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Ranking The Frank Zappa Albums #50 The Man From Utopia

Police are issuing an appeal after recieving complaints from farmers that their cows are being stolen during the night.
Apparently they’re looking for someone with a huge moo-stash.

cover art by Tanino Liberatore

Today’s Frank Zappa album sees us with the 1983 album, The Man From Utopia with its iconic album cover art that features the work of Tanino Liberatore. It portrays Zappa on stage trying to kill mosquitoes, a reference to a concert held in Italy on 7th July 1982 at Parco Redecesio (which is also referred in a street sign on the album cover) in Segrate, near Milan. While Zappa was playing, a huge number of mosquitoes began flying on stage and gave the band a hard time. The back cover shows the audience as seen from the stage during the 1982 concert in Palermo, which ended in a riot (which some footage can be seen on the Dub Room Special video released in 1983).

The sleeve art is also a reference to Liberatore’s comic character RanXerox.

And quite frankly (heh!), the backstory of the artwork and the wonderful cover itself deserves to grace a much better album. Only Cocaine Decisions and two instrumentals (Moggio, We Are Not Alone) save this from being the worst Zappa album I’ve heard. The lyrics are asinine, the songs seems half-thought out and very pedestrian (by Zappa’s standards) and the awful half-sung, half-spoken performances on 3 of the songs just kill any enjoyment that may have been lurking on there. Those 3 songs (The Dangerous Kitchen, The Radio Is Broken and The Jazz Discharge Party Hats) were an experiment that did not work and Zappa never went back to this style. To be fair, both Kitchen and Radio have the bones of being good songs; Dangerous Kitchen on the Does Humor Belong In Music video shows that, it’s just the dreadful use of Sprechgesang that ruins them (Party Hats is just a terrible song with no redeeming features). Maybe if he featured the songs and riot incidents from that infamous tour it would have easily made for a much better record than the one we got.

Not the best place to start if you’re new to Zappa. One to avoid unless you’re a completist. 1.5/5

Personnel :
Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals, drum machine, ARP 2600, Prophet 5 Synthesizer
Steve Vai – guitar, acoustic guitar
Ray White – guitar, vocals
Roy Estrada – vocals
Bob Harris – boy soprano
Ike Willis – vocals
Bobby Martin – keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Tommy Mars – keyboards
Arthur Barrow – keyboards, bass, micro bass, rhythm guitar
Ed Mann – percussion
Scott Thunes – bass
Chad Wackerman – drums
Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
Craig Twister Steward – harmonica
Dick Fegy – mandolin
Marty Krystall – saxophone

Published by labarbaazul8067

I'm just a creature from the heap so excuse my savage ignorance.

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