Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Mothers of Invention - 1970 - Weasels Ripped My Flesh

The Mothers of Invention 
Weasels Ripped My Flesh

01. Didja Get Any Onya? (6:51)
02. Directly From My Heart To You (5:16)
03. Prelude To The Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask (3:48)
04. Toad Of The Short Forest (4:48)
05. Get A Little (2:31)
06. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (6:52)
07. Dwarf Nebula Procession March & Dwarf Nebula (2:12)
08. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama (3:32)
09. Oh No (1:45)
10. The Orange County Lumber Truch (3:21)
11. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (2:07)

- Frank Zappa / lead guitar, vocals
- Ian Underwood / alto sax
- Bunk Gardner / tenor sax
- Motorhead Sherwood / baritone sax and snorks
- Buzz Gardner / trumpet, flugel horn
- Roy Estrada / bass and vocal
- Jimmy Carl Black / drums
- Art Tripp / drums
- Don Preston / piano, organ, electronic effects,
- Ray Collins / vocals on 'Oh No'
- Don "Sugar Cane" Harris / electric violin and vocal on 'Directly from my heart to you'
- Lowell George / rhythm guitar and vocal on 'Didja Get Any Onya?'

"Weasels Ripped My Flesh". Just saying the name of the album brings me joy. How can you not love that name? Everything about this album is avant-garde perfection, from every song to the cover the album. It mixes free-form jazz with comedy and rhythm and blues with classical. Truly one of the greatest works of musical art ever released.
"Didja Get Any Onya?" kicks it into gear with saxophones blowing every this way and that, and some great improvisational percussion. The song hits its climax in the middle when a comedic tale of standing around a corner blasts from the speaker in a pseudo- German accent. Captain Beefheart fans may recognize this from "Trout Mask Replica" and Zappa fans may recognize this from the song "Charles Ives". "Directly From My Heart To You" is the only song on this album not written by Zappa himself. R.W. Penniman penned this song back in the day, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris lends his violin and his vocals to the song. The violin parts are a little over the top (as they were in "Willie The Pimp" just one year before), but this song still makes for an excellent Zappa-esque ballad of sorts. "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" is the third song, and a tongue-twister in itself. The second of five live tracks on the album, this was born out of a stage act in which Roy Estrada would wear a gas mask. The same atmosphere as "Didja...", this song does feature some rave-ups in the middle, and Roy's screaming and yodeling bring a smile to my face every time. "Toads of The Short Forest" starts out very disappointing, because mainly it seems too, well uhh normal to be on this album of pure musical ecstasy. Around 1:05 in, all assumptions change when a quirky percussion beat kicks in until Jimmy starts to pound away with Ian Underwood flaring up alongside. After it is all said and done, the weakest track to begin with turns live and along with FZ's hilarious dialogue this is one of the finer tracks on the album due mainly to its impressive use of time structure. "Get A Little" begins with some sexual dialogue for a few seconds and then turns into a fine Zappa guitar moment, one of the only real guitar driven sections on the whole album. Although it is only 2:31, I think this may be Frank's greatest "Mothers period" solo.

After the break is announced ("Get A Little" was recorded live), "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" kicks off in a weird, tinkling percussion manner with dual drummers Jimmy Carl Black and Art Tripp once again playing in two different time structures. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" really is a mouthful to say, so thankfully words cannot describe it. It starts out very structured but then just turns into a random percussion party. Really weird, avant stuff here and it is in the perfect spot on the album.

"My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" is one of the greatest straight-forward head-on rock songs Frank Zappa has ever written, but frankly (hehe, that was a pun. FRANKly?) it just does not belong on this album. It has too much of a rock n' roll approach to be thrown in with these avant, stage-show pieces. Granted there are some electronic effects, they don't do justice to the rest of the album. Still an awesome songs though, just out of place. "Oh No", the shortest song on the album, is quite an enjoyable listen. Just short of two minutes, this song deals with talking about the meaning of love and I especially enjoy Buzz Gardener's "talking" trumpet. "The Orange County Lumber Truck" is another instrumental which starts off with equal involvement from everybody, but then soon turns into another masterful guitar solo crafted by Zappa himself to finish out the last minutes of the song. The is much better than the son that is featured on "Roxy & Elsewhere". "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is the ultimate ending to this album. Two minutes of feedback that is toyed with to make it sound like, well, weasels ripping flesh.

Few people realize the artistic barriers this album knocked down with its jazz fusion and avant-garde rock n' roll, and therefore this a very underrated album. With this 5 star rating and review, I hope people will keep listening to this album and keep trying to find the genius behind the madness. Granted this is a very challenging album and incredibly hard album to get into, just keep listening an you will soon understand

The layered drum passage, some 3:40 to 4:40 within "Didja Get Any Onya?" - the first track on Weasels Ripped My Flesh - can be heard in its infancy as the 'backing track' to "The Blimp" on the Frank Zappa-produced Trout Mask Replica album from Captain Beefheart. The work, by members of The Mothers, was resident on a tape channel when Zappa used the tape to capture the field-recording of 'The Blimp' lyrics, which were read over a telephone to him in the studio. Zappa's comment can be heard at the end of 'The Blimp'.

"Didja Get Any Onya" is also reprised in a reworking as "Charles Ives", which can be found on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5. The modernist composer Charles Ives had a strong influence on Zappa's work.

A related and singular item, in private collection and unlikely to surface, but which is interesting:
A single test-press vinyl LP exists entitled "Weasel Music", made for Bizarre Records by LRS (Location Recording Services) . The title & band name, on a black & red printed white label, is simply typewritten. Encased in an ivory 'Audiodiscs' sleeve it was sent from "World Pacific Records, 6920 Sunset, L.A. 90028" to "Frank Zappa, 7885 Woodrow Wilson Dr., Los Angeles".

It was later scheduled to appear in a 12xLP box set in 1970 under the title "The History & Collected Improvisations Of The Mothers Of Invention", covering work from 1963 - 1969. FZ's ads in "Playboy" failed to raise interest - the set was culled, producing "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" & Burnt Weeny Sandwich - the balance to become the non-starter No Commercial Potential (bootlegged) and later, in 1974 but another non-starter set, "Four Generations Of The Mothers".

What to Get:
The 2012 CD. It's slightly shorter than previous CDs but sounds better.
Summary: Compared to the original LP, all non-2012 CDs were slightly extended - for instance, "Didja Get Any Onya?" was three minutes longer on the CD. The CDs do not have a reputation for sounding very good; they come from the "bad batch" of late-eighties releases. The 1995 Ryko CD has extra cover/booklet artwork, but is otherwise identical to earlier discs. The 2012 CD, remastered by Bob Ludwig, reverts to the original LP edits but sounds swell.
We Need: A description of the Old Masters vinyl.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Original vinyl/2012 CD and any earlier CD, as the non-2012 CDs have extra material.

Original vinyl (Bizarre MS 2028 in the US (repressed in 1973), Reprise RSLP 2028 in the UK, September 10 1970; Reprise MS 2028 in Canada)
German vinyls (Reprise RS 2028 with RAT TRAP COVER!, Reprise REP 44109 with regular cover)
French vinyls (Reprise 44109, Reprise MS2028)
Greek vinyl (Reprise 44019, matrix number REP 44019 BMT 410 W 116, stamped "KAT." on back cover and label)
Japanese vinyl (Reprise P-8003R)
Taiwanese vinyl (CSJ 1008)
Argentine vinyl: Las Comadrejas Me Arrancaron la Carne (MusicHall 12.957, mono (maybe a stereo version too?))
Australian vinyl (Reprise MS 2028, 1970, high-gloss cover)
New Zealand vinyl (Reprise MS 2028, 1970, smaller back cover photo)
Israeli vinyl (Reprise MS 2028, with different back cover and Hebrew writing on the front cover)
Cassette (Reprise M 52028)
8-track (Reprise M 82028)
Renumbered UK vinyl (Reprise K 44019, July 1971)
2 Originals of the Mothers of Invention (Reprise 64 024) - Dutch and German double LP coupling with Burnt Weeny Sandwich
US vinyl re-issue (Reprise/Warner DSK 229K - late '70s?)
The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 8888-4, November 1986)
Original CD (Ryko RCD10163 in the US, Zappa Records CDZAP24 in the UK, May 1990; VACK 5028 in Japan; Ryko D30376 in Australia, 1990)
1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10510, May 2 1995; VACK 5119 in Japan, renumbered 5254 in 1998; also in a BMG Record Club version (1088038))
1995 Cassette (Ryko RAC 10510)
180-gramme vinyl #1 (UK, 1997?)
180-gramme vinyl #2 (Simply Vinyl SVLP 24, UK June 1 1998)
Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1211, September 21 2001 - Bizarre inner sleeve; sticker included)
2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3843 July 31, 2012)

Relation to Ahead of Their Time

A few bits of the show eventually found their way into Weasels Ripped My Flesh ("Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" and part of "The Orange County Lumber Track" included here in its complete original form) ...

On the other hand, in the Weasels Ripped My Flesh booklet you can read that "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" and "The Orange County Lumber Track" were recorded at the Festival Hall in London, the same location as all of Ahead of Their Time. Precise concert location is given in the Ahead of Their Time booklet: Royal Festival Hall, London, England on 28 October 1968.

A comparison between the two records is not simple because, as usual, Zappa made a lot a work on the original tapes (not to talk about the different record editions ...)

I used these editions:

Weasels Ripped My Flesh: the old Ryko CD edition, RCD 10163, made in USA (1990)
Ahead of Their Time: the Zappa Records / Barking Pumpkin Records CD, CDZAP 51, made in England (1993)
Let's start with the simplest case: "The Orange County Lumber Truck". This song is 03:18 on Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Only from 01:21 to the end is it the same recording as Ahead of Their Time; the first part of the song is from another session (the music played is quite exactly the same as in the first part of the AOTT track, but there are different total and internal timings and better sound quality), maybe a studio session. The common part of the song on Ahead of Their Time starts at 01:14 of track 20, "The Orange Lumber Truck (Part II)". The Weasels Ripped My Flesh version has a cut-end in the middle of Zappa's guitar solo, while the Ahead of Their Time version goes ahead until 10:40 fading in a "King Kong" reprise.

More complex is the case of the Weasels Ripped My Flesh track "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" (03:48) which is a collage of different materials. From 00:00 to 00:40, it's the same recording as (approximately) 06:50-07:30 of track 11, "King Kong", on Ahead of Their Time. The rest of the material of the song (in my opinion from three to five different segments) is not present on Ahead of Their Time.

Track Titles
Some 1995 CD copies carry the misprint "Toad Of The Short Forest" on the back cover (not booklet).

Original Vinyl
From Record Collector magazine #118, June 1989 (quoted by Mikael Agardsson):

This album is notable as it established a couple of precedents for Zappa: it was the first time a Zappa/Mothers album had been issued without a gatefold sleeve in the US, plus Britain finally caught up with America and released it almost simultaneously. From here on, most Zappa releases would be issued within a month of each other in both countries.

By September 1970 Warner/Reprise had established their own UK distribution and first pressings of Weasels went straight onto one-colour Reprise labels with the small boat logo.

Original CD
An extra 3 minutes was added to "Didja Get Any Onya?". [These extra minutes were the track that was called "The Jelly" on an album called We Are the Mothers & This Is What We Sound Like, which was never released, but has been bootlegged a lot; "The Jelly" is for example on the Apocrypha bootleg - Ed. PS:"The Jelly" has a couple of extra seconds at the end, that are not on Weasels.] "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" has been rem*ed a bit. The song "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is still 2:08 of feedback and noise. Oh well. There are no speed-ups or added instruments as far as I can determine. This album is altered for the CD release. The opening track is extended and segues into "Directly from My Heart to You", which is annoying. Other tampering exists also, but I have difficulty being specific.

1995 CD

Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork." It was otherwise identical to earlier CDs.

2012 UMe CD

Remastered by Bob Ludwig from the original analog master. Reverts to the original LP edits of "Didja" and "Get a Little," but has far improved sound quality. Essential.

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.

The Mothers Of Invention - 1969 - We Are The Mothers, And this Is How We Sound

The Mothers Of Invention
We Are The Mothers, And this Is How We Sound

01. Lost In A Whirlpool
02. The Blackouts
03. Ronnie Sings?
04. Kenny's Booger Story
05. Ronnie's Booger Story
06. Booger Freaks Of America
07. Anyway The Wind Blows
08. Fountain Of Love
09. Opus 5
10. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
11. Hey Nelda
12. Mothers At KPFK
13. Lowell George Whips It Out
14. Right There
15. Kung Fu #1
16. Igor's Boogie/Little Doo-Wop
17. Bunk Gardner Whips It Out
18. Studio Piece

This is believed to be one of the LP's from the unreleased 12-LP Mothers box. This fake Bizarre boot LP is the best of all the bootlegged versions. It is not a mere knockoff of the earlier boot "Necessity Is...". It's from a different source and far superior sounding. All bootlegs of this unreleased LP have the sides reversed for some reason. I have presented them here in the correct order. Side B is early Zappa material, which has mostly been released on "The Lost Episodes" (though it has been heavily processed there). Side A was recorded in 1968-69 and parts have been released on "Mystery Disc", "YCDTOSA 5", "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" (CD Version) and "Ahead of Their Time". Tracks 06, 13, 16, 18 are totally unreleased. A few other tracks are extended edits with more material than the official release. Most of Side B is mono...the rest is true stereo. I don't think "Hey Nelda" is really a "bonus track" as it is listed on the Zappa Patio. I haven't seen any proof of that. It is from the same source as the songs that preceed it...not as though someone dubbed it from vinyl and tacked it on.

"We Are the Mothers" is definitely the same as "Mothers at KPFK", no edits at all. "Right There" is the Mystery Disc version ["Skweezit Skweezit Skweezit"], with about 40 seconds of the Stage #5 version tacked on the end. "The Jelly", I am VERY sure, is the same as the last 2 or so minutes of "Didja Get Any Onya?" from Weasels Ripped My Flesh (only on the CD). I listened to both simultaneously and am convinced that it's the same performance. (If I'm right, this also would bear on [the bootleg] Apocrypha.) [It actually goes on for slightly longer - see below; Ed.] "Igor's Boogie" actually contains a large chunk of "King Kong" from Ahead of Their Time. From about 01:30 to about 05:00 in "Igor's Boogie", you get the blamph! that put an end to Motorhead's shenanigans at about 02:50 on Ahead of Their Time, then Bunk's or Ian's sax solo from around 04:30 to 07:00.

Ronny and Kenny's booger stories on The Lost Episodes are both part of "The Story of Kenny & Ronny. "Booger Freaks of America" is an interview between Zappa (I think it's Frank) and someone named Leonard:

LEONARD: Well, it's an organization, the Booger Freaks of America, and I belong. It was started by a bunch of those fellows that found out that they couldn't kick their habit. And we'd find that no matter what we did, we'd - eventually, we'd turn to picking our nose and flipping it. That was a booger freak. A booger freak is someone that [inaudible]. I belong to that group.
ZAPPA?: Leonard, I'd wish you'd tell us ...
LEONARD: Yeah, man?
ZAPPA: What are you doing to overcome this habit?
LEONARD: Well, I ... this is my second time back in the BA, Booger Freaks of America. I, uh, I was out, I was clean, man. I had the mucus off my back. I was - I was really making it. I went to Hawaii and I was playing a couple gigs over there.
ZAPPA?: Right.
LEONARD: I just fell right back into it, man.
ZAPPA?: What are your plans for the future, Leonard?
LEONARD: 'Scuse me, I think I got a hold of one right now, baby ... wait a minute ... lemme get it ... got it now. You mind if I wipe it on your coat or something, man?

"Igor's Boogie" is a live version, probably from the same show as "The Jelly". Most of side 2 has been officially released on the Lost Episodes: "Do It in C" is "Ronnie Sings?". "Opus 5" is a different edit here, starting 70-80 seconds before the official version and ending some 45 seconds earlier.

This album has been bootlegged as Necessity Is ..., Rustic Protrusion and We Are the Mothers & This Is What We Sound Like!. The bootleg versions have a bonus track: "Hey Nelda" by "Ned & Nelda" - see Zappa's single discography for more info. Tracks 2-5 also appear as bonus tracks on a CD re-issue of the bootleg 'Tis the Season to Be Jelly and the Live USA re-issue of the bootleg The Ark - track 2, "This Is What We Sound Like", is listed there as "We Are the Mothers & This Is What We Sound Like", even though the "We Are the Mothers" track is not included.)

Frank Zappa - 1969 - Hot Rats

Frank Zappa
Hot Rats 

Original analog version - 1969 Vinyl /2012 UMe CD version

01. Peaches en Regalia (3:39)
02. Willie the Pimp (9:23)
03. Son of Mr. Green Genes (8:57)
04. Little Umbrellas (3:09)
05. The Gumbo Variations (12:54)
06. It Must Be A Camel (5:17)

Total Time: 43:11

1987/1995 RYKO CD version

01. Peaches en Regalia (3:39)
02. Willie the Pimp (9:17)
03. Son of Mr. Green Genes (9:00)
04. Little Umbrellas (3:04)
05. The Gumbo Variations (16:57)
06. It Must Be A Camel (5:16)

Total Time: 47:05

- Frank Zappa / guitar, octave bass and percussion

- Ian Underwood / keyboards and winds
- Captain Beefheart / vocals
- Sugar Cane Harris / violin
- Jean-Luc Ponty / violin
- John Guerin / drums
- Paul Humphrey / drums
- Ron Selico / drums
- Maz Bennett / bass
- Shuggy Otis / bass

Hot Rats is often praised as Frank Zappa's shining achievement, and I can't say that I disagree with that statement. While I think that some of his other albums are equal to the high quality shown throughout this album, this is surely one of the highlights in his brilliant discography.

This album shows a departure from the avant-garde influenced psychedelic/experimental rock music that Frank Zappa had been known to play around this time. This album leaves most of the experimentation behind, and Zappa goes for making a pure jazz-rock album. The result is an almost completely flawless work of art, filled with excellent solos and groovy rhythms. This album is mostly dominated by Ian Underwood's windwoods and Frank Zappa's guitar heroics. While many people tend to criticize this album for being "just jamming", I heavily disagree. I think the album is filled with tasteful solos that are always fun and captivating. I guess it's just a matter of taste in the end.

The highlight of this entire album, for me at least, is the spectacular musicianship. Of course, the guitar playing from Frank Zappa is nothing less than brilliant, but all of the session musicians are fantastic as well. The rhythm section is superb in all of the songs, which is rare for an album mostly dominated by solos. The memorable melodies and riffs are the icing on the cake, and they really make for a spectacular album.


"Peaches en Regalia"- The first song on the album has always been my personal favorite from the album (though the whole album's great). Whereas most of the rest of the album is jazz-rock jam sessions, this song is structured beautifully with superb melodies. The woodwinds from Ian Underwood are undoubtedly the highlight of this track, aside from the beautiful songwriting. This is a great way to open up the album.

"Willie the Pimp"- The second song takes a rapid departure from the previous track, showing a riff-based bluesy hard rock song. This features Captain Beefheart's low vocals, and I couldn't imagine the song without him on vocals. The Captain doesn't do anything spectacular, but it really adds to the mood of the song. The song mostly builds off of a solitary violin riff, but it is far from a linear song. The guitar soloing from Zappa near the end is superb, and it never tires. The late 60's psych influence is obvious in this section. The song ends with a few measures of the opening riff.

"Son of Mr. Green Genes"- This song uses the same theme from "Mr. Green Genes" from Uncle Meat, and is one of my favorites from the album. The woodwinds throughout the song are the highlight, and give this song a very jazzy feel. The guitar solos are wonderfully crafted, and every instrument works perfectly in the context of the song. The drumming from Paul Humphrey and the bass playing from Max Bennett shouldn't go unnoticed, even though Zappa and Underwood take center stage on this song. The rhythm section is superb.

"Little Umbrellas"- This song is a jazzy instrumental, and I wouldn't even consider it jazz-rock. This is just a beautiful jazz piece with superb keyboard playing from Ian Underwood. The arrangements are extremely noteworthy.

"The Gumbo Variations"- The longest song on the album (almost 17 minutes) is excellent, though it takes some time to sink in. This is a psychedelic jazz-rock jam with some of the catchiest grooves and most interesting solos I've ever heard. The saxophone playing from Ian Underwood is one of the highlights of the entire album for me. He just does a superb job, and the rhythm section is always there to back him up. The drumming from Paul Humphrey is superb, and even though he has no solos, his playing is just as interesting as the people playing the solos. After Underwood's saxophone solo, Sugar Cane Harris has an equally excellent violin solo. Just listen to the rhythm section during this solo! It's fantastic! The flow of sections continues through Frank Zappa's solo that follows soon after. The excitement never shortens at all, and this song is captivating and catchy from beginning to end. Everything about this song is superb.

"It Must Be A Camel"- The final song is a soft jazz piece in the vein of "Little Umbrellas". I prefer this song slightly to the one I just mentioned. This is mostly focused around soothing piano, saxophone, and odd rhythms. This has the only sections of the album that even remotely show Zappa's avant side, though I wouldn't call this avant at all. This is a great way to end the album, as it is filled with interesting chord progressions and melodies.


Hot Rats is a superb album by Frank Zappa, and it's one of my favorites in his discography. If you're at all interested in hearing Frank Zappa, this is essential listening material. If you're not a jazz fan, don't be put off by the "jazz rock" label that this album often acquires. I don't consider myself a jazz fan, yet I adore this album.

This is the first Zappa album on which Dweezil has a credit. Both (he and the album) pretty much came into the world together. Also check out "The Story Of Willie The Pimp" on Zappa - Mystery Disc

For UK issues: First UK issues have the Reprise Tri-color labels (Pop Series) RSLP 6356, with the Pye distribution data eradicated by a black over-stamp [Feb 1970]. The 2nd issue has tan Reprise labels RSLP 6356 [Late 1970/71]. The 3rd issue has tan Reprise labels K 44078 [circa 1972]. The 4th has tan Reprise labels K 44078 [circa 1973], but now with a 'W' logo in radius text. (These are the 'key' changes, other variations may apply. The 'K' changes relate to Kinney acquisition but, under Law, were not applied in USA)

Many early USA (and international) vinyl releases continued to use 'legacy' artwork, irrespective of a history of Warner company changes and often continuing to bear the Reprise/WSeven Arts logo. Initial issues were on the Bizarre label (distributed by Warner/Reprise) and then phased into the (various) Reprise labels.

On the Zappa One Size Fits All back cover star map, there is a minor star titled "Hotratz" (situated above the major star "Pixies")

Big differences between the vinyl and CD versions. The CD is a drastic remix with some previously unheard material. The 1995 Ryko CD adds some extra cover/booklet artwork, but is otherwise identical to older discs (yes, including the gold CD). The vinyl mix belatedly re-emerged for a 2009 Classic Records LP reissue and, finally, on the 2012 UMe reissue.


Original vinyl (blue Bizarre RS6356 in the US, October 10 1969 (repressed 1973, as brown Reprise RS6356 (?)); Reprise RS6356 in Canada; 3-colour label Reprise RSLP 6356 in the UK, February 1970 (repressed in September with mustard label))
German RS6356 vinyl with one-colour label, believed to be from 1970; also with 2-colour label, believed to be very old
Original French vinyl (Reprise/Vouge SRV.6108, non-gatefold sleeve, with a black yellow banner on the cover saying "POP MUSIC" :)
French & German vinyl (WEA Reprise 44078, gatefold sleeve)
Spanish vinyl (Reprise HRES 291-35)
Greek vinyl (Reprise RS 0339, first in a single sleeve, later in a gatefold sleeve)
Argentine vinyl: Ratas Calientes (MusicHall 12.927 (mono) and 112.927 (stereo) (fold-out cover))
Mexican vinyl (Reprise/Gamma GX 01-366, no gatefold cover)
Brazilian vinyl (Reprise 84.002, gatefold sleeve, with non-gatefold "MOMENTOS HISTORICOS" re-issue in 1979 (Reprise / WEA Discos Ltda))
Australian vinyl (Reprise RS 6356, no gatefold cover, 1970)
New Zealand vinyl (Reprise RS 6356, 1970)
Israeli vinyl (Reprise RS 6356, no gatefold cover; black & white back cover with a little Hebrew print)
8-track (Warner/Reprise - at least some in yellow cartridges)
Reel-to-reel (Reprise 6356-B, 3 3/4 IPS)
Renumbered UK vinyl (Reprise K 44078, July 1971)
US vinyl repress (Reprise RS6356, 1973)
Double Dynamite - coupled with Chunga's Revenge (Reprise RRD 11707, South Africa, mid-1970s)
Art & Music Collection edition (Reprise REP 59 021, Germany 1976 and 1978 (re-issue))
Ratas Calientes re-issue Reprise 208744, Argentina, 1971 or earlier - Hot Rats on cover, Ratas Calientes on label)
Ratas Calientes re-issue (EMI 208.744, Argentina)
Uruguayan vinyl (Warner Brothers - record pressed in Uruguay, cover imported from the US)
The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 8888-2, November 1986)
Original CD (Ryko RCD10066 in the US (imported into Australia by Festival Records and re-stickered Ryko D40725), Zappa Records CDZAP2 in the UK, September 1987; VACK 5027 in Japan; Spurk UL 98212 in Russia)
"Gold CD" (Ryko RCD10066, USA, June 1988)
IRS 970.702 CD?
Japanese picture CD (VACK 5237 - October 1996?)
Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA2)
1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10508, May 2 1995; VACK 5102 in Japan, renumbered 5237 in 1998; also in a BMG Record Club version (1086396))
1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10508, May 2 1995; also in a BMG Record Club version (1086396))
Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1209, September 21 2001 - Bizarre inner sleeve)
Classic Records reissue (LP only; RS 6356-150G & 6356-200G, January 13 2009)
2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3841 July 31, 2012)

Original CD

"Son of Mr Green Genes" suffers the most - the drums are lost in a wash of cymbals. The "duelling saxes" are pushed way into the background.
"The Gumbo Variations" is about 5 minutes longer - good mix.
"It Must Be a Camel" - some additional tracks/instruments (recorded during the original sessions) have been mixed back in. Towards the end, a once clean guitar now has distortion. The part of the mini drum solo now has this ambience and reverb that wasn't on the LP. Not sure which I like better. [LEWIS SAUL: "There are major differences. The polyphony in many sections is radically different. The CD buries voices that are prominent in the LP, which yields a very, very different composition ...]
"Peaches en Regalia": I don't notice a huge difference between the two.
"Willie the Pimp": since I love this track so much (and have the LP version permanently etched in my brain), I was shocked and pissed that the guitar solo is re-edited and reconstructed in parts. My favorite riff of the entire solo isn't even on the CD! Score one for the LP.
"Little Umbrellas" has added harpsichord and flute. I like the starkness of just the bass and drums better on the LP.

1995 CD

The 1995 CD re-issue sported some new artwork (an inlay sheet behind the tray), described by Cal Schenkel as a "photo by CS of FZ & Miss Christine [of the GTOs] from a session at the Log Cabin, summer '68". Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork. This is the 1987 remix."

2012 UMe CD
"Mastered 2008 by Bernie Grundman from FZ's original edited master." Yes, folks, finally: the vinyl mix reappears on CD. This is essential for those who just own the previous CDs. Sound quality has been getting raves so far.

The Mothers Of Invention - 1969 - Mothermania

The Mothers Of Invention

01. Brown Shoes Don't Make It 7:31
02. Mother People 1:42
03. Duke Of Prunes 5:07
04. Call Any Vegetable 4:23
05. The Idiot Bastard Son 2:25
06. It Can't Happen Here 3:18
07. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here 3:40
08. Who Are The Brain Police? 3:32
09. Plastic People 3:42
10. Hungry Freaks, Daddy 3:30
11. America Drinks And Goes Home 2:46

- Don Preston / bass, keyboards
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Bunk Gardner / wind
- Elliot Ingber / guitar
- Billy Mundi / drums, vocals
- Jim Sherwood / guitar, vocals, wind
- Art Tripp / drums
- Ian Underwood / guitar, keyboards, wind

 Mothermania is a best of album from Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention. It´s not a regular best of album though as most of the songs differ a bit from the original. This is a real treat of course and IMO the reason for buying Mothermania if you´re already a fan who has all the albums ( of course you have all the albums right ?).
There is a broad selection of songs from the three Mothers of Invention albums Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and We´re Only in It for the Money. Neither Cruising with Ruben and the Jets or Uncle Meat is represented here. The first one probably because it wasn´t very popular and with Uncle Meat I´m not sure if it was released before or after Mothermania came out. Uncle Meat was released the same year ( 1969) as Mothermania.

The song selection is good and represents the three albums well which means that the album serves its purpose as a best of album well. The small changes to vocal parts or instrumentation is only something you notice if you´re a hardcore fan. There are great songs like Brown Shoes Don't Make It, Mother People ( with the changed vocal line: Shut your [%*!#]ing mouth about the length of my hair), The Duke Of Prunes, The Idiot Bastard Son, Plastic People, Hungry Freaks, Daddy and Who Are The Brain Police? On Mothermania, but all songs are classics in The Mothers of Invention´s repetoire.

The musicianship is of course of the highest caliber as always when Frank Zappa is involved. Some might call some of the vocals parts out of tune but believe me when I say that it is on purpose when things sound a bit dissonant or out of tune at times.

The production is muddy at times but incredible anyway if you think about when this music was made. Frank Zappa is a genious producer. There I said it.

Mothermania has a double function as it is equally as attractive to the Zappa newbie as it is to hardcore Zappa fan. It´s a very recommendable best of album


Mothermania was an old compilation that Zappa himself put together. Some tracks were a bit different than the original versions: in fact, all Freak Out! tracks are alternate stereo mixes, all We're Only In It for the Money tracks are alternate mono mixes, and all Absolutely Free tracks are the original Absolutely Free mixes (but "Call Any Vegetable" has been shortened). And here are the exact differences, vinyl side by vinyl side, track by track, according to JWB, Román García Albertos, Biffy the Elephant Shrew and Michael Gula:

Side 1:
Brown Shoes Don't Make It - no difference.
Mother People - alternate mono mix: Complete song from beginning to end. No sound effects edited in, the line "Shut your fuckin' mouth about the length of my hair" line is NOT censored, and the song ends after "holding you near me" - no vinyl record scratch, just a natural fade-out
The Duke of Prunes - no differences. But the subtitles that appear on Absolutely Free are not used on Mothermania; the title "The Duke of Prunes" covers the whole suite, with "Amnesia Vivace" and "The Duke Regains His Chops, which are included here.)
Call Any Vegetable - the "improvised section" is edited out: it jumps right from the Holst quote at the beginning of "Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin" into "Soft-Sell Conclusions", skipping the whole sax/guitar solo part. (Note that these subtitles that appear on Absolutely Free are not used on Mothermania; the title "Call Any Vegetable" covers the whole suite.)
The Idiot Bastard Son - alternate mono mix: Complete song. full blown intro not on We're Only In It for the Money (piano & timpani - very nice), no "I never wanted to ..." section edited in, no snorks, and the end fades out naturally. Also, Frank made the acoustic guitars and clarinets more relevant in this mix. (The LP is worth getting just for this track alone.)

Side 2:
It Can't Happen Here - On Freak Out!, it is not differentiated by title, but only considered an untitled segment of "Help, I'm a Rock". This is a completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix. It's also an alternate edit, with straight singing all the way through, and no piano/percussion section. The end is looped - it goes "It can't happen here, can't happen here, can't happen heeere [cheesy tape echo] ..." - and there is also "an extra scrap of FZ dialog ('... since you first took the shots')". At one point the word "psychedelic" is plainly heard - the word is inexplicably edited out of the Freak Out! version.
You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here - completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix.
Who Are the Brain Police? - completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix.
Plastic People - no differences.
Hungry Freaks, Daddy - completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix. The echo effect that was applied to the last words ("the great society") on the Freak Out! vinyl has been removed (and was also removed from the Freak Out! 1985 remix).
America Drinks & Goes Home - some disagreement here. Originally, Román said:
The Absolutely Free CD version, with a different stero image than the Absolutely Free LP, with the voice going radically from left to right to left, and the cash machine only on the left channel. In the original vinyl version, the voice tends to stay around the middle, and the cash machine can be heard on both channels.

I listened to both my vinyl Absolutely Free and the CD, and they sounded the same on "America Drinks & Goes Home" ... perhaps the fact that the vinyl is more compressed near the end of the side was confusing the other listener? (it sounds like the vocal is more centered, but I think that's due to compression).  The Mothermania mix of "Who Are the Brain Police?" is an interesting one. If you listen closely to the second bass note in the intro, you can hear what sounds like an organ. The fuzz guitar in the intro is a bit fuzzier, and the kazoo at the end has more of a "quacking duck" quality to it. There is a "space echo" applied to the words "home", "chrome", "off", "soft", "knew", and "too". The piano is a bit more prominent as well. Also, it sounds like there are more than one voice singing the "What would you do if the people you knew" verse.

There may have been two variant covers. It appeared with both black and blue Verve labels. The UK pressings did not contain the Bizarre inner sleeves or the booklet, although this was included with some European issues (below).

2009 Digital Re-Release

On Mother's Day, 2009, the ZFT finally re-released Mothermania in MP3 and FLAC (YAAAY!) formats, bringing it back into "conceptual print." This version is mastered by Bob Ludwig and sounds quite good. All of the exclusive tracks are accounted for; before 2012, this was the only place to find the original "Absolutely Free" tracks sans reverb (albeit with "Call Any Vegetable" edited). The intro to "Plastic People" does not have the glitch found on the 2012 Absoultely Free CD.
2012 UMe CD

A physical release of the 2009 digital remaster: after more than forty years, Mothermania is back in print!