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Thread: Frank Zappa: Which 5 albums to get first?

  1. #26
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    I think the above suggestions are really good. But, seems to me, delving into five albums of Frank Zappa at once dilutes the impact of each one. I would recommend perusing Zappa one album at a time.

  2. #27
    Mothers of Invention 1 : Uncle Meat ( it's two records so twice as much fun)
    Zappa Solo Jazzy side: Hot Rats and Waka Jawaka
    Mothers of Invention 2 : 200 Motels
    Mothers of Invention 3 : One Sizs Fits All
    Zappa modern composer : Yellow Shark
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  3. #28
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    I think the above suggestions are really good. But, seems to me, delving into five albums of Frank Zappa at once dilutes the impact of each one. I would recommend perusing Zappa one album at a time.
    Ordering 5 at once is easier on the wallet. Shipping is rather expensive while cd prices on discogs are rather low.

    I fully intend to digest them one at a time.

  4. #29
    I bought my first bunch of Zappas in 1988 when I was 16 1/2. Didn't have a CD player, but I got several vinyls from the boxsets that the local retailer had split into separate units for them to sell; I always imagined it to be a somewhat illicit manner of sale.

    The first one I heard was Overnite Sensation, and I loved it instantly. In that same package was One Size, Roxy (2LP), Just Another Band and Zoot Allures, all of which I liked immediately on hearing. I got Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo - his first releases of fabulous 'big band' quasi-jazz - from a boxset as well, and although they were tougher listens than the previous bunch I grew to take them in. Freak Out, Absolutely Free, We're Only In It, Lumpy and Weeny - all vinyls from a boxset, with We're Only In It disappointingly marred by overdubbed drumming.

    I proceeded to get Hot Rats, Uncle Meat, Weasels (original vinyl on Bizarre), Chunga, Fillmore East and Apostrophe, but I never got around to 200 Motels. Still, I came to really enjoy the whole damn lot Zappa's first decade, although Zoot Allures was the weakest of them and possibly where I started to lose interest in his developments. Zappa In New York never really appealed, although I enjoyed the "archival trilogy" (Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favourites) well enough.

    I -did- buy some of his 80s stuff, but despite the high standards of playing and technical writing, my heart wasn't into listening. But that first dozen-or-so records were a revelation and probably my ultimate gateway onto indefinite weirdo bliss in rock.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  5. #30
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Just placed an order at discogs: hot rats, the grand wazoo, one size fits all, uncle meat and apastrophe. I could get those from one seller. Roxy will have to wait.

  6. #31
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    Just placed an order at discogs: hot rats, the grand wazoo, one size fits all, uncle meat and apastrophe. I could get those from one seller. Roxy will have to wait.
    All excellent choices! Man, that's some classic stuff right there.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    But that first dozen-or-so records were a revelation and probably my ultimate gateway onto indefinite weirdo bliss in rock.
    FZ was my gateway to this music, too. Although I'd had my interest started in weirdo stuff by my parents' old mono LP of the original Broadway cast version of The Threepenny Opera.

  8. #33
    Member Lebofsky's Avatar
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    Long time ago when I was 18 I met a like minded musician. He asked if I was into Zappa and I said not really but I didn't know much about him. To which he immediately said, "Just listen to side two of 'Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.'"

    I went to my college radio station, pulled out that album, put on side two, and... I WAS SOLD!!!

    Yeah, the albums are all kinda hit or miss for newbies. It's a matter of finding which one (or which side/song) makes it click for YOU. Dude has a lot of varied output. There are a lot of FZ "must-have classics" which I find, well, they're okay...

    - Matt

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Lebofsky View Post
    Long time ago when I was 18 I met a like minded musician. He asked if I was into Zappa and I said not really but I didn't know much about him. To which he immediately said, "Just listen to side two of 'Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.'"

    I went to my college radio station, pulled out that album, put on side two, and... I WAS SOLD!!!
    This is too deep Matt. I am a Zappa freak for a long time and I still haven't found the balls to navigate these waters yet. (and what I mean is that this is too advanced in more than 5 senses)

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I -did- buy some of his 80s stuff, but despite the high standards of playing and technical writing, my heart wasn't into listening.
    That's also me. For some mysterious reason, Roxy and Elsewhere is a barrier. With everything afterwards I had to put a little (or some) effort. With everything before it I was immediately sold.

    But if threats for my life were the stakes I would always chose Freak Out, We're Only in it and Uncle Meat. These works defined rock music in its entirety.

  11. #36
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lebofsky View Post
    side two of 'Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.'"
    - Matt
    Prob my favorite 80's studio FZ along with You Are What You Is.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  12. #37
    It depends on what you want out of Zappa. He's done arena rock, funny stuff, blues, jazz fusion, prog, neo-classical and things that defy classification.

    Like others have said, I recommend One Size Fits All. Its arguably his best and has quite a lot of stuff that could be considered prog. I'd also pick up at least one of his jazz albums: Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka, Grand Wazoo. All three are brilliant. My favorite is Waka/Jawaka. You might also want to check out You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume I which is a nice collection of material from throughout his career, and Stage II (same band as One Size Fits All).

  13. #38
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    Got my first Zappa lp when I was 12/13 from my oldest brother, it was Apostrophe. I was astounded by the whole production, as well as the silliness, even then at the tender age of 13, the musicianship, particularly that of Duke, Ponty, Zappa, the Underwoods, etc. and the great many guests musicians on that recording blew me away.

    So my feelings are always with the George Duke era of Zappa, Apostrophe, One Size, The Grand Wazoo, Waka Jawaka, Studio Tan, Overnight Sensation, can't go wrong with these, as they incorporate the era of Frank Zappa's most creative stuff, in an era, where music was scrutinized and censored to the point of frustration for the artist.
    Hence his starting his own label, Zappa records first, and later Barking Pumpking records. It almost seemed that the legal challenges FZ faced made him even more profane and perverse on those self released cds, IE:Joes Garage, Sheik Yerbouti, You are what you Is.

    Zappa's music spanned the better part of 4 decades and each period had unique signature, yet he was always entertaining the idea of gathering the great musical talents of that day. So just for that aspect, they are all interesting enough.

  14. #39
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    I believe Zappa to be a genius composer as well as a repulsive lyricist, so naturally I recommend his mostly/entirely instrumental works

    billed as Jean Luc Ponty with Zappa conducting - King Kong is essential

    Hot Rats is essential

    Grand Wazoo (original) is essential

    Waka Jawaka is essential
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  15. #40
    Uncle Meat
    Hot Rats
    200 Motels
    Roxy & Elsewhere
    One Size Fits All
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    Just placed an order at discogs: hot rats, the grand wazoo, one size fits all, uncle meat and apastrophe. I could get those from one seller. Roxy will have to wait.
    Do you already know that Tim Smith brought both Dom Luckman and Tim Quy to see Zappa in London in 1982?

    However, your choice to start is good!

    I personally would've recommended (seen the thread just now) Grand Wazoo, Zappa in New York, You are What You is, Studio Tan (Greggary Peccary alone is pure genius), The Best Band you never heard in your life!

  17. #42
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Congrats, Joost! I hope you enjoy those CDs. The latest editions of Grand Wazoo, and One Size Fits All sound phenomenal. And for future reference, the all instrumental 2012 edition of Sleep Dirt also sounds fantastic!

  18. #43
    Hard to narrow it down to 5.. these five are from the era I cut my teeth on..
    Freak Out
    Were Only in it for the Money
    Hot Rats
    Just another Band from LA
    Overnight Sensation

    There's plenty to love about his late 70's-early '80's period Sheik Yerbouti, Joe's Garage 1-3, Tinsel Town Rebellion or even the Shut Up and Play your Guitar / Some More etc. has it's moments of brilliance. Good luck with your exploration.. hard to beat the run of albums he had in the '70's

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    Congrats, Joost! I hope you enjoy those CDs. The latest editions of Grand Wazoo, and One Size Fits All sound phenomenal. And for future reference, the all instrumental 2012 edition of Sleep Dirt also sounds fantastic!
    I only have a very small amount of them, but those early 2010s CDs I do have really are great. A pity though that the whole catalogue wasn't standardised and the original record mixes weren't all reissued in that particular campaign. (I know some of the 60s original mixes have come out under other titles, but this is what I mean about confusion on the shelves!)

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I only have a very small amount of them, but those early 2010s CDs I do have really are great. A pity though that the whole catalogue wasn't standardised and the original record mixes weren't all reissued in that particular campaign. (I know some of the 60s original mixes have come out under other titles, but this is what I mean about confusion on the shelves!)
    This is the list I consulted when I wanted to rebuy a part of the 2012 releases and is helpfull to find your way through the Zappa catalogue

    http://www.lukpac.org/~handmade/pati...12hotpoop.html
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they donít understand!"

  21. #46
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I only have a very small amount of them, but those early 2010s CDs I do have really are great. A pity though that the whole catalogue wasn't standardised and the original record mixes weren't all reissued in that particular campaign. (I know some of the 60s original mixes have come out under other titles, but this is what I mean about confusion on the shelves!)
    Yeah, there are the project/object editions of albums including Freak Out (MOFO) Uncle Meat (Meat Light) Lumpy Money, Reuben and the Jets (Greasy Love Songs). And a couple albums that sound very different so both versions are worth owning. Hot Rats, and Sleep Dirt.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    Just placed an order at discogs: hot rats, the grand wazoo, one size fits all, uncle meat and apastrophe. I could get those from one seller. Roxy will have to wait.
    Fantastic choices, add to these "we're only in it for the money" and you're good to go.

  23. #48
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alucard View Post
    This is the list I consulted when I wanted to rebuy a part of the 2012 releases and is helpfull to find your way through the Zappa catalogue

    http://www.lukpac.org/~handmade/pati...12hotpoop.html
    I bookmarked that link now and just ordered a couple 2012 releases. Time to rediscover some FZ I haven't heard for a while.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  24. #49
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Uncle Meat
    The Grand Wazoo
    Roxy and Elsewehere
    Joe's Garage
    Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
    You Are What You Is
    Make a Jazz Noise Here

    I snuck a few extra down me trousers.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  25. #50
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Uncle Meat
    Don't forget Meat Light if ordering this album. A terrific expanded 3 disc set that retails for under 15 dollars. Includes the original 1969 vinyl mix, alternate album sequence, and previously unreleased extras.

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