Don't Eat the Yellow Snow Suite

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"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"
Single by Frank Zappa
from the album Apostrophe (')
B-sideCosmik Debris
ReleasedAugust, 1974
GenreRock, Experimental, Progressive Rock, Comedy Rock
Length3:26
LabelDiscReet Records
Rykodisc
Writer(s)Frank Zappa
ProducerFrank Zappa
 
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"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"
Single by Frank Zappa
from the album Apostrophe (')
B-sideCosmik Debris
ReleasedAugust, 1974
GenreRock, Experimental, Progressive Rock, Comedy Rock
Length3:26
LabelDiscReet Records
Rykodisc
Writer(s)Frank Zappa
ProducerFrank Zappa

The "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow Suite" is made up of the first four tracks of Frank Zappa's album Apostrophe ('), "Dont Eat the Yellow Snow", "Nanook Rubs It", "St.Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast", and "Father O'Blivion." Each song in the suite is loosely connected, although the songs are not all connected by one overall story/theme. The suite was only played in full as was performed from 1973 to 1974 and 1978 to 1980. "Saint Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast" contains Zappa's percussionist Ruth Underwood on marimba who added a very distinct sound to many of his songs in the early 70s. [1]

Contents

Story

"Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" is a song about a man who dreams that he was an Eskimo named Nanook. His mother warns him "Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow."[2] song directly transitions into "Nanook Rubs It." The song is about Nanook encountering a fur trapper who is whipping Nanook's "favorite baby seal" with a "lead-filled snow shoe." Eventually Nanook get's so mad he rubs husky "wee wee" into the fur trapper's eyes blinding him. According to Zappa this is supposed to replace "The Mud Shark" (a song from the live album Fillmore East – June 1971) in Zappa mythology. Zappa then sings in the fur trapper's perspective. The fur trapper then makes his way to the parish of St. Alfonzo, introducing the next song "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast." [3] In this song a man attending St.Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast does an assortment of nefarious activities such as stealing the margarine, wheedling on the bingo cards, and blowing up the latrine. He then see's a lady he finds interest in who's father is a marine. Then Zappa implies he's having sexual relations with him when he says "As she abused the sausage pattie, and said why don't you treat me mean?" [4] The final song in the suite, "Father O'Blivion", is about the man named Father Vivian O'Blivion who makes the pancakes for St.Alfonzo. Randomly the song becomes about a leprechaun who's masturbating in a sock. The leprechaun feels that St.Alfonzo would be proud of him for doing so. Then he utters the Latin phrase "Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo." (meaning "The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.") won't you eat my sleazy pancakes just for Saintly Alfonzo. This could have many implications to why the pancakes are "sleazy" and is up to the listeners interpretation. The suite barely follows a story and is only treated as one piece because of the musical transitions, how each song introduces the next, and how later songs reference previous songs. [5]

Rollo

"Rollo" was a piece of music that went along with the original suite, but Zappa decided against putting the whole piece in the album. Instead, he decided to add the main theme of "Rollo" as the instrumental 2nd half of "St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast". [6] The only known recording where the entire suite appears in full is on the live album You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1, where it is played at Hammersmith Apollo (Hammersmith Odeon), in London, on February 18-19, 1979. The piece by itself also appears on his posthumous album QuAUDIOPHILIAc, and his posthumous live album Imaginary Diseases.

The Single

A disc jockey in Pittsburgh edited the album versions of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and "Nanook Rubs It" to play on his radio show. While Zappa toured Europe, he learned of this version's success, and decided to create his own edited version once he returned to the United States, and released it as a single. [7] The version released as a single contains all of the album version of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow", most of "Nanook Rubs It", and the intro to another track "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast." The single also appears on Frank Zappa's best of Strictly Commercial which the title of the album is actually a lyric from the song "Nanook Rubs It."

Track List

  1. "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" – 3:26 (Contains Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs it and the intro to St.Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast)
  2. "Cosmik Debris" – 4:10 [8]

References