Zappa, Frank: Lumpy Gravy (Coloured Vinyl 2xLP)

Zappa, Frank: Lumpy Gravy (Coloured Vinyl 2xLP)

Regular price €39.95 €0.00 Unit price per

For a start, there’s the title. Lumpy Gravy? Even by the standards of the psychedelic 60s, that was one weird way of asking a potential customer to part with their money. If they did, however, they were richly rewarded.

Living up to its title, Lumpy Gravy’s recording process was initially fraught. Having composed the entire thing himself, Zappa enlisted the assistance of a bunch of classically trained musicians he dubbed the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra, but didn’t perform on the album himself – other than to conduct from his rostrum.

The musical ensemble was top-notch and later referred to as the crème de la crème of West Coast sessioneers: folks like Victor Feldman, the English vibes master; the woodwinds of Bunk Gardner; drummer John Guerin; French horn players Vincent DeRosa, Richard Parissi, and Arthur Maebe; soundtrack ace Pete Jolly, and guitarists Dennis Budimir and Tommy Tedesco. Such musicians didn’t immediately grasp the intent of their wild-eyed, woolly-haired employer, but he was embarking on a more ambitious venture than anything dreamed up by either Phil Spector or even Brian Wilson. Zappa’s apparent eccentricities gave grist to the cliché: don’t judge a book by its cover.

Lumpy Gravy was inspired by Zappa’s hero, Edgar Varèse, the experimental world of musique concrète, John Cage, the vogue for cut-up tape experimentation, and the whole avant-garde scene which infiltrated certain strands of rock circa 1966/67. In fact, the music was first released in a different form, on a four-track cartridge, in 1967, and then re-edited that same year for a 1968 vinyl release.

While Lumpy Gravy isn’t necessarily stuffed with obvious “hits”, there are certainly stand-out moments across its two parts, with fans finding that they could trace some elements to other appearances in Zappa’s fast-growing body of work.

  1. Sink Trap
  2. Gum Joy
  3. Up & Down
  4. Local Butcher
  5. Gypsy Airs
  6. Hunchy Punchy
  7. Foamy Soaky
  8. Let's Eat Out
  9. Teen-Age Grand Finale

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