What is your favorite Zappa album?

Ok, I admit it first: this thread is just an excuse for helping me to get more into Zappa. I was a bit late to the party, maybe 25 years ago a friend gave me Roxy And Elsewhere as a birthday gift, and I was hooked (of course I knew of him before, but hadn’t any of his albums). So over the course of time, I added some of his albums to my collection and have listened to others online, but you know how extensive and diverse his work is, and I was never able to get a thorough overview of his work. But now I have an account on deezer.com and access to most of Zappa’s work, but don’t know where to go next.

So please tell me your favorite album and why I should listen to it. It will then be a pleasure for me to check out your suggestions and listen to them myself.

Ok, me first: Of the maybe twenty albums I know my favorite still is Roxy And Elsewhere: it’s funny and has great, great songs. There’s so much on it that I like, but my favorite moment is the blending over of Son Of Orange County into Trouble Everyday. I love Zappa as a guitarist, just love his tone, and Trouble’s got one of my favorite solos. I’m always irked about the fact that it fades out mid-song every time I listen to it. I wanna hear more, dammit! I even hunted down the 50’s sci-fi movie It Conquered The World some years ago because Zappa quips about it in the intro to Cheepnis (you know, the scene with the inverted ice-cream cone with fangs on the bottom :D).

So please provide me with some more Zappa.

I’ll start it off by not going very deep into his catalog. Apostrophe is the first Zappa album I heard and still my favorite.

That’s one of the albums I’ve long had, and I love it too (my copy is on a twofer CD with Overnite Sensation, which is also great).

I’ve got that two-fer. Only Zappa I have, except for a Mother’s album which I do not like.

I’ve heard a bunch of Joe’s Garage, and that seems pretty cool.

Hmmm…as an album maybe the largely instrumental and jazz-fusiony Hot Rats. But I like a lot of his output, with a strong emphasis on pre-1980’s instrumental stuff.

HOT RATS is my favorite, from a jazz perspective. Also very fond of ZOOT ALLURES from the mid-'70s, which has so many great songs, and is anchored by the brilliant “The Torture Never Stops.”

Hey boys, all the suggestions so far are albums I already have and love :D!

Seriously, Hot Rats is great, as is Zoot Allures, although I’m a bit uncomfortable with The Torture Never Stops. I have a thick skin (you gotta have it with Zappa), but man, that’s drastic.

For the record, the only other album I know really well and also like is *Sheik Yerbouti *(boy, also some drastic stuff there).

You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 2: The Helsinki Concert. The whole set is excellent, but I like Volume 2 the best.

Or Joe’s Garage. Lots of fun to sing.

Or Sheik Yerbouti.

And Strictly Commercial for the car.

Oh, and for something completely different, The Yellow Shark.

“Zoot Allures” is probably my favorite Zappa album, although I usually skip through “The Torture Never Stops” once the screaming and moaning starts. I also like “Hot Rats”, “Joe’s Garage” (“Watermelon In Easter Hay” is maybe the best guitar solo ever) and “Tinseltown Rebellion”.

The album with “Dynamo Hum”. I’m not a big Zappa fan but I recall that one from a big party weekend at a friend’s lake cottage. It was a crazy weekend, that album got played a few times over the course of the festivities.
I have “200 Motels” on vinyl but never listened to it much.

Zappa fan since 1967 when We’re Only In It For The Money jumped off the shelf and bit me. Had never heard of Zappa or the Mothers, but the cover with Jimmy Carl Black in drag demanded investigation. Bought it, went straight home and listened to it, loved it from the get-go. My seventeen year old musical sensibilities were permanently recalibrated.

For most of that time my top fave has been Hot Rats. Still is. I’ve always felt it could/should have been labeled a Frank Zappa / Ian Underwood album.

My top five others, all statements of “best” obviously being opinions:

  • Uncle Meat
  • We’re Only In It For The Money
  • 200 Motels (the single best Rock/Classical album ever, soundtrack to one of the very worst movies ever made)
  • Just Another Band From L.A. (featuring Frank’s greatest band, in which Howard Kaylan delivers the best performance by a male vocalist ever).
  • One Size Fits All

It’s hard to choose. I would lean toward Burnt Weenie Sandwich or Hot Rats or Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

I started with We’re Only in it for the Money, but the lyrics seem a bit puerile to me now.

Probably One Size Fits All, but I also have a soft spot for *Apostrophe, Hot Rats, Uncle Meat, * and Absolutely Free.

Just Another Band From L.A. Billy The Mountain is my favorite Zappa song.

Also, for late-career stuff, I enjoy Man from Utopia.

I first heard it on my brother’s LP but the version I bought was the two-fer. Over-nite Sensation is a great album too. It’s my understanding that they were recorded during the same sessions but ONS was released as a Mother’s album and Apostrophe was released as a Zappa solo album. Fifty-fifty on Over-nite Sensation has a Jean-Luc Ponty solo that is one of my favorite solos on any album from any instrument.

That’s Over-Nite Sensation.

I’ve liked Zappa since the late 1960s and Freakout and We’re Only in it for the Money. I have 30+ albums.

My favorite album is definitely Joe’s Garage. It has so many fantastic songs with instrumentals like Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up, Outside Now, Packard Goose, and Watermelon in Easter Hay, plus hilarious pieces like Sy Borg and Stick It Out.

After that, my favorites are the jazz albums like Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, and Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

Nearly all of the albums, though, have some pieces I really love.

Absolutely Free (the original Mono mix) is my favourite followed by Apostrophe. Both are so funny and so quotable!