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Frank Zappa

Chunga's Revenge (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

Released in 1970, this was the third solo album from Frank Zappa. The disc saw the debut of Turtles members Flo and Eddie as part of Zappa's band. This album has particularly eclectic mix of sounds. Yet, it still feels like Zappa in so many ways. One thing you can say about Mr. Zappa is that there was never anyone quite like him. I'd have to say that you'd never find a catalog of music from anyone, either.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Side 1
                     
Transylvania Boogie

This jumps right into it. It's a freeform jazz exploration that really rocks like crazy. The bass work is on fire, and the whole tune is just so tasty. This gets into some more rock and roll type territory further down the road.

Road Ladies
Gospel styled organ starts this. As the cut gets going it feels like a church revival. This thing turns out into more of a classy blues rocker. It gets a bit of a parental advisory. This has such a cool retro groove to it. I really dig the vocal arrangement on this.
Twenty Small Cigars
Another instrumental piece, some killer jazz gets things underway here. This number is less than two-and-a-half minutes long, and it gets into some decidedly Zappa-like territory before it's over.
The Nancy & Mary Music
A cool psychedelia meets jazz arrangement brings this in. The cut fires out from there with more pure driving jazz. That gives way to an extended drum solo. Guitar soloing takes over from there for a time before a percussion and shouted voices section emerges. This works through a number of twists and turns and has some strange scat singing.
Side 2
             
Tell Me You Love Me

Fast paced, hard edged and funky this is a killer tune. It’s fairly straightforward and includes some smoking guitar work.

Would You Go All the Way?

This has a doo wop old-school rock and roll groove at its heart. This is a tastefully goofy number with some interesting twists and turns.

Chunga's Revenge
The title track is an instrumental that comes in driving hot. It drops to mellower sounds that have some jazz and psychedelia both in the mix. This thing rocks like crazy further down the road. It goes through a lot of territory. This just seems to end mid-track.
The Clap
Less than a minute-and-a-half long, this is a cool percussive jam, although a lot of the percussion is unusual.
Rudy Wants to Buy Yez a Drink
Here we get a bit of a return to that 1950s rock and roll thing. This is bouncy, silly and theatrical.
Sharleena
The closer is probably the most typical Zappa rocker of the bunch. It's a lot of fun, even if it's not much of a surprise.
 
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