Sunday, April 10, 2016

Frank Zappa - 1974 - Apostrophe (')

Frank Zappa 
Apostrophe (')

01. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (2:07)
02. Nanook Rubs It (4:37)
03. St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast (1:50)
04. Father O'Blivion (2:18)
05. Cosmik Debris (4:14)
06. Excentrifugal Forz (1:33)
07. Apostrophe' (5:50)
08. Uncle Remus (2:44)
09. Stink-Foot (6:32)

- Frank Zappa / bass, lead vocals, guitar
- Jack Bruce, Erroneous, Tom Fowler / bass
- George Duke keyboards / background vocals
- DonSugar Cane-Harris / violin
- Jean-Luc Ponty / violin
- Ruth Underwood / percussion
- Ian Underwood / saxophone
- Napoleon Murphy Brock / saxophone, background vocals
- Sal Marquez / trumpet
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Jim Gordon, John Guerin, Aynsley Dunbar, Ralph Humphrey / drums
- Ray Collins, Kerry McNabb, Susie Glower, Debbie, Lynn, Ruben Ladron De Guevara & Robert Camarena / background vocals

Summary: There are three basic versions of Apostrophe:

1) the original mix used on the original LP
2) a Quadraphonic version used on the Quadraphonic vinyl and tape formats in the 1970s
3) a stereo reduction made from the above.

The original LP mix is used on the Au20 CD, some copies of the 1995 Rykodisc CD, and the 2012 UMe reissue. The "stereo reduction" is on all other CDs, while the original Quad mix has not, as of 2012, been reissued in any form.

It would be easy enough to dismiss this album as silly and juvenile, something a teenager might get a kick out of. Yet there are a several things about this record that impress me very much. First of all the way Frank has the ability (like reading a book) to take our imaginations into the story as we picture the silly things that Frank is singing about. What I found though after a few listens was I started to focus more on the playing rather than the stories and man was I amazed ! I mean I was already blown away by the title track, but the "Yellow Snow" suite and the other silly songs revealed some incredible instrumental work that brought a new appreciation.
"Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" opens with the wind blowing and it's cold as we hear the story of Nanook. The drumming is crisp and is accompanied by guitar. "Nanook Rubs It" has more good drumming, xylophone, trumpet and some scorching guitar. "St.Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast" has more xylophone, horns and great drumming. It blends into "Father O'Blivion" and yes I must sound like a broken record but check out the drumming. "Cosmik Debris" is a satire directed at the hippies. It opens with guitar and deep vocals. Nice guitar solo after 2 minutes and another good section after 3 minutes as it becomes more uptempo.

"Excentrifical Forz" is only a minute and a half long but it features some ripping guitar. "Apostrophe' " is just a killer instrumental, where former CREAM bass player Jack Bruce and Frank Zappa fight throughout the song for the spotlight. The drumming 3 1/2 minutes in is worth mentioning. "Uncle Remus" has some serious lyrics about racism as the piano and guitar lead the way instrumentally. "Stink-Foot" is just plain funny with more great guitar throughout, especially 6 minutes in. And this is where we get the album's title from. As Frank sings "The crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe (')."



  2. DVD-A with Quadrophonic Mixes of Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe: