Frank Zappa is a very polarising figure. There’s no doubting his musical proficiency. But a good deal of his music, with it’s off the wall rhythms and catchy harmonies, is filled to the brim with smutty content that makes it sort of funny at best, and deeply embarrassing and offensive at worse.
Luckily, I can skip past all this with today’s track, because it is basically instrumental. The guitar does the singing!
The full name of the song is actually “Playing A Guitar Solo With This Band Is Like Trying To Grow A Watermelon In Easter Hay”. A very Zappa-esque expression if there ever was one.
“Watermelon In Easter Hay” is from Joe’s Garage Part III, part of the epic Joe’s Garage concept album. The album was released in 1979.
The song naturally starts with a bit of weirdness, which is the way Zappa did things. The tempo of the track is very slow, with the drums beating away languorously. The bass is likewise very tranquil, leaving lots of space for the guitar.
The lead guitar is very melodious, with a sweet toned flow that works very well. It’s moving stuff, and Zappa’s insistence on excellence is on display.