FRANK ZAPPA — Chunga's Revenge

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FRANK ZAPPA - Chunga's Revenge cover
3.20 | 22 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1970


A1 Transylvania Boogie 5:01
A2 Road Ladies 4:11
A3 Twenty Small Cigars 2:17
The Nancy & Mary Music (9:30)
A4.1 Part 1 2:42
A4.2 Part 2 4:11
A4.3 Part 3 2:37
B1 Tell Me You Love Me 2:43
B2 Would You Go All The Way? 2:30
B3 Chunga's Revenge 6:16
B4 The Clap 1:24
B5 Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink 2:45
B6 Sharleena 4:07

Total Time: 40:27


- Max Bennett /Bass (tracks: A1, A3, B3)
- Jeff Simmons /Bass, Vocals (tracks: A2, A4, B1, B2, B5, B6)
- Aynsley Dunbar /Drums, Percussion [Tambourine] (tracks: A1, A2, A4, B1 to B3, B5, B6)
- Frank Zappa /Guitar, Vocals
- Ian Underwood /Organ, Piano (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2, B5, B6)
- George Duke /Organ, Piano [Electric], Trombone (tracks: A2, A4, B1, B2, B5, B6)
- Ian Underwood /Rhythm Guitar (tracks: A2, B1, B6)
- Flo & Eddie /Vocals (tracks: A2, A4, B1, B2, B5, B6)

About this release

Reprise MS 2030 (UK)

Recorded at:
The Record Plant (Hollywood)
Trident Studios (London)
T.T.G. Inc. (Hollywood)
Whitney Studios (Glendale)
"The Nancy & Mary Music" recorded live at The Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Frank Zappa's 1970 album sounds at first like a mish-mash of outtakes from various unrelated sessions. But closer attention reveals at least some thematic unity, dealing more or less with the trials and tribulations of a working rock musician on the road. Included are some typically tongue-in-cheek songs about groupies, union representatives, venereal disease (a short instrumental called simply "The Clap", but coming from Frank Zappa the title could hardly refer to anything else), and a few sample concert performances, notably the classic Zappa guitar thrash of "Transylvania Boogie", one of his strongest album openers ever.

The title track is another highlight, presenting a loud instrumental jam led by Ian Underwood's wah-wah pedal sax solo, distorted enough to be mistaken for Zappa's electric guitar. Like much of the album it was presumably a genuine live recording, perhaps augmented with overdubs in the studio afterward (a peculiar Zappa habit). The CD notes are reticent on this point. If not actually live, the tapes were at least given a very convincing stage ambience: stadium reverb, occasional feedback, audience noise and so forth.

In keeping with Zappa's philosophy of 'conceptual continuity' the album holds some relation to his "200 Motels" film and soundtrack, possibly intended as a prelude to that notorious project, released the following year. If true, don't let it scare you off: "Chunga's Revenge" might be less focused than other Frank Zappa concept albums, but it covers a lot of contradicting stylistic territory in its all-too brief forty minutes, and thus can serve as a primer of sorts to Uncle Frank's musical trajectory in the early 1970s.

Members reviews

If you want to spark controversy amongst a group of Zappa fans, you can do it with three little words: "Flo and Eddie". Zappa's inclusion of Turtles refugees Mark Volman and Howard Kayman in his new Mothers lineup was a short-lived affair, beginning in 1970 and ending at the end of a disastrous 1971 tour which saw the infamous "smoke on the water" incident in Montreux and Zappa confined to a wheelchair after a nasty fall from a stage - both incidents caused by rowdy fans. But overshadowing both incidents in the minds of many Zappa afficionados is the stylistic shift seen during this era, and which is showcased on Chunga's Revenge, in which the comedic aspects of Zappa's work came to the fore.

It simply isn't correct to say that Zappa's sense of humour changed at this point - the original Mothers of Invention material was replete with jokes, of which many had a scatological or sexual basis and of which more than a few were pretty damn crude. However, the delivery with Flo and Eddie in the band does come across as more crass and abrasive than it was previously, and it is brought to the fore more often. On top of that, whilst the duo's vocal harmonies are truly wonderful (I think their performance on T.Rex's Electric Warrior album providing backing vocals was inspired), I've never felt that they were a natural fit for Zappa's sound.

Chunga's Revenge is the Flo and Eddie-era album on which their presence is felt the least, partially because the sense of humour is a bit more varied than the "all sex jokes all the time" concept of the Fillmore East live album, partially because the album includes a clutch of good but not great instrumentals - several of which are cast-offs from the Hot Rats sessions. It's an OK Zappa album, and of the Flo and Eddie tracks I do quite like Rudy Wants to Buy Yez a Drink and Would You Go All The Way, but when the album also includes half-baked ideas like Tell Me You Love Me and Sharleena I can't extend to more than three stars.

Ratings only

  • MoogHead
  • lunarston
  • Fant0mas
  • zrong
  • esset55
  • Lynx33
  • progshine
  • Kontiki
  • timzurita
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Croteau
  • darkshade
  • Drummer
  • POW
  • Tychovski
  • zorn1
  • Noak2
  • Sean Trane
  • The_Jester
  • The Block

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