Official Release #85. This triple volume package contains an audio documentary tracing the conception and construction of Frank Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money (1968) and Lumpy Gravy (1968) masterworks. As the second entry in the Project/Object series (the first being the MoFo Project/Object in 2006 that gathered four CDs worth of goodies from the Freak Out! era), the modus operandi for Lumpy Money (2009) remains much the same as its predecessor. Presented within are primary components from both works in several unique – and formerly unissued – incarnations and configurations. It should also be noted that neither of Zappa's mid-'90s approved masters for We're Only in It for the Money or Lumpy Gravy are found here. Instead of retreading those – which (as of this 2009 writing) remain in print on the Rykodisc label – the nearly three-and-a-half hours served up here offer an embarrassment of insight into the development of the music, as well as the modular recording style that Zappa was evermore frequently incorporating into his craft.
Was it that Zappa's music was so far ahead of its time, or was it just not what we thought a weirdo genius like him should be doing? Either way, since his death, his stature as a serious composer has grown. Lumpy Gravy missed most by a mile … Full Descriptionbecause it was the first of Zappa's 'challenging' orchestral pieces, and not what his audience had come to expect. Performed by the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, it was a lengthy instrumental suite broken up by equally 'challenging' dialogue. On the back cover, Frank looks out and asks, 'is this phase 2 of We're Only In It For The Money?'. No, we don't think so.
Ranked #23 in Mojo's "The 50 Most Out There Albums Of All Time"
Ranked #23 in Mojo's "The 50 Most Out There Albums Of All Time" - "Apparently Frank's favourite, LUMPY GRAVY is certainly a masterpiece. Of sorts."
Was it that Zappa's music was so far ahead of its time, or was it just not what we thought a weirdo genius like him should be doing? Either way, since his death, his stature as a serious composer has grown. Lumpy Gravy missed most by a mile because it was the first of Zappa's 'challenging' orchestral pieces, and not what his audience had come to expect. Performed by the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, it was a lengthy instrumental suite broken up by equally 'challenging' dialogue. On the back cover, Frank looks out and asks, 'is this phase 2 of We're Only In It For The Money?'. No, we don't think so.
The early Zappa albums were treasured by the few and totally misunderstood by the majority. The brilliant SGT. PEPPER satire of the cover should have garnered extra sales, but no. Zappa's scathing wit homed in on modern middle-class America and West Coast hippies. The album offered 19 vignettes incorporating avant garde, doo-wop, some relatively conventional pop music and a lot of hilarious dialogue that was so hip it has never dated.
Lumpy Gravy, Frank Zappa's first solo album, was released months before the Mothers of Invention's third LP (even though its back cover asked the question: "Is this phase two of We're Only in It for the Money?") and both were conceptualized and recorded at the same time. We're Only in It for the Money became a song-oriented anti-flower power album with one contemporary/musique concrète/sound collage hybrid piece by way of conclusion. Lumpy Gravy collaged bits of orchestral music, sonic manipulations, spoken words, and occasional pop ditties into two lumps of 16 minutes each.
Official Release #64. A 30-track compilation of rarities, spanning much of his career, but in the main confined to the 1960s and early '70s (some date from as early as the late '50s!). Much of it's previously unreleased, or extremely hard to locate. It's not just a collection of fan-oriented odds and ends, though. The material, for one thing, is extremely diverse, ranging from collaborations with Captain Beefheart and primitive teenage garage recordings to comic dialog to progressive instrumentals and orchestral pieces.
Official Release #57. The third and final live album put together from recordings of Frank Zappa's 1988 concerts, the two-CD set Make a Jazz Noise Here focuses on the composer's instrumental pieces – which are not necessarily jazzy, by the way. As for the three vocal tracks included ("Stinkfoot," "Stevie's Spanking," and "Advance Romance"), they all feature interesting solos. The set presents old favorites, like the medley "Let's Make the Water Turn Black"/"Harry, You're a Beast," "King Kong," and "The Black Page." They are well-performed, but considering the number of versions of each of them available on other recordings, they hardly constitute the main interest of this album.
Official Release #83. At the time of Frank Zappa's passing in late 1993, he left a number of projects in varying stages of completeness. Some of these had gotten no further than the so-called "build-reel" stage. It was at this preliminary phase that the artist had done little more than set aside various and sundry audio on the back-burner in his Utility Muffin Research Kitchen home studio. One Shot Deal (2008) is a single-CD compilation taken from a number of disparate sources – including a pair of tunes from Zappa's "build reels." As the set's co-producer Gail Zappa explains in her inimitable style in the brief liner notes essay "…the guitar was the main element for me…." With that as an unofficial mandate, the 5-plus minutes – which cover the meaty nine-year span of 1972 to 1981 – is undeniably fret-centric.
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 #91. In October 1971, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention played two shows in one night at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The album, Carnegie Hall, celebrates that night's marathon – two shows (7:30 and 11:30 p.m.) with ticket prices ranging from $3.50 to $6 – featuring Zappa (lead guitar, vocals) with Mark Volman (vocals, percussion), Howard Kaylan (vocals), Ian Underwood (keyboards, alto sax), Don Preston (keyboards, gong), Jim Pons (bass, vocals) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums).