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Frank Zappa - Ahead Of Their Time CD (album) cover

AHEAD OF THEIR TIME

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.20 | 66 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you're a fan of the live aspects of The Mothers of Invention, then you'll probably love this album. Recorded in 1968 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the first half of this show is a play performed by the Mothers of Invention, and the second half is full of instrumental workings of some classic Mothers songs and a pre-Chunga's Revenge Transylvania Boogie. It's not a bad live album, but I think there are better live albums with Mothers material, and while this may be one of the only ones that is solely comprised of the early material, the other albums aren't wrought with a play that without the visual aspect seems pointless to release.

You can hear the fans enjoy the play, though, they're laughter shows that they are receptive to what Zappa was conveying on the stage. I can't say I really remember much of the play, though, although there are some funny dialogue moments in The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves The Stage. The second half is a big improvement. Classic Zappa songs like King Kong and Pound for a Brown are played alongside great renditions of Oh No and The Orange County Lumber Truck (the original full version). In all, this part of the album is what makes it worth at least one listen.

In all, it's one half mediocre (mainly because without a visual aspect a play is almost useless), and one half excellent. If you're a fan of The Mothers of Invention Material and 1960s Zappa, then this album will probably satiate your appetite. For someone like me, who's a much bigger fan of 1970s Zappa, I'm impressed by the latter half, but the first half leaves me a bit cold (despite some comedic moments). Not the best Zappa live album, but not a bad one by any means.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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