Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day, with Uncle Frank’s Band

The Mothers of Invention were allegedly named for having played their first gig on Mother’s Day, ca. 1965. With or without his band, Zappa is one of those rare artists whom everyone professes to admire, but very few play his records and listen to his work. Like classical music artists, come to think about it. It’s smart to like them, but, they’re “just not my kind of jam.”

Uncle Meat from 1969 was, in my estimation, one of the most consistently weird and hilarious albums Zappa did, with or without the Mothers. In the embedded piece, entitled “Dog Breath: In the Year of the Plague” we get doo-wop, mariachi, pop, and atonal jazz in one big, dripping mess of a musical sandwich. 

I used to play Zappa a lot back when my children were small. Listening to this reminds me how much I need to revisit his catalog. The “controlled anarchy” Zappa conducts in this one four-minute track alone is inspirational.