Hot Rats
Chunga's Revenge
Grand Wazoo
Bongo Fury
Zoot Allures
Drowning Witch



(out of a possible five)

This is one of those albums that gets ignored for months at a time, buried underneath those Zappa CD's which somehow manage to make it to the CD player every week or so. Why this album fails to stay in regular rotation is a mystery, as every time I listen to it, I find myself loving it all over again. This is a great album. It has a nice mix of songs- guitar solo vehicles, "serious" instrumentals, done-for-laughs vocal tunes, and straight-ahead rock 'n' roll. "Transylvania Boogie" and "Chunga's Revenge" are the heaviest of the tunes, both of them instrumentals, and both containing a fine Zappa solo. Flo 'n' Eddie pervade five of the tunes, and not once do they annoy. In fact, their vocals help make the album's closing tune- "Sharleena"- a bona-fide classic. There is no guitar solo in this early performance, but that does not detract from this version's perfect pop sensibilities. The only weak point in the album is the improvisation laced "The Nancy and Mary Music". This is taken from a '70 "King Kong", and is just a little too eclectic, and musically all over the map. There are some good moments throughout the nine-plus minutes, but the parts do not add up to a satisfying whole. "The Clap", an FZ percussion solo, is also pretty pointless, but it is so short that it scrapes by without doing any damage. Thus, eight of the ten songs succeed in spades, creating an interesting blend of Zappa's many flavors. And let us not forget, the highlight of the entire album-> Duke's outright funky trombone playing. Sweet.


Nine of the ten tunes saw at least one live performance, with several of the tunes eventually establishing themselves as concert favorites.

TRANSYLVANIA BOOGIE- This guitar solo vehicle never made it out of the sixties. It was frequently performed as a part of the '68/'69 repertoire, and was an extension of the "Help I'm A Rock's" from that period. An example of this can be heard on "Ahead of Their Time".

ROAD LADIES- This song was performed a couple times by the Flo 'n' Eddie band, though it never made it into the regular line-up. The Fall '74 band did it once as an encore, as did the Fall '77 band.

TWENTY SMALL CIGARS- Apparently performed live at least once, by the '71 Mothers.

THE NANCY AND MARY MUSIC- This is an excerpt from a '70 "King Kong".

TELL ME YOU LOVE ME- This song never made it in the '70's, only appearing a handful of times during the Fall '78 tour. It was rediscovered in the '80's where it became a typical set closer. An example of this can be heard on both "Tinseltown Rebellion" ('80) and YCDTOSA Volume I ('82). This song was rewritten as "Don't Be A Lawyer"/"Why Don't You Like Me?" for the '84 tour, and as "Why Don't You Like Me?", the Michael Jackson version, for the '88 tour (BTHW).

WOULD YOU GO ALL THE WAY?- This was occasionally performed by the Summer '71 band, and was played once as an encore on the Fall '76 tour.

CHUNGA'S REVENGE- This song popped up every couple of years throughout Frank's touring career. It originates in late '69, when traces of its theme arose during a typical '60's Mothers' jam. It reappeared months later during the Hot Rats shows of early '70, where it appeared in full-blown Monster style. Its first tour-of-duty did not come until '72, when it became an occasional part of both Wazoo tours. In '73 and early '74, it served as the closing guitar solo vehicle for the "Mr. Green Genes-> King Kong-> Chunga's Revenge" medley. It then disappeared until Fall '75 (not counting a heavy tease during a Spring '75 "Pound for a Brown"), where it then became a saxophone, keyboard, and guitar solo vehicle. By Winter '76, "Zoot Allures" had entrenched itself as a post-Chunga's song, and thus the guitar solo was dropped, and a drum solo ("Hands With A Hammer") served as the segue from this into "Zoot Allures". Sadly, the song then disappeared until 1980, at which point it returned as a show opening guitar solo vehicle, appearing regularly throughout the '80's.

THE CLAP- Never performed live.

RUDY WANTS TO BUY YEZ A DRINK- This was occasionally performed by the Summer '71 band, was played once as an encore on the Fall '76 tour, and then again once more on the Fall '77 tour.

SHARLEENA- This song actually premiered prior to the album, in the jazzed up version finally heard on "The Lost Episodes". The song was a regular part of the Flo 'n' Eddie touring years (as heard on "Playground Psychotics"), before disappearing until 1981. At that point, it returned as the monster guitar solo vehicle we know and love, with that role being played in '82 ("As An Am"), '84 (YCDTOSA III) and '88.

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