on 23 February 2005
I just bought the CD version of this after not hearing it for a few years since my turntable expired... Well, all I can say is WOW!! I had forgotten just how good this album is.
The reviewers below all hit the nail on the head with their selections of 'must hear' songs from this collection but for what it is worth there are a few other highlights I'd add to their list.
Firstly there is the middle eight to 'Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?". Its' thundering chords and vocal harmony crescendos are worth the admission price alone. Lovely lyrics here too...'I got it from the toilet seat, it jumped right up and grabbed my meat'!!!
Then you have the title track which is a real laugh for anyoine who has ever played in or been involved with a 'garage' band. The track contains some of the best lyrics on the album. "and a cheesy little amp, with a sign on the front said 'Fender Champ' and a second hand guitar, it was a Stratocaster with a whammy bar". Priceless. Then you have the verbal delights of Joe's mother in the backgroud wailing 'turn it down' and 'don't you boys know any nice songs?'. We've been there right?
One of my favourite tracks is 'Wet T Shirt Night' as it is called on my vinyl version or 'Fembot in a Wet T-shirt' as it seems to be called here. This is a marvellous piece of music to begin with, upbeat and melodic. It ends with Zappa interviewing the contestants...'oh you were the girl who was stuck to seat 37 on Phaedo 3" and 'whaddaya say fellas, nice set of jugs?'
Then you have the surprise package of 'Lucille has meesed my mind up', a laid back reggae vamp with some amazing vocal work by Ike Willis. A great song.
Then we have one of the highlights of the set. The amazing 'Keep It Greasy' is probably the funkiest song I have ever heard in my life. Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming is exceptional here (and everywhere else too). This version is far better than the watered down one that appears on 'Does Humour Belong in Music'. Just try drumming along and you'll see what I mean! "Roll it over and grease it down, I'll drive you through the heart of town".
I know the others have already mentioned 'Watermelon in Easter Hay' but it is worth repeating that this is probably Zappa's best guitar solo on record, even better than Black Napkins on Zoot Allures! Packard Goose is pretty good playing too.
You have to get this one! It is right up there in my list of essential Zappa and second in my opionion only to 'Live at the Roxy and Elsewhere'.
"Oh no, here comes that screaming sou-ind again".
on 2 September 2000
If you disapprove of swearing, innuendo and blatant sexual references, don't read any further. Go and listen to S-Club 7 or Steps or something equally soul destroying. On the other hand if startling music and eyebrow-raising lyrics are your cup of tea - get your credit card ready.
Frank Zappa is not to everyone's taste. With songs entitled 'Why does it hurt when I pee?'; 'Dong Work for Yuda' and 'Crew Slut' you might think that the back of the CD would prepare you for the contents. Wrong on two counts. One - you might think that the titles are tongue in cheek and don't reflect the actual content. Secondly, you might think that the songs are somehow cheap and depend only on the dubious subject matter.
Make no mistake. The music is great. No GREAT. The instrumental break in 'Catholic Girls' is worth the money on its own in my book. Let alone the lyrics of 'Stick it Out' or the guitar work in 'Watermelon in Easter Hay'. Zappa's strengths are cracking musical themes and breaks combined with genuinely outrageous comedy and startling insights. If you don't believe me, listen to the 'Information is not knowledge' speech in Packard Goose, and gawp. There are probably many dedicated Zappa fans out there who will despise what I have said. But , tough - this album is indescribably good. Buy it, learn something and one day we may rid ourselves of people prancing on stage and miming. After all, it's not every day you buy an album from someone who has the marvellous accolade of being banned from every radio station in the world.
on 15 March 2007
I had to share a room with a Zappa fan in college and the songs were funny after a few beers but the musicianship or the melodies never grabbed me by the Colones. Then another Zappa fan introduced me to Watermelon, we heard it with the lights low, our minds up in the clouds and the friend setting off his flash gun at random moments during this extraordinary instrumental. Its 30 years ago and I can remember it like yesterday. Then he said Joe's Garage part 1 was even better. So the next time I had some money(student days) I bought my first Zappa album and was I amazed. I heard it all through the night and I so wanted to express my gratitude to my friend that I wrote him a letter (look it up in wikipedia youngsters) to thank him. There have been very few albums that have so lit up my life and without doubt Joe's Garage Part 1 is up there with Sgt Pepper et al. part 2 is not as good as part 1 but that's like saying the Mona Lisa is not as good as Boticelli's Venus. They are both way above the others.
And now you can get both albums together , its a bargain, no guitarist, drummer, agnostic, will be disappointed with this phenomenal rock opera.
on 5 January 2005
This is quintessential Zappa as ROCK artist, no avant garde classical or even jazz, just good ol' rock 'n roll ... well, maybe not just; - it goes well past most peoples' idea of rock. A mini rock opera come social commentary and the best guitar solo you'll hear this side of heaven (or nirvana, or wherever the hell). I'm not a big fan of Zappa's "stupid songs" (his words), but even silly songs like "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" and "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up" are absolutely brilliant. Some of Zappa's best solos are here - "Outside Now", "Packard Goose" and last but NOT least is what is universally agreed to be his all time best Guitar solo - "Watermelon in Easter Hay" - words can't come close to describing how beautiful, transcendant, gorgeous, (put your own superlative here). This Album is worth buying just for these solos!
The original Ryko version of this cd was very good quality, so I hesitated before buying the latest version. As it says on the back it is remastered from the original analogue master tape. This means that like on the other Zappa cds remastered from analogue, this double has the added reverb removed from the mix. This gives the vocals more immediacy and presence. The difference is noticeable espacially in the drum sounds. Way morerealistic and thumping, I probably could have saved my money, but if you are a Zappaphiliac you will certainly like this, it no longer sounds thin in any way and the treble is not hissy.
on 6 February 2004
There's no reason in the world for you not to get this one.
The music varies from rock to reggae to some of the "most-sense-making-Zappa-fusion-ever" to german pop-music.
The way Vinnie follows Zappa on some of the guitar-solo stuff is pretty amazing - That alone is reason enough to buy it.
The story of Joe itself is very funny - so if you don't get the music, at least you'll get a good laugh from the story (unless you're religious and/or offended by gay-people jokes).
Never before have you heard so many beautiful ballads on the same Zappa-record before, either. There's "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up" (reggae), "Sy Borg" (reggae), "Outside Now" (eleven) - all sung by Ike Willis and "Watermelon In East Hay" - a 9 minute guitar dominated instrumental in 11 with a pretty melody.
Some of the musicians are: Vinne Colaiuta, Ike Willis (both with Zappa on record for the very first time), Warren Cucurullo, Denny Walley, Peter Wolf, Tommy Mars, Arthur Barrow, Patrick O'Hearn, Ed Mann and many, many more...
Spread the word!
on 31 December 2011
I had this on vinyl many moons ago, but only recently bought the CD version so could listen to it again after a long break. I literally had tears in my eyes, it was so good!
Wonderful music, unbelievably good lyrics, astonishing performances. Extremely insightful social and political commentary, cleverly disguised behind very funny slapstick genius. And everything hangs together brilliantly in a cohesive 'rock opera' (in all but name) that adds up to far more than a sum of its parts.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for something more intelligent than the airheaded bubblegum pop that goes for music these days. Any Zappa fan probably already has this (and if they don't, shame on you!) - while anyone else will surely soon become a fan after a couple of listens.
Word of warning, though: not recommended for an@lly retentive, conservative prudes and fundamentalists (much of the content revolves around sex, religion, social norms, etc.). Or maybe on second thoughts that's exactly who should listen to it, and take heed! ;-)
on 16 February 2016
2012 Remaster UTTERLY BRILLIANT remastering, the sound is truly AMAZING DRUMS/Percussion keys guitar there is so much more going on this remaster, Frank loved layers of sounds and its very clear here worth every penny, A Rich WARM clear vibrant wonderment of FRANKS FANTASTIC MUSIC, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
on 2 June 2016
This is one of my least favourite of all the Zappa albums I have heard, the overall concept just doesn't grab me and I find the "central scrutinizer" voice annoying especially at the beginning of "Watermelon In Easter Hay" which is beautiful and one of my favourite instrumental Zappa tracks, that is the reason I gave 3 stars instead of 1 or 2 just for that one gorgeous track.
I put this album in the same category as "Thingfish" which I find more annoying than Joe's Garage, I think it's the almost constant lyrics and dialogue that annoy me, don't misunderstand me please, I think Frank Zappa is one of the greatest artists the 20th century produced and probably the greatest electric guitar player ever, I love many of his albums from "Freak Out" "W.O.I.I.F.T.M" "Chunga's Revenge" "Burnt Weeny Sandwich" "Hot Rats" "Waka Jawaka" "The Grand Wazoo" "Overnite Sensation" "Apostrophe" "One Size Fits All" "Zoot Allures" "Sleep Dirt" "Sheik Yerbouti" "You Are What You Is" to name just a few of my most listened to, I am a big Zappa fan but this one don't float my boat.
on 11 November 2011
I bought "Joes Garage" over 20 years ago and still love it. I love Frank's work and highly recommend this album if you are a newcomer to his music. It's one of my favourites and really is a masterpiece using Zappa's well documented xenochrony recording techniques (for the uninitiated, taking previously performed/recorded pieces and overdubbing into new frameworks creating another piece.)Some tracks were done this way and some created in the studio from scratch. I believe "Watermelon in Easterhay" was created in the studio during the making of the album.
There's acerbic satire, one of the main protagonists L.Ron Hoover is clearly a stab at Scientology fraudster L.Ron Hubbard. Detergent snorting record exec's a swipe at people Zappa clashed with frequently in his early career and his troubles with Warner Bros. Social commentary regarding totalitarian regimes, the idea of music being illegal being all too real in Iran at the time, as Zappa points out in the liner notes, and Eastern Bloc countries put people in jail for owning Zappa records in the seventies making the basic premise not too far fetched.
Anyway, you want to know if the music is any good before you buy right? It's AWESOME.Great performances, killer guitar playing, crystal clear production, clever composition...everything we come to appreciate in Zappa's work. The aforementioned "Watermelon in Easterhay" is generally regarded as one Zappa's finest guitar solos and I agree. One of his more emotionally charged pieces to my ear, the guitar weeps. I am genuinely moved almost to tears by this track.
"Packard Goose" has another outstanding solo in the midsection that showcases Zappa's unique attack.
"Crew Slut" is a raucous blues track that pays homage to the staple diet of seventies rock stars, of which no tour was complete, the groupie, in the form of Joe's girlfriend Mary.
"Stick it out" is a steam roller uptempo song that makes me laugh everytime I listen to it.This one sets the scene for Joe's downfall after discovering his latent appliance fetish under the influence of L. Ron Hoover's Church of Appliantology. He meets a sex robot called Sy Borg who he becomes interested in and later "plooks" to death in the following song. Interestingly of note is Zappa's open-ended musical landscape where themes are likely to occur anywhere at anytime - here Sy's dialogue is actually pieces of other songs namely "What kind of girl do you think we are", "Latex solar beef" and "Dancin' Fool".
The title track itself gives the new listener a perfect introduction to Zappa as it showcases Zappa's effortless mix of musical genres in one short and catchy song, part parody, part homage to the kind of music he was listening to and playing in his adolescent years.
So, what are you waiting for? Buy this album NOW.
On a final note, I disagree with some comments that say some bits could be shortened or that some parts are better than others or lacking in some way. This album works best as a whole. On CD, stick both discs on and enjoy uninterupted.