#3: Frank Zappa – Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar (1981)

Hi. Here at Pierce’s Press I take a look at bloated, self-indulgent, expansive double albums and gleefully trim it back to a single, dreck-free, no filler, concise, listenable record without having to reach for the skip button or needle re-positioning.

I think it may benefit some over-stuffed double albums from a little tightening up. It’s certainly the case for UnDoubled #3: Frank Zappa’s Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar series, a project consisting of Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar Some More and Return of the Son of Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, now receiving the UnDoubled mistreatment.

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Shut Up UnDoubled

Side One:

  1.  Five-Five-Five (2:35)
  2.  Treacherous Cretins (5:35)
  3.  Heavy Duty Judy (4:42)
  4.  Soup ‘N Old Clothes (7:49)

Side Two:

  1.  The Deathless Horsie (6:20)
  2.  Pink Napkins (4:35)
  3.  Pinocchio’s Furniture (2:05)
  4.  Stucco Homes (9:08)

These mostly live instrumental passages and Zappa’s beautifully lyrical guitar soloing were used as links between tracks at concerts, these recorded between 1977 and 1980, eventually released in the all-encompassing triple album Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar in 1981. Trimming a 20-track set down to a manageable eight numbers was no easy task, especially when the entire album is of an extraordinarily high standard. This was a hugely important venture into guitar-jazz conceptualization for the artist, this abridged version captures the creme de la creme: soft touches (Pink Napkins), sublime melodic phrasing (The Deathless Horsie) and intense guitar assaults (Five-Five-Five) from one of the great guitarists in rock history.

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