Let me say right at the outset that I am by no means a Zappa expert. In fact, I always found his vast catalogue rather intimidating, with no obvious entry point. I know a handful of albums reasonably well, Apostrophe, Sheikh Yerbouti, Hot Rats, and I’ve dipped into more in the course of reading this book, although by no means all of the 27 albums discussed here. I still feel overall that this is music I don’t really ‘get’, that I’m somehow missing something, that’s it’s a joke that I’m somehow not in on – whatever, this is certainly music that is not easy to categorise or capture in words on a printed page. In attempting to perform the difficult task of conveying what this music ‘is’, the author looks at Zappa’s output from his sixties albums with The Mothers of Invention before moving on to his prolific seventies solo work. Each album, indeed each song, is examined, both musically and in terms of its historical and social context, to try to shed some light on this enigmatic character and his sometimes satirical, sometimes controversial and often deceptively complex compositions. A great deal of research has obviously been undertaken, resulting in a detailed, in depth review of Zappa’s music (perhaps at times a bit too detailed for the uninitiated!) Although it’s a relatively brief volume, it manages to cover a lot of ground, and this is a book fans will certainly want to look out for.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Zappa.s music, other books in this series.
One thing you’ve learned
A more than useful accompaniment and guide to Frank Zappa’s vast body of work from arguably his most creative period, 1966 – 1979, but really you need to listen to the music – inevitably some will get it while it will remain a mystery to others.