Classic: Frank Zappa, Sheik Yerbouti, 1979
It is about time this blog pays attention to the man who asked if humour belongs in music, the genius and legend that is Frank Zappa. From I don´t know how many albums, I choose Sheik Yerbouti because it can serve as a perfect introduction to all Zappa stands for. That is, if there is anybody on the planet that does not know…
So here we go. that humour question? Just listen to Bobby Brown, Dancing Fool, I´m So Cute or about any vocal track here, and you will realize how damn funny the man was. Often tongue in cheek, many times with explicit sexual implications (and often he kept you guessing), but always good to put many a smile on your face.
Then there is the guitar question. There is a reason a man like Steve Vai was so adamant to join. A track like Rat Tomago shows how good a player Frank himself was. And where son Dweezil got his playing genes from. In a unique style with lots of free jazz like phrasing, but always spell binding.
The music Zappa wrote was very melodic, but always full of intricate arrangements on every level. From impossible time signatures to breathtaking instrumental interplay, to massive lead and harmony vocals, he would never let you down. One of the most impressive things about the band being they were supposed to be able to play to a click so Zappa could record them live and later combine the best parts to release as a live album. Imagine a bass part from Oslo, a guitar from Bremen, drums from Anaheim and vocals from Amsterdam… He did that! So fantastic musicians, great songs, stunning instrument abuse, fun as hell, is there any reason NOT to like this? Mandatory stuff… One Two Three Four!