Guitar (Frank Zappa album)

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Guitar (Zappa).jpg
Live album by
ReleasedApril 26, 1988
May 2, 1995
RecordedMarch 31, 1979 – December 18, 1984
Length80:58 (Vinyl)
131:38 (CD)
LabelBarking Pumpkin
ProducerFrank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
The Old Masters Box III
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
Singles from Guitar
  1. "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
    Released: 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]

Guitar is a 1988 live 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 distribution medium 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 are 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
1."Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"3:42
2."Which One Is It?" (guitar solo from "Black Page")3:04
3."Republicans" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")5:07
4."Do Not Pass Go" (guitar solo from "Drowning Witch")3:36
5."Chalk Pie" (guitar solo from "Zoot Allures")4:51
6."In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")2:50
7."That's Not Really Reggae" (guitar solo from "Whipping Post")3:17
8."When No One Was No One" (guitar solo from "Zoot Allures")4:48
9."Once Again, without the Net" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")3:43
10."Outside Now (Original Solo)" (guitar solo from "City of Tiny Lites")5:28
11."Jim & Tammy's Upper Room" (guitar solo from "Advance Romance")3:11
12."Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?" (guitar solo from "Drowning Witch")2:49
13."That Ol' G Minor Thing Again" (guitar solo from "City of Tiny Lites")5:02
14."Hotel Atlanta Incidentals" (guitar solo from "Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel")2:44
15."That's Not Really a Shuffle" (guitar solo from "King Kong")4:23
16."Move It or Park It" (guitar solo from "Black Page")5:43
17."Sunrise Redeemer" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")3:58
Disc two
1."Variations on Sinister #3" (guitar solo from "Easy Meat")5:15
2."Orrin Hatch on Skis" (guitar solo from "Ride My Face to Chicago")2:12
3."But Who Was Fulcanelli?" (guitar solo from "Drowning Witch")2:48
4."For Duane" (guitar solo from "Whipping Post")3:24
5."GOA" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")4:51
6."Winos Do Not March" (guitar solo from "Sharleena")3:14
7."Swans? What Swans?" (guitar solo from "Pound for a Brown")4:23
8."Too Ugly for Show Business" (guitar solo from "King Kong")4:20
9."Systems of Edges" (guitar solo from "Inca Roads")5:32
10."Do Not Try This at Home" (guitar solo from "Black Page")3:46
11."Things That Look Like Meat" (guitar solo from "City of Tiny Lites")6:57
12."Watermelon in Easter Hay"4:02
13."Canadian Customs" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")3:34
14."Is That All There Is?" (guitar solo from "Let's Move to Cleveland")4:09
15."It Ain't Necessarily the Saint James Infirmary" (Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward, Primrose; guitar solo from "Pound for a Brown")5:15

Vinyl version[edit]

Side one
1."Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"3:42 [9]
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
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
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
Side four
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



  1. ^ Planer, L. (2011). "Guitar - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  2. ^ 1989 Grammy Awards at – retrieved on 3 June 2009
  3. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Chalk Pie
  4. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky
  5. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Canadian Customs
  6. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: It Ain't Necessarily The Saint James Infirmary (Gershwin/Gershwin/Primrose)
  7. ^ Zappa, Frank and Peter Occhiogrosso. (1989). The Real Frank Zappa Book. New York: Poseidon Press. ISBN 0-671-63870-X
  8. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Winos Do Not March
  9. ^ Guitar

External links[edit]

See also[edit]