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Frank Zappa

© Rykodisc

December 31 - 06, 2018

Year of Release: 1993
Disc One:
  • Sexual Harrassment In The Workplace
  • Which One Is It
  • Republicans
  • Do Not Pass Go
  • Chalk Pie
  • In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky
  • That's Not Really Reggae
  • When No One Was No One
  • Once Again Without The Net
  • Outside Now (Original Solo)
  • Jim And Tammy's Upper Room
  • Were We Ever Really Safe In San Antonio
  • That Ol' G Minor Thing Again
  • Hotel Atlanta Incidentals
  • That's Not Really A Shuffle
  • Move It Or Park it
  • Sunrise Redeemer
    Disc Two:
  • Variations On Sinister #3
  • Orrin Harch On Skis
  • But Who Was Fulcanelli
  • For Duane
  • GOA
  • Winos Do Not March
  • Swans? What Swans?
  • Too Ugly For Show Business
  • Systems Of Edges
  • Do Not Try This At Home
  • Things That Do Like Meat
  • Watermelon In Easter Hay
  • Canadian Customs
  • Is That All There Is
  • It Ain't Necessarily The Saint James Infirmary

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    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    "These solos were recorded live between 1979 and 1984. None of them are perfect, but I hope you enjoy them anyway. Except on "THINGS THAT LOOK LIKE MEAT." there are no overdubs, and, for the most part, the solos have been left full length. This album is not recommended for children or Republicans."

    Frank Zappa's Guitar album was the follow-up to Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. Frank Zappa's live guitar works is collected here, as it displayed his guitar works from past live performances, recorded between 1979 and 1984. This album was nominated for a Grammy, for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Not only was Zappa known as a vocalist, his guitar playing was another standout of his career. And Guitar showcases his guitar work, and no vocals. Guitar is a 2-CD set.

    Disc 1:
    Every song on this set is truly unique. Many of the tracks here is what I call "obscure Zappa." It's obscure music. It's different. And, you have to admit, that Zappa was a very accomplished musician. A genius in his own right. Most of his critiques are either a hit-or-miss. Hit, in which these tracks were possibly ahead of their time. Miss, in which how these tracks were presented, were, not only ahead of their time, but how they sounded just may not be for most music fans. All in all, Zappa's music was a force to be reckoned with. For some, it just may take a few repeated listens.

    But "obscure Zappa" is, what it is: "Which One Is It" and "Republicans" is obscure. Then there are obscure tracks where Zappa creates his own genre of Jazz music, like on "Do Not Pass Go," and "Chalk Pie." Not only was Jazz a favorite genre of music for Zappa, there was also Classical. His take on Classical composer Igor Stravinsky (an Zappa influence), and the Classic Rock song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" -- "In-A-Gadda-Sravinksky." The melody (bass playing by Zappa bandmate Scott Thunes) of the Iron Butterfly classic is mixed with Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring. Zappa's take on this is performed more fast-paced than that of the original Da-Vida.

    More "obscure" on "That's Not Really Reggae" -- No, it is not Reggae, this is for sure... It's Obscure Zappa Rock. On the softer side of Zappa, there's "When No One Was No One," placing Zappa at more relaxed and softer Rock, than that we are most familiar with, of Zappa's music. "Once Again Without The Net" -- obscure Zappa. "Outside Now (Original Solo)" -- soft Zappa.

    Zappa Rock -- Zappa, just as obscure as he was, he also creates his own form of Rock music in his own right. "Zappa Rock" -- "Jim And Tammy's Upper Room." Zappa takes his form of "Zappa Jazz" on "Were We Ever Really Safe In San Antonio." Good old Zappa Rock & Roll gets "That Ol' G Minor Thing Again." More on obscure Zappa -- "Hotel Atlanta Incindentals." And for some Really obscure Zappa, "That's Not Really A Shuffle," and Move It Or Park It." (Zappa was definitely obscure, and unique.) "SUnrise Redemmer" -- yes, you guessed it, obscure.

    But I saved the first track from Disc One here, in this part of the review: "Sexual Harrassment In The Workplace." This track is a standout, as it is Rock and Blues for Zappa. Maybe, if there were more tracks like this one, would it have made it a better set of live performances? Maybe, maybe not, but remember, this is the uniqueness of Frank Zappa. A man ahead of his time. A musical genius.

    Disc 2:
    The second disc keeps continuing the obscurity of Frank Zappa... Yet for the most part, this disc samples more of "(obscure) Zappa Jazz": "Variations On Sinister #3," "Orrin Hatch On Skis," "But Who Was Fulcanelli." Blues meets Zappa Rock on "For Duane," another impressive track, involving Blues. "GOA" is another softer side of Zappa, yet it's still, Zappa Rock. Zappa Rock -- "Winos Do Not March." [Obscure Zappa music, Obscure Zappa song title(s)]. And soft, Zappa Jazz for "Swans? What Swans?" (Jazz? Is this Jazz? Zappa Jazz).

    "Too Ugly For Show Business" is obscure and a bit of a mix of bluesy and Jazz. The same for "Systems Of Edges." (These songs reminds of me of the "off-Jazz" of the band Traffic, and more noteably from them, The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys.

    "DO Not Try This At Home" is just strange, and very very obscure. Possibly the only least listened to track here. But again, it's the uniqueness of Frank Zappa. Some like it, and others just may not. The title of this track pretty much says it all, and maybe the previous track too. "Ugly." Maybe another word for this one: Psychedelic.

    Then it gets better with the next track, the snappin, somewhat jazzy "Things That Look Like Meat." Slowing the pace down a bit again, and another impressive track, "Watermelon In Easter Hay." Then it returns to the obscure Zappa again -- "Canadian Customs," "Is That All There Is," and "It Ain't Necessarily The Saint James Infirmary."

    I would say the second disc is the best of the two. The "off" blues and jazz has Frank Zappa placing himself into another category of music, making it Zappa's own. Zappa was a distinguised guitar player. As mentioned, unique and different. This would pass along to his son, Dweezil. Dweezil Zappa has made himself, like his father, a distinctive and valuable guitar sessionist. Dweezil has also released albums of his own, as he displays his astonished guitar playing. He has also recorded for many other artists on their albums. Dweezil's solo albums will be reviewed here on the WSVNRadio site, at a later date.

    Zappa's credited guitar playing is the focus on this album, Guitar. Studying Frank Zappa's uniqueness as a musician and guitarist does raise the eyebrows here. Sure, some songs are better than others. And, these are live performances. I'm sure watching him play live would standout even more. Zappa was a genius, his music he created in his own style, and you can say, his own genre. It's not the common Rock, not the common Jazz or Blues. It's "Zappa Rock," "Zappa Blues," "Zappa Jazz." ZAPPA. Long live Frank Zappa. He left us in 1993. In one of his last interviews, he was asked how he would be remembered. Surprisingly, he said he didn't want to be remembered. He was just a musician who put his own creativity and style into what he did. And for many, he would be remembered as a gifted musician, and obviously a man ahead of his time. Some like him, love him, hate him (I know that's a harsh word), and if it's not hate, he was not well-liked. And yes, his physical appearance was unique, but then again, he was showing us his apperance as a "Rock And Roll" image, and its lifestyle.

    Frank Zappa (in my own opinion) was a genius. Some of his albums I listen to of him, I would say, "Wow, this is different. But do I really like it?" The answer is yes. Sure, it may take a few repeated listens on some tracks, and albums. But still, it's Frank Zappa -- the man who would set the stage for uniqueness, genius, and being quite different than the other Rock artists we have known and loved.

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