I haven't heard a bad Zappa album yet but my favourites would be Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Hot Rats; Overnight Sensation, and Reuben and the Jets for a twisted take on Do Wop.
Interestingly, Zappa was in some ways the antithesis of the Dead:
- all his music is tightly arranged with little room for improvisation other than designated solos.
- Zappa hated drugs and insisted his band members be straight while performing.
- in the early days a lot of Zappa's satirical lyrics were aimed squarely at the Hippie counterculture.
Still, no doubt the man was a musical genius and unlike the Dead, he did tour Australia a few times and I actually got to see him play!