Frank Zappa

Road Ladies

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

Musically speaking, "Road Ladies" is nothing challenging -- just a typical blues-rock song, although George Duke got to play some mean organ on it. Its historical importance is more relevant, as it was, considering the running order of the 1970 LP Chunga's Revenge, the first Zappa track featuring the vocal talents of ex-Turtles Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and the song that introduced the whole "life on the road" cycle that would obsess the guitarist for two years and lead him to his first completed movie: 200 Motels. Life on the road can be lonely when "You've got nothing but groupies and promoters to love you," especially when you must beware of the "road ladies," for they can make you sick (sexually transmitted diseases before the arrival of AIDS). That's the theme of the lyrics, sung in semi-mocking blues form. "Road Ladies" was performed only a few times in 1970-1971 and reappeared a couple of times in 1973-1974, or so it seems, but the subject and part of the musical motif would evolve into "What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?" The hard rock group Nazareth played it on a few occasions (as documented on Live at the Beebs).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Chunga's Revenge 1970 Rykodisc 4:10
Understanding America 2012 Universal / Zappa Records 0:00