In this, my third post about Frank, I’ll do a quick review of one of my favorites: Baby Snakes. Frank was now on his own with the new core formed around Terry Bozzio, Adrien Belew, Ed Mann, Tommy Mars, Peter Wold and Patrick O’Hearn. He had just splitting with Warner Bros. Records and is still very bitter as lyrics on this album testify. The album is more or less the soundtrack to a concert video of the same name (available on DVD by the way). There is a funny story behind that by the way. Frank wanted to release a 3-VHS set (yes children, there was SOMETHING before DVDs – I’ll take you to the museum sometime to see VHS and Beta) and the production company refused saying it was prohibitively expensive. So, in typical Frank pizzaz, Frank self-produced the video and self-published it via Barking Pumpkin. The result is a typically uncanny Zappesque environment with all the ludicrous, outrageous, and hilarious elements thrown in. Some wicked drumming and singing from Bozzio, incredible guitar jams from Zappa, a fantastic rendition of Jone’s Crusher by Adrien Belew, and a fall-over laughing Punky’s Whips once again featuring Bozzio. The classic Dinah-Moe Humm is here as well as the legendary Titties and Beer. Honestly, it is my favorite Zappa album just because it is one of the first that I heard (the word titties still evoked laughs from me when I was 19 – actually it still does :)) and because of the variety of music and expression here. It is also an album that stays relatively focussed on the music – there is storytelling as well but far more pulled together, fully-baked and easier to follow than some of the older Mother’s materials. Grab a beer and check it out!
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