Guitar (Frank Zappa album)

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Guitar (Zappa).jpg
Live album by Frank Zappa
Released April 26, 1988
May 2, 1995
Recorded March 31, 1979 – December 18, 1984
Genre Instrumental rock, hard rock
Length 80:58 (Vinyl)
131:38 (CD)
Label Barking Pumpkin
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
The Old Masters Box III
#49 (1987)
#50 (1988)
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
#51 (1988)
Singles from Guitar
  1. "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
    Released: 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Guitar is a 1988 album by Frank Zappa. It is the follow-up to 1981's Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar; like that album it features Zappa's guitar solos excerpted from live performances, recorded between 1979 and 1984. It garnered Zappa his sixth Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance".[2]


Guitar was originally intended to be a 3-record box set (like Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar), but Zappa decided, with this release, to start using compact discs as his primary media rather than records. As such, it was Zappa's first album to be released simultaneously on vinyl and CD. The double CD, released on Rykodisc in the US and Zappa Records in Europe, contained all 32 tracks while the double LP was pared down to 19 tracks and released on Zappa's Barking Pumpkin label (US) and Zappa Records (EU).

Aside from "Watermelon in Easter Hay", "Sexual Harassment In The Workplace" and "Outside Now," all tracks were derived from performances of other songs, as on Shut Up 'n Play Your Guitar. Other solos were excerpted from "The Black Page", "Let's Move to Cleveland", "Drowning Witch", "Zoot Allures", "Whipping Post", "City of Tiny Lites", "Advance Romance", "Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel", "King Kong", "Easy Meat", "Ride My Face to Chicago", "Sharleena", "A Pound for a Brown on the Bus", and "Inca Roads".

Track names, though unrelated to the actual compositions, make many references to popular culture and world history. "Do Not Pass Go" refers to the Monopoly phrase that appears to prevent players from collecting a monetary bonus; "Jim & Tammy's Upper Room" recalls televangelists Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye Messner; "Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?", "Sunrise Redeemer" and "Hotel Atlanta Incidentals" are references to the locations of the venues in which the pieces were played; "Move It or Park It" is a colloquialism that could express frustration with an apprehensive driver of a motor vehicle; "Orrin Hatch on Skis" refers to Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch; "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" refers to an alias apparently used by a 19th-century French alchemist and author; "For Duane", one of Zappa's many readings of "Whipping Post", references Duane Allman; "GOA" is unclear in its reference, and knowledge of the title's origin likely died with the composer; "Do Not Try This at Home" refers to the disclaimer often associated with dangerous or risky feats on television or video.

"Chalk Pie" was Zappa's planned title for a 1982 release of which its tracks eventually appeared on Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch and The Man from Utopia.[3]

"In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky" refers both to Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and 20th-century composer Igor Stravinsky, one of Zappa's influences. During the piece, bassist Scott Thunes plays the well-known motif from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", while Zappa plays a line from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. "Taps" is also quoted by Thunes.[4]

"Variations on Sinister #3", though derived from a version of "Easy Meat", gained its name from the interpolation of themes from "Theme from the 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear" from You Are What You Is.

"Canadian Customs" almost certainly refers to the Canada Border Services Agency. Zappa is said to have experienced problems with the CBSA and created a routine around them with Napoleon Murphy Brock and André Lewis circa 1975.[5]

"It Ain't Necessarily the Saint James Infirmary" is a portmanteau of "It Ain't Necessarily So", written by George and Ira Gershwin with libretto by DuBose Heyward for Porgy and Bess and "St. James Infirmary Blues", a composition with no officially recorded writer, famously recorded by Louis Armstrong and later by Cab Calloway. Guitar credits the latter to Joe Primrose, but the song's author is unverified. Both songs are quoted on the track.[6]

The Real Frank Zappa Book, Zappa's autobiography, contains the following statement, which most likely accounts for the track name "Winos Do Not March":[7][8]

Longer edits of "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" and "For Duane" and a shorter edit of "Things That Look Like Meat" appear on the 1987 compilation The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa. One of its tracks, "A Solo from Heidelberg", derived from "Yo' Mama", was originally intended to appear on Guitar.[citation needed]

Similar albums: Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, Trance-Fusion, Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute, The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace" 3:42
2. "Which One Is It?" 3:04
3. "Republicans" 5:07
4. "Do Not Pass Go" 3:36
5. "Chalk Pie" 4:51
6. "In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky" 2:50
7. "That's Not Really Reggae" 3:17
8. "When No One Was No One" 4:48
9. "Once Again, without the Net" 3:43
10. "Outside Now (Original Solo)" 5:28
11. "Jim & Tammy's Upper Room" 3:11
12. "Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?" 2:49
13. "That Ol' G Minor Thing Again" 5:02
14. "Hotel Atlanta Incidentals" 2:44
15. "That's Not Really a Shuffle" 4:23
16. "Move It or Park It" 5:43
17. "Sunrise Redeemer" 3:58
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Variations on Sinister #3" 5:15
2. "Orrin Hatch on Skis" 2:12
3. "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" 2:48
4. "For Duane" 3:24
5. "GOA" 4:51
6. "Winos Do Not March" 3:14
7. "Swans? What Swans?" 4:23
8. "Too Ugly for Show Business" 4:20
9. "Systems of Edges" 5:32
10. "Do Not Try This at Home" 3:46
11. "Things That Look Like Meat" 6:57
12. "Watermelon in Easter Hay" 4:02
13. "Canadian Customs" 3:34
14. "Is That All There Is?" 4:09
15. "It Ain't Necessarily the Saint James Infirmary" (Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward, Primrose) 5:15

Vinyl version[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace" 3:42 [9]
2. "Republicans" 5:08
3. "Do Not Pass Go" 3:37
4. "That's Not Really Reggae" 3:17
5. "When No One Was No One" 4:41
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Once Again, without the Net" 3:58
7. "Outside Now (Original Solo)" 5:29
8. "Jim & Tammy's Upper Room" 3:11
9. "Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?" 2:50
10. "That Ol' G Minor Thing Again" 4:39
Side three
No. Title Length
11. "Move It or Park It" 5:43
12. "Sunrise Redeemer" 3:53
13. "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" 2:58
14. "For Duane" 3:25
15. "GOA" 4:46
Side four
No. Title Length
16. "Winos Do Not March" 3:14
17. "Systems of Edges" 5:32
18. "Things That Look Like Meat" 6:55
19. "Watermelon in Easter Hay" 4:00



External links[edit]

See also[edit]