The soundtrack to Frank Zappa
's strange early-'70s film 200 Motels
was always doomed to be a peripheral entry in his discography. The movie's story was not easy to follow, and neither is the record (not that plot was ever a big focus of the production). It's typically wacky Zappa
of the era, with unpredictable sharp turns between crunchy rock bombast, orchestration, and jazz/classical influences, as well as interjections of wacky spoken dialogue. Those who like his late-'60s/early-'70s work -- not as song-oriented as his first albums, in other words, but not as "serious" or as silly as his later records -- will probably like this fine, although it's not up to the level of Uncle Meat
. It's funny in spots as well, especially the part where a disgruntled sideman gets tempted away from the band to do his own thing (a libretto that was, apparently, based on real-life incidents concerning Zappa
sideman Jeff Simmons
, who left during the project). On the other hand, there's a growing tendency to deploy the smutty, cheap humor that would soon dominate much of Zappa
's work. Originally released in 1971, this didn't make it onto CD until 1997, in a two-disc package that included a bit of bonus material, although this was merely four promotional radio spots for the film and the single edit of "Magic Fingers."