|Studio album by|
|Released||October 20, 1976|
|Recorded||May–June, 1976 at Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA except: "Wonderful Wino" (1972/1973), "Friendly Little Finger" (1973/Oct. 1975) and "Black Napkins" (recorded live on Feb. 3, 1976 in Osaka, Japan)|
|Frank Zappa chronology|
|Frank Zappa solo chronology|
|Singles from Zoot Allures|
Zoot Allures is the 22nd album by the American rock musician Frank Zappa, released in October 1976 and his only release on the Warner Bros. Records label. Due to a lawsuit with his former manager, Herb Cohen, Zappa's recording contract was temporarily reassigned from DiscReet Records to Warner Bros.
The title is a pun on the French expression "Zut alors!", which conveys mild surprise.
The album was originally conceptualized as a double LP, but Zappa rearranged, edited, and shortened the track listing to what was eventually released as a single album. Zappa played a test pressing of the original album for Circus magazine in 1976, which reported a radically different, though slightly erroneous track listing that included "Sleep Dirt", "The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution", "Filthy Habits", and "Night of the Iron Sausage". The former three tracks eventually surfaced on the 1979 Sleep Dirt and the posthumous Läther; "Night of the Iron Sausage" remains unreleased, but was seemingly intended to be a guitar solo of fair length. "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" and "Zoot Allures" were absent from test pressings.
Zappa recorded the album after completing a world tour with a band including Napoleon Murphy Brock on tenor sax and vocals, Andre Lewis on keyboards, Roy Estrada on bass and Terry Bozzio on drums. However, this band appeared only on the live track "Black Napkins" with only Bozzio retained to play on the sessions, although Lewis and Estrada contributed backing vocals. After Zappa's death, one of the band's 1976 concerts was released as FZ:OZ. By the time Zoot Allures was finished, Zappa had begun forming a new live band, including Bozzio, Patrick O'Hearn and Eddie Jobson, who were pictured on the cover with Zappa, although the latter two did not perform on the album.
"Black Napkins", one of several guitar-driven pieces on Zoot Allures, began life accompanied by themes that would later make up "Sleep Dirt". The performance heard on the album was culled from Zappa's February 3, 1976 performance in Osaka, Japan, though it was edited for the official release. Along with "Zoot Allures" and "The Torture Never Stops", "Black Napkins" became a signature piece for Zappa, featuring heavily in nearly every subsequent tour and several official releases.
"Wonderful Wino" was originally released on Jeff Simmons' 1970 album, Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up. The album, produced partially by Zappa (though credited as "La Marr Bruister"), also included the title track, which later appeared on 1979's Joe's Garage.
On the liner notes to 1979's Sheik Yerbouti, Zappa notes that "Friendly Little Finger" (from Zoot Allures) was created using xenochrony.
The album's sound is influenced by heavy metal music, particularly that on the song "Ms. Pinky".
All tracks written by Frank Zappa, except "Wonderful Wino", written by Zappa and Jeff Simmons.
|1.||"Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station"||2:35|
|3.||"The Torture Never Stops"||9:52|
Keyboardist Eddie Jobson and bassist Patrick O'Hearn, who by the time of Zoot Allures' release were members of Zappa's band, appear on the album's cover but do not perform on any tracks.
|October 20, 1976||Warner Bros.||LP||BS 2970|
|United Kingdom||December 1976||Warner Bros.||LP||K 56298|
|United States||May 1990||Rykodisc||CD||RCD 10160|
|United Kingdom||May 1990||Zappa Records||CD||CDZAP22|
|United States||May 2, 1995||Rykodisc||CD||RCD 10523|
|United States||August 28, 2012||Universal Music||CD||ZR3855|
Zoot Allures on compact disc, released by Rykodisc, is mixed differently than the original vinyl. The vinyl also contains a longer edit of "Disco Boy" including a count-off by a drum machine (the first three seconds) and a longer fade-out making the track's duration 5:27, as opposed to the CD duration of 5:11. The 2012 Universal remaster restores the original vinyl mix and improves the sound quality considerably.
|United States (Billboard 200)||61|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||82|