Hi-Fi News & Record Review


Hi-Fi News & Record Review is the oldest hi-fi title, published since June 1956, two years before the commercial stereo.

1974 August

Vol. 19 No. 8


The Father Of Mothers Plus One Son (incl Apostrophe)
By Fred Dellar, p 113

Side one of the new Zappa album is virtually one long mish-mash of songs and stories integrated in some curious way. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1979 January

Vol. 24 No. 1


Rock (incl. Studio Tan)
By Fred Dellar, p 129

... and then move on to discuss the disappointments inherent in Frank Zappa's Studio Tan (Discreet K59210). For Zappa, it's been the long hard slide on the mat since his brilliant Hot Rats in 1970. With each successive release he's appeared to edge nearer and nearer the abyss of the abysmal, Studio Tan finding him in a position where even an enthusiastic St Bernard might be hard put to lend a paw. The whole of the album’s first side is devoted to Greggery Peccary, 20 minutes of sheer wax-wasting bufoonery – and while some music of consequence does emerge on the reverse, mainly on Redunzl, the closing opus, the total amount of worthwhile material could easily be accommodated on a lengthy single. No personnel list provided and, apart from the sound quality, which is excellent, the whole disc is redolent of a musician who has become bored with his chosen profession . . . or maybe that it's just because he became bored with Warner’s, because the news is that he's since signed with Virgin. [A*:3] (= excellent recording, moderate performance)

Source: archive.org

1982 January

Vol. 27 No. 1


Rock (incl. You Are What You Is)
By Fred Dellar, p 93

... Meanwhile, back at the greyhairs-in-the-moustache division, Frank Zappa has placed on offer a new double-helping called You Are What You Is (CBS 88560), a kind of American-music-revisited item that flits from cod-country (Harder Than Your Husband) and mock-gospel (The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing) through to the '50s styled porno-pop of Goblin Girl, spending time between jokes with jazz-tinged morsels such as oddly (but predictably) titled Theme From The 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear and the reggae-slanted Mudd Club. What you expect is what you get – intelligence and wit interlaced with an equal proportion of dumbo selfindulgence and nudge-nudge leeringleering. In toto it doesn't add up to very much and helps to explain why few have connected Zappa's name and the future of rock for at least a decade. [A:2] (= very good recording, good performance)

Source: archive.org

1985 February

Vol. 30 No. 2


Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
By Benedikt Sarnaker, p 109

Whilst the Boulez-Zappa combination is not the most obvious of musical connections, it is an extremely rewarding one in that it brings to the performance a degree of complex musical training not generally found in this kind of music. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1985 March

Vol. 30 No. 3


Frank Zappa: Them Or Us
By HFN/RR team, p 127

One day, people other than the cultists will realise that Uncle Frank can play circles around most traditional guitar heroes, and that his double offerings are at least 70 per cent accessible. They'll also know that his fetish for weird voices and his affection for
the Ruben and the Jets material is only chronic, not terminal. Wonderful madness, but Frank had better watch out for his own
Dweezil; the kid's hot. [A:1/2] (= very good recording, very good/good performance)

Source: archive.org

1985 July

Vol. 30 No. 7


Frank Zappa: Thing-Fish
By Ken Kessler, p 104

Here he is again with another three-LP box set, complete with libretto. Yep. Thing-Fish is the score to a full-blown production which runs 90 minutes or so. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1985 September

Vol. 30 No. 9


Zappa: The Music of Francesco Zappa
By Benedikt Sarnaker, p 101

No praise can be too high (or low) for this stupendous achievement. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1986 May

Vol. 31 No. 5


Frank Zappa: Does Humor Belong In Music?
By Ken Kessler, p 141

A flick of the fingers under the chin to the US Senators' wives pushing for rating the lyrical content of rock music, administered by Uncle Frank in his usual inimitable style. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1986 June

Vol. 31 No. 6


Frank Zappa: Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (European version)
By HFN/RR team, p 127

As opposed to the US version, alleged to contain political comment of no interest to Zappa fans over here. The usual canoodlings with instrumental excess, the inclusion of a scathing attack on left- over hippies, mild obscenities, guitar pyrotechnics worthy of the best. [A:1] (= very good recording, very good performance)

Source: archive.org

1987 March

Vol. 32 No. 3


Frank Zappa: Jazz From Hell
By Fred Dellar, p 117

Not much jazz and it's hardly fair to even blame hell for that which exists. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1995 January

Vol. 40 No. 1


The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play
By John Bamford, p 93

The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play, a book by Ben Watson is reviewed.

Source: archive.org

1997 February

Vol. 42 No. 2


Frank Zappa: Apostrophe. One Size Fits All
By Ken Kessler, p 81

If you have any money left after buying last month's boxset Lather (as justifiably raved about by Ben Watson), check out these gilded CDs: Super Bit Mapped and sounding great even though the originals were good enough not to need reworking. From 1974-5, prime period Zappa, with
classics like 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow' and temporary Mothers including Jack Bruce and George Duke. [A-A*:1-1*] (= very good/excellent recording, very good/excellent performance)

Source: archive.org

1997 July

Vol. 42 No. 7


Frank Zappa: Have I Offended Someone?
By Ken Kessler, p 93

Lovingly compiled during his final days, this set contains 15 of Zappa's nastiest barbs, including 'Valley Girl' and 'Bobby Brown'. Zappaphiles alert! – seven tracks feature different mixes and two are previously unreleased live versions. Essential and hilarious. [A:1] (= very good recording, very good performance)

Source: archive.org

1997 September

Vol. 42 No. 9


Frank Zappa: Strictly Genteel
By Ken Kessler, p 109

Timely release, or what? Just as Zappa's memory is enhanced by the performing of a portion of 'Yellow Shark' at this year's Proms, here's an introduction to his classical works. The 18 tracks run from 1963 to 1993, culled from five albums. [A*:1] (= excellent recording, very good performance)

Source: archive.org

1998 January

Vol. 43 No. 1


Frank Zappa: 200 Motels
By Ken Kessler, p 109

From the vaults, comes Zappa's 200 Motels [Ryko RCD 0513/14]. Long out of print, it's one of the wrest of Zappa's commercial efforts and - soundtrack status aside - you don't need to see the movie. You just have to appreciate Uncle Frank. [A-B:1-1*] (= very good/good recording, very good/excellent performance)

Source: archive.org

1998 November

Vol. 43 No. 11


Frank Zappa: Mystery Disc
By Ben Watson, p 138

Mystery Disc is unlikely to challenge Hot Rats or Sheik Yerbouti in the affections of straight-ahead rock fans. However, for those who approach Zappa's oeuvre as a modern-art monstrosity, Mystery Disc provides a key to an ark of wonders. (read more)

Source: archive.org

1998 December

Vol. 43 No. 12


Frank Zappa: Mystery Disc
By Ken Kessler, p 105

As explored by Ben Watson ['Finale', Nov] this gem offers 35 tracks previously available only in the mail-order-only vinyl box sets from 1985-6. Twenty-five have never before been issued on CD, while a 32-page booklet explains this fascinating pan-career Zappa assortment. [A-B:1-2] (= very good/good recording, very good/good performance)

Source: archive.org

2000 September


Frank Zappa: Everything Is Healing Nicely
By Ben Watson, p 122

Just a cynically released CD of some rehearsals? Far from it! This is essential Frank Zappa. (read more)

Source: archive.org

2005 January


Mark Guillermont: Zappostrophe. Tribute to Frank Zappa
By Ben Watson, p 81

Source: archive.org

One Size Fits All is the connoisseur's choice from the cannon of work that Frank Zappa produced over a 30-year period. (read more)

Source: archive.org

2009 August


Zappa's Hot Rats LP
By John Bamford, pp 72-75

The first album to make audiences proclaim, 'Wow, Frank Zappa can really play guitar', Hot Rats was a pioneering fusion of jazz and rock created using prototype 16-track recording equipment. It is still revered 40 years after its release... (read more)

Source: archive.org