Sheik Yerbouti

Sheik Yerbouti

For many casual listeners, Sheik Yerbouti features the Frank Zappa they remember. Deeply satiric, bitingly funny and simply over-the-top, Sheik was credited at one point as being the best-selling album in the Zappa catalog. Zappa used these "commercial" releases to finance his instrumental work and his more unusual experiments. "I Have Been In You" goofs on Peter Frampton's cheesecake I'm In You album. "Flakes" observes the air-head side of his home state, California, with a sudden Dylan parody by guitarist Adrian Belew. "Dancin' Fool" became an actual disco hit, despite skewering the music it invokes. "Jewish Princess" angered the Anti-Defamation League while Zappa stood behind his song. "Broken Hearts Are For A*****es" cranks out hard-edged FM radio rock. "Bobby Brown Goes Down" became a huge hit in Norway, but was too risqué for American audiences. In lesser hands, these pop songs could've fallen flat, but Zappa charges up the music to such high levels of musicianship that it's not easy to dismiss. It's hard to believe but most of the basic tracks were recorded live with studio overdubs added later.

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