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lunes, 11 de mayo de 2015

Frank Zappa - Zoot Allures (1976)


Artista: Frank Zappa
Álbum: Zoot Allures
Año: 1976
Género: Rock / Progressive rock / Experimental / Jazz / Psychedelic rock
Duración: 41:32
Nacionalidad: EEUU


Lista de Temas:
1. Wind Up Workin' In A...
2. Black Napkins
3. The Torture Never Stops
4. Ms. Pinky
5. Find Her Finer
6. Friendly Little Finger
7. Wonderful Wino
8. Zoot Allures
9. Disco Boy

Alineación:
- Frank Zappa / guitar, bass, synth, lead-vocal
- Terry Bozzio / drums
- Davey Moire / vocals on "Wind up." and "Disco Boy"
- Andre Lewis / organ, vocals on "Black Napkins" and "Disco Boy"
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals on "Black Napkins", "Ms.Pinky", "Find Her Finer", "Disco Boy"
- Napoleon Murphy Brock / sax, vocal on "Black Napkins"
- Ruth Underwood / synth on "Ms. Pinky", marimba & synth on "Friendly Little Finger" and "Zoot Allures"
- Donnie Vliet / harmonica on "Find Her Finer"
- Ruben Ladron de Guevara / background vocal on "Find Her Finer"
- Dave Parlato / bass on "Zoot Allures"
- Lu Ann Neil / harp on "Zoot Allures"
- Sharkie Barker / background vocal on "Disco Boy"


Oooootro aporte de Carlos para el disfrute de toda esa manga de vagos y caterva lúmpen que se aglutina alrededor al blog cabezón...


Zoot Allures es un álbum del músico y compositor Frank Zappa. Fue su único lanzamiento para el sello discográfico Warner Bros. Records. Debido a un juicio con su ex mánager Herb Cohen, el contrato de Zappa con DiscReet Records se trasladó a Warner.
Wikipedia

Es el último disco que traemos por ahora, seguramente luego habrá más y más, como viene sucediendo con todos los buenos músicos y buenos proyectos que pasan por aquí.


Yo, por lo pronto, estoy cansado de escribir tano y no tengo mucho tiempo, esto está lleno de comentarios de terceros y si quieren pueden buscar más que los que yo traje aquí... voy a ver si me puedo poner a reseñar algunos de los discos que nos mandaron mientras ustedes disfrutan de estas maravillas tan zappadas.


Just before Halloween, 1976, Frank navigated around legal disputes with his former manager Herb Cohen to release this album, which appeared on the regular Warner Bros. label while Frank’s own DiscReet imprint was hung up in the court hassles. Only slightly over a year after wrapping up an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Royal Albert Hall in London over the 200 Motels concert that had been vetoed back in 1971, Frank sued Herb for embezzling money with his attorney brother Martin. (The orchestral-piece title “Mo ‘n Herb’s Vacation” refers to the spending of Frank’s money on their own amusements.) Shortly after the suit was filed in the summer of ‘76, work began on Night of the Iron Sausage at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. It was to be a double album, presumably containing some of the 1974-’76 material that would eventually be heard on the four records resulting from the fragmentation of the Läther boxed set. Frank eventually decided that Night should be a single album called Zoot Allures. When it was finished, the Record Plant wouldn’t let him have the master tape unless Warner Bros. idemnified the studio against any lawsuit Herb might decide to file as a byproduct of his battles with Frank. Warner consented to this, but only if Frank idemnified them as well. He threw his hands up and had the album mastered from the half-speed safety copy he’d fortunately brought home.
The album title plays on the French exclamation zut alors! (akin to “goddammit!”). This is a continuation of the trick in the name The Grand Wazoo, which re-spelled the French word for “bird,” oiseau (“Grand Wazoo” = “Big Bird”). Zoot Allures also depicts the first two letters of “Zappa” as the title’s initials. A similar prank will be pulled on the cover of Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch (see that section for more).
Posing on the front cover like a “normal” rock group — in congruence with the album’s mostly simplex music (for Zappa) — are bassist Patrick O’Hearn, drummer Terry Bozzio, Frank and keyboardist Eddie Jobson. Patrick and Eddie are props; they don’t play on the album. They’re probably in the picture because it was taken around the time Frank was getting his late ‘76 touring band together. To fortify the theme of the contrived sexual presentation of oneself (more on this later), Frank’s pants are incredibly tight; on the back cover, he’s the only one who’s really changed his pose, bending outward at both knees to relieve the pressure. “Later That Night” from the Ruben album is called to mind: “There’s no room to breathe in here!” In “Stuff Up the Cracks” later on that LP, the song’s heartbroken character threatened to asphyxiate himself. Gas and the strange ideals attached to relationships both figure heavily in Zoot Allures’ lyrics. The cover’s pants-bulges can be considered “zoot allures” themselves. Zoot suits were fashionable with black jazz musicians and their fans in the 1940s. A decade later, the free physical expressions and “primal rhythms” of black entertainers were alluring to sexually repressed, white teenagers. As Frank wrote in his 1968 essay “The New Rock,” “From the very beginning, the real reason Mr. & Mrs. Clean White America objected to [early rock and roll] was the fact that it was performed by black people. There was always a danger that one night — maybe in the middle of summer, in a little pink party dress — Janey or Suzy might be overwhelmed by the lewd, pulsating jungle rhythms and do something to make their [sic] parents ashamed.” This fits Zoot Allures’ concept of stifled sexuality escaping in unexpected ways. “Wonderful Wino” even mentions a zoot suit. Terry’s wearing an Angels shirt, advertising the baseball team; it’s perhaps just a funny coincidence that the effeminate Punky Meadows, from the rock group Angel, will be jeered in “Punky’s Whips” during the upcoming tour, observing both confused sexuality and bondage accoutrements. The Japanese text on the cover combines word bits to roughly form “Frank Zappa,” although names in Japan aren’t really written by joining phonetics together in such a straightforward manner; they’re of a more pictorial nature. The writing is Hanko in style, a form used for personal signatures.
Frank, no stranger to promiscuity and its psychologically liberating effects, saw similarities between the media’s product-selling portrayals of ideal sexuality and the propaganda of fascist regimes. While making this album, he certainly couldn’t have been unaware of the implications on it, considering the frequency with which he’d previously compared, for instance, American politicians to Nazis. Two obvious examples are heard in “Plastic People” on Absolutely Free and “The Idiot Bastard Son” on Money; the concentration camp in 200 Motels also comes to mind. In interviews, Frank spoke quite often about the Western World’s unhealthy sexual views; for instance, he was astounded that consumer demand existed for a blow-job machine that looked like a child’s head (“Ms. Pinky”).
“Wind Up Workin’ in a Gas Station” opens with the line, “This here song might offend you some.” Along with such lyrics as “Don’t you be Tarot-fied/It’s just a lotta nothin’, so what can it mean?” from “A Token of My Extreme” (Joe’s Garage, Acts II & III), it could just as well serve as a characteristically self-effacing but sarcastic introduction for the new listener to Zappa’s music in general. “If it does, it’s because you’re dumb” is the second line, an accusation devoid of his usual, double-edged “character singing.” People in his own background were offended by direct language: “That’s the way it is where I come from/If you’ve been there too, lemme see your thumb [give me an affirmative thumbs-up].” The thumb reference also refers to auto mechanics, who have “greasy thumbs” and often work at gas stations. Recording engineer Davey Moire eventually takes over the lead vocals, occasionally harmonizing with himself. His high voice goes well with the energetic music, conveying the image of a child singing to another about their futures. The lyrics reprise the jabs at Nixon’s recession in “Can’t Afford No Shoes” from One Size Fits All, proclaiming that a college graduate won’t necessarily get a good job. But Davey’s sardonic, growling line “Pumpin’ the gas every night” is a reminder of the Californian concentration camps that Frank mentioned in the Money libretto notes.
Although the composer doesn’t compare his own experiences with those of Jewish World War II prisoners, he seeks to warn about what might transpire if the typical American doesn’t become conscious of the ways in which he’s manipulated, and resist them; the dangers of repeating history are illustrated, demonstrating that things might well come to their logical, tyrannical conclusions. Television, magazines, etc. berate their targets to the point of torture, as men fear their own lack of image fulfillment (“The Torture Never Stops”) and seek unnatural sexual outlets (“Ms. Pinky”). They develop mind-games to get women into bed (“Find Her Finer”), get drunk in order to bury their disappointments (“Wonderful Wino”), and participate in ludicrous, marketed social trends (“Disco Boy”).
With “Be a moron and keep your position,” Davey sings Frank’s sardonically stated encouragement to refuse to be a moron who contemplates no alternative to the prescribed way of life (recalling “Be a jerk/Go to work” from “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” on Absolutely Free). The listener’s told that he “oughta know now, all your education/won’t help ya no-how.” As Davey repeats the title refrain, we hear Frank’s closer, louder vocal. His deep voice is mixed in front of everything else: “Manny de Camper vants to buy some vite [wants to buy some white].” One initially thinks of white gas (propane, which portable lamps and stoves run on), but he actually wants some white fish (a Jewish delicacy): Frank’s line is followed by Davey’s falsetto exclamation, “fish!” (at the same time the backing vocals fall on the word “gas,” from the repeated song title). This is a bit ominous in the context of the German accent, when one remembers that Davey has just gotten through snarling sadistically about the prospect of “pumpin’ the gas every night.”
”Black Napkins” was recorded live in Osaka, Japan on 2/3/76 (which perhaps explains the Japanese stuff on the album cover). The wah-wah pedal’s eventually used in tandem with Frank’s uncanny neck-picking to make the guitar sound like an overheated science-fiction movie computer; the sound will return (as bubbles?) in “Ship Ahoy” on Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar Some More. In Ljubliana, Yugoslavia on 11/11/75, Frank introduced an early version of “Black Napkins” to the audience by announcing, “This is an instrumental song. It’s a tender, slow, moving, ‘ballad’ sort of song that carries with it the implied message that the complete woman must also have an asshole.” In the context of the album, the “perfect woman” for whom men are trained to search isn’t real, and they’ll be let down by natural humanity, with all its so-called imperfections. This anticipates “You never go doody/That’s what you think” in the album’s closing song, “Disco Boy”; in spite of seemingly connecting with these ideas by describing toilet paper, the song’s title wasn’t concocted until later in the month, after that spoken introduction. Frank and his band had Thanksgiving dinner in 1975 at a venue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that served hardly edible food, clinching the comical atrocity by providing black napkins (unwittingly making the guys think of death by food poisoning).
The lyrics in “The Torture Never Stops” were originally intended as jokes about Captain Beefheart’s narcissistic mannerisms and lack of consistent sanitary habits. When the song was first performed in the spring of 1975 at Claremont College during the Bongo Fury tour, it was called “Why Doesn’t Somebody Get Him a Pepsi?”. By the time Frank recorded this Zoot Allures vocal, the words had grown to represent much more, in terms of some undefined evil entity, whom one can consider a politician, a music journalist (cf. “The ‘Torchum’ Never Stops” on 1984’s Thing-Fish) or the embodiment of the string-pullers who don’t get on the news, the industrial figures behind this psychosexual concentration camp. The reek that even makes the stones choke is another reference to poisonous air, not to mention Jewish dietary customs (raw pork). “Guns and the likes of every tool of pain” are included among outlets of displaced sexuality, bringing to mind Frank’s past lyrics about phallic extensions, as well as his future “sociological investigation” of New York’s bondage-abundant Mudd Club.
Besides a “tiny light from a window hole” (making one wonder if “City of Tiny Lites,” a song on Sheik Yerbouti about Los Angeles, might not name the city as a center of the oppression), the atmosphere never gets a break, not a single shaft of sunlight; nor does the Night of the Iron Sausage let up, the era in which America’s denizens are battered by misleadings that snuff their self-esteem and direct their sexual energies toward machines (cf. Joe’s Garage). The “backing vocals” before each verse (and during the guitar solo) are orgasmic, partially pained female moans and squeals. The male listener is asked why these cries sexually frustrate him more than they should; they’re a natural aspect of humanity, after all. We can assume that the screams of the girls — it’s Gail Zappa and a friend; the first grunt is the friend’s — are included to reveal to the listener how uptight his culture’s made him (or her, for that matter): “Why does this torture you? Isn’t it an attractive sound?”. Additional cries from the same “evening’s work” (Frank’s words) in his bedroom will resurface in “Rat Tomago” (“tomago” is “egg” in Japanese) on Sheik Yerbouti. The song will come after “Jones Crusher,” and will be followed by “Bobby Brown”: songs about damaged genitals. On the Baby Snakes soundtrack, “Jones Crusher” will immediately precede “Disco Boy.” (Then again, maybe the revisited shrieks in “Rat Tomago” will just be the cries of a girl who discovers that she’s been eating a rat omelette.)
In 1977, Frank will tell Guitar Player’s Steve Rosen that the “thing that sounds like a slide guitar on ‘The Torture Never Stops’ is actually a fretless… It’s different than a regular guitar. You don’t push the strings to bend them; you move them back and forth like violin-type vibrato, which is a funny movement to get used to. But you can play barre chords on it. It’s fun.”
Frank sings an elongated verse at the end, wondering if the victims are “zeroes someone painted.” This recalls Nanook’s frozen cultural wasteland — each of the first few lines of “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” ended with the “O” sound — and the round, frozen beef pie next to which Billy the Mountain’s (nature’s) enemy was born. Frank sums up his eclectic music, conceptual continuity, lyrical exposing of buried truth, and Dadaistic, break-all-fabricated-artistic-boundaries crossing of genres and media: “Everything that’s ever been/That’s what’s the deal we’re dealin’ in.”
One of the girls shrieks as her death blow is dealt by her being cloned in artificial form — her own packaged “perfect” image — as “Ms. Pinky” stomps in. Frank parodies Van Morrison’s “Gloria” by spelling out “P-i-n-k-y”; then “K-Y” (Jelly; a lubricating agent) is snuck in. This is a song about, according to Frank’s words to Barry Miles in 1976, “a lonely-person device. We have this fan in Finland called Eric… [His favorite porn magazine] had ads for lonely-person devices. It was even worse than I had imagined. Not only is it a head; it’s the size of a child’s head. The throat is sponge rubber, and it’s got a vibrator in it with a battery pack and a two-speed motor. Sticking out of its neck is a nozzle with a squeeze-bulb that makes the throat contract.” (The doll really was priced at $69.95, according to Frank in other interviews.) So the original Sides 1 and 2 both end with masturbation — the “Disco Boy” goes home alone, engaging in “disco love” with himself — book-ending the record with results of frustration. This album’s a Weeny Sandwich of its own.
Donnie Vliet, who’s credited with blowing the harmonica in “Ms. Pinky” and “Find Her Finer,” is of course Captain Beefheart. “Find Her Finer” opens the album’s second half with remarks about how idiocy has become the accepted social norm. The prospective gas attendant at the beginning of the first half is sarcastically being encouraged by Frank to fulfill the “dumb” stereotype laid on him. The occasional vocal (“So you might as well,” etc.) comes from Ruben Ladron de Guevara of the actual Ruben & the Jets, formed a few years after that Mothers album came out, and whose LP For Real was produced by Frank. The line “The universe is nowhere to start” vocalizes the difference between the cover concepts of last year’s One Size Fits All (the idea having been that the universe can hold everyone comfortably) and Zoot Allures (with its restrictive media images and satirical pandering to consumers). The listener’s sardonically encouraged to “rap [talk] like a mummy ‘till you finally unwind her” (“rap” = “wrap,” in the sense of a mummy’s wrapping, which can be unwound). “See who designed her” correlates the human woman with the manufactured rubber head in the last song. “Ground mummy” was the name of a nineteenth-century spice, adding a further pun. After Frank admits that he’s probably offended some listeners (similar to how he opened Side 1), more wordplay’s heard in “wiser fool,” a funny oxymoron.
Xenochronicity (called “experimental re-synchronization” in the Sheik Yerbouti liner notes) makes its debut in “Friendly Little Finger”: The guitar solo has been recorded in a different time, place and musical context than the other instrumental parts. The brass at the end is playing the traditional gospel song “Bringing in the Sheaves,” recalling the Salvation Army’s attempts at helping alcoholics quit. This duly leads into “Wonderful Wino,” co-written with Jeff Simmons in 1970. The macho line “Boy, she looked over at me, and she raised her thumb” revisits the opening song’s lyrics, while “I stink like a hog” recalls the repulsive meal in “The Torture Never Stops.” (Black napkins, indeed.) The showy dancing expression “Watch me, now!” (taken from the Dave Clark Five’s ’60s hit “Do You Love Me”) is humorously used, as it will be in “Bobby Brown” (and before “Baby Snakes” during the 1978 European tour). What’s funny is that the actual lyric has nothing to do with dancing in any of these cases. “Eat the label” will also be sung in “Baby, Take Your Teeth Out,” a song about a gummed blow job on 1984’s Them or Us. (Ms. Pinky’s services undoubtedly feel like gum jobs.) “Eat the label” could also be a sly Zappa expression about his music; any attempt to brand it is swallowed up. The wino pisses on the front lawn of a woman whose hair is up in curlers; the black character in Apostrophe (‘)’s “Uncle Remus” smashed the racist lawn ornaments displayed by white Beverly Hills residents. A different studio version of “Wonderful Wino,” recorded in 1973 and featuring Ricky Lancelotti’s hyperactive vocals, contained the same line about the lawn as this rendition; but the even earlier live rendition from shows with Flo & Eddie had gone, “A roller-headed lady caught me weedling [or wheedling: begging] on her lawn.” The wino could’ve been urinating or loitering.
Originally released by Jeff Simmons on his 1970 solo album Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up on Zappa’s Straight Records, the song was temporarily retitled “Wino Man” when it was performed by the Mothers a year later. The title song from Simmons’ album will also be redone by Frank for Joe’s Garage, Act I. Although prominently depicting a world in which music has been made illegal, that story will concern a character whose life is wrecked in nearly every imaginable way, due to society’s rampant warping of sexuality.
The live instrumental “Zoot Allures,” rumored to have been recorded at the same Japanese concert as “Black Napkins” (although the songs feature different bass players, if one goes by the back-cover credits — assuming that a new part hasn’t been overdubbed for the album), incorporates a striking harp part, played by Lu Ann Neil. The original ending will be heard as “Duck Duck Goose” on Läther and “Ship Ahoy” on Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar Some More. A November 1981 performance of “Zoot Allures” will be resynchronized over separately recorded music to render the solo section of “Truck Driver Divorce” on Them or Us.
In 1977, Frank will tell New Music Express that “’Disco Boy’ came about because we were in Denmark and we went to a place there called the Disc Club, and it was really poot. It was so make-believe sophisticated that it was embarrassing. The place was decorated like a playboy-type living room would sort of be like: low-boy chairs and snackettes on the table. And everybody drinks and dances to these robot-beat records…” The masturbation reference at the end of the song casts a curious light on the line “Find her blinder” in this half’s opener; blindness has been superstition’s reprimand for self-stimulation for ages. “Disco Boy” is circular, i.e. repetitious like the average pop song. The fur trapper in “Nanook Rubs It” was blinded by the urine-soaked snow that was rubbed into his eyes with a “vigorous circular motion” (female masturbation). Just before the solo, “The Torture Never Stops” contains the echoing “Well…well…” of “Nanook Rubs It”; the girls’ moans then return. Those who watch the movie Baby Snakes, which occasionally features an inflatable doll with a Ms. Pinky-type head, will discover Frank singing most of “Disco Boy” to a young girl named Angel, tying into the Zoot Allures front cover and, of course, “Punky’s Whips” (not to mention Angel the cross-dresser cited in “Broken Hearts Are for Assholes”).
Chris Federico

Zoot Allures, released in October 1976, is mostly a studio album (there are some basic live tracks, as in the title track and "Black Napkins") featuring a revolving cast of musicians who, oddly, do not correspond to the ones pictured on the album cover (for instance, Patrick O'Hearn and Eddie Jobson did not contribute). Compared to previous releases like One Size Fits All, Roxy & Elsewhere, or even Over-Nite Sensation, and to upcoming ones such as Zappa in New York, Studio Tan, or Sheik Yerbouti, Zoot Allures sounds very stripped down to bare essentials. Zappa focused on limited instrumentation, lots of bass, and whispered vocals to create a masterpiece of dark, slow, sleazy rock. Except for the opening and closing numbers ("Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" and "Disco Boy"), all the material is slow to medium tempo with Zappa delivering the closest he'll ever get to a crooner vocal performance. "The Torture Never Stops" is the highlight, ten minutes of suggestive lyrics, crawling riffs, searing solos, and female screams of pain. That song and "Disco Boy" became classic tracks; "Black Napkins" and "Zoot Allures" rate among the man's best guitar solos. Historical note: The album was first devised as a two-LP set and would have included "Sleep Dirt," "Filthy Habits," and "The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution," which all also fit the mood. Although humor has not been completely evacuated, Zoot Allures comes through as a much more serious rock record. Yet, it is more than a transitional album; it represents one of Zappa's strongest accomplishments.
François Couture

This record contains very good pieces. "Black Napkins" is one of the most elaborated guitar solo with full of wah wah effect played with feeling. The song "Zoot Allures" has guitar parts full of drunken tremolo, with a full bottom bass! "The Torture Never Stops" presents a women screaming like she's having a sadomaso orgasm. "Wind Up Working In A Gaz Station" is very addictive with its girlish voice. The songs are sometimes dirty (the sound), but this ZAPPA's album is definitely a good one!
greenback

Wow, this album is really different for Zappa. Very toned down. No more vibes, horns, and the such dominating parts of songs, although these do appear although slightly. This album sticks to the usual guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard aspect of music. Much more of a rock album. However, I still believe that this is still a great album. (Just a note: I find it funny how this album, being stripped to the minimum, and Studio Tan, with everything under the sun on it, follow one another)
Now for the review: The album starts strong with Wind Up Working....I love the vocal performance on this one. Also, the song provides a certain amount of humor on this album. Next is the stunning Black Napkins. A great Zappa solo is presented here. Also, a note that the drumming is exceptional as well. Beautiful piece. Next is the strange, dark, erie, and fantastic The Torture Never Stops. I absolutly love the vocal and lyrics to this song. Very well done. Also, love the mood set up by the lack of music and the erie piano (if that's it) notes in the background. My only complaint is i would have prefered more guitar work and less woman. But, it still works great. The next three songs, show off the sexual conotation of Zappa's work, Minus Friendly Little Finger which is an instramental and only sexual in name. Wonderful Wino follows. A good song, nothing fantastic, although funny at times. Following this is the magestic Zoot Allures. I love the intro to this song. Wonderful guitar at all times. One of his better instramentals. Finishing off the album is Disco Boy. An odd song about one man's stuggle to get some. Funny at times, but again not a stellar song.
All in all, this is a solid record. Some really good moments (WPWIAGS, Zoot Allures, Black Napkins, TTNS) and some average outings (FHF, Disco Boy). A must of Zappaists and a good addition to the rest of the world. Recommended.
Phil

After the one-off experiment and collaboration with his long time friend Captain Beefheart, Zappa returned to the studio and came out of it with this album. Although originally titled Night of the Iron Sausage, the name would eventually settle on Zoot Allures, although Night of the Iron Sausage does get a lyrical reference. This is probably one of the more stripped down Zappa albums as there aren't any grandiose orchestrations or horn sections, but a more simplistic approach with mainly guitars, drums, bass, and keyboards. In fact, this may be one of the most guitar oriented Zappa albums ever released (besides of course, to the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar trilogy and the album Guitar). Most of the songs on this album are considerably strong and most of them are live favorites and were played by Zappa is essentially every tour that followed.
The album opens with the short and concise Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station, which is a humorous piece with some great vocals and rhythmic work. Next up is the superb instrumental Black Napkins, which would become one of Zappa's most popular guitar solo instrumentals (with Watermelon in Easter Hay being another one, for example). It has a superb main theme from the guitar as well as some great work from Bozzio on the drums. The Torture Never Stops would become another Zappa live favorite and would eventually get a reworking as The Torchum Never Stops on the colossal disappointment that was Thing-Fish. This version, though, while great and fun, doesn't really match up to the numerous live incarnations there are of it (which is benefitted by an extended solo section that is a highlight of Zappa's incredible guitar stylings). Despite that, though, there are some humourous lyrics and a nice overall feel (which is desolate and full of isolation to say the least).
Ms. Pinky is a song about a very special girl (and her "sister" would get a cameo in the film Baby Snakes as the blow up doll used in many various encounters with Roy Estrada). It's a fun and harmless piece that has some fun backing vocals from Estrada and some nice synthesizer work from Ruth Underwood. Find Her Finer is another fun piece with a nice overall feel and riff to it as well as some humorous lyrics and vocals from Zappa (and like The Torture Never Stops would get live versions that would surpass the studio version). Friendly Little Finger and Wonderful Wino are more or less throwaway pieces and are pretty forgettable, but they aren't really that bad and they add a bit more to the humor of the album. Zoot Allures is revered as one of the best Zappa instrumentals ever. The catchy main riff and the great breakdown solo sections are perfect for a studio piece (and it's not too long and to the point), and like a few other tracks on the album is a better song live. The closer of the album is Disco Boy, Zappa's stab at the disco culture. It has a bluesy guitar riff and some nice bass synthesizer notes as well as some humorous lyrics and laidback vocals from Zappa. And like three other tracks that I mentioned earlier, the live version of this song found on the Baby Snakes soundtrack is a lot better, although I'm quite fond of this version of it, as it is more raw.
In the end, Zoot Allures or Night of the Iron Sausage, whatever you want to call it, is one of the better mid/late 70s Zappa experiments and has some essential tracks on it for all Zappa fans. While it's not his best album, it certainly was a great listen and I think any fan of guitar oriented rock and some great avant-garde stylings will find comfort in this album. Me? I thought it was fantastic, but not a masterpiece in the least bit.
Robert Peña

Apparently Zappa said that Zoot Allures was his atempt to make a straight Rock record. To be honest I don't think Zappa was ever capable of making a straight Rock record but I can see where he's coming from as around half the album is by Zappa's standards fairly accessible Rock music albeit laced with the great man's sense of humour. It's basically a Zappa solo record as he plays most of the instruments, though not Drums which are supplied by the superb Terry Bozzio. Other musicians/vocalists make the occasional appearance though here and there.
Wind Up Working in a Gas Station opens, a short track at only two and a half minutes, it's one of the aforementioned straight Rock moments with falsetto vocals supplied by Davey Moire complimenting Zappa's own. Though decent enough, much better is following instrumental Black Napkins which is actually a live recording with all audience noise removed. It features a classic Zappa guitar solo, one of his very best in my opinion. The Torture Never Stops is a slow sleazy number with Zappa on vocals and orgasmic squeals supplied by an undisclosed female. Amusingly with reference to this Zappa states in the liner notes that he was director of recreational activities. At almost ten minutes it does outstay its welcome a little though.
Back to the Rock with Ms Pinky, an amusing track, Ms Pinky being a rubber sex doll. Find Her Finer has a nice slow groove to it and is followed by another excellent instrumental, Friendly Little Finger with more fantastic guitar from Zappa and Bozzio is also excellent on Drums. Ruth Underwoods Marimba adds a bit of colour to the start of the track also. This segues into the riffy Wonderful Wino, ultimately though one of the least satisfying tracks on the album.
Instrumental and title track Zoot Allures is generally highly regarded amongst Zappa fans, again featuring his distinctive guitar well to the fore. It's a slowish piece, held in check beautifully by Bozzio and an album highlight. Last but not least Disco Boy has Zappa having a go at, you guessed it Disco boy's, the Disco movement being in it's prime at the time of this albums release. It's another straight Rock number and an excellent album closer; great fun!
This was the very first Zappa album I ever bought on its release in 1976 and I've always had a soft spot for it. It's an excellent album though he's done better but it's fairly accessible and would make a good introduction for someone wanting to check him out.
Paul Fowler

Many have tried, even my beloved other half, but so far, nobody has succeeded in convincing me of Zappa's genius. Of course he's a great guitar performer, an entertainer even, a playful lyricist and maybe even a great composer but it all very much passes me by untouched, just like most jazz-rock does.
So, hardly a surprise that I can stomach this album best of all. As everybody has pointed out already it's Zappa in a stripped down rock mood, with easy digestible songs and even some catchy riffs that you can hum along with. It's probably not his best album but it's the best introduction that you can have, especially if you're looking from a prog-rock side.
Karl Bonnek

It's a low ****, but a **** rating nonetheless, and a pretty fun one at that. It's a far, far less "sophisticated" album than OSFA, but it's not hard to tell that that's exactly what Zappa wanted. The busy big-band jazz-prog overtones of the last couple of albums are almost completely gone; the instrumentation is very stripped-down, and almost all performed by Zappa himself (drums excepted). The hyperactive genre and society mockeries of yore also make a significant return, this time updated for the age of New Wave and the like. Not a lot of the individual songs stand out as classics, and in fact a good half of the album can be considered "slight" (which isn't the same as bad, mind you) by Zappa standards, but as a whole the album works.
Of the album's nine tracks, four stand out to me as Zappa classics. First is the opening "Wind up Working in a Gas Station," a "straightup" (haha) rocker that must have been a total shock to fans who were especially enamored of, say, "Inca Roads" from the year before. The base form of it may be different, though, but the hyper rhythm changes are totally familiar sounding; this may be Zappa taking on a "simpler" form, but he hasn't suddenly gone stupid, and the sense of disdain for "commoners" is still totally there (first line: "This here song might offend you some. If it does, it's because you're dumb."). On a broader level, this is the first serious manifestation of the approach that would dominate a good portion of You Are What You Is, and given how much I enjoy that album, this song can't help but give me a smile.
The second big highlight is the "epic" "The Torture Never Stops," which basically trumps every "shocking", decadent, Alice Cooper-style track made in the era. It was all I could do to not fall down laughing when I heard the first lines, "Flies all green and buzzin', in this dungeon of despair," delivered in an absolutely spot-on faux-sleazy manner that reduces all torture and S&M themes and practices to the goofiness they are. The seemingly endless female moans are a perfect icing on the cake; those sure don't sound like screams of agony to me! (The fact that these orgasmic noises are made by Zappa's wife makes it all the funnier). Is it overlong? Of course it's overlong! It's also thoroughly irreverant and genre- destroying; it's one of those instances where excessive length is a definite asset.
Anyway, the third significant highlight is the grumbly, intermittently rocking Wonderful Wino. Frank eschews singing for his creepy spoken mode a la "I'm the Slime," and it works in this case; I'm not sure any vocal melody would have been able to properly convey the gross nature of lines like, "I lost control of my body functions, on the road ahead at the ladies front lawn. I'm so ashamed, but I'm a wino man; I can't help myself." The fourth highlight, then, is a slam of the then upcoming disco culture, courtesy of the incredibly catchy "Disco Boy," complete with hilarious falsetto vocals in the chorus. It's all about a prototypical, brainless attendee of a disco club who has hopes of getting lucky and who totally strikes out. Check out this delightful line about the aftermath : "Disco Boy, no one understands, but thank THE LORD that you still got hands to help you do that jerkin' that'll blot out yer Disco Sorrow!" Welcome back, Frank, welcome back.
Of the remaining five, my favorite is probably "Find Her Finer," which seems to be about wrapping women up until you have your way with them (!!!), but the heavily distorted bassline of "Ms. Pinky" is kinda attractive (though there really isn't anything else interesting about the song), and the instrumental title track is pretty lovely (Frank's guitar has an awfully nice tone in that one). The (seemingly) lengthy wankfest "Black Napkins" could be done without (it's a rather dull "soulful" standard blues passage, with none of Frank's regular eccentricities), and while "Friendly Little Finger" is at least more energetic, it's so messy that I can't get into it.
Overall, then, there's a good amount of relatively non-descript stuff to be found, but most of it is quite tolerable, and the best stuff is a hoot. It's a slight tossoff for Frank, but it's an enjoyable one, and well worth a cheap pickup.
John

This album is something of an anomaly in Frank Zappa's catalog. On all but two of the songs, Frank plays guitar, bass and keyboards. Terry Bozzio plays drums, and other favorites add tracks (Ruth Underwood, Roy Estrada and "Donnie" (van) Vliet, among others) to fill out the music. So among his seventies albums, this is more of a solo album than any.
Zappa proves himself to be a fair keyboardist. Although none of the keyboards stand out as great, they don't detract from the music either. And he tends to stay somewhat low key on the bass as well. The one place his bass stands out is on Friendly Little Finger, where Zappa is soloing on bass and guitar at the same time, with spectacular results.
The two guitar solo pieces are also outstanding. Black Napkins became one of Frank's signature guitar solos, and Zoot Allures is beautiful as well.
The other songs are all the funny, scatological songs that appeal to the teenager inside of us. And The Torture Never Stops, a concert favorite was first released on this album.
Not a masterpiece, but a wonderful album in Zappa's huge discography.
Scott

Whilst maybe not in the same exulted class of true Zappa classics such as 'Joe's Garage', 'Overnite Sensation' or 'Apostrophe'(or a million others) 1976's 'Zoot Allures' still features it's fair share of stand-out moments. One of his rockiest albums, 'Zoot Allures' is notable for blending Zappa's rock 'n' roll proclivities with the savage satirical asides that characterized his 1970s output. Here, we have songs attacking the then burgeoning disco phenomenon('Disco Boy'), a stand-out live guitar solo piece('Black Napkins') and the darkly brilliant nine-minute opus 'The Torture Never Stops', a track seemingly about the darker side of human sexual nature. Shot through with it's creators usual attention-to-detail, his staggeringly sophisticated instrumental passages and that unusual psychedelic hue that only Zappa could concoct, 'Zoot Allures' is another fine entry into the sprawling Zappa canon. Once again, several listens are needed to truly capture all that is happening, and even then surprusing new elements can always be found on further explorations. Although not a stone-cold Zappa classic, 'Zoot Allures' still has more to offer that most other rock 'n' roll groups do in their entire careers.
Stefan Turner

This is the Zappa band stripped down mostly to a rock quartet (and a quintet in some cases). There is no jazz or orchestral music here, it's all rock. It's also probably Zappa's darkest album. There are several concert classics that seen their first light of day on this (mostly) studio album.
I remember the first time I heard this album, I bought it looking for something that I though was as good as "Sheik Yerbouti", and bought this as the follow up, even though it was released 3 years earlier. I was disappointed. I've grown to appreciate it a little more now, but I still don't consider it one of my favorite Zappa albums. I think this is some of Zappa's worst vocals and he sings lead vocals on all but 2 of the songs (those songs are instrumentals). His vocals are kept subdued and kind of whisper-y so to me he just sounds like a grumpy pervert. The rest of the music is pretty good, but it is very dark, except for "Wind Up Workin" and "Disco Boy" which are a little more "cheery" I guess. The best tracks on this album are the instrumentals, and it's because of them that this is an excellent recording. If it was a completely vocal album like "You Are What You Is" then it would have been just as bad as that terrible album.
"Wind up Workin at a Gas Station" is one of the few tracks with several vocal styles which you tend to find on some of Zappa's better albums. The vocals are similar to doo wop harmonies, but this is not a doo wop song, so, there you go. Next is one of Zappa's best guitar pieces called "Black Napkins" I love this song and find it always tends to produce the best solos out of all of Zappa's instrumentals. It was named after the color of the napkins at a Thanksgiving dinner that Zappa attended where he describes the turkey as so full of preservatives that you could see them gleaming and some beat up cranberry material. The black napkins where the final stroke to the ridiculous dinner. But at least the song is great.....This song is actually a live performance in Osaka Japan on 2/3/76.
"The Torture Never Stops" is the first studio version recorded of the concert staple that is on an innumerable amount of live recordings out there. This version has the screaming girls on it who are actually Gail (Zappa's wife) and a friend. Zappa gets all the credit for this one except for the drum. This version has the keyboards more to the front than the concert performances tend to have, but still has a guitar solo, though more subdued than most of the concert performances. After that is the funny song about a blow up doll named "Ms. Pinky"
Side 2 starts out with "Find Her Finer" which I find annoying. Then we get another outstanding instrumental. First is "Friendly Little Finger" which involves the best full band line-up in Zappa's career and the only non-rock song on here, more of a jazz fusion with a guitar solo type track. The basic track was recorded in concert at Hofstra University on 10/26/1975 with FZ, Roy Estrada on bass, Terry Bozzio on drums, and the amazing Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer. The brass section was recorded at a different time and place, 2 years before at Bolic Sound in Inglewood with Ian Underwood on Sax, Bruce Fowler on trombone and Sal Marquez on trumpet on 6/1/1973. Frank used his technique of xenochrony where he takes a studio recording and edits in a solo or section from a completely different source or song, usually live in Zappa's case, and combines it all together, usually in songs that have tricky rhythms.
Next is another vocal about an alcoholic which I don't care for either. Then is the title track which is another excellent instrumental in the same vein as the one on side 1 which is also a huge concert staple. This one was recorded completely in studio. It all ends with the slightly brighter "Disco Boy" which is the single from the album and one of Zappa's most popular satirical takes on the disco movement.
This album was originally supposed to be a double album and included other Zappa greats like "Sleep Dirt", "The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution" and several others that appeared on other albums. The addition of those songs would have helped strengthen this album. One other song called "Night of the Iron Sausage" was also supposed to be part of the double album but it was never released. It was reportedly a very long guitar solo. Not sure how that would have added or taken away from the album.
So, the vocal tracks are disappointing here, but the instrumentals are stellar. That leaves me with a split decision on this album. I totally respect FZ's music and enjoy the humor on most of his comedy tracks, but I can't rate this album at 5 stars when I hate the vocal tracks. The instrumentals however are so good that it actually raises this from a 2 star album to 4 stars. That's how good they are.....and are actually essential tracks. So 4 stars here. Get it for the instrumentals.
TCat

This is my go-to Zappa disc. Everything Frank does well, he does on Zoot Allures and all in under 40 minutes, no less. The funny stuff, the complicated stuff, the guitar solo stuff and the lascivious lyrical stuff all present and accounted for (though not his orchestral dalliances) on these two hot sides of wax.

Most impressive of all is the title track - a jazz fusion tour de force with some spectacular guitar chording completely unique to Zappa's then-recorded output. For a guitarist relatively set in his ways - as unique as they are - to completely reinvent himself like this is quite the accomplishment. Like Zappa's musicianship was ever seriously in doubt!
The bands (there are several lineups at work here) all cook, even if none of them contain Patrick O'Hearn & Eddie Jobson who both appear on the cover. Drummer Terry Bozzio, who does, dazzles as always. The tunes come from all sorts of studio and live origins, as is Frank's wont in such matters. But everything's solid, and not a stinker in sight.
Succumb to the allure of Zoot Allures
Steven

It's one of the best album by FZ. A lot of instrumetals, good vocals and (of couse) rock'n'roll!!! That abum is the reason of my love to FZ. As photographer, I like very much such wonderful cover. To my deep regret I almost alone in my opinion.
Leony

Probably one of the most underrated Zappa albums - is it because it was released between Apostrophe (') and One Size Fits All ? I found Zoot Allures (name inspired by the french 'Zut alors !') very good, even if the second side is largerly weak than the first - I don't like Wonderful Wino and Find Her Finer. Anyway, on this side, the instrumental Zoot Allures is absolutely perfect. But if the side B is not-so-good, on the first side, there are some great tracks, like the long, very long The Torture Never Stops, or the instrumental (caught live on concert) Black Napkins. Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station is another Zappa classic. A very good and efficient album, with a simple but awful sleeve.
Damien Barthel

This was the first Zappa album I ever bought, and what an introduction. The album opens with "Wind Up Workin In a Gas Station", a song with the classic Zappa feel and a great funk/soul edge to it, and some excellent backing vocals. The next track (and personally my favourite Zappa instrumental) is the mighty "Black Napkins", which really shows of Zappa's skill as a guitarist. If you ever thought the guy was a grade-B player, then this song will make you think again. The third track "The Torture Never Stops" is the high point of the album. The most poignant part of this song are the lyrics, depicting a bleak and grim medievil dungeon, accompanied by the screams of a woman- whether these screams are pain or pleasure, we do not know. The next three tracks are the weakest of the album, especially "Wonderful Wino", which really begins to drag. But alas, the album picks itself up once again for the final track "Zoot Allures", a punchy yet laid back jazz/rock song which wraps up the album nicely. I would give this album 4/5 purely for it's lack of consistency, but it really is a must have for any Zappa fan, and has some incredible songs to offer.
Michael Divers

Essential for anyone. It's not exactly the most progressive in Zappa's collection, but it's a work of genius nonetheless. A straight-up rock record with typical Zappa humor, nailing every idiot and their mother, building off weird road stories, lots of perverse BDSM howls, and a deep sound. No keys. (almost) No special instruments. Just guitar, bass, drums, and Zappa's deepest voice yet (with the occasional section of keys), and what wonderous instruments they are - Zappa and Bozzio have always been masters of their instruments, and Zappa's delivery of the bass parts are quite exceptional.
The album sports three guitar instrumentals - two slow and kind of soft (Black Napkins, Zoot Allures), the other a rocky piece played, by comparison, at breakneck speed (Friendly Little Finger). We get a lot of sex here (Ms. Pinky, a deep, bass-driven track, based on a real sex toy which Zappa saw an ad for in Finland or some Northern country like that where they have a lot of lonely people, apparently; The Torture Never Stops with it's masochistic background yelping and whose lyrics describe a filthy torture chamber, complete wit sinister midget janitor) but also some silliness (Dig "Wonderful Wino" - any relationship to George Carlin's radio station is probably coincidental - and his practice of eating the label right off a wine bottle!).
Of course, there is always time, ALWAYS time, for a piss-take at some idiots; Davey Moire, Zappa's recording engineer (what a lengendary position to fill!) delivers a shrieky-voiced warning to the stupid which informs them of the futility of their situation. And, of course, who could forget about that little musical beast called disco? Obviously not Zappa. The better known anti-disco song, the full-blown parody of "Dancin' Fool" is not quite fully developed on "Disco Boy" - but the familiar riff is already here. Of course, we get some sex in the end - and after all, wasn't he just out trying to get some nookie? - but this is Frank Zappa we're talking about.
The lowest point, which isn't too low either, is "Find Her Finer," the lead single - and it really sounds like it, too. The single was B-sided with the album's title track, but, as with all Zappa recordings, no radio airplay was to be expected.
This recording is necessary for anyone who listens to any rock music. Surely you'll find something in here, be it the epic "Torture," the humorous "Wino," or the charming "Find Her Finer." A juggernaut of guitar rock and then some.
Indiciplinary

This is one of the first Frank Zappa albums I have heard, it played a large part in helping me to discover his genious, it kicks off with what is really the only song that is meant to be comical in a bouncy, energetic way, "Wind Up Working In A Gas Station" it's followed by "Black Napkins" which could go on for an hour and still hold my interest. It was recorded live and seems to be somewhat improvised, and it is of high quality. Other favorites of mine are "Where the torture never stops" whic is the longest song on the album and features great lyrics and singing from Zappa and an incredible, mellow atmosphere, and the other really mellow track "Find Her Finer". I find the mellower tracks on this album to be the most appealing but there are basically no flaws to be found on this album. Great mid 70's release.
Matt Dickens

I'd describe "Zoot Allures" as a smooth and funny record. It kicks off with the energetic "Wind Up Working In A Gas Station" but It quickly switch to a smoother and surprisingly sensual sound with "Black Napkins", a very emotional solo from Zappa. "The Torture Never Stops" continues in the same vein, another perfect cut. Other stand-outs are "Find Her Finer", "Zoot Allures" and "Disco Boy", a song that will get better and better over the years. Pretty much all the album is worth listening a thousand times. It stands as one of my favourite from Zappa, along side "Hot Rats", "Sheik Yerbouti" and "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar". Good for beginners, it will also please any hardcore prog freaks.
Doctor Growl

Awesome Zappa record, with Bozzio, O´Hearn and Zappa playing very complex rock´n roll music. I like the obscenity here, the hilarious Bozzio vocals and many dirty, very dirty lyrics. Considering that this album contains fantastic Zappa guitar work, very angry drums overtures and quite nice bass lines, it deserves an obvious five star. The album is not Zappa definitive masterpiece, but is a Top 10 in his huge career. Some songs may sound too erotic, or bizarre, but the musicianship here is good thing guys. Check it after Overnite Sensation or One Size Fits All and get the goodies of Zappa brilliantism in the mid seventies.
higgorgd

A serious Zappa album again. Zoot came after Bongo Fury, an excentric live album with the hilarious Beefheart, an album far from the funky´n hard Roxy & Elsewhere. This time Zappa bring a new studio line-up, with the highlights beeing Terry Bozzio and Patrick O´Hearn, both terrific musicians. Zoot Allures is maybe the album that starts a new phase in Zappa´s carrer: the late 70´s complex funky rhythm & musical parody, sexual lyrics, never ending guitar solos and even better bizzarre stuff than in the late 60´s. We can see all this stuff from 77 to 80, including Läther (and the four albums that figure in this 3-CD box set), Sheik Yerbouti and Joe´s Garage (and maybe in Shut Up...). Here, the songs are played basically by a power trio, including Zappa in some keyboards, but the basic line-up is Zappa / O´Hearn / Bozzio. Other musicians appear here and there too. The album has some typical Zappa of this period, including the orgasmatic and spacey "The torture never stops", the parody "Disco boy", the nice "Find her finer" and some very good instrumental pieces, where Zappa show us excellent guitar work, what would be a common approach in many albums until the mid 80´s. "Black Napkins" and "Zoot Allures" are really great songs, with the trio workin´ hard to make a very well structured rhythm section that really kicks off! Well, Zoot Allures is an extremmely recomended album for begginers, due to its easilly listenable songs containing plenty of Zappa 70´s ideas, placed together in a very pleasant way. Get it.
Rodrigo Guabiraba


Terminamos por ahora el show de Zappa pero no se preocupen que igual acá van a tener para entretenerse!




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