Great Rock Albums of 1978: Frank Zappa- Zappa in New York

Thirty three years since my graduation, I remain convinced that it was a mandatory requirment that in order to attend my high school, students had to listen to Frank Zappa. It seemed that practically everybody who attended my school listened to Zappa and I totally understand why, the man was a genius. How else could someone sell so many records when he had practically zero airplay.

This brings me around the this live offering from Frank Zappa. The concerts from which “Zappa in New York” was originally recorded in 1976 and part released in 1977. It was re issued and released in 1978, however, Warner Bros removed the track “Punky Whipps,” which explains why it’s missing from my cassette and re-edited the best track on the album “Titties and Beer.” It was this track that attracted me to the album when an old school friend constantly went around the school singing: “I need a beer and it’s titty squeezing time.”

That song and the album itself typifies Zappa. When you look up the album on Wikopedia, it gives a load of genres, rock, hard rock, progressive rock, humourous music and jazz fusion. Not many artists other than Frank Zappa could infuse all these genres together and make it work so well. The added bonus with this album is that he does on stage in front of a live audience. Is that genius or what?

Track Listing:

1. Titties and Beer

2. I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth

3. Punky Whipps

4. Sofa

5. Manx Needs Women

6. Black Page Drum Solo/Black Page 1

7. Big Legged Emma

8. Black Page Part 2

9. Honey Don’t You Want a Man Like Me

10. The Illinois Enema Bandit

11. The Purple Lagoon

Frank Zappa- conductor, vocals, lead guitar

Ray White- rhythm guitar, vocals

Eddie Jobson- keyboards, violin, vocals

Patrick O’Hearn- bass, vocals

Terry Bozio- drums, vocals

Ruth Underwood- synthesiser, percussion, overdubs

David Samuels- timpani

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Mike Brecker- tenor saxophone, flute

Lou Marini- alto saxophone, flute

Tom Malone- trombone, trumpet, picalo

John Bergamo- percussion overdubs

Ed Mann- percussion overdubs

Lou Anne Neill- osmatic harp overdub

Don Pardo- narration

Despite of no radio play, Frank Zappa appealed to many different people due to his various styles and more importantly, his use of humour in music. He was and is still a legend among many, especially if you attended Mainland High School in the late 70s.

Next post: Gerry Rafferty- City to City

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