The Tubey Magical keyboards at the start of The Grand Wazoo are amazing sounding on the best copies. How Zappa ever decided to go digital when he managed to record so well in analog (from time to time, let’s be honest) is beyond me.
Smear on the horn transients are always an issue on this album (and Zappa’s previous big band album, Waka/Jawaka). After that we would say a lack of top end is the other most common shortcoming we hear. To find a copy that’s not dull and smeary is no mean feat.
The vocals on For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) are usually slightly spitty. The best copies keep the spit under control.
Blue Labels and Reissues
The Blue Label originals are dramatically better than the later Warner Brother reissues. I would avoid any reissues of Zappa’s albums; we’ve never heard a good one. And that includes the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue of Hot Rats.(more…)
This track tends to be a bit dull and could use a little sweetening on the top end on almost any copy you find. 1 or 2 dB at 10k might be just what the doctor ordered.
Willie the Pimp
This is one of the two extended tracks on the album; the second track on each side is “the long one,” and they both suffer from the same slight upper midrange boost. This song and The Gumbo Variations on side two are both difficult to turn up due to their tendency to be slightly aggressive.
Son Of Mr. Green Genes
One of the best sounding tracks on the album, and probably the best sound to be found on side one.
Possibly the best sounding song Zappa ever recorded. With the right pressing, the sound is PERFECTION.
Insanely good sound throughout with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it
The overall sound here is incredibly rich, warm and full-bodied yet still super detailed, spacious and dynamic; the energy level is off the charts too!
Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that’s clean enough to bother playing
“One of the most ambitious debuts in rock history, Freak Out! was a seminal concept album that somehow foreshadowed both art rock and punk at the same time. Its four LP sides deconstruct rock conventions right and left, eventually pushing into territory inspired by avant-garde classical composers.” – All Music
This stunning two-pack boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
The sound is huge and spacious with richness and Tubey Magic like nothing you’ve heard
Most copies we played were just too thin and crude-sounding to capture our attention — we played a good-sized stack of copies and these two were the ones that stood out and made the music work for us – and it will be quite a while before we are likely able to find any others
5 stars: “… the music reveals itself as exceptionally strong, and Zappa’s politics and satirical instinct have rarely been so focused and relevant, making We’re Only in It for the Money quite probably his greatest achievement.”
Excellent sound for both sides of this wacky album! Any fan of the Mothers should know by now that this isn’t a very sonically impressive recording, but the sound on these Super Hot Stamper sides went far beyond what we heard elsewhere. It was a blast hearing what a serious pressing could do in relation to the mediocre copies I’ve played for so many years. And there are certainly some good sounding parts, but the presentation of the music is so wacky and lo-fi at times that I don’t want to raise expectations to an unreasonable level.
Don’t expect miracles here, nothing is going to turn this album into a stunning Demo Disc. However, those of you who love the music and want to hear what a serious pressing of this insane platter can do should get a kick out of this excellent sounding copy. I don’t think you can find better sound for this album no matter what you do. Your satisfaction is as always 100% guaranteed.(more…)
This classic Zappa & Beefheart album boasts STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
This pressing is head and shoulders above the pack, with the kind of big, punchy, full-bodied sound this music absolutely demands
Muffin Man is obviously the high point here – it’s one of my All-Time Favorite songs and never fails to bring a smile
“This is the last album to feature the highly technical jazz fusion of Mothers of Invention, whose roots can be traced back to 1973 circa Over-Nite Sensation.”
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Both sides here are big, bold and lively with strong vocal presence and a big bottom end. Many copies have a tendency to get a bit gritty and grainy up top, but just listen to how smooth and sweet the cymbals sound here. Some of its other strengths are that it’s full-bodied, and tonally correct from top to bottom. The bass is meaty and punchy, and the top end is wonderfully extended. You can hear lots of ambience the cymbals and hi-hats. There’s really nothing between you and the music.
Some of this album is recorded live and some of it is studio material. The live tracks offer some of the best live Frank Zappa sound you will EVER hear.
The album is just plain wacky fun. You get the maximum entertainment value with this one. Muffin Man is obviously the high point — it’s one of my personal favorite Zappa tracks. This, in my opinion, is the last record Zappa made that’s any good.(more…)
This Minty looking Discreet LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It’s very transparent and full-bodied from top to bottom. The bass is meaty and punchy, and the top end is wonderfully extended. You can hear lots of ambience the cymbals and hi-hats. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything between you and the music. I can’t remember ever hearing this record sound so good.
Some of this music is recorded live and some of it is studio material. The live tracks offer some of the best live Frank Zappa sound you will EVER hear.
This recording is just plain wacky fun. You get the maximum entertainment value with this one. Muffin Man is the high point of this album. It’s one of my favorite Zappa tracks.(more…)
No Demo Disc by any stretch, this Hot Stamper beat the pants off of what appears to be a true first pressing that we just happened to have on hand. Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that’s clean enough to bother playing. Our copy here earned grades of A Plus on sides one, two and four, and a grade of A Double Plus on side three. No copy in our shootout earned a higher grade than A++, for the simple reason that we just can’t find enough clean original copies with which to do a definitve shootout. (more…)
This Bizarre Blue Label LP plays about as quietly as they ever do. Zappa in this period provides a musical wild ride on record like no other artist of his day. For those of you who appreciate his music this album is guaranteed to provide plenty of entertainment and will surely reward repeated plays. I listened to it hundreds of times in my high school days; to this day it holds a special place in my collection.
Like many Zappa records from the period, especially the two releases that immediately preceded this one, Weasils and Burnt Weeny, the sound is all over the place. The most you can hope for is that the best sounding tracks sound right, and here they definitely do. Play Twenty Small Cigars on side one, or The Clap on side two to hear that there is good sound on both sides.(more…)
This lively Zappa pressing boasts two excellent Double Plus (A++) sides – one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout!
All Analog Tubey Magical sound from 1970, with a spacious, three-dimensional soundstage and a big bottom end
Clear, high-rez sound, crucial to making sense of this complex music – exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
“Zappa’s anything-goes approach and the distance between his extremes are what make Weasels Ripped My Flesh ultimately invigorating.”
The sound is big and bold throughout with excellent clarity, presence, and wonderful transparency.
If you’re not already a Zappa fan, be warned that experimental song structures, feedback, dirty lyrics, avant-garde jazz freakouts and gas mask solos (yes, you read that right) all figure into the mix here. I don’t know of anyone other than Frank Zappa who could shape that all into one amazing, fairly cohesive LP.(more…)
An outstanding copy, earning seriously good grades of Double Plus (A++) or BETTER on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
The sound is super big and full-bodied with super present vocals, a big bottom end, and lots of energy/li>
Guaranteed to beat your old copy and the recent reissue or your money back (of course)
4 1/2 stars on Allmusic and Zappa’s only album to crack the Top Ten
An excellent copy of Zappa’s legendary Apostrophe, one of his most commercially successful albums and, more importantly to folks like us, one of his best sounding. We’ve been picking up this album for years in the hope that we could find one with the kind of sound we’ve been hearing on the best copies of Waka/Jawaka and Hot Rats, but it took us until 2015 to get one up on the site.
Why is that? Well for starters, this is the only Zappa album to ever hit the Top Ten. More copies pressed equals more mediocre copies pressed, and most of them we’ve picked up over the years certainly have qualified for that designation.
The best copies really delivered, with superb clarity and transparency that were missing from most of the pressings we’ve played. The sound is bigger, richer and smoother than we’ve come to expect for this album. The bottom end is strong and there’s lots of space and separation between the various parts.
One of Zappa’s last good studio albums in our opinion, with great songs like Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, Uncle Remus and the title track.(more…)