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Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Edited Feb 21, 2010, 22:40
Re: Zappa
Feb 21, 2010, 21:30
With my own star rating system for worthwhileness . . . start with 5's, then on to 4's etc.


Sixties Classic Era (most worth hearing/having)

Freak Out! *** (a bit overrated, but auspicious for 1966)

Absolutely Free ***** (best mostly vocal LP by original Mothers)

We're Only In Money ***** (gotta be the original mix though)

Lumpy Gravy **** (groundbreaking avant-pop)

Uncle Meat ***** (best mostly instrumental LP by original Mothers)

Burnt Weeny **** (underrated gem, mostly instrumental)

Hot Rats ***** (weird "jazz fusion"(?) classic)

Weasel's Ripped **** (actually a collection of leftovers)

Ahead of Their Time **** (best live Mothers, a later CD release)

Ban the Boots live from this era:

Tis The Season To Be Jelly **** (lousy sound, but a neat concert from Sweden 1967 -- Ray Collins & Roy Estrada actually ARE funny!)

Electric Aunt Jemima **** (live Uncle Meat material)

The Ark *** (a more jammy type gig, Boston 1968 I think?)



Seventies Popular Weirdo Era (proceed with more caution)

Chunga's Revenge *** (instrumentals great, Flo & Eddie meh)

Just Another Band ** (OK live, more Flo & Eddie comedy)

200 Motels ** (Flo & Eddie and BBC Orchestra movie soundtrack)

Live at Fillmore East ** (Flo & Eddie again -- their duo albums are much better than this crap actually!)

Grand Wazoo **** (this is more like it -- epic jazzoid instrumental concept album)

Waka/Jawaka *** (Hot Rats part 2, but not as good)

Overnite Sensation ***** (by far his best "comedy rock" album -- sorta funny on a 70's SNL level, and the songs, ensemble playing & recording pretty exquisite.)

Apostrophe **** (his best seller with the "Yellow Snow" bit -- not quite as good as Overnite, and Zappa & his personality are more in front on this one.)

Bongo Fury *** (Captain Beefheart is on the album cause he was unemployable at the time & Zappa took pity -- not much of a collaboration to speak of, Beefheart fans can safely miss this one.)

One Size Fits All **** (underrated mid-70's rocker; not so much comedy songs as just kinda weird.)

Roxy & Elsewhere ** (wanky live album with a couple OK cuts)

You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore Vol 3 (Sic?): The Helsinki Concert **** (3 album complete concert from 1974 -- more jammy than jokey.)

Zoot Allures *** (somewhat underrated, another one that's mostly a Zappa solo album -- not essential though)

Zappa In New York ** (butchered by Warner Bros -- get Lather instead)

Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites *** (but get Lather instead)

Lather **** (Zappa's major statement of the 70's -- label split it up into a bunch of different LP's after a contract fight, something like the originally intended version came out on CD in the 90's)

Sheik Yerbouti *** (another big seller but not that great)

You Are What You Is *** (best of his 80's poppy albums, but not that great -- definitely NOT for those allergic to "Zappa humour")

Tinseltown Rebellion *** (surprisingly solid live album from the 80's band)


The shit era:

Proceed with extreme caution through the years 1982-1988!!!

Those instrumental "Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar" albums are probably my faves of this period -- maybe worth 3 stars *** (but only if you are really into his guitar solos)


The end:

Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life -- confess I don't have this, but Zappaheads have told me it was the first sign of life after years of stuff even fans couldn't stomach.

The Yellow Shark *** (modern classical stuff -- not really my bag, but I've heard some folks who aren't into Zappa call this one "amazing")

Civilization Phaze III ***** (sequel to Lumpy Gravy was his final major work & just very fuckin' impressive. Not rock or classical, synclavier music that existed only in FZ's imagination.)


Posthumous:

Not really up on what Gail's been releasing these days.


ADDENDUM: forgot to mention "Joe's Garage" -- I think the first LP that originally came out was damn promising, but part 2 & 3 kind of a let down. I think you can only get it as one complete set these days. It was his major work of the 80's, but I can't give it more than ***.

And might as well add:

Thing Fish ??? unclassifiable epic that is either absurdly brilliant or the worstest piece of shyte ever perpetrated on record. Folks who say this is their favorite Zappa album tend to be very weird people!!!! This is probably Frank's version of a "Metal Machine Music", if you make it this far you are beyond hardcore!
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