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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.05 | 504 ratings

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5 stars The first album with Frank's face dominating the cover art. You know it's a good Zappa album when his face is staring right at you on the cover.

This second album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers is a big step up from the debut. Compositionally, the music is more complex, but also, the humor works for most of the album, as opposed to Freak Out! where I didn't find most of the songs funny, though they were trying to be. That Zappa cynicism is in full force, and no matter how crazy the music gets, you can't help but chuckle at certain times. "Call Any Vegetable" is one of the funniest Zappa songs ever, and the music is very eclectic as well.

This album is also the first time we see Frank stretch out on some of the music, as can be heard on "Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin", one of the earliest examples of jazz-rock/fusion. The music is just rockin'.

Most of the music on the rest of the album, however, is a mix of 60s rock and psychedelia, with some more melodic and dramatic pieces like "Duke of Prunes", a Zappa classic. But of course, it's a 60s Mothers album, so expect some wild and zany parts, as well as some experimentation and dissonance pieces. Zappa's classical influence is still somewhat missing here, as before with FO!, but shows up right after this album.

Lots of conceptual continuity going on here, like male and female orgasm noises to reflect an incident Frank had in the mid-60s when recording girls making such noises; more references to Suzy Creamcheese, vegetables, Big Leg Emma before it originally appeared on Lather and Zappa in New York version, and more. What's scary is that the topics Frank talks about on this album are still as relevant in America in the 2010s as they were in the mid-late-60s. "The President is sick", "Plastic People", America's drinking problem", "Wanna buy some pencils?", etc...

Always ahead of his time, the format for this album consists of two suites book-ending the album, with two individual songs in between providing some relief from the suites. All this in 1967, years before Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and other prog rock giants were doing anything like that (or even existed as bands yet). Be aware that the original vinyl did not include those 2 songs.

This is one of those albums you just listen to in it's entirety, as the sum is greater than its parts. All the songs in each suite flow into each other. Make sure you to get the 2012 reissue, as the sound problems such as added reverb from older CD versions have been removed, and the mix reverts to the original analog version. Essential Zappa album.

darkshade | 5/5 |


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