Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 06/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album always gets a bad rap. It was released after the flo and Eddie incarnation of the Mothers got sidelined when a fan almost killed Zappa by throwing him offstage.(He spent a year in a wheel chair, and fortunately, used this time to make Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo) A lot of critics and fans who like Uncle Meat and Hot Rat's high minded jazz and avant gaurde sweep think this is lowbrow.
It is not. Comidy is just one aspect of this album. Listen to "Billy The Mountian," or the retooled "Call Any Vegitable." What Zappa does here is take the attention he has always applied to his composition and is focusing on Flo and Eddie's vocals. The harmonies, dialouge and call and response here are disciplined and tightly arranged.
This was the time of Hair and Oh Calcutta!, when hippie rock on broadway used the same type of tightly arranged staging to make is appear spontainious. Zappa is working in this medium here, and the results are elaborate and, yes, the material does work.
Magdalena: well, this is sure not an easy listen, but part of Zappa's art was to raise issues that happened that no one else talked about, and in 1971, NOBODY went near childhood sexual abuse. I don't think Zappa is promoting this, just bringing the issue to light..
Don't let the humour on this album obscure the stage onslaught Zappa is putting together on this album."