Frank Zappa

Dong Work for Yuda

Composed by John Smothers / Frank Zappa

Song Review by

Included on Frank Zappa's 1979 concept album Joe's Garage, "Dong Work for Yuda" is one of the reasons why the story line feels weak -- it has absolutely nothing to do with it. Written in late 1976, the song is a salute to John Smothers, Zappa's bodyguard from 1975 to 1985. The man can be seen -- and most of all heard talking -- in the movie Baby Snakes. Every spoken word in the song (performed by Terry Bozzio) is inspired by his very personal adaptation of the English language. The sexual topics also come from his list of favorite things to say.

"Dong Work for Yuda" was performed a few times in January and February 1977 in a harmonized a cappella form. Zappa recycled it for Joe's Garage, arranging it in a medium tempo song. It needed a place in the story line, so John the bodyguard was made into Bald-Headed John, an inmate in the prison Joe is incarcerated in. The artifice did not convince many people, but the track features some excellent drum work by Vinnie Colaiuta -- and very peculiar examples of Smothers' own dialect that foretell the vocabulary of Thing-Fish.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Joe's Garage, Acts 1-3 1979 Rykodisc 5:03