RCD 10528 Sheik Yerbouti
Produced by Frank Zappa
Released on March 3, 1979
US CHART POSITION #21 . . . UK CHART POSITION #32
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10528 cover
(I don't know what's up with that magenta shift)
 

More masterfully overdubbed live performances of new material, rife with ribaldry and politically incorrect observations. Sure the squirm factor is high, but there’s a salacious genius at work in “Jewish Princess” and “Wild Love” that won’t be dismissed on merely moral grounds. Along with adding some new fodder to the Zappa canon (“Bobby Brown,” “Baby Snakes,” “Dancin’ Fool”), Sheik Yerbouti is notable for the introduction of new members Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Peter Wolf (keyboards) and Tommy Mars (keyboards) into the fold. Belew would leave soon after, but not before putting his indelible stamp on songs like “City of Tiny Lights,” “Jones Crusher” and “Flakes.” Terry Bozzio also proves to be a passable singer, raving along like Roger Taylor on “I’m So Cute” and “Tryin’ To Grow A Chin.” What’s most impressive about Sheik Yerbouti is the live/studio hybrid it becomes; if you weren’t told, you wouldn’t know that these tracks originated on stage. Zappa had become a master manipulator, creating remarkable monsters like “Rubber Shirt” (which fuses separate drum and bass tracks into an 11/4 frankenstein) and “Yo’ Mama” (which pastes a guitar solo from a different recording into the proceedings). However, Zappa’s later recordings sometimes embrace their novelty appeal a little too readily for my tastes. A lot of the material is funny, but the lyrics too often draw attention away from the music (in part through a conscious complicity that strips back the arrangements during the “funny” parts). So what results is an all or nothing split: you either get the funny social critic or the ferocious lead guitarist. The “funny” is what sells records, though, and Sheik Yerbouti sold remarkably well for a double album of demented rock. I find that this only picks up momentum at the end, and could have provided as many memorable moments at half the size, but it’s the nature of Zappa’s genius that he polish everything into gold regardless of its original merit. Luckily, this fits onto a single disc, where you can skip around to the choice parts if you want, which is usually what I end up doing.

SRZ 2-1501 front cover SRZ 2-1501 gatefold
SRZ 2-1501 front cover SRZ 2-1501 gatefold

TRACK LISTING

    record one...
  1. I HAVE BEEN IN YOU    3:33
  2. FLAKES    6:41
  3. BROKEN HEARTS ARE FOR ASSHOLES    3:42
  4. I'M SO CUTE    3:09
  5. JONES CRUSHER    2:49
  6. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ALL THE FUN IN THE WORLD    0:33
  7. RAT TOMAGO    5:15
  8. WAIT A MINUTE    0:33
  9. BOBBY BROWN GOES DOWN    2:49
  10. RUBBER SHIRT    (Frank Zappa/Terry Bozzio/Patrick O'Hearn)    2:45
  11. THE SHEIK YERBOUTI TANGO    3:56

    record two...
  12. BABY SNAKES    1:50
  13. TRYIN' TO GROW A CHIN    3:31
  14. CITY OF TINY LITES    5:32
  15. DANCIN' FOOL    3:43
  16. JEWISH PRINCESS    3:16
  17. WILD LOVE    4:09
  18. YO' MAMA    12:36

    All songs written by Frank Zappa unless noted

CREDITS

FRANK ZAPPA -- lead guitar, vocals
ADRIAN BELEW -- rhythm guitar, vocals
TERRY BOZZIO -- drums, vocals
ED MANN -- percussion, vocals
TOMMY MARS -- keyboards, vocals
PATRICK O'HEARN -- bass, vocals
PETER WOLF -- keyboards, butter
Napoleon M. Brock -- background vocals
Andre Lewis -- background vocals
Davey Moire -- background vocals
David Ocker -- clarinets (17)
Randy Thornton -- background vocals

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 3, 1979 Zappa 2LP/2CS SRZ 2-1501 gatefold cover
UK March 1979 CBS 2LP/2CS    
UK February 1986 EMI 2LP/2CS E5001 gatefold cover
US May 2, 1995 Rykodisc CD/CS RCD 10528 digitally remastered

 

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