Great Rock Albums of 1979: Frank Zappa- Joe’s Garage Act 1

One of the big advantages of having your own recording studio is that you can make albums without worrying about what producers or corporate executives might think.  Frank Zappa was forced to start his own label because many of the big record companies were too afraid of his risque lyrics and themes. This was an advantage for Frank because he was unrestrained by any of the corporate restrictions and therefore was able to get on and make records the way he wanted and at this stage, he was making records as fast as one every three months. It was out of this that the album “Joe’s Garage Act 1” was born.

“Joe’s Garage Act 1” has all the rude themes and humorous lyrics that is traditional with most Zappa records and there are some classic reminders on this one. “Catholic Girls” and “Crew Slut” are typical cases of him poking fun at society and not holding back. I still find myself quoting lines from the former like “Hey, she gave me V.D.” and “She was on her knees.” However, I can’t leave out my favorite from this album, “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee.” Again, this is Zappa at his funniest and is what made him great. This song is so amusing that I had to write down the lyrics for a friend because she kept wanting to sing them. Yes, “Joe’s Garage Act 1” has all the humor that is renowned with a Zappa record and is probably the best at doing so.

Another great thing about the album is the musicianship. I said it before, Frank Zappa is a great guitarist but not only that, he always brought out the best in the musicians who played with him. Each song again is an example of this and the guitar solo in “Crew Slut” is among the best. So with “Joe’s Garage Act 1” you have both things coming together and the end result is one hell of a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

1. Central Scrutinizer

2. Joe’s Garage

3. Catholic Girls

4. Crew Slut

5. Wet T-Shirt Night

6. Toad O Line

7. Why Does It Hurt When I Pee

8. Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up

Fran Zappa

Frank Zappa- guitar, vocals

Warren Cuccurullo- rhythm guitar, vocals, organ

Denny Walley- vocals, slide guitar, guitar

Craig Twister Steward- harmonica

Jeff- tenor sax

Marginal Chagrin- baritone sax

Patrick O’Hearn- wind, bass

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Stumuk- bass and baritone sax

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Vinnie Coliauta- drums, percussion

Arthur Barrow- bass, vocals

Ed Mann- vocals, percussion

Dale Bozio- vocals

Terry Bozio- guest vocals

November has been Testicular and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and I bring this up because it was prostate cancer that took Frank from us in 1993. I played all his albums, well the ones I have, when I heard the news that day. Frank Zappa will always be remembered for being a musical genius and this album is a true testament to that.

Next post: Blue Oyster Cult- Mirrors

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