FRANK ZAPPA — Lumpy Gravy

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FRANK ZAPPA - Lumpy Gravy cover
3.10 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1968


A Lumpy Gravy Part 1 15:51
B Lumpy Gravy Part 2 15:51

Total Time: 31:42


- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Motörhead, Pumpkin, Ronnie / choir, chorus
- Victor Feldman, Alan Estes / percussion, drums
- Shelly Mann, Frank Cappe, John Guerin / drums
- Ted Nash, Jules Jacob, Bunk Gardner, Donald Christlieb, Gene Cipriano / wind, woodwind
- Paul Smith, Pete Jolly, Lincoln Mayorga, Michael Lang / piano, celeste, harpsichord, keyboards
- Don Preston / bass, keyboards
- Tony Rizzi, Al Viola, Eric Clapton, Dennis Budimir, Tommy Tedesco, Jimmy "Senyah" Haynes / guitar
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums, choir, chorus
- Dick Barber / vocals
- Gene Estes, Emil Richards / percussion
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Larry Fanoga / vocals, choir, chorus
- All Nite John / choir, chorus
- Patrick O'Hearn / bass, wind
- Richard Parissi / French horn
- John Rotella / percussion, woodwind
- Kenny Shroyer / trombone
- Bob West, Jimmy Bond, John Balkin, Chuck Berghofer / bass
- Vincent DeRosa, Arthur Maebe / horn, French horn
- Jimmy Zito, James Zito / trumpet
- Mike Lang / piano, electric harpsichord
- Paul Smith / piano
- Alexander Koltun, Ray Kelly, Joseph Saxon, Joseph DiFiore Jerome Kessler, Bernard Kundell, William Kurasch Leonard Malarsky, Ralph Schaeffer, Leonard Selic, Harry Hyams Jerome Reisler, Tibor Zelig Arnold Belnick, Harold Bemko, Jesse Ehrlich, James Getzoff, Philip Goldberg / strings

About this release

Verve V6-8741 (US)

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

With a little editing, 'Lumpy Gravy' could have been one of the better progressive rock albums ever recorded. Though there are a lot of clever and innovative musical collages on this album, there are also a lot of segments containing clumsy forced humor that undermine this album's potential greatness. Side two of the album contains an ongoing "silly" conversation about animals that is embarrassing in it's self- conscious attempts at abstract humor and reeks of a 60s style undeserved self-indulgence. The album opens up strong with a Zappa-esque surf guitar instrumental that slowly segue ways into some more avant-garde styled rock and then into some collaged bits of noise. Throughout the course of the album Frank serves up many different 60s instrumental styles including surf, lounge exotica, movie soundtracks and others. He splices these instrumentals with composed sections that mimic and/or pay tribute to some of his favorite composers including; Varese, Stravinsky, Webern, Stockhausen and Pierre Henry.

It is pretty obvious while listening to this album that a lot of the guitar melodies are being handled by the master of 60s guitar instrumentals, famous LA session man Tommy Tedesco. At this time Tommy could probably play circles around Frank and no one could match Tommy's melodic sounds when it came to recreating the sort of jazz/lounge music that Frank wrote for much of this album. Another interesting thing I noticed was how many of the tunes on here show up in other forms on other albums released by Zappa in the 60s and 70s.

This album would have been much better if it had only contained the quirky innovative instrumental tracks combined with Zappa's tongue-in-cheek avant-garde "compositions". Instead Frank tried to fool the world into thinking he was not a self-important blow-hard and inserted some very un-funny humor that ultimately undermined much of his hard work.

Members reviews

First Frank Zappa record without carrying The Mothers Of Invention name. Well, it was really quite obvious. This album, as you could expect after the first couple of Mothers albums.

The title of the album carry a bit more than just Lumpy Gravy, in fact it is: Frank Vincent Zappa conducts Lumpy Gravy FZ/Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.

Two parts, one each side, almost 16 minutes each, many orchestral moments mixed with crazy sounds and crazy ideas. Including some noise, Avant Garde, Concrete Music, Surf Music and many weird dialogues. That's what you'll get with [Album10129]. It's like Zappa wants to prove that classical music and 'ordinary music' could be joined together and that he could create a new kind of classical music. Well, in a way he did it!

Honestly I don't enjoy the album 100%, cause there's too much experimentalism for me, but, I do agree that was an important step for Zappa to do it.

A worthy 3 stars!
Artists often record albums that polarize many of their fans. Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music is a rather extreme example, about 99% of the listeners absolutely hate that album, then there's that 1% who call it the greatest album ever made (rock critic Lester Bangs was one of them). Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica does not exactly have a lot of middle ground. Neither Tangerine Dream's Zeit. Or the second (studio) disc of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. Lumpy Gravy is a rather experimental Zappa album that leans much more towards 20th century classical and avant garde than the usual quirky rock he's most known for. It's more like a collage, ranging from orchestral passages to spoken dialog, including one how one's girlfriend tore the seats right out of his car. You'll hear versions of "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" and "Oh No", these being instrumental. Rock influences does occasionally show, particularly when Zappa plays his guitar, there's a bit of surf music and blues showing up. Some spoken dialog, about the pigs and ponies, and about making your water so dark. This album is really all over the place, and he doesn't stick to one thing for long. Not everyone will enjoy this album, but I do.
Lumpy Gravy was released as a Zappa album rather than having the Mothers of Invention tag because, although the music is still composed by Zappa, it's not a band effort and the piece in question isn't really intended for a band context - it's a weird rock and roll doo-wop free jazz orchestral piece with spoken word elements recorded from inside a piano. Segments would end up popping up in the MOI's contemporary work - "Oh No", for example, gets a vocal version on Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

Really, the piece doesn't hang together brilliantly. To be honest, it's more like a grab-bag of Zappa's musical ideas with the spoken word parts breaking the different musical bits up - so there's some surf rock here, some tape experiments there, and the piano people are like the interludes between them. On that level, it's more of a musical manifesto than an album proper. There's a somewhat heavier emphasis on orchestral pieces, but fans of classical pieces would probably be better served by The Yellow Shark, on which the compositions are more than a minute or two long each. Worth a spin, but only if you're already a hardcore Zappa fan.
A musical collage that may blow you away, or it may turn you away.

"Lumpy Gravy" is definitely not an ideal place if you are new into Zappa and I would go so far as to say it is perhaps his least accessible work.

It is essentially a musical collage juxtaposed with little bursts of inventive music and tons of hyper strange dialogue between stoned individuals about life the universe and nothing.

These dialogues reminded me of the type of stuff Andy Warhol used in his underground cult movies such as "Trash" where people seriously converse about ridiculous subjects such as; "they get on top of you and just tear you apart", the "one note" conversation, "I hear you've been having trouble with pigs and ponies!" And "the boogie man must be fought", and "now I lay me down to sleep... amen."

Seriously, you are not going to learn too much from this nonsense and it is mildly amusing heard once but not designed for repeated listens.

The transitions are amidst classics such as King Kong that was developed into a much more coherent piece on subsequent albums.

So "LG" is a sound experiment but as inaccessible as this is, its better than The Beatles Revolution 9.

I can stretch 2 stars rating out for Zappaholics but this will really put a lot of people off and understandably so.

It is made for its time in the psychedelic 60s but will have little appeal today unless you are a musical historian or Zappa freak.

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