Frank Zappa “Apostrophe(‘)”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#232 in the Series) is Frank Zappa, Apostrophe(‘).

Frank Zappa, Apostrophe (‘) was one of FZs’ most popular releases, maybe THE most popular. It was released directly after another of Frank’s best known works, Over-Nite Sensation.

Steve Caraway photo

I’ve actually wanted to feature this album for some time.  I had to wait for ‘just the right time.’ The right time was now. One of the first days of winter (with apologies to our southern hemisphere readers).

I’ve mentioned this before….. But some albums can only be listened to in certain seasons. I know every lyric to Apostrophe(‘) by heart, yet I can count on one hand how many times I listened to this when warmth was in the air.

‘Yellow Snow’ and ‘truuuudgin’ across the tundra…. mile after mile’ just didn’t work when you’re lounging by the pool!!!

Apostrophe(‘) was released in 1974. It peaked at #10 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.  See other albums we’ve featured in 1974 by clicking HERE.

Frank Zappa was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995.

Personnel

  • Frank Zappa – vocals, guitar, bass, bouzouki
  • Lynn – vocals, backing vocals
  • Kerry McNabb – backing vocals, engineer, remixing
  • Ian Underwood – saxophone
  • Ruth Underwood – percussion
  • Sal Marquez – trumpet
  • Sue Glover – backing vocals
  • Jim Gordon – drums
  • Aynsley Dunbar – drums
  • Tom Fowler – bass guitar
  • Napoleon Murphy Brock – saxophone, backing vocals
  • Robert “Frog” Camarena – vocals, backing vocals
  • Ruben Ladron de Guevara – vocals, backing vocals
  • Debbie – vocals, backing vocals
  • Tony Duran – rhythm guitar
  • Erroneous (Alex Dmochowksi) – bass guitar
  • Johnny Guerin – drums
  • Don “Sugarcane” Harris – violin
  • Ralph Humphrey – drums
  • Bob Ludwig – Technician
  • Jack Bruce – bass on “Apostrophe” (see controversy presented above)
  • George Duke – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Bruce Fowler – trombone
  • Jean-Luc Ponty – violin

Track listing

All tracks written by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Side one

  1. “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” – 2:07
  2. “Nanook Rubs It” – 4:38
  3. “St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast” – 1:50
  4. “Father O’Blivion” – 2:18
  5. “Cosmik Debris” – 4:14

Side two

  1. “Excentrifugal Forz” – 1:33
  2. “Apostrophe'” – 5:50 (Zappa, Jim Gordon, Jack Bruce)
  3. “Uncle Remus” – 2:44 (Zappa, George Duke)
  4. “Stink-Foot” – 6:33

Related Links

Posted by Larry Carta

3 Comments

  1. Carla Bonner (23 Dec 2010, 1:41)
    Reply

    Great Album, Great Choice! And I agree about certain tunes in certain seasons! Thx for this one.

  2. Andreas (23 Dec 2010, 2:12)
    Reply

    Il’ve loved this album since the late 70’s. This album is an obvious one for neophytes to dive into Zappa’s music. This one is sometimes undeservedly dismissed because it;s made up of mostly story songs set to relatively straight forward music. For what it is, it is excellently performed and very creative and funny, and it’s very catchy to boot.

    BTW I don’t know if you were aware, but Dec. 21 would have been Frank Zappa’s 70th birthday, so great timing.

  3. critic-ailleurs (22 Apr 2011, 2:11)
    Reply

    Whereas one of the very latest albums, “The Perfect Stranger”, had seen Zappa’s Synclavier music computer used “against” a chamber orchestra (Pierre Boulez’s), here it meets Zappa’s own electric band. Oddly – Zappa’s highly brilliant musical companions-in-arms of the day certainly had little to fear of such competition – the gap seems wider here, for some reason. I have no problem with the alleged “coldness” of the Synclavier material, which might just be an irrelevant issue. I find just as much coldness in some of the humanly performed pieces from that era, whether by Boulez’s group or FZ’s, than in most of the Synclavier tracks from the Perfect Stranger album. However, in this here “FZ meets the M.O.P”, most electronic pieces have a lot of passion, mystery and humor to them (esp. “Aerobics in Bondage” [one of Zappa’s most beautiful and moving pieces ever recorded IMO], “H.R. 2911” and “Little Beige Sambo”), and this tendency was to continue with the next Synclavier album (“Jazz From Hell”, 1986). Maybe I lack concentration power for the very abstract pieces from the previous one (“Love Story”, “Jonestown”, “Girl in Magnesium Dress”), but I find the newer electronic compositions somehow more focused, with better “hummable” themes.
    Some of the rock band tracks are from the studio, others are apparently live stuff from the much acclaimed ’81/’82 group, cleaned up of all audience noises. AFAIAC, same thing as always with the 80s Zappa’s electric combo music: dangerously brilliant compositions (listen to the FZ solo spot in “Alien Orifice”!) share the space with very dated (“We’re Turning Again”) or barely relevant (“Yo Cats”) satires. Pretty witty all right, but absolutely lacking any “meat” of any sort in the melody. Compare with “America Drinks and Goes Home”, from “Absolutely Free”, or better still, with the Zappa-produced Jean-Luc Ponty version!



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