When you think of Frank Zappa who do you think of him as, the freak who formed the Mothers of Invention or one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century? Well, this is the first album that gave Zappa the reputation of being a great composer. This album is full of jams that will absolutely blow your mind. Released in 1969, This is a mostly instrumental album (Willie The Pimp has vocals from Capt. Beefheart) that takes you on a journey through the land of Jazz Fusion. This is actually the first Jazz Fusion album ever released, and also one of the first 16-track recordings. I'll try my best to do justice to this album.
1. Peaches en Regalia
- This song starts off with a great drum fill and leads into some great keyboard melodies. The horns in the background fit perfect with this full blow of Jazz. The guitar solo in the middle of the song has a a twangy effect on it that is accompanied by a flute. The Chorus just hits you when you are least expecting it. This is truly an excellent song and one of Frank's most enduring works. The flute fades out and leads you into Willie The Pimp.
2. Willie The Pimp
- This song starts with a violin line accompanied by the guitar before Beefheart starts howling his raspy vocals. In the chorus you hear the guitar solo fading in and out until it goes straight into it. The rest of the song are amazing solos by the guitar. This is Frank Zappa's definitive heavy Rock & Roll track. This song is also performed pretty good on Live at The Fillmore East June 1971
, even though the sound quality is not the best.
3. Son of Mr.Green Genes
- This is when the album slows down from the riff heavy power of Willie The Pimp into a more mellow Jazz number. That is very easy feeling and relaxing. It seems like on every song the guitar solos are just incredible and creative. Frank Zappa was a very innovative guitar player and this album really demonstrates it. Forget Shut Up and Play Your Guitar
. If you want to hear some great guitar solos by Zappa buy this first, you will appreciate that more later. The saxes on this song sound great backing the band on this song.
4. Little Umbrellas
- This is another lighter Jazz song with a moderately fast tempo where the melody takes you away. I really like the piano background in this song. As well as the synthesizer solos which fit perfectly. This is probably my least favorite song on the album. but that is not saying much. It is still an awesome song none the less.
5. The Gumbo Variations
- The band counts off and leads into this epic song. The saxes take you up and down as the guitar weaves its way in and out of the music. It is building you up until it slows down and follows by a great sax solo. This song clocks in at 17 minutes and it doesn't get boring at all throughout the entire song. This just demonstrates the tremendous musicianship going on throughout this album.
6. It Must Be A Camel
- It starts off kind of similar to Little Umbrellas with some extra noises in the background. The piano starts the song but then the saxes take the lead and jump around to keep you on your feet. Near the end of the song you get the distorted guitar sounds in the background which feed you into a drum solo. The Violin easily lets you down as you sink into the end of the album.
This is one of my favorite albums of all time. The musicians are top notch and the composing is even better. This is the first album of its kind. Frank continues out his work in Jazz fusion with the albums Waka/Jawaka
, and The Grand Wazoo
, which I suggest to those who enjoy this album even though this is probably the best of the three. I cannot even describe how much I love this album. If you are a fan of Jazz or are a fan of Music in general, then buy this album.