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13 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh rats, does this mean I'm going to have to buy them all again?, 2 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
Having bought the entire Zappa Rykodisc catalogue back in the 1990s and learning to grudgingly accept rather than wholly embrace and love the edits, reverberation and other 'improvements' Frank made, the news that all the titles were to be reissued in late 2012 did not fill me with anticipation on matters sonic-wise. But I took a chance on 'Hot Rats' and the good news is it's the original 1969 mix - vibrant, raucous, crunchy and punchy. Then I took a gamble on 'Sleep Dirt' and, once more, it sounded 10000000000000% better than the Zappa-tinkered Ryko version. Gone were the useless Chad Wackerman drum overdubs and Thada Harris screechathons. Of course, some of the new releases are to be avoided: 'Uncle Meat' is still botched and spoilt by the inclusion of what seems like 12 eternities of boring dialogue from Zappa's interminable home movie, and 'Ruben & The Jets' and 'We're Only In it For The Money' is ruined by the idiotic decision of the Zappa Family Trust to retain the inappropriate and jarring 1980s bass and drums overdubs (seek out the Ryko 'WOIIFTM' for the original version of the album).
'Sheik Yerbouti' was a turntable favourite of mine back in the early 1980s. True, the scatological and sexual 'humour' was a bit embarrassing, even back then, but there was so much to enjoy; Adrian Belew's excellent Dylan impression ('Flakes'), the rhapsodic tune of 'Yo' Mama', Zappa's gloriously throwaway cartoon lyrics ("You can see it any time/When you get the squints"), the infectious silliness of 'Baby Snakes', Terry Bozzio's star turns as both drummer and shouter. The programming of the individual songs made each side of the original double album an organic piece in itself. This was upset by Zappa's editing of material ('I'm So Cute' especially) for CD, and further hindered by his late '80s/early '90s penchant for excessive reverb drenchment. Happily, like the aforementioned 'Hot Rats', this new edition restores the album to its original 1979 template. Shod of the audio 'unhancement' and inflicted cuts, 'Sheik Yerbouti' sounds and feels dynamic.
The misgivings I originally had about the record - Zappa's lame attempts to shock - are irrelevant now since time has moved on and shock is a currency that devalues fast.
The 1981 double album 'You Are What You Is' also benefits from a brilliant sound restoration. (Thought I'd just mention it here rather than write a separate review.)
Consider booty well and truly shaken.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sheik rebooty, 28 Sept. 2012
By 
Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen (real name) (Thread rehab facility 37) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
This is an album I have only heard on cd, the EMI and the Ryko versions, prior to this, so I am not able to directly relate it back to the original vinyl.

Sound quality is superb, a lot of the instruments sound much more natural than previous cd editions, richer midrange, less reverb, more "organic"(if you know what I mean) and easier to listen to. No loudness wars stuff going on here at all. Some cds are hard work to listen to and I often feel the need to turn them down. In these I feel like turning the amp up, way up.

These reissues are intended to correct the tinkering that Frank carried out when digitising his back catalogue in the 80's and an attempt has been made to get back to the vinyl sound by using the original master tapes as the source, thereby removing the re-eqing he did, the edits, the stereo panning and so on that were not on the original albums. Has it worked? Absolutely! I have heard instruments, the piano in particular, on tracks where they never were on the Ryko or EMI versions. The sound quality of the bass and the drums is incredible. The live parts, yep, Frank recorded every gig and would often take the live recordings and splice in studio sections to turn them into studio quality recordings, sound so good that you can almost sense the size of the venue. I'm So Cute had obviously been edited on previous cds as this version has a cracking bit of extra guitar at the end and has a longer finishing section. The spoken bits between some of the tracks is quieter and longer in two instances.

My only gripe is that in an attempt to get a "vinyl sound" I reckon the top end has been turned down a bit, perhaps in the mistaken belief that a vinyl system can not deliver the same top end that cds can. This stuff has loads of extra harmonic and musical detail, but is just lacking a truly clean top end, which is strange as it sounds more realistic. So one star docked for a less than crystal clear top end.

So, in summing up, a success as far as improved sound quality goes and a real education for me as to what the original album contained. A big thumbs up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, 20 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
My first Zappa, had it on TDKcassette some 25 years ago and was the first time I heard Zappa. The first CD release always sounded very thin to me, never heard the RYKO version but this 2012 master is absolute audio heaven. Like hearing it for the first time; couldn't get the smile of my face and made me order a subsequently five other 2012 masters. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential music. I remember a john peel radio show ..., 27 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
Essential music. I remember a john peel radio show one night when this record first came out. Peel almost apologetically played every track on the album in the course of his show. Just couldn't help himself, he had to do it, every track a stonker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best Zappa album, 29 May 2014
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (MP3 Download)
Had this on old tape many many years ago.. Fantastic, funny and superb. Recommend it for anyone who has not heard any Zappa, after this they will be hooked!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
fantastic
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5.0 out of 5 stars I forgot how non PC he was., 15 Jan. 2013
By 
TechMick (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (MP3 Download)
I have a lot of Zappa albums and I had this as a double vinyl many years ago. It was unavailable, in digital format, for a long time, as were most of the Zappa albums. When I saw it available on Amazon it was an instinctive download. I had forgotten just how rude and non PC this album is. In fairness to Zappa he did not play favourites and gender, sexual orientation, politics, religion and celebrity all get the treatment. What saves it from being just crass is both the quality of the music and the intelligence behind the humour, although he gets pretty gritty at times. Broken Hearts are for *rseholes is one such. The monologue going on behind the words (it is not really singing) deteriorates as the track progresses. I'm so cute drives at 100 miles an hour into a cacophony but the lyrics, even though cringe worthy in places, are excellent. City of Tiny Lights is a stand out. Not as keen on the long tracks like Yo Mama, not that they are bad just not really my thing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Zappa as it should be...., 2 Feb. 2015
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G. Hopwood - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
I'm a little disappointed with the editing and that's all. Most songs do not finish and are cut off diving straight into the next one! That said it is worth buying and a good reproduction showing off typical Zappamania.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WHOOLA - A MUST 😃, 16 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
This remaster must rate as one of the best. Sheik heaven. Yo Mama leaves the speaker and joins you in your living room. Stop reading reviews and just buy all the zappa remasters you know you want too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Sheik Yerbouti (Audio CD)
genius - unique
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