Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zappadan 2012 You Are What You Is 1981 and Orchestral Favorites 1979

Happy Zappadan one and all. I'm late to the show this year, but it's still a swell alternative holiday season. Frank had his moments, and then there are "those" records that make no one's best-of list, but they must have at least some redeeming value.

Which brings us to You Are What You Is from 1981. Not a great Zappa record, but there are some moments of greatness, or at least hilarity. Harder Than Your Husband is one of Frank's cuter funny lines, and the song is a fun joke. Doreen has some hot playing, and there are frequent hot instrumental breaks throughout. The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing is notable both for it's lyric and composition. But there's a lot of Frank's lazy lyric writing, anti-religion squawking, and mostly well-worn Zappa musical motifs.

Of course the band is on fire. The hot stuff is well worth hearing. It's just not the most condensed. It's two slabs of vinyl. It could've been a strong single record. Frank always has a lot to say. And there's plenty of Frank's politics on this one.

1979's Orchestral Favorites is another bird altogether. Originally intended for the four-record set Lather (depending on whom you believe), these all-instrumental orchestral works are as good a look at Zappa's work for large ensemble as we get until The Yellow Shark in 1993. The London Symphony Orchestra records were good, but this set has a certain rightness to it that is irresistible. The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra does Zappa proud. The vinyl is warm and friendly.

I didn't think I needed it because I had all but one of the songs on the CD version of Lather. But when I found the vinyl in a used record store, I jumped on it. It was a great idea. I highly recommend the record to anyone who wants to hear Frank's most accessible version of his orchestral compositions. It's hard not to like. Or you'll think I'm crazy. It's not Mozart.

Those are the two Zappa records I added to the stacks this past year; one great, one, well, you know, something else.

For you insatiable Zappadan enthusiasts, I've written a quite a bit about Zappa here at the blog before:
Zappadan 2009- My first Compilation
Zappadan 2009- The 1988 tour CDs
Zappadan 2010- My Favorite Zappa records
Zappadan 2010- My second Compilation
Zappadan 2011- LSO Vol. 1 and 2
Zappadan 2011- Orchestral Music
Chunga's Revenge
The Grand Wazoo 
One Size Fits All

No comments:

Post a Comment