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Baker's Dozen

Mighty Mighty Boosh Tones: Julian Barratt's Favourite LPs
Adrian Lobb , June 21st, 2017 09:00

As Julian Barratt releases 'You Can't Handcuff The Wind', a single by alter-ego Richard Thorncroft, he guides Adrian Lobb through 13 favourite albums, from Miles Davis to Zappa, Fela Kuti and the soundtracks of the Wicker Man and more

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Frank Zappa - Overnite Sensation
Again, these are the records I got super involved in when I was young. Before I made a conscious decision to like a certain type of music. This is from that pre-stem cell era, the beginning of that time when your taste is formed that you draw on later. These are the songs I first liked.

There are a lot more rock albums I could have put on the list, like Led Zep, who I was pretty into. Overnite Sensation is still my favourite of Zappa's albums. I find comedy in music a little bit difficult. I like some comedy music and I do perpetrate it myself! I enjoy making it and I Love Flight Of The Conchords and The Lonely Island , but it can go so wrong. I came out of live comedy and did a lot of gigs with people who did comedy songs and it could be excruciating. I am still drawn to it, but trying to find a way to make it less obviously joke based and more come from a character who is funny.

With this album, Frank Zappa is trying to blend the comedy and music, but it is so brilliant in terms of the production, the writing and the musical ideas that are going on. I remember my dad warning me about some of the lyrics, the groupies, the slightly macho stuff. I went through a big Zappa phase, but found some of the jokes and sex stuff tedious.

But I really like the use of backing vocals and the guitar playing is so brilliant and weird; interesting and angular. Compared to Beefheart who is a force of nature, Zappa is like a scientist. The album they did together is interesting, but they seem to come from such different places in their process. Zappa's solos were always really hectic and strange and wild, whereas his compositions are brilliantly organised and detailed. Technically he is an interesting guitar player. Quite loose and messy.

When I was learning guitar, I was trying to learn from people playing more accurately. I was into heavy metal – Van Halen and Steve Vai, these sort of characters who play in a supernaturally accurate and fast way. As a kid you aspire to that. But Zappa is a big mess of strange harmonies and notes, so difficult to emulate. He should have made a big musical film – it is like a musical without the film.


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