Ranking The Frank Zappa Albums #42 Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch.

The album’s first half consists of studio recordings (including the bit hit single Valley Girl co-written with his daughter Moon Unit), while the second half consists of live recordings from Zappa’s fall 1981 U.S. tour with studio overdubs. The live material was originally intended for a double album tentatively titled either Chalk Pie or Crush All Boxes II, which was scrapped after Zappa’s record distributor requested a single album instead. It’s better than The Man From Utopia but it’s not vintage or even great Frank. The pseudo-title track is a good example of a Zappa track; pretty standard opening before it segues into an instrumental section of typical Zappa complexity and intricacy, featuring musical quotations from The Right of Spring by Igor Stravinsky and the Dragnet theme tune. The opener is pretty fun nonsense with lyrics about Donny and Marie Osmond and truck drivers delivering string beans to Utah; this might be a sex thing, I don’t know. The album features an absolute beast of a guitar solo by Frank (one of my favourites by him), but the vocals on that song (I Come From Nowhere) are an utter abomination! For decades I refused to listen to that track because of those vocals, it’s only been recently (about 6 years or so) that I rediscovered the guitar solo! The ending two songs are pretty weak sauce as well and I’ve never really cared for Valley Girl. Overall, another non-essential Zappa album, and after hearing Chalk Pie on various YouTube channels, I really wished the double album had been released. 2/5


  • Frank Zappa – Lead Guitar, Vocals
  • Steve Vai – Guitar (credited as “Impossible Guitar Parts”)
  • Ray White – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • Tommy Mars – Keyboards
  • Bobby Martin – Keyboards, Sax, Vocals
  • Ed Mann – Percussion
  • Scott Thunes – Bass on “Drowning Witch”, “Envelopes”, “Teen-age Prostitute”, and “Valley Girl”
  • Arthur Barrow – Bass on “No Not Now” and the first part of “I Come From Nowhere”
  • Patrick O’Hearn – Bass on the guitar solo in “I Come From Nowhere”
  • Chad Wackerman – Drums
  • Roy Estrada – Falsetto Vocals on “No Not Now”
  • Ike Willis – Vocals
  • Bob Harris – Vocals
  • Lisa Popeil – Vocals on “Teen-Age Prostitute”
  • Moon Unit Zappa – Vocal on “Valley Girl”


Published by labarbaazul8067

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

4 thoughts on “Ranking The Frank Zappa Albums #42 Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch.

  1. I love your motto up there, “…savage ignorance,” has a great ring to it. Thanks fir popping by my blog site. Return as often as you like. I wish I could take an entire couple of days to do nothing but read and drink coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for popping by too. My quote is from a English indie band called Half Man Half Biscuit who o love. I never went too often to Sprouts as I worked at Trader Joe’s, but I always saw it as a treat as they had great vegan options! I hope you get the chance soon to write and drink coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

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