Frank Zappa

Yo' Mama

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

The last piece on the 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti, "Yo' Mama" is a slow rock song with a verse and chorus followed by an extended solo guitar section, a pompous keyboard section (not unlike the one found in "Easy Meat"), and a reprise of the verse and chorus. The subject is inaptitude; the protagonist is told to "stay with [his] mama" so she can take care of him, since he cannot seem to do it himself: "You ain't really made for bein' out in the street/Ain't much hope for a fool like you/'Cause if you play the game, you will get beat."

The song was written very early in 1978 and premiered in February of the same year. In a 1980 interview, keyboardist Tommy Mars stated that it was autobiographical, as Frank Zappa wrote it after a particularly disastrous rehearsal where he was fined for not learning his parts correctly. It was performed throughout the 1978 tour. The recording found on Sheik Yerbouti is based on live tracks, but includes overdubbed backing vocals and keyboards, plus a guitar solo that comes from an unrelated performance. Once released on LP, the song disappeared from the live set, although it made a few discreet appearances in 1981. The tribute band the Muffin Men covered it on Say Cheese & Thank You, even though it had little impact on Zappa fans.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sheik Yerbouti 1979 Rykodisc 12:37
Poughkeepsie 2018 Chrome Dreams / Smokin' 10:12