From the Vault...


Frank Zappa/Mothers Of Invention
"Absolutely Free"

© Rykodisc Records

Year of Release: 1967

track listing
  • Plastic People
  • The Duke Of Prunes
  • Amnesia Vivace
  • The Duke Regains
    His Chops
  • Call Any Vegetable
  • Invocation And
    Ritual Dance Of The
    Young Pumpkin
  • Soft-Sell Conclusion
  • Big Leg Emma
  • Why Dont'cha Do Me Right
  • America Drinks
  • Status Back Baby
  • Uncle Bernie's Farm
  • Son Of Suzy Creamcheese
  • Brown Shoes Don't Make It
  • America Drinks
    And Goes Home

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    Frank Zappa/Mothers Of Invention
    "Absolutely Free"

    Frank Zappa was a genius. His albums reflected the times. And for some of his albums, they may have been classic to some, and strange to others. Strange pretty much best defines his second album with his group, The Mothers Of Invention, and the album Absolutely Free, released in 1967.

    As the album begins, Plastic People is political, as it starts out as Frank Zappa as The President of The United States, singing about the ups and down of Plastic People. The Duke Of Prunes is a jazz-oriented song, yet it does feature some strange (yet unique) vocals, which merges into the next two songs, Amnesia Vivace, and The Duke Regains His Chops. (Consider this a three-song medley.)

    Call Any Vegetable is another unique song, as Zappa sings about (what else), vegetables. The yodeling at the end of this song about rudabagos is quite funny and unique. Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin is a 7-minute composition that mixes rock and jazz. It features very little vocals, and throughout the ending of the song, features a 5-minute rock + jazz jam, which features horns, an instrument probably not much used back in the late Sixties rock and roll music.

    Soft-Sell Conclusion is another rock/jazz tune, as it continues the story of vegetables. Big Leg Emma features what was recorded many times by Frank Zappa -- songs with a comedical sense, both in lyrics and in sound. This one is very bouncy, and jazzy, as it tells the story about "a big dilemma, Big Leg Emma," as she was Zappa's date, until she put on weight. (To those who may think that this album may be too much to handle (hearing wise), Big Leg Emma maybe the only song those people could actually listen to and enjoy it.)

    Why Dont'cha Do Me Right is a psychedelic tune with Zappa on frog-type vocals. It's definitely psychedelic -- vocals and guitars, as this was the popular music at the time. America Drinks is another "comedical" lyric song, and like others heard on this album, it's strange, and somewhat psychedelic. Best put: It's strange. Status Back Baby is another bouncy-comedical song, but not as cooly bouncy as Big Leg Emma. It then merges into another bouncy tune, Uncle Bernie's Farm (another medley, if you want to call it). Again, it's not as bouncy as Big Leg Emma. Both songs are, again, strange.

    Son Of Suzy Creamcheese is the continuing saga from Zappa's first album with The Mothers of Invention, entitled Freak Out. As the character Suzy Creamcheese continues as the band keeps asking "What's got into you?" Brown Shoes Don't Make It is another strange tune, and again, it does bring a comedical touch to it, as it changes its musical style throughout the song, featuring rock, a slice of jazz, and theatrical rock. It clocks in at just over seven minutes in length. Ending the album is another theatrical style song, as it also has a broadway touch to it, is America Drinks and Goes Home.

    Frank Zappa's music may not be for all people. Some may think he was a genius, others a demented comedian. If you're a fan of Dr. Demento, you can see the strangeness in how the mad doctor gets his musical knowledge and compare it to the music heard on Absolutely Free. Probably the most "demented" tune on Absolutely Free is the 7-minute plus Brown Shoes Don't Make It. At first some may think this album is just so bizarre, you may just want to give up on it during the first six songs or so. Especially the first 7-minute tune, Invocation And Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin, where it features "speed-jazz" as if it was "thrash-speed-metal."

    But giving an overview chance in listening to this album straight through, it features jazz with rock in a unique blend, obviously unheard of back in the rock and roll days of the late psychedelic rock years of The Beatles, the early Pink Floyd, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (to name a few). Frank Zappa's Absolutely Free may have to be listened to more than once, to get the ideas where Zappa was referring to. But all in all, it's an album that is unique, and that pretty much sums up the career of Frank Zappa, and Absolutely Free being his second chronological release, it was truly amazing how he came up with his ideas for future releases, with and without The Mothers Of Invention.

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