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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Frank Zappa

Over-Nite Sensation

Review by Gary Hill

I know some people who think there is no way Frank Zappa is progressive rock. Well, for my money his genre twisting type of music with incredibly complex arrangements – often on seemingly simplistic tunes – certainly fits the bill. This disc is one of his more consistent with all the tracks coming across as quite strong. It still holds up reasonably well and features a couple of my favorites of his “I’m The Slime” and “Montana.” This disc was Zappa’s play at creating commercial music – and in many ways it was a success. The thing is, it still has Zappa’s flavorings all over it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Camarillo Brillo
Take something from “Grease.” Add in a more 1970’s pop rock sound. Then through in a health dosage of Zappa weirdness. Voila, you have just created “Camarillo Brillo.”
I'm The Slime
This is a classic Zappa tune. A swirling guitar god solo opens this. Then they launch out through a prog rock instrumental section. It drops back to a stripped down movement for the cool vocals. They bring back more prog elements later. This one extols the evils of television and its effect on the population. It’s a killer piece of music and always been one of my favorites.
Dirty Love
A celebration of lustful desires, this is one of the most “normal” songs from Zappa (musically anyway). It’s got some extremely “dirty” lyrics that at times describe some acts that are illegal in many parts of the world.
Fifty-Fifty
Take a healthy helping of “Earache My Eye” from Cheech and Chong. Throw in some progressive rock. Then add some jazz. Stir with a spoon called “Frank Zappa” until mostly mixed. You’ve just cooked up this cool track. It has a lounge jazz inspired keyboard solo. We also get some tasty violin work. In fact, a big chunk of the latter portions of this is a smoking prog rock styled fusion jam.
Zomby Woof
The jam that opens this reminds me of Zappa goes ELP. They work it out into a gritty, bluesy jam for the verse. The truth is, though, don’t get too comfortable here. This is filled with fast paced left turns and weird alterations. This one doesn’t stay anyone place for too long. Still, it’s a great jam and every section works quite well. It’s definitely a highlight of the disc.
Dinah Moe Humm
Well, this is a sexual song. You just can’t deny that. It’s also bouncy and fun. It’s a cool number if you aren’t hung up about sexual content in your music. There are some twists and turns both in the tale and the music. We even get a Zappa rap on this.
Montana
The lyrical tale here is weird and surreal. The music in some ways matches it. Parts of this are straightforward. Yet, the track has a quirky nature with elements of jazz and classical merging with this classic rock feel. It’s one of my favorite Zappa tunes and a highlight of the disc. It’s also a great way to end things and features some killer FZ guitar work.
 
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