Frank Zappa, Sheik Yerbouti

Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 12.18.11 in Reviews

Sheik Yerbouti

Frank Zappa
Frank at his bawdy best

Zappaphiles bemoaned Frank’s post-”Yellow Snow” obsession with ultra-hooky novelty songs and potty humor, but it exposed him to his biggest and broadest audience ever — and it enabled him to afford orchestras for his more serious work. But for fans of Zappa’s smuttiest material, Sheik Yerbouti is Frank at his bawdy best. The notorious album received many dubious honors: disco send-up “Dancin’ Fool” was Zappa’s first Grammy nomination and a Dr. Demento staple, synthy S&M snark-fest “Bobby Brown Goes Down” rankled American gay rights groups and became a Norwegian chart-topper and his most controversial track ever, the unrelentingly offensive (not to mention catchy-as-hell) “Jewish Princess,” garnered an FCC protest from the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai Brith. Cash-in from misunderstood artiste or daring experiment from First Amendment champion, Sheik‘s dumbed-down hooks are still some of Zappa’s most addictive.