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FRANK ZAPPA Cheap Thrills (1998 US pressed [for the UK market] 13-track enhanced CD album including live versions of Catholic Girls Bobby Brown Goes Down Zomby Woof Joes Garage and My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama cartoon picturesleeve RCD10579)
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"To take chunks (generally unrelated) of Zappa's music and hail it as a good intro misses the point. Much of what he did needs to be heard within the overall context of the music contained within a particular album. That's how this genius worked. If you want a true starting point to hear the full range of Zappa, begin with 'We're Only in it for the Money' (original mix) or 'Uncle Meat'. These are the best 'introductions' to the man and his music. The great proportion of the music on this cd doesn't come close to his best work. Moreover, most of it represents the silly, toilet humor that typically appeals to stoned out/drunken male undergrads. Zappa was much more than 'Don't Eat Yellow Snow'!!!This recording is exactly what the title suggests...nothing more than cheap thrills."
Truly, there is no accounting for taste or lack thereof.
There are some portions of dialogue from 'playground psychotics'. This material is amusing, i am talking about the mudshark interview. But for newcomers, it will hardly entice you to further investigation of that album (pp ranks low down in the zappa album rankings anyway).
Most of the songs are live, which is not a problem because frank's live stuff is great. But we are given a live version of bobby brown (from ycdtosa vol3) in which ike willis, ray white and frank zappa giggle for most of the song. It's funny, but a first time listener is denied hearing the full splendour of bobby brown with complete obscene lyrics. On vol3 after bobby brown they jump straight into 'keep it greasy', they giggle some more but it's a great rendition-this would have worked well on the cheap thrills album i think. Moving on to other songs, joe's garage (also from vol3) is featured , a good but not spectacular song. My guitar wants to kill your mama is good but the version on 'weasels ripped my flesh' is the one to hear. 'catholic girls',the 2nd song from the joes garage album, is well played by 1988 band. (get that album,'joe's garage'). We have a great 1988 tour rendition of 'hot plate heaven in the green hotel' with a good zappa guitar solo. And a great 1982 zomby woof with another good solo.
This album could have done with more zappa guitar playing. ...Captain beefheart features in 'the torture never stops', a 1975 concert from the bongo fury tour. This is a great song and beefheart sings a bit like howlin wolf.
'You are what you is' is the 'thingfish' version. It's an ok song. 'Thingfish' is the least loved zappa album. (Just read the reviews.)
There's a good instrumental 'we are not alone' from the man from utopia album. I recommend this album if you want a good laugh, even if it isn't one of frank's best. Cheap thrills could have used more zappa instrumentals for sure.
The song 'cheap thrills' from 1968's ruben and the jets is a good opener, a good little song, and deserves inclusion. Actually, they could have put more of frank's classic 60s music on this disc. You'll just have to check out these 1960s mothers albums yourself. They're all great.
My verdict on the album is that it's a bit of a hodgepodge of odds and ends and some strong material, but you really want to check out the source albums. you won't regret it! ...