Chunga's Revenge

By Chris Hodenfield

Strange Days, September 11-25, 1970

Frank Zappa Warner Bros. (Preview)

Hot Rats was Frank Zappa's entertainment album, his experiment of using a rock-type backing instead of the Mothers, and then mixing it to rock specifications. "What that album was," he says, "was four guys overdubbing the crap out of those songs." Chunga's Revenge is the successor to that album, yet more direct, and not near the over-recording-pizzazz. It is a relaxed album, jazzy, acceptable even to those who find regular Mothers' albums difficult on their tender flesh.

The following impressions were gathered after listening to an acetate of the album on an El Crud mono phonograph in a crowded hotel room. Still, it sounded his best album yet. Release date is set for October.

Drummer Aynsley Dunbar's acting debut opens the album, instructing some chick to whip him. "Are the doors all closed?" she asks. "Everything's locked up, no one will hear," he reassures. "Because if someone did hear," she says, "I'd get awful embarrassed." This leads into "Motorhead's Boogey", an old Delta-esque steel guitar blues shuffle. A bored voice grunts out, "funky". The song blips out at the end, ala "She's So Heavy". (Comments Zappa, "We ran out of tape.") [2]

An old version of "Sharleena" follows, with Zappa harmonizing with Sugarcane Harris. It's cleaner and purer than the longer version on side two. Almost sounds like Fifties R'n'B. ("That chunking in the background is Sugarcane, making chords on his violin and strumming.")

"20 Small Cigars", written in 1963, has soft showboat drumming and cocktail lounge guitar. A quiet soapy interlude.

"Nancy and Mary Music" was recorded with his new band at a concert in Minneapolis. Aynsley gets a drum solo, and organist George Duke breaks into delirious, giggling scat singing. Mostly a time for soloing.

"Chunga's Revenge" starts side two, and again is a long instrumental with jazzy soloing reminiscent of Hot Rats. Ian Underwood blows tenor sax, shot through a wah-wah pedal.

"The Clap" is a short percussive piece of bongos and temple blocks.

"Transylvania Boogey" is the basis for a long guitar solo by Zappa. And, considering the status of the "guitar solo" these days, it's very inventive. Complete with Zappa's distinctive "bazouki buzz".

The long version of "Sharleena" follows, recorded at Trident in London last July. (The abridged version of this, backed by a song "Bognor Regis", will be Zappa's next single, released under his name.[3]) The lyrics are genuine mush:

Ten long years I did love her
Ten long years I did call her my baby
Now I'm cry-y-ying

Shades of Roy Orbison! Finishing, after that sensitive heart-tugger, is "Wonderful Wino", also recorded at Trident. Vocals ring of Captain Beefheart in "Willie the Pimp", interspliced around ripping guitar pieces.

The album on the whole is without the pernicious musicianship of Hot Rats, yet is more varied, more satisfying.

1. According to this review the described here pre-release of Chunga's Revenge had following song list:

Side A
1. Motorhead's Boogie (unknown title)
2. Sharleena ("old" version)
3. Twenty Small Cigars
4. The Nancy And Mary Music
Side B
5. Chunga's Revenge
6. The Clap
7. Transylvania Boogie
8. Sharleena (full Trident version)
9. Wonderful Wino (Trident studio version, never released)

The official Chunga's Revenge:

Side A
1. Transylvania Boogie
2. Road Ladies
3. Twenty Small Cigars
4. The Nancy And Mary Music
Side B
5. Tell me You Love Me
6. Would You Go All The Way?
7. Chunga's Revenge
8. The Clap
9. Rudy Want's To Buy Yez A Drink
10. Sharleena

2. Charles Ulrich:

"It's unreleased [Motorhead's Boogie], as is this version of Wonderful Wino. The first track – entitled Won't That Hurt Your Kidneys? – may predate the Uncle Meat movie.

From 1970-08_Jazz_Pop.htm:

I buy a block of time and I go in with a certain amount of prepared material. Then I always allow for accidents, ideas, craziness, spontaneous whatever, and I'm willing to pay for that extra studio time just to get those things down on tape. Like an improvised dialogue between Aynsley Dunbar and Phyllis Altenhouse, happened one night in the studio - where he's trying to get her to beat him with some kind of device in the studio. They're just discussing it. Because I took the time to record that, it gave me one of the elements for the plot in the film. Also I came up with a funny tape.

It only took maybe about ten minutes to do, so it's worth ten minutes of studio time to set up a microphone and go do it.
On the other hand, the liner notes of the unreleased version of the album describe the first track as "a section of dialogue from the film 'UNCLE MEAT'." So it's not entirely clear whether it's from the movie or the original studio audio recording."

3. Read about this unreleased single - Zappa Patio, IINK, Zappateers tracker.

Javier Marcote found a note with incorrect spelling about unreleased single in Spanish El Musical magazine #32, August 8, 1970, p 6: "Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention have taken advantage of their recent stay in England to record two new themes: "Charlena" and "Whine O'Man", which will appear on their next single".

Source: slime.oofytv.set

Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at)