Archive for You Are What You Is

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Zappa_You_Are_What_You_Is

It was little secret that Frank Zappa was capable of putting out several albums in a year. Earlier in 1981, he had put out “Tinseltown Rebellion” and then a series of albums called “Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar.” Then later in the year he put out this album “You Are What You Is,” which is probably his best known album for this year. Like with many of Zappa’s albums, the songs are all bound together but not in the way like “Joe’s Garage” as there is no visible story line in the songs.

As expected with any great Zappa album, there is that perfect blend of humour and fantastic musicianship. The album begins with “Teenage Wind” which is a parody about teenage hang ups and right on the heels of that is “Harder Than Your Husband.” This song, with it’s country music sound is definitely a good hoot. The first song that real portrays the quality musicianship of Frank and his band is “Doreen.” While stalwart Ray White proves his underrated vocal ability Zappa backs him up with some great guitar work. I’ve always thought that his guitar talents have gone unnoticed. But it’s not just Frank smoking the fingerboard on this album. Accompanying him is some guitar player known as Steve Vai. You might have heard of him.

The title track was also the first video he ever made and like sometimes with his music, it landed him in some trouble. I guess the portrayal of then president Ronald Regan as the president from hell might have had something to do with it. I just wonder why some people are so devoid of a sense of humour. Following the track “Mudd Club” are two tracks that I really like. “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing” and “Dumb All Over” are both mega swipes at religion and both songs are done with that tongue in cheek Zappa sense of humour. The remainder of the album continues with funny songs until the closer “Drafted Again” which is remake of a song from the early days “I Don’t Want to Get Drafted.”

Track Listing:

1. Teenage Wind

2. Harder Than Your Husband

3. Doreen

4. Goblin Girl

5. Theme From the 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear

6. Society Pages

7. I’m a Beautiful Guy

8. Beauty Knows No Pair

9. Charlie’s Enormous Mouth

10. Any Downers

11. Conehead

12. You Are What You Is

13. Mudd Club

14. The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing

15. Dumb All Over

16. Heavenly Bank Account

17. Suicide Chump

18. Jumbo Go Away

19. If Only She Woulda

20. Drafted Again

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, guitar, composer

Arthur Barrow- bass

Jimmy Carl Black- vocals

Bobby Harris- trumpet

David Longeman- drums

Ed Mann- -percussion

Tommy Mars- keyboards, vocals

David Ocker- clarinet

Mark Pinske- vocals

Motorhead Sherwood- tenor sax, vocals

Craig Twister Stewart- harmonica

Steve Vai- guitars

Ray White- rhythm guitar, vocals

Ike Willis- rhythm guitar, vocals

Ahmet Zappa- vocals

Dweezil Zappa- vocals

Moon Zappa- vocals

With so many albums under his belt, it was very hard to keep track of everything Frank Zappa produced. Fortunately, for me, “You Are What You Is” wasn’t one of them. This is a very good Zappa album in the tradition of Frank Zappa. Definitely his best in 1981.

Next post: Rolling Stones- Tattoo You

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London