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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 14. July 21, 1971

Chunga's Revenge Reprise

Chunga's Revenge Reprise

"....after following my client's advice and disguising myself as a female member of the "G.T.O.'s" (whom I later discovered to be a subversive group of transvestites and nymphomaniacs - with the sole function of feeding Mr Zappa's apparently endless and perverse sexual appetite), I gained easy access to the household, a multi-million dollar mansion in Beverley Hills, complete with 300 bedrooms (all, as far as I could tell, occupied), a private zoo and a heated phallus-shaped swimming pool set in four acres of plastic 'syntho-jungle' and not-so-syntho giant marijuana plants.

Various longhaired, bearded young people of both sexes wandered and lounged aimlessly naked among the tropical plants and closed circuit televisions, showing endless images of the most disgusting and lewd kind -apparently filmed the night before at one of the routine 'group-gropes'. A sinister person in a morning coat and wearing a fish's head mask, (referred to, I believe, as 'The Captain', led continual community singing, obviously of a communist, black magic nature, which included the Iyrics to the hymn, 'We Plough the Fields and Scatter....' sung backwards to the melody of The Star Spangled Banner.' At this point my automatic slipped from its holster attached to my daisies' and fearing that discovery was imminent I attempted to make my 'excuses' and leave."

(from Oz 31)

At last - Zappa has made music! His new, tenth album is a shameless sellout to the forces of harmony and diction. Admittedly, some of the material on it is a rehash of earlier pop music styles, but there is also some fine music, in terms of construction and style. The musicians work well together under Zappa's inevitable leadership to produce an album that will possibly be unrecognizable to Zappa freaks.

There is a great variety of styles, from fifties' rock 'n' roll through cool jazz combo to hard rock. Zappa's humour pervades his lyrics, incorporating satirical elements and bold eroticism. However, there is not much new here insofar as rock in general is concerned, and Zappa's attitude to this album seems to be well expressed in his early morning bedraggled yawn on the front cover. Ho hum.

Fans will be pleased to know that Ian Underwood is still playing saxes and keyboards with him. Aynsley Dunbar, once with John May all, is on percussion. The other sidemen include Jeff Simmons (bass) and George Duke (organ and trombone).

The album opens with Transylvania Boogie, a powerful rocker with some attractive guitar phrases. Road Ladies is a remarkably effective blues about touring;

Don't it ever get lonesome, don't it ever make a young man wanna go back home
......and the band plays some of the most terriblest shit you've ever known.

Zappa's guitar figures are well backed up by the organ, and the voices are strong. There's a cool little instrumental number called Twenty Small Cigars with Zappa double-tracked on harpsichord and guitar, and an acoustic bass in the backing. Piano by Ian Underwood is soft background for Zappa's lead.

The Nancy & Mary Music was recorded live in Minneapolis before an incredibly responsive and alert audience. There's some good guitar leads, an electric piano break, some drum solo, and some particularly striking vocal effects by George Duke, all making pretty good listening. On the title track. Ian Underwood uses an electric alto sax with a wah-wah pedal - it's about the only innovation on the album. The tone sounds like a blend of a crow's cawing and a strangled cat's last cries. This track is more in the classic Zappa and Mother fuckers style than the rest of the album.

The Clap, in which Zappa performs a short percussion solo, leads into Rudy Wants To Buy You A Drink a rock 'n' roll song for the unions;

Frank Zappa album artwork

Hi, and howdy-doody
I'm a union man, you can call me Rudy
And you boys not paid up on your cards?
You know I'm pleased to meet you
Been trying all day to reach you
The union's here to help every one of you rock 'n' roll stars.

Finally Sharleen, fine stuff for the Everley Brothers, though the backing is somewhat stronger.

And that's it. Something old, a little new, perhaps something to please you. Regardless, Zappa has the last laugh.