September 15, 1978
Pop/Rock, Comedy, Novelty, Experimental Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Hard Rock, Jazz-Rock, Album Rock, Art Rock, Prog-Rock

Album Review

Studio Tan is one of four albums culled from the ill-fated 1976 box set Läther and released by Warner Bros. without Frank Zappa having a word to say about the final product (including the horrible artwork). The 21-minute opener, "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary," is the culmination of Zappa's art of storytelling. A complex piece painstakingly assembled in the studio over three years, it allies the comedy rock of the Flo & Eddie era with the jazzy feel of The Grand Wazoo and the twisted prog rock of the 1973-1974 band. Yet, it is greater than the sum of its parts, proposing an unmatched musical narrative that makes "Billy the Mountain" the work of a child and amounts to a stunning synthesis of the man's influences, stylistic range, and studio techniques. Side two features an intentionally stupid pop song, "Lemme Take You to the Beach," and two instrumental pieces written a few years earlier. The personnel is for the most part the same as on Roxy & Elsewhere. For the CD reissue, Zappa tweaked a few things, starting with the song titles, wrongly understood by Warner at the time (for instance "Redunzel" became "RDNZL"). He also edited a couple of short bits out of "Peccary," but replaced the original fade-out by a legitimate finale. Studio Tan (along with Sleep Dirt) brings a sense of closure to Zappa's mid-'70s. If you like cartoon music and silly stories, it is worth your money for "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary" alone.
François Couture, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. The Adventures of Greggery Peccary
  2. Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra [Instrumental]
  3. Lemme Take You to the Beach
  4. RDNZL
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