Official Release #67. As the title suggests, Have I Offended Someone? contains all of Zappa's notoriously tasteless parodies and satires, from "Bobby Brown Goes Down," "Catholic Girls," and "Jewish Princess" to "He's So Gay," "Titties 'n Beer," and "Dinah-Moe Humm." Nearly all of the tracks are presented in new remixed versions, and two songs, "Dumb All Over" and "Tinsel Town Rebellion," have never been released before.
Official Release #61. The date is October 28, 1968. The Mothers of Invention are playing the Royal Festival Hall in London. Frank Zappa has booked 14 musicians from the BBC Symphony Orchestra to accompany them during the first part of the show. He had been writing chamber music pieces in the hotel rooms he visited and wanted to try them out. He strung them together by devising a psychodrama he called "Progress?" This was meant (and indeed turned out) to be a one-time performance, so he made sure to record it. He released the whole thing as Ahead of Their Time 25 years later. The first half of the disc is comprised of the "play."
Official Release #7. Mothermania, subtitled The Best of the Mothers, is a compilation album by the Mothers of Invention. While the songs were previously released on Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and We're Only in It for the Money, it contains unique mixes or edits done specifically for this compilation. Mothermania is a collection of previously released tunes culled from the first three Mothers of Invention albums. So why bother? Well, it's the only early collection actually compiled by FZ. Verve released a bunch of early compilations without permission, but more importantly, this is the only place you can hear some of these mixes and edits. Many of the tunes from Freak Out! appear in different mixes, while "It Can't Happen Here" plays through without the interruptions of the Freak Out! version.
Official Release #68. Originally Released: September 1998. All tracks produced by: FZ. Mystery Disc is a compilation album by Frank Zappa. It was released on CD in 1998, compiling tracks that were originally released on two separate vinyl records and included in the mail order Old Masters box sets, which were released in three volumes between 1985 and 1987. (These box sets, issued on Barking Pumpkin, contained repressings of Zappa's albums from Freak Out! (1966) to Zoot Allures (1976), along with a 'Mystery Disc' in boxes one and two.) The CD omits the last two tracks from the 1985 LP, "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" and "Big Leg Emma", both of which were included on the CD version of Absolutely Free (1967) in 1989.
The Legends of Lancaster (California) converge. Two albums Produced by Frank Zappa are registered with the National Preservation Board (Library of Congress). This is one. Note: We here at UMRK determined that the TMR Master was damaged somewhere in the years of it's return orbit. The Vaultmeister created almost in its entirety a new Master from our own Vault safety copies. And as if that wasn't enough chocolate for your Sunday sundae, we had Bob Ludwig remaster the Work for you. What you now have available to you is the definitive TROUT MASK REPLICA. Be the judge. Be the jury. Be the bongo. Be the fury!!!
A long-lost Captain Beefheart album is to finally be released, on what would have been Don Van Vliet's 71st birthday. Bat Chain Puller was recorded in 1976 but shelved later that year, due to a dispute between Frank Zappa and his former manager, Herb Cohen. Bat Chain Puller was originally intended to be the follow-up to 1974's maligned Bluejeans & Moonbeams, after Vliet recruited a new band. Zappa produced the sessions, and tracks like Owed t'Alex and The Floppy Boot Stomp made it all the way to Beefheart's label, Virgin, as well as several journalists. Unfortunately that's as far as things got. When Zappa sued Cohen, Bat Chain Puller was caught in the litigation and the album was shelved. Although many of Bat Chain Puller's songs were re-recorded for subsequent Beefheart releases, the original record has only been available among fans, as a popular bootleg.
Pierre Boulez: In Memoriam. Pierre Boulez RIP. Official Release #39. Having recorded some works with a large orchestra in January 1983, in January 1984, Frank Zappa arranged for some of his chamber works to be performed by Pierre Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain, a 16-piece group. "The Perfect Stranger," "Naval Aviation In Art?," and "Dupree's Paradise" were given this treatment, and the four remaining tracks are the product of Zappa's music synthesizer, the Synclavier. As usual, Zappa's "serious" works are rhythmically interesting and make for challenging listening.
The duo were at their peak of popularity when this hour-long performance was recorded in New York on April 1, 1971. Of course Turner's volcanic stage presence can't be fully translated onto disc, and the set list goes heavy on predictable covers like "Sweet Soul Music," "Honky Tonk Women," "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Respect," and a ten-minute-plus "Proud Mary." And the opening two numbers are sung not by Tina, but by the Ikettes.
Official Release #94. Finer Moments is a curious but mostly excellent compilation of (mostly) instrumental odds and ends put together by FZ in 1972 that went (mostly) unreleased until 2012. Disc one concentrates on the 1968-1969 Mothers. The first four tracks are from a 1969 Royal Albert Hall show that was partially documented in the film Uncle Meat. "Sleazette" is a great guitar solo, but the Mozart piece loses quite a bit without the "ballet" visuals. "The Wailing Zombie Music" sounds part-composed/part-conducted improvisation. "The Old Curiosity Shoppe" is a nice jam from 1971 featuring some nice wah-wah alto sax from Ian Underwood and wicked soloing from FZ.
Official Release #93. Conceived, Composed & Produced by Frank Zappa. The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship.