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Frank Zappa - Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.25 | 144 ratings

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3 stars This FZ album is a strange concoction yet also very interesting especially in a historical sense in FZ's history. It is strange in the collection of tracks that are on it. Some of the music sounds like outtakes from other albums, for the most part they are a lot of lesser used songs from FZ's huge library of music that were put together, most of them with questionable themes, yet the lewdness as for as sexual lyrics is not quite as prevalent as some albums, the themes that are questionable, at least to a certain sector of the public, range from several subjects. This was all to prove Zappa's point about the fight for free speech. But, on the surface, it is a little tougher to hear the "continuity" on this album if you are not familiar with the context of the songs and the titles.

The album starts out with something that sounds like it comes from the "You Are What You Is" sessions. "I Don't Even Care" is from a studio session and the only other instance of it in Zappa's discography is from "Understanding America". To me, it sounds too much like a "YAWYI" track for my liking, but it's okay I suppose. It's mostly vocals with no instrumental breaks to speak of, just like all the tracks from that time period. Next, we get 3 instrumentals of FZ on synclavier. You can hear that Zappa's talent has improved with the instrument and he is able now to get the sound that he prefers from his technically difficult and sometimes impossible compositions. These tracks tend to sound quite clinical sounding because there is not a lot of dynamism here, but there is a lot of genius present in the composition itself. These tracks are "One Man, One Vote", "Little Beige Sambo" (of course a take on the destruction of that fairy tale that got labeled as being racist [Little Black Sambo]), and (probably one of my favorite titles at least) "Aerobics in Bondage" (just try to do aerobics to this track). Next is a live track of "We're Turning Again" recorded at Santa Monica in December 1981. Not a bad song that sounds similar to the "Thing Fish" era that has lyrics regarding Jimi Hendrix and is also available at another concert recording on "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. 6".

Next up is an instrumental called "Alien Orifice" which this time is performed with an entire band in a concert setting circa Sept 1981 - June 1982. It is interesting in this album arrangement to hear how the band compares to the synclavier sound. The technicality is still there, but it's not as sterile sounding and the dynamics are better. Percussion on this track sound almost as good as Ruth Underwood used to sound, and you might be fooled into thinking it is her playing here, but it is in actuality Ed Mann. Quite impressive. I must say in most instances I prefer the full band anytime over the synclavier, but that's just me. Next is "Yo Cats" which only appears on one other album "Have I Offended Someone". This is probably the best vocal track on the album, is very lounge act/jazzy sounding. This one is somewhat entertaining as it lampoons lounge singers. The best track on the album follows, "What's New in Baltimore". This one is culled from several different concerts, but it all fits together well. It is an instrumental with a full band and an excellent guitar solo by Frank, but if you are looking for any more guitar soloing on this album, you'll be disappointed because this is the only one. But it sounds great here, especially because it is the lone track with a great solo. The rest of the line up shines through here too, but since the track is only over 5 minutes, no one else other than Zappa gets to shine here.

Next is the sound montage "Porn Wars". Contrary to what the title puts you in mind of, this isn't a mishmash of Porn movie sounds. It is really sound bites from senators and FZ talking in court, but arranged in ways that is very reminiscent of the sound collages on the album "Freak Out!". This is set to music and the arrangement of voices both untreated and treated is unbelievably entertaining. There are some very funny comments made, and many of those comments are from people that were arguing against free speech just to demonstrate how ridiculous their arguments were (and still are in many cases). There are also some lyrical bits from track by The Mentors called "Golden Showers". At least we're spared from the most disgusting parts of those lyrics, but there are a few snippets of lyrics from that song that are repeated throughout. The last track is "H.R. 2911" which is the name of the legislation act that FZ referenced in his testimony against censorship. The track itself is all performed by FZ on synclavier and really doesn't do much of anything for me, that is, I can't even remember it right after it plays, that's how small of an impression it leaves on me.

After all is said and done, this is a historical recording, but not really an essential recording in my opinion. There are much better representations of FZ's music out there. There are some good bits there though that save it from being only an album of interest to collectors though, so we can push this rating up to a 3 star album, but not any more than that.

TCat | 3/5 |


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