Frank Zappa: Zappa In New York

By Jon Frewin

Record Mirror, 15 April 1978

FRANK ZAPPA 'Zappa In New York' (Discreet K69204)

FRANK ZAPPA believes that the general public are losing musical interest in his albums, or at least that's the impression I get from just reading the sleeve notes on this album. I could be wrong though, it might be that Frank Zappa is losing interest in his music, or at the least he's pissed off with you lot.

And to prove: his point 'Sofa' originally released on 'One Size Fits All' has been re-released on this album with the accompanying note: "An arousing waltz, originally released on 'One Size Fits All'. Since that album was not very popular, this presentation might guide a few curious listeners back in that direction to check it out."

Well you naughty people, you've not been buying Frank's albums then. Go out and buy this album immediately, put on side two, track one and listen to 'Sofa' and then go out and buy 'One Size Fits All' and then Frank will be happy and just might release an up-to-date album.

What the hell am I moaning about you may well ask? This is a new double album full of great – hang on a minute, for one thing is not a new album, just fresh off the press, but the original recordings are from 1976. It's a double album but two sides are only 17 minutes long, one side's 18 minutes and the final side is a stunning leap up to 21 minutes, but don't give in yet 'cause under the stunning title 'About this album' on the back sleeve Frank assures us that it must be good since '27,500 deranged fanatics' listened to him play these very toons that year. They must have been deranged and fanatical to listen to this.

All the vocal tracks on this album are poor relations to those on 'Overnight Sensation'. Written in the same style as that album, pretty straight forward rock music with dirty lyrics, the dirty words are still on this album and reading the titles they sound promising, 'Titties and Beer', 'The Illinois Enema Bandit' etc but they just don't come up to expectations. The instrumental tracks don't come up too much either, not that I'm a great fan of Zappa's sound effects except for the 'Hot Rats' album and these certainly come nowhere near that stroke of brilliance.

This album might be a stopper while he decides which direction he's going. But that's doubtful as the last few albums have alternated between the straight-forward lyric side to the freak out sort, which could be to keep both sides of his audience happy but I think it's more likely to confuse the lot of you which might be the reason for his varying record sales.

In fact this album gives over the feeling that it's been made up of lesser tracks that have been passed over in favour of others in the past and if you think that tracks like these are good enough. I can only end this review with reference to side three, track one which starts "Honey, honey, hoa, don't you want a man like me". Not at the moment thanks, you sound tired and bored.