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'Apostrophe (')'
(Zappa Records)

Joe Geesin

joe geesin

frank zappa

Guitarist, vocalist, composer, orchestrator, producer, director and band leader Zappa was often highly regarded as a musical innovator and this 1974 album, one of his most successful, is given a quality vinyl reissue and a decent remaster to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Zappa recorded over sixty albums over a career spanning over thirty years and they mixed rock, pop, jazz, orchestral and avant-garde, so Zappa's work is often hard to classify.

He started playing r'n'b before moving in a more avant-garde direction. His earliest work included some low budget soundtracks but it wasn't until he worked with Captain Beefheart and then formed The Mothers Of Invention that he found any success. A few years later the band fragmented and Zappa would continue to record solo.

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This solo album, Zappa's 18th to date (including the MoI LPs), was released in March 1974 and was recorded between 1969 and 1974 and follows on from the success of the previous year's 'Over Nite Sensation' (both albums went gold). Similarly it features shorter songs that often lean to Zappa's bizarre and obscure wry humour.

'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow' and 'Nanook Rubs It' open in nonsensical humourous fashion and have a funky edge. The former was edited for single release.

'St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast' is an enjoyable mash and features a xylophone, blasts of brass, and a fusion bass line. 'Father O'blivion' continues in similar fashion and has some punchy vocals.

The highlight of the album is the title track, which has a jam edge and a hint of cream. Bass is provided on this track by Jack Bruce; it's a fuzzed up rocking and cohesive instrumental.

'Uncle Remus' is a piano led track with a solid guitar solo and a more serious lyrical theme (racial disharmony).

Overall a marvellous music collection (it was recorded concurrently alongside several of Zappa's earlier albums) and aside Jack Bruce there are a host of guests including violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Easy to see why it's one of Zappa's more defining and most successful studio works.

This Zappa produced LP comes with the full original packaging and a recent remaster, something that has come about with much of catalogue reverting back to the Zappa estate. It has a warmth to the sound – definitely one to enjoy and for the collector.

Between edits, outtakes and live material there is enough to expand this to a double album quite easily but this is quite a faithful reproduction of the original release.

That said, if you just want to experiment with the music the CD will do you fine.

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