SRZ1-1603 Joe's Garage Act I
production credits unknown
Released on September? 1979
US CHART POSITION #27 . . . UK CHART POSITION #62
Find it at GEMM
SRZ1-1603 cover  

A s airtight an excuse for a commercial crossover as you’ll find in Frank’s discography. Zappa conceived Joe’s Garage as a cautionary tale (tongue firmly in cheek) exposing the evils of rock & roll and the pernicious part it plays in the lives of two young people, Joe and Mary. The composer was merely amplifying the conservative rhetoric of the right wing, who had begun discussing outloud the possibility that music was corrupting American youth (suggesting censorship as a possible palliative). An ardent supporter of free speech in art, Zappa flourishes in the role of the Central Scrooooooootinizer, pushing his two unsuspecting pawns (Joe and Mary) into the paths of prostitution (after a sort) and venereal disease. The real story here, however, is one of wonderfully accessible music. Imagine the best parts of Sheik Yerbouti distilled (“Bobby Brown Goes Down,” “Jewish Princess”) with the guitar solos and complex arrangements contained to short bursts, and you’ll have the blueprint for Joe’s Garage. The album generated a strong single in “Catholic Girls” -- which of course got limited airplay (who needs censorship?) -- and lots of fine, funny songs like “Wet T-Shirt Nite,” “Joe’s Garage” and “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” You’d have to go pretty far back (say, Over-Nite Sensation) to find another Zappa album that combined the appealing with the appalling for such a palatable mixture. It’s not that Joe’s Garage Act I hits any higher highs than Sheik Yerbouti or Ship Arriving Too Late, it just hits them more consistently. Though it doesn’t diminish the enjoyment of this album, Act I does end on a cliffhanger, so you’ll need to pick up the double-elpee Acts II and III (released a few months later) to find out how Mary and Joe make out.

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER
  2. JOE'S GARAGE
  3. CATHOLIC GIRLS
  4. CREW SLUT
  5. WET T-SHIRT NITE
  6. TOAD-O LINE
  7. WHY DOES IT HURT WHEN I PEE?
  8. LUCILLE HAS MESSED MY MIND UP

CREDITS

FRANK ZAPPA --

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US September 1979 Zappa LP/CS SRZ1-1603 gatefold cover, lyric insert
UK/NET September 1979 CBS LP/CS 86101 gatefold cover, inserts
CZE 1991 Globus LPPICLE 210076-T311 limited edition picture elpee (1000 copies),
lyric sheet
JPN 1993 Imagica CDLE VACK-1238 digitally remastered limited edition
US 1995 Rykodisc 2CD RCD 10530/1 digitally remastered,
repackaged w. JOE'S GARAGE ACTS II & III

 

progrography

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