Sheik Yerbouti review by Frank Zappa

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  • Released: Mar 3, 1979
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (39 votes)
Frank Zappa: Sheik Yerbouti
2

Sound — 10
Almost 40 years after the release of Zappa's first album, I myself started to appreciate the man, which, in my opinion, should have come way sooner because everything about his style appeals to and amazes me. 1979's Sheik Yerbouti is only a tiny piece of Zappa's legacy, which will be the focus of this review. This album, if there ever was one, was the climax of Frank's career. Sure, he always dared to be different, but Sheik Yerbouti, in essence was Frank untamed, saying what he wanted to say due to his departure from the Warner Bros label. The majority of the album is a parody of different musicians (as evident in the title), however, I will discuss that more thoroughly in the lyrics section. As far as the sound perspective goes, he is kicking on all cylinders, making the guitar sound easy. Like most Zappa works, there are some instumentals, such as the distorted garage rock piece, Rat Tomago and the bassy jazz number Rubber Shirt. He really effectively utilizes fusion on this album, which is his staple. The very last track on the album, Yo' Mama, has to be one of the highlights though. It is just 12 minutes of brilliance, accompanied by an alarming dose of Zappa chops to make it sweeter. There is not one style the man leaves out on Sheik Yerbouti and not a one song sounds remotely similiar, which makes the album remarkable, above others.

Lyrics — 9
Genius. Not many people before Zappa even thought of picking fun and other musicians or even satiring life, for that matter. He makes several digs at society on Sheik Yerbouti. One of these is "Flakes." This song caught me off guard at first because, if you listen to it, it sounds just like Bob Dylan, making fun of his vocals and his use of harmonica in song. Another example is "I Have Been In You", which could be compared to such songs such as Frampton's "I'm In You." The subject matter of the song is sex, if you weren't able to detect that. He also wrote an observational, yet intolerant ode to the average Jew with Jewish Princess, further reinforcing the amount of balls Zappa had. You can't get any more original with these lyrics. Weird Al should worship the ground that this man walked on.

Overall Impression — 10
The album, as a whole, is just captivating. Not many artists can completely change my perspective on music, and I think no others ever will except for Frank Zappa. This is the first album of his that I ever owned and it will always have more sentimental meaning that others. Zappa released over 70 albums throughout the bulk of his career in music, so picking a favorite could be impossible for the average Frank fan, including myself. However, I can assure you that Sheik Yerbouti is one that you can constantly go back to, even when you've tired out the old record player.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    stibaryarg
    ZAPPA=GOD Information is not knowledge Knowledge is not wisdom Wisdom is not truth Truth is not beauty Beauty is not love Love is not music Music is THE BEST...
    amniotic
    it's amazing how for his first album he already had 18 awesome tracks and too look how much good shit he released ya know, he's one freaking gnarly dude!
    GoDrex
    One of my favorite albums. People often focus on the lyrics, but if you focus on the music it's even more mind blowing. Songs like City Of Timy Lights, I'm So Cute and Wild Love are amazing.
    medoda
    Sheik Yerbouti is mostly a very heavily overdubed live album. It's a great place to start a very great experience. Rubber Shirt never actually happened the drum and bass were edited together from entirely different sessions.The man and the studio were made for each other.
    ripoffhitman
    He went too far and he pissed off all the critics. Somebody had to taek a bullet and push themselves into deep waters, and that's what Frank Zappa did with this album. Making fun of jews, folk singers, and being outright unsensible. RIP Zappa
    EddieCraig
    My favorite straight rock album by him This would probably be the best record by zappa to start on, either that or overnight sensation.
    GreekRockr9
    fnmag wrote: The man was a scientist of music, like damskippy says about the chills he gets listing to "Stinkfoot" it will also chill you to listen to the old Carolina hardcore, (Geez what a jam) off the over night sensation record give it a hear
    Carolina Hard Core Ecstacy was off of Bongo Fury. I'm not sure what other albums it's appeared on. It wasn't on Over Nite Sensation. But listen to the song. It's incredible.
    maidenpriest69
    Basquiat wrote: Zappa is one of my biggest inspirations as a musician. He really changed the way I look at music. He was a genius far ahead of his time. R.I.P. Sheik Yerbouti is one of my favorites by him - I spin the LPs all the time. To anyone who's never listened: Just do it. You need the album in entirety though, for the conceptual continuity!
    hell yea
    SnookM
    stibaryarg wrote: Information is not knowledge Knowledge is not wisdom Wisdom is not truth Truth is not beauty Beauty is not love Love is not music Music is THE BEST...
    I love that song!!!
    fnmag
    The man was a scientist of music, like damskippy says about the chills he gets listing to "Stinkfoot" it will also chill you to listen to the old Carolina hardcore, (Geez what a jam) off the over night sensation record give it a hear
    DownInAHole.
    AvernusAblaze wrote: Almost 40 years... fail lol, minor mistake i just like bustin' balls, not in a gay way tho
    It has been almost 40 years since his debut album, ****head.
    AvernusAblaze
    Almost 40 years... fail lol, minor mistake i just like bustin' balls, not in a gay way tho
    damskippy
    Frank was and still is one of the most under-rated guitarists of all time. I still get chills when I hear his outburst on "Stinkfoot".
    blackhawk397
    Bobby Brown Goes Down is arguably one of the funniest songs I have ever heard. And Broken Hearts Are For Assholes is also quite incredible musically
    UltimateG
    Zappa is awesome, but this wasn't his first album,
    AvernusAblaze : Almost 40 years... fail lol, minor mistake
    Basquiat
    Zappa is one of my biggest inspirations as a musician. He really changed the way I look at music. He was a genius far ahead of his time. R.I.P. Sheik Yerbouti is one of my favorites by him - I spin the LPs all the time. To anyone who's never listened: Just do it. You need the album in entirety though, for the conceptual continuity!