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|Studio album by|
|Released||May 26, 1967|
|Studio||TTG Studios, Los Angeles|
|Frank Zappa chronology|
|The Mothers of Invention chronology|
|Singles from Absolutely Free|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Great Rock Discography||8/10|
|MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
|The Village Voice||B–|
Absolutely Free is the second studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on May 26, 1967 by Verve Records. Much like their 1966 debut Freak Out! , the album is a display of complex musical composition with political and social satire. The band had been augmented since Freak Out! by the addition of woodwinds player Bunk Gardner, keyboardist Don Preston, rhythm guitarist Jim Fielder, and drummer Billy Mundi; Fielder quit the group before the album was released, and his name was removed from the album credits.
The album's emphasis is on interconnected movements, as each side of the original vinyl LP comprises a mini-suite. It also features one of the most famous songs of frontman Frank Zappa's early career, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It", a track which has been described as a "condensed two-hour musical".[ attribution needed ]
In the book Necessity Is..., former Mothers of Invention band member Ray Collins said that Absolutely Free is probably his favorite of the classic Mothers albums.
The CD reissue adds, between sides one and two, two songs that were featured on a rare Verve single of the time. The songs from the single, "Why Dontcha Do Me Right?" (titled "Why Don't You Do Me Right" on the 45) and "Big Leg Emma", were both described as "an attempt to make dumb music to appeal to dumb teenagers".
The UK-67 release (Verve VLP/SVLP 9174) came in a laminated flip-back cover, with a Mike Raven poem at the reverse that was not on any other issue.
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"Plastic People" begins with a mock introduction of the President of the United States, who (along with his wife) can only recite the opening notes to "Louie, Louie". "Louie, Louie" is often interpolated in Zappa's compositions (other examples appear in the Uncle Meat and Yellow Shark albums, among others), and when Zappa first began performing "Plastic People" around 1965, the words were set to the tune of "Louie, Louie".
The title of "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" was inspired by an event covered by Time reporter Hugh Sidey in 1966. The reporter correctly guessed something was wrong when the fastidiously dressed President Lyndon B. Johnson made the fashion faux pas of wearing brown shoes with a gray suit. LBJ flew to Vietnam for a surprise public relations visit later that day.
In the songs "America Drinks" and "America Drinks and Goes Home", Zappa combines a silly tune with nightclub sound effects to parody his experiences playing with drunken lounge music bands during the early 1960s. Other songs recorded soon after that used the same kinds of ideas include "On with the Show" by the Rolling Stones (released in 1967), "My Friend" by Jimi Hendrix (recorded in 1968, released in 1971) and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" by the Beatles (recorded in 1967 and 1969, released in 1970).
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It is not unusual to find melodies or scores from other composers within the music of Frank Zappa. Absolutely Free is full of musical references to other compositions and artists, including Igor Stravinsky.
For example, "Amnesia Vivace" begins with a collage of quotations from Stravinsky ballets: first, the band plays the "Ritual Action of the Ancestors" from The Rite of Spring , Part II; then harpsichord and chattering voices evoke the pounding Dance of the Adolescents in Part I, over which sax and Zappa's voice start quoting the bassoon melody at the very opening of the Rite and continue into the lyrical Berceuse (also for bassoon) at the end of Stravinsky's The Firebird . The opening sequence of Petrouchka is quoted in the middle section of "Status Back Baby". "Soft-Sell Conclusion" ends with a version of the trombone melody that opens Stravinsky's "Marche Royale" from The Soldier's Tale .
The "Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin", in the beginning of the saxophone solo (first cadence) quotes the trio directly from the fourth movement of Gustav Holst's The Planets , Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity.
The melody to "The Duke of Prunes" is the love theme from Zappa's own film score to Run Home Slow.
All tracks are written by Frank Zappa.
|2.||"The Duke of Prunes"||2:12|
|4.||"The Duke Regains His Chops"||1:45|
|5.||"Call Any Vegetable"||2:19|
|6.||"Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin" (instrumental)||6:57|
|2.||"Status Back Baby"||2:52|
|3.||"Uncle Bernie's Farm"||2:09|
|4.||"Son of Suzy Creamcheese"||1:33|
|5.||"Brown Shoes Don't Make It"||7:26|
|6.||"America Drinks & Goes Home"||2:43|
|1.||"Absolutely Free Radio Ad #1"||1:01|
|2.||"Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?"||2:39|
|3.||"Big Leg Emma"||2:32|
|4.||"Absolutely Free Radio Ad #2"||1:01|
|5.||"Glutton for Punishment..."||0:24|
|6.||"America Drinks (1969 Re-Mix)"||1:55|
|7.||"Brown Shoes Don't Make It (1969 Re-Mix)"||7:27|
|8.||"America Drinks & Go Home (1969 Re-Mix)"||2:42|
|2.||"The Duke of Prunes"||2:13|
|4.||"The Duke Regains His Chops"||1:52|
|5.||"Call Any Vegetable"||2:15|
|6.||"Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin"||7:00|
|8.||"Big Leg Emma"||2:31|
|9.||"Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?"||2:37|
|11.||"Status Back Baby"||2:54|
|12.||"Uncle Bernie's Farm"||2:10|
|13.||"Son of Suzy Creamcheese"||1:34|
|14.||"Brown Shoes Don't Make It"||7:30|
|15.||"America Drinks & Goes Home"||2:45|
The Mothers of Invention
(Jim Sherwood was credited as a member of The Mothers on the album's original release, but he actually joined the band during the recording of We're Only in It for the Money, and he isn't featured on this album.)
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American singer-songwriter, innovative rock guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, film-maker, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.
We're Only in It for the Money is the third studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on March 4, 1968 by Verve Records. As with the band's first two efforts, it is a concept album, and satirizes left and right-wing politics, particularly the hippie subculture, as well as the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was conceived as part of a project called No Commercial Potential, which produced three other albums: Lumpy Gravy, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, and Uncle Meat.
Freak Out! is the debut studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on June 27, 1966, by Verve Records. Often cited as one of rock music's first concept albums, it is a satirical expression of frontman Frank Zappa's perception of American pop culture and the nascent freak scene of Los Angeles. It was also one of the earliest double albums in rock music, as well as the first two-record debut album. In the UK, the album was originally released as an edited single disc.
James Carl Inkanish, Jr., known professionally as Jimmy Carl Black, was a drummer and vocalist for The Mothers of Invention.
Uncle Meat is the fifth studio album by the Mothers of Invention, released as a double album in 1969. Uncle Meat was originally developed as a part of No Commercial Potential, a project which spawned three other albums sharing a conceptual connection: We're Only in It for the Money, Lumpy Gravy and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets.
Lumpy Gravy is the debut solo album by Frank Zappa, written by Zappa and performed by a group of session players he dubbed the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra. Zappa conducted the orchestra but did not perform on the album. It is his third album overall: his previous releases had been under the name of his group, the Mothers of Invention.
Cruising with Ruben & the Jets is the fourth studio album by the Mothers of Invention. Released on December 2, 1968, on Bizarre and Verve Records with distribution by MGM Records, it was subsequently remixed by Frank Zappa and reissued independently.
Burnt Weeny Sandwich is the sixth studio album by the American rock band the Mothers of Invention, and the ninth overall by Frank Zappa, released in 1970. It consists of both studio recordings and live elements. In contrast to the next album Weasels Ripped My Flesh, which is predominantly live and song-oriented, most of Burnt Weeny Sandwich focuses on studio recordings and tightly arranged compositions.
Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the seventh studio album by the American rock group the Mothers of Invention, and the tenth overall by Frank Zappa, released in 1970. It is the second album released after the Mothers disbanded in 1969, preceded by Burnt Weeny Sandwich. In contrast to its predecessor, which almost entirely focused on studio recordings of arranged compositions, Weasels Ripped My Flesh consists of a combination of live and studio recordings and features more improvisation.
The Mothers of Invention were an American rock band from California. Formed in 1964, their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows.
Mothermania (1969), 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 made specifically for this compilation.
Napoleon Murphy Brock is an American singer, saxophonist and flute player who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, including the albums Apostrophe ('), Roxy & Elsewhere, One Size Fits All, and Bongo Fury. He contributed notable vocal performances to the Zappa songs "Village of the Sun," "Cheepnis," and "Florentine Pogen."
The 200 Motels soundtrack to Frank Zappa's film 200 Motels was released by United Artists Records in 1971. Like the film, the album covers a loose storyline about The Mothers of Invention going crazy in the small town of Centerville and bassist Jeff quitting the group, as did his real life counterpart, Jeff Simmons, who left the group before the film began shooting and was replaced by actor Martin Lickert for the film.
"Brown Shoes Don't Make It" is a song by The Mothers of Invention, written by band leader Frank Zappa. It is the 14th and penultimate song on their second album Absolutely Free. The song is one of his most widely renowned works, declared by the AllMusic as "Zappa's first real masterpiece".
"America Drinks & Goes Home" is a song written by Frank Zappa and recorded in 1967 for the Mothers of Invention album Absolutely Free.
"My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" is a song written by Frank Zappa and originally recorded by The Mothers of Invention in February 1969 at Criteria Studios (Miami), with overdubs recorded sometime between March and May 1969 at TTG Studios and Whitney Studios. This version was included on their 1970 album Weasels Ripped My Flesh, an LP that included various recordings by the band from 1967 to 1969. A second version was released as a single on the Bizarre and Reprise labels as "My Guitar." Despite the more conventional naming, "My Guitar" did not chart.
"Who Are the Brain Police?" is a Frank Zappa song, performed by The Mothers of Invention, released on the Mothers' debut album, Freak Out!. It was released by Verve Records as a single in 1966. Zappa stated that the song was one of religious theme.
"The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" is a Frank Zappa composition, performed by The Mothers of Invention, released on the Mothers' debut album, Freak Out!. It is the longest song on the album, at 12:17, consisting of 2 parts: "Ritual Dance Of The Child-Killer", and "Nullis Pretii ". The composition includes a musical quote from "Louie Louie".
Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood was an American rock musician notable for playing soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone, tambourine, vocals and vocal sound effects in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. He appeared on all the albums of the original Mothers line-up and the 'posthumous' releases Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh, as well as certain subsequent Zappa albums. He also appeared in the films 200 Motels, Video from Hell and Uncle Meat.
"Help, I'm a Rock" is a song written by American musician Frank Zappa. It was recorded by Zappa along with the rock band the Mothers of Invention on the group's debut album Freak Out!, which was released on Verve Records on June 27, 1966.