"Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar" by Frank Zappa Is Released
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar is a triple vinyl album featuring live material recorded by Frank Zappa between February 1977 and December 1980.
The final track, "Canard du Jour", is a duet with Frank Zappa on electric bouzouki and Jean-Luc Ponty on baritone violin dating from a 1972 studio session.
The album was released in 1981 and reissued by Rykodisc on CD in 1986 as a two disc set and again in 1995 as a three disc box. There is a widely held belief that the order of the tracks "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar" and "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More" were swapped on the two disc set, however this is not true. The source of the confusion may be the back cover of the 2-CD set, which lists the two tracks as swapped. The inside booklet, however, lists the tracks in correct order, and the actual track timings and contents confirm that "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar" (5:38) is on disc 1 and "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More" (6:53) is on disc 2.
The album is entirely instrumental and features mainly guitar solos, hence the title. It is, however, interspersed with brief verbal comments between tracks, many of which also appear on Läther, as was originally intended. Each disc is titled after a variation on the album's name, which is shared with the title track found on each respective disc.
Most solos on the album are culled from performances of another song. The three title tracks are derived from successive renditions of "Inca Roads"; various other solos were taken from readings of "Conehead", "Easy Meat", "The Illinois Enema Bandit", "City of Tiny Lites", "Black Napkins", "The Torture Never Stops", "Chunga's Revenge", and "A Pound for a Brown on the Bus". "Ship Ahoy" was the coda from a performance of "Zoot Allures" the first part of which appears on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3.
The opening track, "five-five-FIVE", is built around a musical idea that involves two measures of playing in 5/8 time followed by one measure in 5/4, thus explaining the song's name.
Some of the solos from these albums are featured in The Frank Zappa Guitar Book.