Zoot Allures

Released: October 29 1976


  1. Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station
  2. Black Napkins
  3. The Torture Never Stops
  4. Ms. Pinky
  5. Find Her Finer
  6. Friendly Little Finger
  7. Wonderful Wino
  8. Zoot Allures
  9. Disco Boy

Frank Zappa (guitar, bass, synth, lead-vocal), Terry Bozzio (drums), Davey Moire (vocals on “Wind up…” and “Disco Boy”), Andre Lewis (organ, vocals on “Black Napkins” and “Disco Boy”), Roy Estrada (bass, vocals on “Black Napkins”, “Ms.Pinky”, “Find Her Finer”, “Disco Boy”), Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, vocal on “Black Napkins”), Ruth Underwood (synth on “Ms. Pinky”, marimba & synth on “Friendly Little Finger” and “Zoot Allures”), Donnie Vliet (harmonica on “Find Her Finer”), Ruben Ladron de Guevara (bg vocal on “Find Her Finer”), Dave Parlato (bass on “Zoot Allures”), Lu Ann Neil (harp on “Zoot Allures”), Sharkie Barker (bg vocal on “Disco Boy”)

15 thoughts on “Zoot Allures”

  1. One of my favorites here. This is the one I play for folks that don’t know about Zappa or think most of his stuff is just noodling. Just a balls out rock album. Love the orgasm solo in TNS also.

  2. This is one of those patched together from odds and ends albums from the mid 1970s, but it is still one of my favorites. The first appearence of “Black Napkins” alone is worth the price. I think it was originally supposed to be a double album, but Warner Brothers didn’t want one at that time, so it got chopped to a single disc. I wore out my vinyl copy in the late seventies so I was joyful when it was finally rereleased on cd. Zappa did alot of good music in the mid to late 1970’s, but the albums all seemed to be patchwork, cut and paste complilations.

  3. The stuff Zap did from Hot Rats to One Size is my favorite Zap. As a whole, this album doesn’t do it for me, but on separate days i can really get into ‘Gas Station and Black Napkins.

  4. I tend to agree a lot with Joe’ opinion in the review right before mine. There are undeniably amazing pieces on this album and the best are the instrumentals, “Zoot Allures” and “Black Napkins”. The songs are rather stale, but mainly in the way that they were recorded. Later on, the live versions of tunes like “Disco Boy” would kick ass, but here they lumber along, slow and stale. “The Torture Never Stops” is arguably one of the most disturbing songs ever recorded. The way Frank manipulates the board and the engineering on it is one step shy of obscene and violent. The slow, sick vocal, punctuated by the distant moans and shrieks of the female voice is really painful to listen to, even if Frank was exploring the darker side of humanity. This album seems to have been produced and realized during one of the most unhappy and dire times in Zappa’s career. He was practically peniless, stuck in that suffocating lawsuit with Warner Brothers, had no control or ownership of any of his past recordings, and was sitting at home working on new tunes into a plain-old tape recorder. Although some close friends helped him out on this record (Bozzio, Underwood), it is amazing how many of the backing parts were played by Frank himself. Maybe “Zoot Allures” was an album to make so that Frank didn’t go crazy waiting for his whole life to get off hold. A strange and unique work.

  5. Terry Bozzio says about this album:

    ‘I was 25 years old. I took a few weeks off and got a call from Frank, “I had to let Roy, Andre & Napoleon go, so it’s just you and me again. Why don’t you come down to the Record Plant and play on some stuff I’ve been working on.”

    I walked into the Record Plant. Franks(my)huge drumset was all set up and mic’d. He had recorded a bunch of tunes we had been playing with a “Rhythm Ace” drum machine-he had played bass, guitar and keyboards-I had never played with a beat box before, and playing drums to an already recorded track was a totally new concept to me. (never mind the fact that this was the second track I had ever recorded in a studio period!)’


  6. a great altogether album. me and my pal have dubbed it “sludge rock” due to the slow rock feeling, and also subject matter of the lyrics. a terrific album musically, interspersed with some great guitar solos. it’s also interesting how alot of the songs are Bozzio on drums with Zappa playing all the other instruments (overdubbed) himself.

  7. I still get a kick out of Moire’s vocals on ‘…Gas Station,’ and will always find ‘Black Napkins’ amazing. A great one to use as an introduction to those who are new to Zappa.

  8. – mwell, i come back now 2 having The Zoot Album after many years – i’d had quite a spell of Zootophobia, due 2 my own Continuity-Deficit or even alleged individual/personal Tastes … are those still legal?

    Just asking.

    From Moment One this big thing whales the tar back into ye – like the opening minute of “Friendly Little Finger” where you marvel at the abscence of agonized screams from his band as Maestro Zappa converts them into a blur of Euterpean Magical Protein-Piggery – or how smoothly & sweetly said phenomenon is segued into classic rock-pomp via “Wonderful Wino” – or that long paean 2 Unmitigated Squelching he plays smack-dub in the midst of the sublime audio-viral “Ms. Pinky” – & of course the title track’s Meta-Pretty. That must be so, & no mistake, ’cause i seen it on that there TeeVee, on that Mike Douglas Show!


    “You’ll love it! It’s a way of Life!”

  9. Go and try to get the vinyl version of this. It’s a totally different experience.
    Believe me!


  10. After revisting this album just yesterday (the vinyl version of course) I have to add this album has a dark mood and intimate close-up intensitiy that is singular and exceptional in FZ’s catalogue. A classic.

    BTW, I also put Sleep Dirt on (the vinyl once again). Those two belong together somehow. At least Filthy Habits is from the same sessions.

    Dave Parlato = FZ’s most overlooked and underrated bassist – a genius.
    His playing on Zoot Allures, Filthy Habits and Duke of Prunes (Orchestral Favourites) is some of the best bassplaying ever.


  11. Has ‘Zoot Allures’ and ‘Black Napkins’, as well as ‘Disco Boy’ and ‘The Torture Never Stops’ but most of these songs are better in later live versions with a full band.

  12. I would like to agree with Michael Pabst above – Parlato is definitely an overlooked bassist. His playing on Duke Of Orchestral Prunes in particular is superb.

    Zoot Allures is probably my favourite FZ album. Black Napkins, Zoot Allures, The Torture Never Stops, Disco Boy all on one record – brilliant! Although there’s a lack of the complexities of other albums, I just think this has a really distinctive feel to it and there’s a large number of some of my favourit FZ pieces.

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