo was performed in Germany on Feb 25, 1978 using a four-track recording system and also utilizing many overdubs. In any event, it turned out a perfect ending for a perfect Zappa album.

This is definitely one of Frank's albums that could be considered a perfect entry point for his music. There is a lot of crude humor, excellent instrumentals and guitar solos, band field recordings, great melodies and it still has room for complex experimental weirdness. I know that when I heard it, I just had to dive in feet first to all of his discography. But don't think that all of his albums are going to be like this because Zappa was complex and dynamic. For me, I just had to understand what made this guy click, and it was after listening and becoming familiar with his music and his life, that I started to understand it all. Frank Zappa is not a musician that you come to appreciate over night, it takes a lot of commitment and interest in his music, motives, and mind to "get it". But in this album, you get to hear some of his complexities, yet be completely entertained at the same time. Definitely one of his best and most important albums, Sheik Yerbouti is one that I would consider recommended listening for those wanting to get to know Frank's music, especially from the more commercial side. But you better be prepared because this isn't for the faint of heart or for the easily offended.

 Hot Rats by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.34 | 1671 ratings

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Hot Rats
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progtime1234567

5 stars FRANK ZAPPA took me a minute to get used to and now that I have I now realize how great his music is. A while back I tried to listen to this album but I could not get myself to like him. Now that I have I finally understand why he is so great.

Hot Rats is Frank's greatest album because it shows off all that is great about his music. The guitar solos, the jazz rhythms, the odd, avant-garde side to it, and the overall humor that Zappa has become known for. This album while it may take a few to get into, and being one of Zappa's less accessible albums, is a must listen for any fan of prog rock.

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

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