Frankly a Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ganda Suthivarakom
One of the most off-the-wall projects of 2000, THE PERSUASIONS SING ZAPPA turns out to be one of the most marvelous and surprising discs of the year. Frank Zappa's songs merged pointed commentary with virtuoso performances and a colorful zany streak. Here, a cappella group the Persuasions -- who were signed as unknowns by the rock provocateur to his Straight label in 1969 -- honor him with a startlingly original set of vocals-only Zappa covers. On the opening number, the group attacks Zappa instrumental classic "Lumpy Gravy" with gusto, breaking it down into incredible six-part vocal arrangements. The vocal pyrotechnics will stretch your preconceptions of doo-wop ...
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USA 2000 CD VG+/VG+ RECOMMENDED! Brings a smile to my face everytime. Frank's humor shines in this setting.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ganda Suthivarakom
One of the most off-the-wall projects of 2000, THE PERSUASIONS SING ZAPPA turns out to be one of the most marvelous and surprising discs of the year. Frank Zappa's songs merged pointed commentary with virtuoso performances and a colorful zany streak. Here, a cappella group the Persuasions -- who were signed as unknowns by the rock provocateur to his Straight label in 1969 -- honor him with a startlingly original set of vocals-only Zappa covers. On the opening number, the group attacks Zappa instrumental classic "Lumpy Gravy" with gusto, breaking it down into incredible six-part vocal arrangements. The vocal pyrotechnics will stretch your preconceptions of doo-wop as they burn up "Cheap Thrills" and "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama." But no song shines as much light as the Persuasions' rendition of Zappa's jab at religion, "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing," which interjects a new level of subversive commentary by singing it in gospel-based harmony. In seizing his idiosyncratic songs and making them their own, the Persuasions pay tribute to both Zappa's songs and his unrelenting creative spirit with a novelty record that's much more than novel.
All Music Guide - François Couture
Frank Zappa gave the vocal group the Persuasions their first chance by signing them to his record label, Straight, in 1969. In 2000, the six-piece a cappella formation recorded a heartfelt tribute to the composer by recording doo wop renditions of a cross section of his songs. Some choices were inevitable, like "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing," which the group had already performed on the project Zappa's Universe, and the already doo woppy "Any Way the Wind Blows" and "Love of My Life." But by adding obscure numbers like "Electric Aunt Jemima" and "Harder Than Your Husband," the Persuasions clearly intended to surprise the fans -- and it works. Their inventive arrangements hide many gems, such as the word "duodenum" embedded in the theme from Lumpy Gravy. At the end of "Harder Than Your Husband," a man and a woman act out a fight, slipping in the discussion such Zappa conceptual-continuity icons as a sofa, a pair of zirconia-encrusted tweezers, and Frenchie the poodle. The three "Interlude" tracks attempt at experimental dialogues à la Lumpy Gravy and are less satisfying, but don't even total a minute. A tribute album would not be complete without special guests: Zappa alumni Bruce Fowler, Bobby Martin, and Mike Keneally contribute to one track each and reappear for "Tears Begin to Fall." Vocal group fans may feel a bit disoriented by this unlikely repertoire and the hermetic references, but Zappa aficionados, especially those who dig the man's doo wop songs, will find Frankly a Cappella to be an entertaining work of love.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/4/2000
  • Label: Earthbeat
  • UPC: 081227983222
  • Catalog Number: 79832

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Duodenum (2:35)
  2. 2 Any Way the Wind Blows (3:55)
  3. 3 Electric Aunt Jemima (3:06)
  4. 4 The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing (2:45)
  5. 5 Interlude (0:10)
  6. 6 Cheap Thrills (2:47)
  7. 7 Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel (2:54)
  8. 8 Love of My Life (3:11)
  9. 9 You Are What You Is (4:13)
  10. 10 Interlude 2 (0:29)
  11. 11 Harder Than Your Husband (3:35)
  12. 12 Find Her Finer (3:15)
  13. 13 Interlude 3 (0:25)
  14. 14 My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama (4:26)
  15. 15 Tears Began to Fall/Mystery Track (5:17)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Persuasions Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Ray Collins Composer
Frank Zappa Composer
George Horn Mastering
Jerry Lawson Producer
Gary Mankin Producer
Mark Mayo Engineer
Becky Wagley Art Direction
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