One Size Fits All

Frank Zappa / The Mothers of Invention

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One Size Fits All Review

by François Couture

Released soon after the live Roxy & Elsewhere, One Size Fits All contained more of the material premiered during the 1973-1974 tour, but this time largely re-recorded in the studio. The band remains the same: George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Chester Thompson, Tom Fowler, and Ruth Underwood. Johnny "Guitar" Watson overdubbed some vocals and Captain Beefheart (credited as Bloodshot Rollin' Red) played some harmonica ("when present," state the liner notes). The previous album focused on complex music suites. This one is more song-oriented, alternating goofy rock songs with more challenging numbers in an attempt to find a juste milieu between Over-Nite Sensation and Roxy & Elsewhere. "Inca Roads," "Florentine Pogen," "Andy," and "Sofa" all became classic tracks and live favorites. These are as close to progressive rock (a demented, clownish kind) Zappa ever got. The obscurity of their subjects, especially the flying saucer topic of "Inca Roads," seem to spoof prog rock clichés. The high-flying compositions are offset by "Can't Afford No Shoes," "Po-Jama People," and "San Ber'dino," more down-to-earth songs. Together with Zoot Allures, One Size Fits All can be considered as one of the easiest points of entry into Zappa's discography. The album artwork features a big maroon sofa, a conceptual continuity clue arching back to a then-undocumented live suite (from which "Sofa" was salvaged) and a sky map with dozens of bogus stars and constellations labeled with inside jokes in place of names. An essential third-period Zappa album.

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