While most of the discussions of Frank Zappa have to do with his satirical and off-color lyrics, the fact remains that he was one of the finest and most underappreciated guitarists around. This collection places the spotlight squarely on Zappa's mastery of the guitar. Recorded for the most part in 1979 and 1980 (with a few tracks dating as far back as 1977), Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar is simply a collection of guitar solos. Even though most of the tracks were just edited out of their original song context, they fare well as stand-alone pieces, as Zappa was an ever-inventive player.
SHUT UP 'N PLAY YER GUITAR puts the musical spotlight on Frank Zappa's solo guitar improvisations.
Although many think of Frank Zappa first and foremost as a supreme composer and satirist, many seem to overlook the fact that he was one of the greatest rock guitarists that ever lived. After all, such latter-day guitar heroes as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai (the latter was a member of Zappa's backing band in the early '80s) revered him, often listing select Zappa albums as "the best guitar albums of all time." But since he refused to play commercially acceptable music, many young guitarists are unaware of Zappa's guitar prowess.
To correct this, Zappa issued the double-disc set SHUT UP N' PLAY YER GUITAR in 1986. Instead of just compiling already-released tracks that prominently featured his guitar chops, Zappa searched through tapes of concerts from his 1979 and 1980 tours, and edited together his very best solos. Although this may be a monotonous listen for a non-guitar player or a newcomer to Zappa's work, guitar enthusiasts and hardcore fans will consider it a godsend. It's hard to pick just a few highlights, since each disc is meant to be listened to in it's entirety, but you can't go wrong with "Hog Heaven," "Five-Five-Five," and "The Deathless Horsie," to name but a few.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, 2012. Vaultmeisterment & Analog Transfers by Joe Travers, March 2012, UMRK. 1981 Analog Master, remastered by Bob Ludwig from the original tapes. Reverts to two CDs (mimicking the approach taken on the pre-1995 CDs), and eliminates the 1995-era segue between "Why Johnny Can't Read" and "Stucco Homes." Reports on sound quality are very positive. Who would ever want to hear half an hour of wall-to-wall guitar instrumentals? When the soloist in question is Frank Zappa, the answer is anyone who should ever require proof that Zappa was one of the most gifted electric (and occasionally acoustic) guitarists of the rock & roll era.
The Legends of Lancaster (California) converge. Two albums Produced by Frank Zappa are registered with the National Preservation Board (Library of Congress). This is one. Note: We here at UMRK determined that the TMR Master was damaged somewhere in the years of it's return orbit. The Vaultmeister created almost in its entirety a new Master from our own Vault safety copies. And as if that wasn't enough chocolate for your Sunday sundae, we had Bob Ludwig remaster the Work for you. What you now have available to you is the definitive TROUT MASK REPLICA. Be the judge. Be the jury. Be the bongo. Be the fury!!!
When Frank Zappa teamed up with renowned conductor Kent Nagano and the London Symphony Orchestra for three days in January 1983, he was expecting to walk away with a set of stellar performances of some of his most challenging contemporary classical pieces, as done by one of the world's top symphonic ensembles. What he got instead were bad attitudes, terrible work habits, unforgiving union stipulations and a hard lesson in preconceived notions – showing him that working with unschooled but enthusiastic rock musicians also had its advantages, and giving rise to his well-documented love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with symphony orchestras thereafter.
Late in his life, Frank Zappa hooked up with the small German avant-garde orchestra the Ensemble Modern for what are said to have been the most enjoyable encounters with an orchestra he had in his career. The combination resulted in the last album Zappa released during his life, The Yellow Shark. This album, issued seven years later by the Zappa Family Trust, chronicles some more of the sessions. "These are recordings from Frank Zappa's rehearsals with the Ensemble Modern in preparation for The Yellow Shark, writes Todd Yvega, who also served as a recordist on the project.
By the closing months of 1981 Frank Zappa had already released five albums during that productive year. Three of these records were his instrumental guitar collections - Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More, and The Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar - initially sold via mail order but later released through CBS. There was also the live double Tinseltown Rebellion and the 2-LP studio set You Are What You Is, released in September. Zappa also hit the road in September 81, performing a largely domestic tour that criss-crossed the US and took in a couple of shows in Canada between September and Christmas. On board for the tour were Frank s latest touring band, comprising Chad Wackerman on drums, Ed Mann on percussion, Tommy Mars on keyboards, Scott Thunes on bass, with Steve Vai and Ray White on guitar.