Lol, my boss just called me into his office and told me I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter.
Hold on he’s saying something else now….
Chunga’s Revenge is the third solo album by Frank Zappa, released on October 23, 1970. Zappa’s first effort of the 1970s marks the first appearance of former Turtles members Flo & Eddie on a Zappa record, and signals the dawn of a controversial epoch in Zappa’s history. Chunga’s Revenge represents a shift from both the satirical political commentary of his 1960s work with The Mothers of Invention, and the jazz fusion of Hot Rats into a more juvenile, smutty incarnation of the band featuring tales of sex, groupie encounters and life on the road as a touring band.
Regular readers of these posts may know that I’m not the biggest fan of this version of the Mothers; other than this album and Just Another Band From L.A. I do not have a lot of time for them. In my mind, probably the best thing to happen to this band was Zappa being pushed off the stage in London (by a jealous fan) and sitting in a wheelchair focusing on writing proper music. And if that sounds snobby to some people, we’ll then I’m a snob.
Chunga’s Revenge is quite a schizophrenic album: there’s a couple of great guitar heavy songs (the title track and Transylvania Boogie), the bluesy Road Ladies, a jazz number recorded during the Hot Rats sessions (Twenty Small Cigars) and they rub shoulders with several poppy numbers (Tell Me You Love Me, Would You Go All the Way?, Rudy Wants to Buy Yez a Drink, Sharleena) that have some small charm to them, although Sharlenna and Tell Me You Love Me would be performed much better by later Zappa bands. The vocal songs were also, according to the sleeve notes, a preview for the forthcoming 200 Motels film/record released the following year (an album/film I have little-to-no time for).
The guitar tracks on here save it from being much lower down on the list, (as does The Nancy and Mary Music an avant-garde improvisation taken from a live performance of King Kong) but this album is still lower mid-tier Zappa. 3/5
Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals, harpsichord, Condor, drums and percussions
Ian Underwood – organ, rhythm guitar, piano, electric piano, alto saxophone, pipe organ, electric alto saxophone with wah-wah pedal, tenor saxophone, grand piano
Aynsley Dunbar – drums, tambourine
John Guerin – drums
Max Bennett – bass
Jeff Simmons – bass, vocals
George Duke – organ, electric piano, vocal sound effects, trombone
Howard Kaylan – vocals
Mark Volman – vocals, rhythm guitar
Don “Sugarcane” Harris – organ