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Frank Zappa - Greasy Love Songs CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.14 | 20 ratings

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3 stars The real Ruben returns...

Most Zappa fans know the story. For some inexplicable reason, when the classic Mothers album "Ruben and the Jets" was released on CD, Frank decided to update the bass and drums by re-recording them in the 1980s. Even Frank devotees, usually more than willing to cut their favorite icon some slack, were not amused. Then in 2010 the travesty was finally remedied with the CD release of "Greasy Love Songs", one in a series of "audio documentary projects." "Greasy" is the original, unmolested Ruben with the real drum/bass parts. It has been lovingly restored in new packaging with several bonus tracks and interview clips.

The songs were recorded in New York in late 67 to early 68 and the album was released in December 1968. There are some common misconceptions people make about this album. The first is that Zappa was mocking these "doo-wop" songs. I thought this at first too because of the exaggerated vocals which sound mocking, but the real story is that Zappa loved this music and was paying homage. He had a huge 45 collection of this stuff and professed his love repeatedly for the style. The second misconception is that this album is somehow simple, the songs just too basic to be interesting. The fact is that there was significant experimentation going on here just like the other albums of the period.

"They're more than recreations; they're careful conglomerates of archetypal clichés. For instance, "Fountain of Love" has quotes from background chants sung by the Moonglows, and the opening theme of "The Rite of Spring", but nobody ever heard it because there's like five different levels of musical accompaniment going on, not counting the band. There's all these different vocal parts and they're all clichés, and they're all carefully chosen for nostalgia value and then built into the was an experiment in cliché collages...just riddled with stereotyped motifs. Not only did it give it its characteristic sound, but it gave it its emotional value. There was a lot of exploration done at the time we were putting together Ruben." -FZ, Aug 1969

What I love most about this music is the quality of the vocals and hearing the guys harmonize without the constant stops and starts of dialogue and humor that occur on the other albums. There's also some decent guitar playing every so often, along with all of the "motifs" Frank mentions above. It's such a different experience than everything else in my prog collection that it is special. This new version comes in a tri-fold sleeve with a great booklet featuring commentary by Cheech Marin (who nearly became a Mother) and Gail Zappa. I can't call it essential for everyone's collection, but to me this is certainly essential for Frank Zappa fans.

Time to turn down the lights....." of my life.....i love you so.....bah da da dum"

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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