Zoot Allures

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Zoot Allures
Studio album by Frank Zappa
Released October 20, 1976
Recorded May – June, 1976 at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California except "Wonderful Wino" (1972/73), "Friendly Little Finger" (1973/October 1975) and "Black Napkins" (recorded live in Osaka, Japan, February 3, 1976)
Genre Progressive rock, jazz fusion, comedy rock, heavy metal[1][2]
Length 41:32
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Bongo Fury
(1975)
Zoot Allures
(1976)
Zappa in New York
(1978)
Singles from Zoot Allures
  1. "Find Her Finer"
    Released: 1976
  2. "Disco Boy"
    Released: 1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]

Zoot Allures is a 1976 rock album by Frank Zappa. This was Zappa's only release on the Warner Bros. Records label. Due to a lawsuit with his former manager Herb Cohen Frank Zappa's recording contract was temporarily reassigned from DiscReet Records to Warner Bros.

Title[edit]

The title is a pun on the French expression "Zut alors!" which, though it has no direct translation, conveys mild surprise and may be approximated by "Damn it!". The title may also refer to the common British expression for a marijuana cigarette.[4]

Album information[edit]

The album was originally conceptualized as a double LP, but for unknown reasons Zappa rearranged, edited, and shortened the track listing to what was eventually released as a single LP.[5] Zappa played a test pressing of the original album for Circus magazine in 1976, which reported a radically different, though slightly erroneous track listing that included "Sleep Dirt", "The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution", "Filthy Habits", and "Night of the Iron Sausage". The former three tracks eventually surfaced on the 1979 Sleep Dirt and the posthumous Läther; "Night of the Iron Sausage" remains unreleased, but was seemingly intended to be a guitar solo of fair length. "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" and "Zoot Allures" were notably absent from test pressings.

Songs[edit]

"Black Napkins", one of several guitar-driven pieces on Zoot Allures, began life accompanied by themes that would later make up the unique piece known as "Sleep Dirt".[6] The performance heard on the album was culled from Zappa's February 3, 1976 performance in Osaka, Japan, though it was edited for the official release.[7] Along with "Zoot Allures" and "The Torture Never Stops", "Black Napkins" became a signature piece for Zappa, featuring heavily in nearly every subsequent tour and several official releases.

"Wonderful Wino" was originally released on Jeff Simmons' 1970 LP, Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up. The album, produced partially by Zappa (though credited as "La Marr Bruister"), also included the titular track, which later appeared on 1979's Joe's Garage.

Zappa notes in the liner notes to 1979's Sheik Yerbouti that "Friendly Little Finger" from this album was created using xenochrony.

The album's sound draws influence from heavy metal music, particularly on the song "Ms. Pinky".[1][2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station"   2:29
2. "Black Napkins"   4:15
3. "The Torture Never Stops"   9:45
4. "Ms. Pinky"   3:40
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Find Her Finer"   4:07
6. "Friendly Little Finger"   4:17
7. "Wonderful Wino" (Simmons, Zappa) 3:38
8. "Zoot Allures"   4:12
9. "Disco Boy"   5:11

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalog
United States
Canada
October 20, 1976 Warner Brothers LP BS 2970
United Kingdom December 1976 Warner Brothers LP K 56298
United States May 1990 Rykodisc CD RCD 10160
United Kingdom May 1990 Zappa Records CD CDZAP22
United States May 2, 1995 Rykodisc CD RCD 10523
United States August 28, 2012 Universal Music CD ZR3855

Rykodisc CD release[edit]

Zoot Allures on compact disc, released by Rykodisc, is mixed differently than the original vinyl. The vinyl also contains a longer edit of "Disco Boy" including a count-off by a drum machine (the first three seconds) and a longer fade-out making the track's duration 5:27, as opposed to the CD duration of 5:11.

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Frank Zappa – guitar (all tracks), synthesizer (1, 4, 5, 9), bass (1, 3–7, 9), keyboards (3, 5, 7, 9), lead vocals (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9)
  • Terry Bozzio – drums (all tracks), backing vocals (5, 9)
  • Davey Moiré – lead vocals (1), backing vocals (1, 9), engineer
  • Andre Lewis – organ (2), vocals (2), backing vocals (5, 9)
  • Roy Estrada – bass guitar (2), vocals (2), backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 9)
  • Napoleon Murphy Brock – vocals (2)
  • Ruth Underwood – synthesizer (4, 7), marimba (6, 8)
  • Captain Beefheart – harmonica (5) (credited as "Donnie Vliet")
  • Ruben Ladron de Guevara – backing vocals (5)
  • Ian Underwood – saxophone (6, 7)
  • Bruce Fowler – trombone (6, 7)
  • Sal Marquez – trumpet (6, 7)
  • Dave Parlato – bass guitar (8)
  • Lu Ann Neil – harp (8)
  • Sparky Parker – backing vocals (9)

Keyboardist Eddie Jobson and bassist Patrick O'Hearn, who by the time of Zoot Allures' release were members of Zappa's band, appear on the album's cover but do not perform on any tracks.

Production staff[edit]

  • Arnie Acosta – mastering
  • Amy Bernstein – layout design
  • Michael Braunstein – engineer
  • Gary Heery – photography
  • Cal Schenkel – design
  • Bob Stone – digital remastering

Charts[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1976 Pop Albums 61[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]