Over a short period, speculation has run rampant on the reissue status of Frank Zappa’s catalog.  Once unofficially announced, then silently retracted, then announced yet again, many have weighed in on their own thoughts of whether or not The Zappa Trust will do right by the new re-releases.

Obviously, that’s something only time will reveal.  But anything by Frank Zappa is always welcomed, if you’re a fan.

While we’re waiting, it’s a great time for us to say what our favorite Frank Zappa favorites are.  For me, and I have many Zappa loves, it has to be Zoot Allures.

I can’t explain it, but that album just seems to hit the right combination of Zappa craziness, and Zappa musical goodness for me.  Now, when I think Zappa, the Zoot Allures album pops into my head, songs, cover, and all.

There is the single-intended “Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station”, the wonderful nine-plus minutes of jazzy horror tune, “The Torture Never Stops”,  the notable “Black Napkins”, and “Find Her Finer”.  Then of course there’s the remaining tracks that does not disappoint (“Disco Boy”, :”Wonderful Wino”, “Friendly Little Finger”, “Ms Pinky”, and the title track, “Zoot Allures”).

I’d sure be interested in your choices.  Hit the comments.

By MARowe

13 thoughts on “Poll: Which Album Is Best? – Frank Zappa”
  1. My favourite is Hot Rats for now, with a second choice Overnight Sensation. To me, Hot Rats represents how amazing he could be just plain playing, arranging and competing well with the other RockFusion masters and the other how he could, with tongue in cheek of course, make a pure Rock album that was as good as any others in the day. I say “for now” because I want to really explore the new reissues of the earlier ones again and then make my call.

  2. First of all, any and all Zappa albums are just plain great…but for me the softest spot in my heart is for Sheik Yerbouti. It caused my head to explode in ’79 at a time the world was opening up for me. It has all that polyphonic synthesiser insanity, monster zeno-guitar solos, incredibly funny blue lyrics, unrelenting mad energy of a band locked into demented overdrive, plus the fact that it was 4 sides long! (Too bad Läther never came out in the day). The only way to really appreciate it…is the original LP or the EMI CD (cranked up to 11 of course) -because the both the 90’s RYKO CD’s features editing and less than stunning sound quality. Perhaps the new re-issues will feature a much needed remastering.

  3. Zoot Allures is a great choice. For some reason I like to separate Zappa’s “solo” work from his Mothers of Invention work. I would say my favorite by him would be Hot Rats because of how amazing the instrumentation is, plus it has to be the most accessible Zappa album that I know of. My personal MOI favorite is Freak Out! because it was my first experience with Zappa on a late Christmas night. Plus its just so catchy and a great break-up album, in my opinion anyway.

  4. This may be weird, but I always come back to “200 Motels”. Seeing the film is a vivid memory of mine, and there are certain tracks on the soundtrack that resonated with me: “She Painted Up Her Face”, “Lonesome Cowboy Burt”, and “Half A Dozen Provocative Squats”.

    Given that, I concur with Schram that “Freak Out!”, my first to-do with Zappa, holds a place near and dear to my heart.

  5. For me it has to be Hot Rats. The title song “Peaches En Regalia” is one of the finest 3 1/2 minutes committed to vinyl.

  6. Fillmore East 1971 is probably my favorite. I’m rather fond of the Flo amp; Eddie contributions. I especially like “Mud Shark” “Bwana Dik” “Latex Solar Beef” “Willie the Pimp” amp; “Peaches En Regalia” on that album.

  7. In no particular order, my top picks are We’re Only In It For The Money (1968) and the mid-’70s trio of Apostrophe, Overnight Sensation and One Size Fits All. Beyond those, honorable mention goes to Hot Rats, You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2 and Lather.

  8. Sheik Yerbouti, because it has all the trademarks: crazy solos, offensive (to some) lyrics, bizarre interstitials, and the genius solos.
    Broadway the Hard way because that band was amazing, and the new songs were dead on for the time.
    You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 because it flows so well and the selections from the bands are impeccable.

  9. My favorite song is “Watermelon in Easter Hay” off Joe’s Garage Act 2+3. (from wiki: All of the guitar solos on the album are xenochronous except for “Watermelon in Easter Hay”, a signature song that Zappa has described as the best song on the album, and according to his son Dweezil, the best guitar solo his father has ever played.) However, it is probably not the best album….. Maybe Sheik YerBouti or Joe’s Garage Act 1. Yes, I was a late-70s Zapper.

  10. I could never choose only one favorite Zappa record, but to my ears the run of albums stretching from Overnight Sensation up to Sheik Yerbouti is his strongest period.

    Of the original Mothers, We’re Only In It For The Money is my favorite.

    In later years, Jazz from Hell and Broadway the Hard Way are fav’s.

    Vol. 2 of YCDTOSA is my favorite of that series, because that band is just so damn hot.

  11. Broadway The Hard Way for all the little “quotes” from well-known themes.
    Absolutely Free for opening up the head of a then 16 year old.

  12. Of all the impossible questions… No way there’s just one! Having listened to FZ and the various incarnations of the Mothers (of Invention) since Freak Out, I tend to favor the older work. It seems to me that when the relationship with Warner/Reprise took a nose-dive, Frank dumped what he had in the pipeline into Uncle Meat/Weasels Ripped My Flesh/Burnt Weeny Sandwich giving each a slice of his different focal points at the time (movie/live/studio) although I know the boundaries are blurry! For me that arc has some of Frank’s most intersting and seminal work, and I go back to them over and over. At the same time I have to say, I never lost the soft spot for Mothermania. It really distills the early work onto a single piece of vinyl. A lot is missing (most notably for me “Trouble Every Day”, one of Franks’ most direct comments on society) but it really hit the mark at the time of its release. I’m rather pleased that it’s been limited in release on CD, I still cherish my vinyl copy. The thing is, of all my ‘favorite’ musicians, Frank is one that I find myself listening to over the whole of his career, not just re-visiting one or two special works.

  13. I have to say that the album I come back to again and again since I was a teen in the 70s is Hot Rats. I love it and it still sounds fresh after all these years. I also have a fondness for We’re Only In It For The Money, Overnight Sensation, Apostrophe! and Roxy and Elsewhere. Roxy shows without a doubt that Frank Was one of the best guitarists in the world at the time and maybe ever. He was a true genius and although today I disagree with much of his philosophy I respect his talent and creative mind. There will never be another Frank Zappa!

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