Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Mothers Of Invention - 1970 - Burnt Weenie Sandwich

The Mothers Of Invention
Burnt Weenie Sandwich

01. WPLJ (2:52)
02. Igor's Boogie, Phase One (0:36)
03. Overture to a Holiday in Berlin (1:27)
04. Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich (4:32)
05. Igor's Boogie, Phase Two (0:36)
06. Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown (6:24)
07. Aybe Sea (2:46)
08. Little House I Used to Live In (18:41)
09. Valarie (3:15)

- Frank Zappa / organ, guitar, arranger, composer, keyboards, vocals, producer
- Don Preston / bass, piano, keyboards
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums
- Lowell George / guitar
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Gabby Furggy / vocals
- Bunk Gardner / horn, wind
- Don "Sugarcane" Harris / violin, vocals
- Jim Sherwood / guitar, vocals, wind
- Art Tripp / drums
- Ian Underwood / guitar, piano, keyboards, wind

 Burnt Weeny Sandwich were as well as Weasels Ripped my Flesh released after The Mothers of Invention was disbanded by Frank Zappa in 1969. This means that in both cases it´s archive recordings. Unlike most other artists who release archive recordings after the end of their career ( well Frank Zappa was still very active but The original Mothers of Invention had been disbanded) Burnt Weeny Sandwich is a very worthy purchase and almost fully on par with the regular studio albums from The Mothers of Invention. Many of the old Mothers on Invention albums were made this way anyway. The Mothers of Invention recorded a large bulk of songs at a time but they were not always released on the same album. Many of the songs on We´re Only In it for the Money, Lumpy Gravy, Cruising with Ruben and the Jets and Uncle Meat were recorded almost at the same time and then only later put together again for full albums. This is also the case with Burnt Weeny Sandwich.
Burnt Weeny Sandwich is almost entirely instrumental but very different from the jazz/ rock of Hot Rats which was the previous album Frank Zappa released. That was of course a solo release and shouldn´t be counted when we´re talking about The Mothers of Invention and since the songs on Burnt Weeny Sandwhich is likely recorded a while before Hot Rats it´s understandable.

The album consists of nine songs. The first and the last track are fifties doo woop/ r´n´b songs with vocals while the rest of the songs are instrumental mostly theme based songs. WPLJ and Valarie are both very enjoyable little doo woop/ r´n´b songs and especially WPLJ takes the price as one of the best in this style Frank Zappa ever made. Most of the songs are pretty short typical Mothers Of Invention instrumental songs which reminds me a bit of some of the songs from Uncle Meat. Aybe Sea is a bit different as it is a piano song which serves as a showof of Ian Underwood´s considerable piano talents. Little House I Used to Live In is a 18:41 minutes long and starts out with some great playing of an instrumental theme. Later there´s a great violin solo from Don Sugarcane Harris and some great piano playing from Ian Underwood. Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich is a vehicle for a Frank Zappa guitar solo and it kind of reminds me of Nine Types of Industrial Pollution from Uncle Meat as Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich also has some strange percussion in the background of the mix. There are also some Conceptual Continuety here or rather some of the themes here are used later in some of Zappa´s songs. For example Would You like a Snack ? from 200 Motels uses the theme from Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown. The theme is instrumental on Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown while it is sung by Flo & Eddie on Would You like a Snack ? from 200 Motels. I like both versions very much.

The Mothers of Invention were exceptional musicians and prove it here once again. But as on Uncle Meat Ian underwood steals the picture more than anyone with his beautiful piano playing.

The sound quality is very good. Fully on par with the previous albums from The Mothers of Invention.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich is an excellent album from The Mothers of Invention, and even though it´s not a complete masterpiece in my ears, it´s definitely a must for fans of Frank Zappa. This is not just a fan thing though as other people might enjoy this one too.

What to Get: The 2012 CD, which lacks the reverb found on previous editions.
Summary: There are two basic versions: dry and with additional reverb. Starting with the Old Masters LP in 1986, all releases of "Burnt Weeny Sandwich" contained additional digital reverb. All pre-2012 CDs were the same, and contained the extra reverb; the new 2012 CD is dry like the original LP.

Also, every release except the original vinyl (?) and the 2012 CD has a tiny error in "Little House I Used to Live In". This is apparently due to the LP production source tape used for (all?) non-2012 reissues. The 1995 Ryko CD boasts extra cover/booklet artwork; however, it loses some CD credits from the Barking Pumpkin issue. (There was a rumour that "Little House I Used to Live In" and "WPLJ" were shorter on the CD, but they're not.)

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: The original LP or 2012 CD. All earlier CDs had extra digital reverb, and insane completists might want one.


Original vinyl (Bizarre RS6370 in the US, February 1970 (repressed in 1973); three-colour label Reprise RSLP 6370 in the UK, March 1970 (repressed in September with one-colour label, probably mustard); brown Reprise RS 6370 in Canada, with and without gatefold cover)
German vinyls (RS 6370 (one-colour label, believed to be from 1970); WEA Reprise 44083)
Italian vinyl (44 083 / RS 6370 - title in red on front cover; blue Bizarre label)
French vinyls (Reprise SRV6116, steamboat label, 1971, single sleeve with the live picture from inside the US gatefold on back cover; also Reprise 44083, 1971?)
Greek vinyl
Mexican vinyl (Gamma GX01-397)
Imaginario Sandwich Quemado - Argentine vinyl (Music Hall 14.011 - white-label promos also issued)
Australian vinyl (Reprise RS 6370, 1970 - white-label RS6370 test pressing reported by Steve & Cindy Jones)
New Zealand vinyl (Reprise RS 6370, 1970, no gatefold cover)
8-track (Reprise 8RM 6370, US)
Renumbered UK vinyl (Reprise K 44083, July 1971)
2 Originals of the Mothers of Invention (Reprise 64 024) - Dutch and German double LP coupling with Weasels Ripped My Flesh
UK vinyl re-issue (Reprise K 64024, 1979)
UK vinyl re-issue (Zappa Records ZAPPA 35, 1987)
Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA35)
The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 8888-3, November 1986)
Original CD (Barking Pumpkin D2 74329, October 1991, in the US; Zappa Records CDZAP35 in the UK, October 1991)
Barking Pumpkin D2 74239 CD, US, October 1991
Original Japanese CD (VACK 5081)
Russian CD (Dora JPCD 981453)
1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10509, May 2 1995; VACK 5081 in Japan, renumbered 5216 in 1998)
1995 vinyl
180-gramme vinyl #1 (1997?)
180-gramme vinyl #2 (Simply Vinyl SVLP 25, June 1 1998, UK)
Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1210, September 21 2001 - Bizarre inner sleeve/folder)
2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3842 July 31, 2012)

Original Vinyl
The first US edition seems to have included a bonus poster/insert/attachment: two-sided, black & white, folds out to 4' by 10", with photos of the Mothers and a couple of Zappa, and says at the bottom on both sides "The Mothers Of Invention Sincerely Regret To Inform You".

Burnt Weeny Sandwich was originally released in the UK on Reprise with the catalogue number RSLP 6370. I have come across three different pressings with this number. The very first pressing was on the 3-colour steamboat label. The matrix numbers read "RSLP 6370". The label credits "Igor's Boogie Phase 1" as "Igor's Bookie Phase 1"!!!. The second pressing was also on the 3-colour steamboat label. The label credits have been corrected and the matrix numbers read "K 44083", which is the number for the 1971 issue. This is definitely not a counterfeit because the matrix numbers are stamped. The third pressing is on the mustard steamboat label. Confusing, eh?! I used to own the second pressing, which I sold when I found a copy of the first pressing. The sound

Original CD (Barking Pumpkin/Zappa)

Not one of the original Ryko releases.

According to Neil in the UK, the CD has "much better sound quality than the vinyl album". According to Michael Gula, it has some "twittering" reverb compared to the "dry" vinyl. There was a rumour that "Little House I Used to Live In" and "WPLJ" were shorter on the CD, but they're not. From Juha Sarkkinen:

At least the original CD (Zappa Records) had been remixed. This is revealed by the ADD on the back cover. [Ed: The Zappa Records series of discs frequently claimed remixes where none were apparent. That said, can anybody confirm this?]

1995 CD

The 1995 CD re-issue is allegedly a sonically cleaner version of the original CD, and contains extra artwork: an inlay sheet behind the tray which Cal Schenkel characterized as a "previously unused promo-photo by Ed Caraeff of the ever-growing Mothers (captured directly from the moldy contact sheet)".

The booklet in this release contains the teeny-tiny notation "Digitally Remastered 1986." This is likely then a "tweaked" version of the digital master used for the Old Masters release.

Official statement from Ryko: "New master. New timing sheet. Cleaned up audible garbage. [Ed: Anybody know what this refers to?] Restored artwork."

1995 CD versus the Old CD

A quick'n'dirty comparison of the BP CD and the Ryko '95 revealed no differences on several tracks.

2012 UMe CD

The 2012 UMe/Zappa Records reissue, which was remastered by Bob Ludwig, restores the original vinyl version and loses the digital reverb from all previous CD versions. It is definitive. It also restores the intro to "Little House." However, internet eagle-eared people have noticed one small, new glitch to ruin your day. Spake ParloFax:

On "Aybe Sea" ("Burnt Weeny Sandwich"), there seems to be some sort of a glitch (nothing to phone home about, and the CD overall IS great!) ...OR my own CD is defective; it did have very small pressing or handling marks from the get-go, but they probably don't happen around this track anyway.

It's at the beginning of the track, where the electric guitar and harpsichord play in unison the opening melody's initial phrase:

Gb Gb-Gb-Gb G A (2x)

then the bit with the fast notes,

then they do it again (so the 3rd occurrence of the above phrase), and the FIFTH note (G) note "warbles".

This is not on the orignal US Bizarre LP. I compared both versions randomly BTW, and outside the volume, for what that's worth to my ear and on my stuff, they matched perfectly. In other words, they sounded identical to me.

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