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FRANK ZAPPA Sheik Yerbouti (1990 UK 18-track CD yet another immense musical effort from FZ featuring Adrian Belew. Includes staple Zappa like Booby Brown Goes Down Baby Snakes and Dancin Fool the infectious City Of Tiny Lights and a blinding version of Yo Mama; fold-out lyric booklet picture sleeve CDZAP28)
Top Customer Reviews
One recurring theme of Zappa's music is humour and the impression you get from listening to him is a refusal to take anything seriously. This extended not only to the lyrics/subject matter and the presentation but even the notes themselves - Frank Zappa made funny music. On virtually all of Zappa's albums there is a guitar line, blast of trumpet, vocal harmony, etc that sounds odd, unfamiliar and often funny. This image as a musical humourist is abundant on Sheik Yerbouti. Whether it be the overblown fanfare of 'Flakes' or the caustic lyrics of 'Broken Hearts are for Assholes' the humour is always evident and rarely subtle.
It is particularly the lack of lyrical subtlety that may cause some listeners to have a problem with the album. It forces criticisms of it being of novelty value only. I disagree. If a song is merely a novelty then it wouldn't stand repeated listening unlike the songs collected here. Why do they?Read more ›
However, if you're sickened by pornographic lyrics... don't buy it! There's some weird stuff here... not as weird as he was capable of but weird enough. However, if you can forgive Frank his obsessions, buying this CD could be the start of a beautiful relationship. No one plays guitar like him and he ruthlessly got the best out of his musicians. The depth of his subject matter is what attracted me to Frank Zappa. Apart from songs about exotic sexual practices [Jones Crusher, Broken Hearts, Bobby Brown], he was a keen commentator on American life [Dancin' Fool, Flakes].
He recorded an amazing amount in his time and you will find the musical themes laid down here repeated in his later work. If you like this, the next ones to go for are the 'You can't do that on stage anymore' series... there are six of them! This is not the artist for obsessive compulsive collectors of recordings! His own catalogue will bankrupt you and you'll have to sell your kidneys...
Picking out just a few of the highlights here; the naughty, but nice, 'I Have Been In You' runs seamlessly into the quirky 'Flakes' whilst Zappa produces another of his legendary guitar solos on 'Rat Tomago'; the fast and funky 'City of Tiny Lites', featuring the powerful vocals of Adrian Belew, is quite superb as is the classy 'Wild Love'. Although this is not my favourite Zappa album, there is plenty of good, juicy material here to make it worth checking out.
However, there is so much more to enjoy as well. For starters, the album contains guitar playing up there with Zappa's best; Rat Tomago and The Sheik Yerbouti Tango are superb guitar solos and the magnificent twelve minutes that is Yo' Mama builds and soars to a massive climax, (sorry, there is no other way to describe it), accompanied by Tommy Mars only slightly overblown keyboards.
Some of the vocal and musical arrangements are stunning too. Apart from Yo' Mama, Bobby Brown, Dancin' Fool, Jewish Princess and the oft overlooked Wild Love are sooo good.
The band providing the basic live tracks was an excellent one, but almost all the songs benefit from having been heavily overdubbed, in the studio - a fact Zappa openly admits in the booklet notes.
Finally, even though City of Tiny Lights is my least favourite Zappa song, any album that has an impression of Bob Dylan moaning about his car not being fixed on time has got to deserve five stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of his best and most enjoyable sets - timeless, listen to this and see how standards have generally dropped.Published on 23 July 2014 by J. E. Jenkins
This was the real beginning of FZs' 'satirical period', the first of four albums with Joes' Garage' Tinseltown Rebellion and You Are What You Is. Read morePublished on 16 Oct. 2012 by Zomby Woof
There was only ever one Frank Zappa, and he made an aweful lot of albums. I love his early stuff, like 'Lumpy Gravy', and 'Hot Rats', which hit me like a freight train when they... Read morePublished on 1 Aug. 2012 by Livingproof
As a long time Frank Zappa fan I would say any album that you miss would be a strong indication of the goodness/greatness of it. Read morePublished on 2 Aug. 2011 by Alistair Haycock
In my personal view - not a great album.
Admittedly I am not a big fan of Zappa's "mainstream rock plus over the top virtuoso arrangements plus bawdy lyrics"... Read more