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  • Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch
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Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, May 2, 1995
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B0000009T4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,116 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. No Not Now
2. Valley Girl
3. I Come From Nowhere
4. Drowning Witch
5. Envelopes
6. Teen-Age Prostitute

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Shipping Arrive To by Frank Zappa

From the Label

Who'd have thunk it: FZ was listening to his daughter Moon imitate some of the "valley girls" she'd encountered in high school, and asked her to put that unique monologue on tape. Matching Moon's efforts with a catchy little tune composed for the occasion, FZ scored an honest-to-God hit single (#32 on the singles chart, his highest-ever charting single in America), and a national trend of sorts. "Valley Girl" also garnered FZ his second Grammy nomination, for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

This was one of the very few single-vinyl albums that FZ released during the later part of his career, but the six tracks cover a variety of ground, from the instrumental workouts on the title track to the operatic "Teenage Prostitute," one of the overlooked comedic gems of the Zappa catalogue.

Customer Reviews

So ignore the naysayers and check out this remarkable album.
"theslime"
There is a very surfy California sound to this entire album, part in the rhythm, the guitar sound, bass sound, the drum sound, and the lyrics.
Douglas H. Watts
And if you like Vally Girl do yourself a favor and listen to the rest of the album - you might just like it.
Gabriel Girard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Solo Goodspeed on May 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard the title cut of this album live in performance in Santa Monica, back around '81, a mind boggling instrumental reminiscent of an expanded version of The Black Page. For that piece alone, this album couldn't release soon enough; I was lucky I had a friend with an audience recording to placate me in the meantime. Ironically, this album gained popularity as being the "Valley Girl" album, and the song is indeed an amusing diversion until the novelty wears off after repeated listenings. "No Not Now", the opener, and "I Come From Nowhere", are this collection's weak points, and should be avoided so as not to diminish the brilliance of the second half, which kicks off with the title cut, builds up in density and intensity with the sonically challenging "Envelopes" (as different a piece from Valley Girl as one could imagine, which one really can't), and finishing with "TeenAge Prostitute" (imagine "I'm So Cute" with a bit of circus music worked in), featuring operatic vocals by Lisa Popeil (daugter of the inventor of the Pocket Fisherman and Kitchen Magician). Now there is more trivia than you needed, but at least this album gets a review from someone who really listened to it. A flawed collection, but the flaws are minimal, with instrumental material that ranks among Zappa's greatest. You make the call.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Watts on December 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I always wished Zappa could have kept the sound and intensity he achieved in "Ship Arriving Too Late ..." for at least one more record.

The first song, "No Not Now" has ridiculously stupid lyrics and an excellent blues/doo-wop melody straight from "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets" welded to an infectious hardcore popping bass riff.

Valley Girl has one of the most crushing bass and guitar parts heard then or ever in semi-popular music. because moon zappa's vocal is so funny and off the wall it is easy to forget contemplating the weirdness of this song charting in the top 40 at the end of the 1970s with such a heavy and grinding musical chassis.

There is a very surfy California sound to this entire album, part in the rhythm, the guitar sound, bass sound, the drum sound, and the lyrics. In some ways the sound and attitude reminds me of California bands like Agent Orange and the Minutemen and the Dead Kennedys. It's a light and carefree sound but also deceptively serious. Because Frank Zappa was practically a southern California native, a desert rat Army brat from deep in the Mojave, I like to think that he had this sound in his skin and bones and on Ship Arriving Too Late ... it just oozed out of his pores.

"I Come From Nowhere" has always been one of my favorite Zappa songs. It fuses some of Frank's most aggressive speed metal rhythm and solo guitar playing, an astoundingly tight rhythm section, a completely insane vocal delivery with lyrics that are as funny and disturbing as "Who Are the Brain Police?"

The opening section of Frank's guitar solo is as violent a piece of music as can be found anywhere and his guitar tone rips your head off. Patrick O'Hearn's astounding bass playing takes the song into a whole different category.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grigory's Girl on September 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD
One of the greatest things about this album is that, thanks to the song Valley Girl, a lot of people who would never even think about owning a Zappa album bought one. So all the teenagers who really dug the Valley Girl song actually got to listen to 5 other great Zappa tracks. Granted, there's probably a few of them out there who played the album once, and never played it again. But they always say to themselves "what was that really long song on side two? I never heard anything like that. I can't get it out of my head! AARRGGHH!!!!" The stuff got inside their heads, and stayed there. I do rather like this album, especially the title track (the 12 minute one) and No Not Now. Envelopes is OK (I prefer the LSO version), and I do like Valley Girl.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patrik Lemberg on April 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
SATLTSADW is a short [34 min.] album introducing future-regular time-keepers Chad Wackerman and Scott Thunes; Wackerman plays drums throughout, and Thunes plays bass on four tracks. The album features both studio and live-material, and often both at once (yes, there are over-dubs). It's another album where Steve Vai is credited for "impossible guitar parts", which are performed in e.g. the instrumental composition "Envelopes", and in the heavy-metal-opera-like "Teen-Age Prostitute"; songs that give this album a lot of status, as does the guitar-solo on "Drowning Witch" - it proves that Zappa did right when deciding to keep this drummer and bassist together until the end of his rock'n'roll-band years.
Feminine voices dominate the album; Moon Zappa plays the part of the "Valley Girl" (a hilarious tune), and Lisa Popiel plays the part of the "Teen-Age Prostitute".
The album isn't a must, but is recommended to regular FZ fans, since it--with the exception of "Drowning Witch" and "Envelopes"--only features songs that cannot be heard on any other Zappa album. However, the versions of the two above mentioned tracks are here performed at their best.
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