Frank Zappa Overview

Every year between Dec. 4th (the anniversary of FZ's death) and Dec. 21st (his birthday), I make an attempt to listen to every single one of Frank Zappa's releases. The first year that I was successful in getting to them all was 1999, and while I was listening I was also writing. The result was a group of mini-reviews of each and every official Zappa album, including the Beat the Boots series. There were even a few "outside" projects that Frank was involved with, like the GTOs, Jean-Luc Ponty, L. Shankar, etc.

But the web page holding these reviews grew to the point where it was over 300K of plain text. Way too much information for anyone who just wants an overview of Zappa's works. So, I decided to move each of the reviews out to its own page (see the index below) and create this page which will hopefully just give the overview I originally intended to write.

(Update, 2002: Once again I did the massive Zappa marathon, but this time I took my time and extended it through January of 2003. While listening, I "spiffed up" this web site by adding a new style sheet to make things look nicer, and doing a little editing and revising here and there. Plus I added a few more albums to the "related albums" page. Nothing major, but since I've gotten so many positive comments about these FZ pages, I figured I should do some more work on it).


Fans of progressive rock, if they listen to it long enough and read enough reviews and interviews, will eventually get curious about Frank Zappa. He has been mentioned as an influence by everyone from the Beatles (Paul McCartney is quoted in the biography "Blackbird" as saying that Zappa's first album, Freak Out, was "the first pop album that wasn't just a collection of singles" and that it was an influence on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) to Dream Theater (the drummer is a big Zappa fan, and can be seen wearing a Zappa t-shirt on the back of the first Liquid Tension Experiment disc), and dozens of other bands and musicians in between. Zappa's "serious" music has been performed by Pierre Boulez, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern and many others. Over the years, Zappa's bands introduced many musicians who would go on to much success in the rock and jazz worlds - Chester Thompson (Genesis, Weather Report), Terry Bozzio (UK, Black Light Syndrome), Adrian Belew (King Crimson), Steve Vai (G3), Mike Keneally (Beer For Dolphins), George Duke and others. There's almost no musical style that Zappa didn't tackle at one point or another - rock, progressive, jazz, avant garde, 20th century classical, electronic - and all with Frank's unique style and sense of humor.

Those credentials are enough to get many prog-rock fans curious, but then the big question becomes "Where do I begin?" With over 60 albums released during his lifetime, plus at least that many more in the form of posthumous releases, compilations, the Beat the Boots series, tribute albums, side projects, etc, etc, it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the Zappa catalog. Fortunately, depending on the type of music you're looking for, it's easy to narrow it down to a few top choices. Once you get started though, it's just as easy to get hooked. There are many people (myself included) who started out as casual fans and eventually reached the point of obsession, needing to own every note the man ever wrote, played or conducted. If that doesn't scare you off, here are some recommendations on where to begin...

Compilations

I've only bought a few of the many Zappa compilations available, and to be honest none of them would have been one of my first choices to purchase on their own merits. The first was Cheap Thrills, and I only bought that one because the cover artist (Cal Shenkel) was offering to personalize the cover for members of the Zappa newsgroup. That album, and a second volume called Son of Cheep Thrills, were available at really low prices (around $5) as Rykodisc's way of kicking off a new line of budget-priced Zappa CDs in 1998. I imagine they're long out of print and even if you could find a copy nowadays, it would be a more expensive than it'd be worth - keep in mind that Ryko lowered the prices on those "budget" discs because they were Zappa's poorer-selling titles - there might be a reason for that.

In addition to the Cheap line, Ryko has also put out two compilations called Strictly Commercial and Strictly Genteel. The first has some good stuff on it, but seems to focus mostly on Frank's rock and "novelty" songs. The latter disc looks at Zappa's orchestral and "serious" music, and might be a good place to start for those who are interested in that side of FZ's catalog.

In 2002 Ryko rolled out even more FZ compilations. This time they tried two different approaches, first packaging together similar albums as "threesomes", then getting famous musicians to put together "picks" of their favorite Zappa songs. The first threesome gathered together three early Mothers albums, the second grouped jazzier discs. Both are probably worth picking up if you don't already have the included albums. The "picks" CDs were compiled by Larry LaLonde of Primus and Jon Fishman of Phish. I haven't heard either one yet.

Zappa himself only ever put together three compliations of his work. The earliest was a contractual obligation from the original Mothers era that ended up being Mothermania. It's a 40 minute or so album that consists entirely of songs from the first few Mothers albums, but remixed and re-edited by Zappa. The next compilation didn't come for another couple decades, until Ryko started to re-release the entire Zappa catalog in the 80s. At that time, Frank put together Have I Offended Someone?, a single CD that covered Zappa's entire career (up to that point) but focused mostly on his more offensive songs. It supposedly contains some remixed tracks and alternate versions of songs, but I never got around to buying it and I think it's out of print now. The most recent FZ-produced compilation is Understanding America, a two disc set that Frank must have put together around the same time as "Offended", but which focuses on his social commentary and parody tracks. I wouldn't say any of those albums are must-owns, but if you're looking for a compilation as a starting point, might as well go with one that Frank put together himself.

What the world really could have used is a good boxed set of four or five CDs that presented a chronological history of Zappa's work along with a thick booklet full of photos, a biography and a discography. Maybe even a DVD with interviews and exerpts from 200 Motels, Uncle Meat, Baby Snakes, etc. Considering how many bands got boxed sets when CDs first became popular and the fact that at the time nearly the entire Zappa catalog was controlled by one company (Rykodisc), I'm amazed that such a set never came out. I'm guessing Ryko couldn't get Gail to approve the idea and/or provide some unreleased material from the vault to entice fans who already had all the albums. I'd still love to see such a set come out (I'd be first in line to buy it), although I guess with the rise of MP3s not many people are still willing to spring for the packaging, especially for an artist as "obscure" as Frank Zappa. On the other hand, I just spent a small fortune on a 4-CD, 1 DVD boxed set of Loudon Wainwright III - if such a box could be put together for ol' Loudo, why not Frank?

For those with an unlimited budget

The You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore series could make a good place to start, if you can work six double-CD sets into your budget. All live performances with no overdubs, this series covers everything from the earliest Mothers of Invention recordings in the mid 60s to Frank's final tour in 1988. Many of Zappa's best (and worst) songs are featured, with multiple versions of some. After listening to this entire set, you should have a good idea whether you'd want to pursue Zappa's music further. If you do, the liner notes are pretty good about indicating which album(s) each song originally came from, so you can start buying the ones that feature your favorites. The only drawback to this strategy is that Zappa's orchestral and big-band jazz works are underrepresented, since these recordings come entirely from his smaller rock and jazz bands.

The Lšther option

If twelve CDs are a bit more than you were prepared to buy, then how about three? The three-disc Lšther set does a great job of showing what Zappa was up to during the second half of the 70s, and covers nearly every style of music he ever wrote. It contains large chunks of the last four FZ albums to come out on Warner Brothers records, and bits and pieces of other albums of the time. Supposedly, Frank originally wanted to release all this material as a boxed set, but WB didn't think anyone would buy it and insisted that it be split up into separate albums. After Frank's death, his family released the boxed set the way he had originally intended it. At any rate, it includes everything from orchestral music to complex rock instrumentals to inane crowd pleasers to jazz to guitar solos to proggy, epic-length pieces. Both studio and live performance. This release gives as good an idea of what Frank was all about as the Stage series does, although it doesn't cover nearly as many songs.

Just one CD

"But", you say, "I just want to buy one CD. Which one should it be?" This is where things get tricky. It would depend on what type of music you enjoy, and what you're looking for. Zappa went through many "phases" - here's an attempt to sum them up and recommend a disc or two from each phase:

The Cucamonga Years (1962-1964)

Frank's first recorded works come from a studio he co-owned with a friend of his named Paul Buff. They had hoped to make a living recording other people's music, but when that didn't pan out they started writing and recording their own stuff. If you want to hear the results of this period of Zappa's life, you don't have too much to choose from. There are two widely available discs, Rare Meat and Cucamonga. The first is only 15 minutes long and doesn't contain much of interest. The second has a better song selection, and includes some of Buff's work as well as Zappa's, but I've read that the sound quality isn't the best. The disc I'd recommend is Cucamonga Years, which is unfortunately only available as an expensive Japanese import. But it does contain everything on Rare Meat, plus another 15 minutes of more interesting material. Overall though, this stuff is for hard-core collectors only.

The Original Mothers of Invention (1965-1970)

Frank played with a few different bands in the early 60s, eventually ending up as the guitarist for an R&B band called the Soul Giants. Gradually, Zappa took over the band and convinced them to start playing his original material instead of covers. Then they changed their name to The Mothers (with the record company insisting on adding "of Invention"), and the rest is history. Many people insist that this first group was the best band Zappa ever had, making up for their less than perfect chops by having a lot of personality. While still a rock and blues band at heart, Zappa's love of modern classical music worked its way into the group's compositions and performances, leading to live sets that would segue pop and rock with Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Their studio albums were also affected, running the range from early rock parodies on Freak Out to complex chamber rock on Uncle Meat. From this period, most people recommend We're Only In It For the Money, but my personal favorite has always been Absolutely Free. If you want to hear the most experimental and orchestral of Zappa's albums during this period, try Lumpy Gravy. If complex rock that sounds like it was written for a string quartet sounds good to you, try Uncle Meat.

Hot Rats (1970)

Hot Rats sort of stands alone between the original Mothers period and the Flo and Eddie period. After disbanding the original Mothers, Zappa put together this album of fantastic music that starts with a jazz base and adds elements of rock and blues. Captain Beefheart does the vocals on Willie The Pimp, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris plays some wonderful violin on various tracks. This album also put Zappa on the map as a guitar hero, featuring several long solos. Many people who go for Frank's jazz/rock jamming feel that this is his best album ever.

The Flo and Eddie Period (1970-1971)

For some reason, the Hot Rats band didn't last long, and soon Zappa put together a new Mothers of Invention, featuring the lead vocalists from the Turtles. While working for Zappa, they took to using the names Flo and Eddie. They seemed to be in a hurry to shed the clean-cut image that being in the Turtles had given them, because the bands' lyrics suddenly took a turn into lewd and crude territory. Frank was still the one writing the lyrics, but Flo and Eddie sang them with gusto (and improvised added material of their own). One of the most sexually graphic albums of Zappa's catalog comes from this period - Fillmore East, June 1971. If you go for dirty lyrics, you'll love that one. This tendency to "go for the gutter" would remain with Frank, in large part for the rest of the 70s, and to some degree for the rest of his career.

This band also created one of Zappa's masterworks, 200 Motels. A film about life on the road and how touring can make you crazy, the two-disc soundtrack contains a lot of Frank's early orchestral work as well as rock songs, movie dialog and general weirdness. The sound quality on this one is a little on the crappy side, but the album is still a classic.

The Big Band Jazz Period (1972)

The Flo and Eddie band came to an abrupt end when a disturbed fan pushed FZ from a London stage. Frank spent several months in a wheelchair and was unable to tour. Rather than let this stop him, he spent the time writing music for a big-band jazz group. This resulted in two albums, Waka / Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. For jazz fans, these are must-have albums. As for which one to start with - I tend to lean towards Wazoo, but they're both excellent.

The Roxy Band (1973-1975)

By the time Zappa was recovered enough to tour again, the members of the Flo and Eddie band had moved on to other things. So Frank put together a new band, one that would become many fans' favorite. This group was filled with amazingly good musicians, from Ian and Ruth Underwood to Tom and Bruce Fowler to George Duke and Jean-Luc Ponty. Oddly, the first thing Zappa did with this group was aim for the pop market, with two of his most mainstream albums, Overnight Sensation and Apostrophe('). Perhaps he was trying to raise the money he lost when he tried to tour the big jazz bands. Anyway, those two could be considered very good pop albums with some fantastic musicianship hidden away here and there. Of the two, I'd go for Apostrophe(') first.

The next release from this band was a live album that has become a favorite of many Zappa fans, Roxy and Elsewhere. If you like that one, the same band (and some of the same songs) is featured on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2, with the music played even faster and with more precision.

My favorite of the Roxy band albums is the last one that was released - One Size Fits All. If I had to pick one album for prog-rock fans to start with, this would be the one. It was one of the first two Zappa discs I bought (along with Hot Rats), and it hooked me. Fusion fans should love Inca Roads, which is considered by many to be FZ's single best song. Can't Afford No Shoes and Po-Jama People are catchy, blues-based rockers with great guitar work. Sofa is a beautiful, proggy instrumental in 3/4 time. San Berdino and Andy are great, high-energy rockers with some nice complexity and stop-on-a-dime musicianship. A little something for everyone.

With Captain Beefheart - Bongo Fury (1975)

Because Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart had been friends since childhood, and Frank produced Beefheart's breakthrough album Trout Mask Replica, it seemed inevitable that eventually they would join forces. It didn't last long, but it happened. The resulting band toured long enough to record the live album Bongo Fury before the strong personalities started to clash. Personally, this isn't one of my favorite albums, but then I'm not the world's biggest Beefheart fan (although I do like some of his stuff). If you enjoy Beefheart, then you might like this album.

Solo 70s Material (1976-1979)

After the Bongo breakup, Frank finally stopped using the name "Mothers of Invention" and became a fully solo artist, bringing together various groups of musicians as the need arose. This began one of his most fertile periods, resulting in great albums like the live In New York and studio albums like Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites, Sheik Yerbouti, and Joe's Garage. All of these albums, particularly Joe's, have some very vocal fans. My recommendation would be to get Lšther (see above), which covers this period very well.

The 80s (1980-1989)

The 1980s began with Zappa releasing a three album set of guitar solos extracted from live concert tapes, called Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. Fans of Frank's guitar playing love this set, but not being a guitarist I've got to admit that I find a lot of it to be pretty dull (there are a few great tracks though). After that, Zappa released a string of albums that seem to get very mixed reviews. His live bands started to have a more robotic, mechanical feel to them, due largely to the electronic drums and "fake reggae" texture that many people feel Frank overused. Still, there are some good rock albums (and a lot of good orchestral and synclavier stuff - see below) that came out of the 80s. You Are What You Is is a great, song-oriented concept album, with the four sides taking potshots at everything from foolish youth to organized religion, and making all sorts of inside references to other albums and even other songs on YAWYI. The more you listen to that one, the more nuggets of conceptual continuity (Frank's term for the interconnectedness of all his works) you pick up. Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch features both the hit single Valley Girl (with it's deceptively heavy background music) and the lengthy, complex instrumental Drowning Witch. Some of the other songs on the album are a little hard to take though. Even the much reviled Man From Utopia has a few good moments and a few great instrumentals.

Frank, the Guitar Hero (1970-1988)

After Hot Rats, Frank had a reputation as a great guitar player. He developed this skill through the rest of his career, releasing a boatload of guitar-oriented material. Zappa's solos were never just "stock" solos. Every time he would launch into one, he generated a new "spontaneous composition". No one ever knew what to expect when Frank stepped up to play, not even Frank. His backing bands were so good that they would respond to his playing, and he to theirs, practically creating new songs on the spot during concerts. This lead to the idea that these solo-songs deserved a release of their own, so Zappa gathered together the best of them in the aforementioned Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. That album was so successful that FZ put together a follow-up two-disc set, simply titled Guitar. That one is a more difficult listen though, as it doesn't have as much variation in styles and texture as Shut Up, nor does it have the earlier album's spoken-word transitions from track to track. Before his death, Zappa put together a third guitar-solo album called Trance Fusion, which has been rumored to be "almost ready for release" for years now. There's also the mail-order-only Frank Zappa Plays The Music of Frank Zappa, a study in the way three of Zappa's most famous guitar solos evolved from earliest live versions to finished album versions. That one has to be ordered from the Zappa web site, and is rather expensive.

If you're really, really into Frank's guitar playing, get Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, but only get the others if you're really fanatical about it. If you don't think you can handle an entire album of guitar solos, try Joe's Garage, which combines an album's worth of song-oriented material with several guitar-vehicle tracks.

Frank, the Social Commentator (1965-1993)

One side of Zappa that doesn't get as much attention as it might deserve is his social commentary in the form of lyrics. From Trouble Every Day way back on the first Mothers album to the obscure ramblings about authority figures and racial relations on the posthumously released Civilization, Phase III, Frank never shied away from making his opinions known. If that sort of thing appeals to you, try just about any of the early Mothers' albums, or You Are What You Is. Zappa's battle against record-censoring in the mid-80s is documented on Meets the Mothers of Prevention (including the epic avant guard masterpiece Porn Wars). Zappa's 1988 political views can be found on the live album Broadway the Hard Way.

The Orchestral Frank (1963-1993)

While Zappa obviously enjoyed creating and performing rock and roll, his true love seemed always reserved for orchestral or "serious" music. The earliest recorded example can be found on The Lost Episodes, on a short track of Frank conducting a college orchestra through one of his pieces in 1963. Longer recordings of that concert exist amongst tape traders. Lumpy Gravy contains more examples of Zappa's early orchestral compositions. After that, there's 200 Motels, which features a lot of key pieces with unfortunately poor sound quality. 1979's Orchestral Favorites mixes rock percussion with an orchestra playing some Zappa standards and some new pieces. London Symphony Orchestra, vols I & II again features an orchestra with a rock drum kit, and is a major milestone in Zappa's classical career. The version of Strictly Genteel on that album is beautiful. The LSO albums began a string of orchestral releases, continued with Boulez Conducts Zappa - The Perfect Stranger, an album which alternates orchestra and synclavier tracks. Following this was an all-synclavier album of pieces written by a possible ancestor of Frank's, the classical composer Francesco Zappa. The last and, according to Zappa, most accurate performance of his classical pieces was by a German group called the Ensemble Modern, recorded in concert on The Yellow Shark and in rehersal on the recently released Everything is Healing Nicely. Of all these albums, I'd probably recommend the Boulez and Ensemble Modern discs, but I'm far from an expert on modern classical music. I like them all, but some of the tracks on The Yellow Shark are my favorite of Frank's orchestral stuff. Everything is Healing Nicely, while featuring rehersals rather than final performances, and having somewhat reduced sound quality, is possibly the most accessible of Zappa's orchestral works.

The Synclavier Frank (1984-1993)

Around the same time that he was working with the London Symphony Orchestra, Frank started to play with an instrument called the synclavier. Basically, it's a computer-controlled synthesizer that could play the most complex music Zappa could dream up, with absolute precision. FZ would spend much of the rest of his life sampling new sounds for the synclavier to use, and working to see what he could do with it. Rumor has it that there is over 500 hours worth of unreleased synclavier tracks still in the "vault".

The earliest synclavier tracks appeared between the orchestral pieces on The Perfect Stranger, and on the follow-up album that contained music written by Francesco Zappa. With each new release it seemed that Frank was getting more and more confident with the machine, as the tracks that make up half of Meets the Mothers of Prevention and most of Jazz From Hell kept getting better and better. But Zappa's use of the instrument reached its peak on the album that many consider to be his magnum opus, Civilization Phaze III. This two-disc, very avant album is a high-tech continuation of Lumpy Gravy, with synclavier work so smooth and mature that it's difficult to tell which parts of the album were recorded on the machine, and which parts are played by the Ensemble Modern. Beginners may want to start with Jazz From Hell, but if you want to dive in head first, bring up the Zappa web site and order a copy of Civilization Phaze III.

Live (1965-1988)

From as far back as the early Mothers of Invention days, Zappa was always seeking out talented new people for his bands. Often, the talented people (such as Ian Underwood and Steve Vai) sought Zappa out. Either way, Frank's live bands were always impressive, and they toured a lot. So as you might imagine, there are many fine live albums in FZ's catalog (and many albums which appear to be studio albums are actually live recordings with studio overdubbing). If you prefer live material, here are some albums to start with. Ahead Of Their Time does a good job of showcasing the original Mothers, as do the Beat the Boots albums 'Tis the Season to be Jelly and The Ark. Most of the Flo and Eddie material is live, with Fillmore East, June 1971 featuring them at their dirtiest, while Playground Psychotics gives an in-depth, documentary look at life on the road with that band.

The Roxy band is, of course, spotlighted on Roxy and Elsewhere, but sound even more impressive on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 2. In New York features the mid-70s band, and some of Zappa's most infamous live songs. An archival 1976 concert in Australia was recently released by the Zappa Family Trust under the title FZ:OZ. The 1982 band is showcased on the second disc of You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 5, while the '84 band is represented by Does Humor Belong In Music?. The final tour in 1988 is probably the best documented of all Zappa's tours, with three releases, two of them doubles: Broadway the Hard Way, The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life and Make a Jazz Noise Here. The 1992 Ensemble Modern orchestral shows are documented on The Yellow Shark.

Things to Avoid at First

Although all of Zappa's albums are worth hearing for fans of out-of-the-mainstream rock music, there are a few that are probably not the best place for beginners to start. In general, the Beat the Boots series (any disc that says FOO-EEE on the spine) should probably be avoided unless you become a collector. The sound quality is worthwhile on some, but atrociously bad on others (avoid Unmitigated Audacity at all costs). The Guitar album might appeal to guitar solo enthusiasts, but if that's the sort of thing you like, you should probably try Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar first. The CD mix of Cruising With Ruben and the Jets is supposedly vastly inferior to the vinyl mix - I've never heard the vinyl, but I can't say the CD does much for me. The CD mix of You Are What You Is is also pretty crappy compared to the original vinyl. It's a shame, because that's one of my favorite Zappa albums. (Update, 2002: Apparently Ryko started using a "fixed" master to press YAWYI so if you get a copy and the CD has dropouts all over it and generally sounds miserable, take it back and get a new copy.) Just Another Band From LA is so jam-packed with inside references to the Los Angeles area that people who don't live there (such as myself) may have trouble getting into that album (like I do). Unless you're a big fan of Captain Beefheart, Bongo Fury probably isn't the best place to start.

Many fans (myself included) aren't particularly happy with Zoot Allures, but then others love it. That's another album that supposedly sounds much better on vinyl. From the 80s, the most controversial album is probably The Man From Utopia. It has several great tracks, but it also contains some of Zappa's absolute worst songs, so many fans hate the album. Another 80s album that is often dismissed is Francesco Zappa, because Frank didn't write the music and the use of the synclavier sounds particularly primitive on that album. Personally, I think it's a pleasant album (makes great Christmas music), but I wouldn't put it at the top of a "must have" list. Another album that generates great controversy is Thing Fish. A lot of fans think it's absolutely brilliant, but I agree with the camp that thinks it was a good idea that was ruined by poor songs and an overuse of tracks recycled from previous albums. Plus there's a lot of really graphic language, so this definitely isn't the place to start for the easily offended.

Unless you're really into Flo and Eddie and/or Zappa's "documentary" side, Playground Psychotics probably isn't a good starter. Many long-time fans complain about the amount of off-stage antics included on that one. The Lost Episodes and Mystery Disc also contain a lot of material that is mostly of interest only to hard-core collectors, although there's also some good music on each. And lastly, although it's a fantastic album, Civilization Phaze III is probably way too advanced for beginning listeners. However, if you're a big fan of avant music, then by all means dive right in.

Summary for Prog/Rock Fans

As mentioned above, for rock fans I'd recommend starting with One Size Fits All. Sheik Yerbouti is another one that often gets recommended to newbies, and it does contains some great music, but there are some sexually graphic lyrics that could be offensive, and Jewish spokespeople expressed distaste for the song Jewish Princess. So it may not be the best place to start. Joe's Garage is also good for rock fans, with lots of guitar solos, but it also contains lots of sexually graphic lyrics. Apostrophe and Overnight Sensation are good ones to start with, but both are on the short side (around 35 minutes) and somewhat poppish for Zappa. Plus, OS again features sexual lyrics on songs like Dynah Moe Humm. From the 80s, Them Or Us could be a good starter, featuring rock, guitar solos and some experimental (Ya Hozna) and orchestrally oriented (Sinister Footwear II) songs.

In Conclusion

Even this overview rambled on much longer than I had intended. Hopefully though it might help some folks find what they're looking for in the massive Zappa catalog. Maybe it might even start off someone who will end up becoming as fanatical about Zappa as I am. If you're just getting started with FZ and you're into great music, you've got a lot of wonderful albums ahead of you.

If you have questions about any of the above overview, or any of the below album reviews, or if you just want to talk Zappa, feel free to email me. I used to have a direct email link here, but in an effort to cut down on the amout of spam I receive, I removed it. You can piece together my email address from the clues provided on my Home Page - scroll down towards the bottom of the page and look for the bold word email.

And now, the individual album reviews:

Rare Meat Cucamonga Years Freak Out
Absolutely Free 'Tis the Season to be Jelly Lumpy Gravy
We're Only In It For The Money Electric Aunt Jemima The Ark
Our Man In Nirvana Cruising With Ruben & The Jets Uncle Meat
Hot Rats Burnt Weeny Sandwich Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Chunga's Revenge Freaks and Motherf*#@%! Fillmore East, June 1971
Disconnected Synapses 200 Motels Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
Swiss Cheese / Fire! Just Another Band From LA Waka / Jawaka
The Grand Wazoo Piquantique Overnight Sensation
Apostrophe(') Unmitigated Audacity Roxy & Elsewhere
One Size Fits All Bongo Fury Zoot Allures
Conceptual Continuity At the Circus Saarbrucken 1978
In New York Studio Tan Sleep Dirt
Sheik Yerbouti Orchestral Favorites Anyway The Wind Blows
Joe's Garage Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Tinseltown Rebellion
You Are What You Is As An Am Ship Arriving Too Late...
The Man From Utopia Baby Snakes London Symphony Orchestra
Boulez Conducts Zappa - The Perfect Stranger Francesco Zappa
Them Or Us Thing-Fish The Mothers of Prevention
Does Humor Belong in Music? Jazz From Hell Guitar
You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Volumes 1 through 6 Broadway the Hard Way
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life Make a Jazz Noise Here
Playground Psychotics The Yellow Shark Ahead of Their Time
Civilization Phaze III The Lost Episodes Lšther
Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa - A Memorial Tribute
Cheap Thrills and other compilations Mystery Disc
Everything is Healing Nicely FZ:OZ Halloween
Joe's Corsage Joe's Domage QuAUDIOPHILIAc
Joe's Xmasage Imaginary Diseases Trance-Fusion
The Making of Freak Out (MOFO)
Buffalo
The Dub Room Special!
Wazoo
One Shot Deal Joe's Menage
Lumpy Money
Philly '76 Greasy Love Songs
Congress Shall Make No Law...
Hammersmith Odeon Carnegie Hall
Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison
Road Tapes venue 1 - Vancouver 1969 Finer Moments
Mothermania
Understanding America  
 
Related Albums  


1999 Postlude: Well, that does it for official releases. I managed to listen to them all between the anniversaries of Zappa's death and birth and still have a day left over. I'll probably listen to some bootleg stuff and tribute albums tomorrow, but I'll be away from a computer so I won't be able to type them up. Later on, I may add to this page.

I hope someone got some use out of my lengthy ramblings on this page. If so, the case of carpal-tunnel I gave myself typing it up will have been worth it. If you want to make any comments about this page or the opinions expressed therein, feel free to email me. I used to have a direct email link here, but in an effort to cut down on the amout of spam I receive, I removed it. You can piece together my email address from the clues provided on my Home Page - scroll down towards the bottom of the page and look for the bold word email.