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Purple Onion

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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One year after erstwhile Primus leader Les Claypool reemerged as the leader of the jammy Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade, the bass wrangler throws another curve. With Purple Onion, Claypool reigns in much of the free-floating improvisation of FFB's initial releases in favor of something more akin to a proper Primus album, complete with bizarre comic voices, eccentric scenarios, and funky interludes. But this isn't a true Primus album, since there are absolutely no seafaring references on any of the 12 songs. In fact, many of the numbers are less songs than loosely connected chapters of a concept album somewhat akin to Alice Cooper's grim 1975 classic, Welcome to My Nightmare. But instead of Cooper's disturbed Steven, Claypool chronicles David Makalster, "a 10 o'clock newscaster" whose broadcasts of doom are worthy of Frank Zappa in his prime. Claypool here demonstrates that he has the daring to take Pink Floyd's excesses and fuse them with his own nerdy paranoia to create a singular album. --Jaan Uhelszki
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Prawn Song
  • Run Time: 56 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006IT6C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,666 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Look Frank Zappa has been dead for just about ten years. And, I for one, was mourning the loss of his sense of humor combined with razor sharp playing/ability. hence Primus/Les Claypool has really filled the gap nicely, and PURPLE ONION is fantastic.
This CD could have EASILY been part of the early 80's FZ lineup of releases (THEM OR US, SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE..., YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS..etc) and it is very fresh like everything FZ did.
Be prepared to laugh, because Les C. believes that humor does have a place in music, and this release is great in the lost genre of great musicians that play flawlessly/amazingly with tongue firmly in cheek.
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Format: Audio CD
It's been three years since the mighty Primus was laid to rest. Three years of side project after side project from the leader and guru of Primus: Les Claypool. Of course this is the first studio effort from Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, and the first album to feature totally orignal material by Claypool since Primus' "Antipop". So, is this album any good? Well, I think that it is! I personally feel that it is one of Claypool's best albums(so far)! Musically it lies somewhere between the Frog Brigade's live material and Oysterhead(another Claypool side project who released their debut album last year). I'm not like most Primus fans who hate his recent material; calling it such names as "stupid hippie crap". Anyway I will describe each song:
PURPLE ONION-the first song starts off in an almost electronic manner with Les muttering some lyrics that are hard to understand. At first the song reminded me of "Wield The Spade" off of Oysterhead's "The Grand Pecking Order". Actually there is not much substance to this song, and it serves mainly as an introduction to the album.
DAVID MAKALASTER-this song inctroduces us to the character David Makalaster the "10 o'clock newscaster" who seems to be the "main character" of the album. This song is fairly "wacky" with some almost Frank Zappa-like music, and of course the weird(cartoony) lyrics of Claypool. This is one of the albums better songs(not the best)that sounds like a cross between Frank Zappa and Oysterhead.
BUZZARDS OF GREEN HILL-this song rocks!! it starts off with some light percussion and juice-harp with the guitar(played by Warren Haynes)playing some trippy little lines-then Les enters on the bass and the song begins to "funken" up! The lyrics are hilarious! This songs is a great little psychedelic-funk-hill billy-rock tune!
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Format: Audio CD
Only in the last few years have I become a real fan of Les', it took me a while to realize the genius behind his innovative and anti-pop bass driven tunes. But now I am a true convert.

To those who think this is just another Primus album after listening to it, shame on you! The only thing this has in common is that Les writes, plays and sings on the album, but it's a totally different version of the man. We get to see his goofier and more eloquent side ("and whatever rhymes with eloquent").

Primus in the past did a lot more experimentation, jamming and psychedelia on their albums. Purple Onion is much more focused and carefully composed being there are more musicians and even a new instrument donated to Les by some inventive fans ("The Whamola is a wonderful thing" - Les at an album signing in San Francisco, Sept. 2004)

We are constantly reminded of Les' influences in all his music. On this album there is a lot of Zappa, Waits, Elfman and some Pink Floyd sounds, but what Les does is he manipulates them, scrambles them up, molds them and makes the sounds his own.

I highly recommend this album to lovers of really f'ed up music, and I mean that in a loving way.
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By A Customer on September 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Where to start. Well let's start with the title track, "Purple Onion." This is a very brief, but very weird track. It just contains Les on vocals, bass, and percussion. It is extremely weird and it is a sign of what is to follow, very eclectic music. That is true with any Les Claypool album, especially Primus.
Then there is the song David Makalaster, having seen the Frog Brigade in concert a few times, I've heard this song before. It's a great song. The lyrics are rather good and of course the music is superb. Eenor's guitar playing is perfect on this song, and throughout the CD. Of course Les is great, he's never anything but. Mike Dillon is great on percussion, his use of the vibraphone is perfect. Jay Lane is awesome of drums as well.
Then there is the Frog Brigade show staple, Whamola. It is named after Les Claypool's one stringed bass. It is a "jam" song. Everybody shows off on this song. Skerik shows off his badass sax playing abilities, Eenor breaks out some incredible riffs on guitar, Mike Dillon plays a weird bongo looking thing that sounds like a monkey (I've seen him play this, it's weird), Fish Fisher of Fishbone comes in on this song and he is incredible on drums, and then of course there is the ridiculousness that is Les Claypool. The song is very upbeat and very hard core.
Then there is the song Cosmic Highway. This is my favorite song EVER. I saw this song performed in 2001 in DC. It blew my mind, and it did so again on September 24, 2002. This song is so amazing. Les is in top form on this song. He lays down a sick bass line that boggles the mind. Eenor rips out an amazing guitar riff. Mike Dillon excels on the vibraphone yet again. Skerik gets mean on the sax yet again, and Jay Lane lays down the perfect beat for this song on drums.
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