Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

11
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
Absolutely Free [Japanese Limited Edition]
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£21.92+£1.26shipping

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Although I've heard a lot of bits and pieces of FZ's music before, it's only recently that I've made an effort to get to know his albums, starting with the early ones. 'Absolutely Free', I think, highlights the pros and cons of striving to say something outside the mainstream. Here he slates conservative America, interrupting the flow with a discourse on vegetables and prunes as if it were an extended commercial break. This I find amusing, even if he does seem to be trying too hard at times. His lucid, conversational tone is endearing, but changes of voice such as his mock crooning during the prune songs can irritate. Sometimes he scores a bullseye, sometimes he misses the board. Given that this was made in the mid-sixties, though, it's radical stuff.

One of my favourite tracks is the 'Invocation' freak out, which is ironic as it's the only instrumental on an album otherwise dominated by the lyrics. The lengthy 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It', which constitutes a climax of sorts, is a track that will divide listeners. Fans, I expect, hail it as a work of genius. Certainly a lot of work has been packed into it. It isn't really one track, but about fifteen different stitched together like a quilt made from scraps, abruptly switching from one section to another. It takes a bit of getting used to, but is ultimately rewarding. Here, FZ almost sounds as if he's got more to say than he can fit into the time remaining.

In time, I might feel I ought to give 'Absolutely Free' a five-star rating, but for now his music has at least got me interested.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2004
Who else but Frank Zappa could devote almost half of an album to "your friends in the vegetable kingdom"? Due to his proliferous output not all of Zappa's music is to everyone's taste, but this album is very accessible, not too radical a change from the preceding 'Freak Out!', although it doesn't contain kickers like 'Trouble Every Day' and 'Hungry Freaks, Daddy'.
That said, the sequence from 'The Duke of Prunes' to 'Soft Cell Conclusion', about the human relationship to the vegetable, how to make contact with it, and then how to groove together "at the church of your choice", is as hilarious and groovy as can be. But still the cultural criticism isn't far behind in the great tracks 'Plastic People' and 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It'.
It's nothing like 'Joe's Garage' or 'Sheik Yerbouti', both having a firmer base among the mainstream public, but it is definately worth a listen to, and exemplary of the diversity of Frank Zappa. Again, there's a lot of intricate and intruiging music that transgresses any genre definition, and a lot of welcome humorous silliness that I really miss in music today.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
While his earlier "Freak Out" veered between straightforward parody and improvised freakiness, this is neither one nor the other, but something of an amalgamation of the two styles. The music on Absolutely Free is grouped into several "song cycles" which mix relatively straightforward song structures with some very off-the wall improv (or apparent improv made from tape-trickery). Most of it teeters dangerously on a precipice between incredibly virtuouso musicianship and slapdash amateurishness.

Take the first track as a great example of the album as a whole. "Plastic People" begins with a drum roll and announcement "Ladies and gentleman, the president of the United States" before "the President" launches into a "doo-doo-doo" version of "Louie Louie". This theme warps and bends before the refrain "Plastic people! Oh, baby, you're such a drag!" is repeated twice. We then get an adapted verse from "Louie" once more, then the refrain, distorted before a central meltdown in which Zappa namechecks trendy San Fransisco clubs. The refrains are further slowed and distorted, sped up again and then we hear the extended play-out, in which disembodied voices float over a primitive beat and a kind of mariachi trumpet effect. The statements during the song are both satirical and hysterical; "I don't know if I'm tired of you, honey, it's your hairspray or something!" and "A prune is not a vegetable, cabbage is a vegetable, makes it OK". The singing is hardly Beach-Boys quality (we get three or four freaks who seem barely able to keep time) and a galloping modernist musical theme seems to punctuate the proceedings, which is repeated quickly, slowly and again with a stuttering intensity. In the quieter sections, Zappa's guitar picks out Stravinsky-like melodic lines both beautiful and subtle.

The rest of the record substitutes prunes, ketchup, vegetables, Stravinsky, adverts, Stockhausen, doo-wop, wigged-out psych, loyal plastic robots and dangerous satire for any of the normal aspects of records of the time.

Could this be the first record were the makers didn't care what you thought about it? You get the impression they made it for themselves, even down to the spontaneous laughter which seems to punctuate or end several of the tracks. In my opinion, this is the closest Zappa ever got to the ugly-beautiful aesthetic he was aiming for. It certainly has a lot more punky charm than later, more polished efforts.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 January 2002
The second Mothers of Invention album first released in 1967 is amazing. Cutesy pop songs sit alongside avant garde nightmare parodies with lots of interspersed jazz noodlings. Zappa points his finger at various aspects of the Amrican way of life and it staggers and reels under his scrutiny.
Call Any Vegetable and Brown Shoes Dont Make It are amongst his best work without a doubt
A true folk musician methinks
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 25 February 2015
i had the vinyl now the CD what next? direct implant under the skin?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 13 February 2015
Oh right, yeah, well, err, fook, ermm, awesome, really!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 November 2006
The swift single-album follow-up to Freak Out, setting the pace for FZ releases which has barely faltered to this day (the latest being the long-awaited "Trance-Fusion", released in October 2006), almost thirteen years after his death. More difficult to define than its predecessor, Absolutely Free is a curious mix of short "teen" vocal numbers touching on subjects ranging from high-school sensibilities to the commercialisation of Christmas, alongside several extended pieces of improvisation. It kicks off with the brilliant Plastic People, a spiteful put-down of an apathetic and robotic public-at-large. It's a shame no punk band ever covered that song. A Sex Pistols version would have been very interesting. Then we have the "Duke" trilogy, tracks 2, 3 and 4, originally numbered 2a, b and c on the vinyl LP. The "prune" in question is nothing to do with the fruit, but emanates from a restaurant confrontation between FZ and a well-known Western film actor, where the latter first encounters Frank, vocalises his disgust and, finally, regains his composure. Instrumentally, the band is now augmented with sax, clarinet, keyboards and a second drummer / percussionist, which illustrates the direction Frank was already taking, away from the confines of the standard blues/rock/ballad format. Frank pinches the theme of Jupiter from Holst's Planets Suite for the intro to Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin (i.e. Mrs. Zappa), which stretches out to several minutes of guitar/clarinet/sax interplay. The CD also includes "Big Leg Emma" and "Why Don't You Do Me Right?", the A and B sides respectively of a single that was released at the time and not part of the original LP. Nice to have but in some ways they spoil the album - the songs don't quite "belong" here - although, admittedly, FZ did approve the CD release and they have at least been placed between what were the original sides 1 and 2. The "second half" is bracketed by two arrangements of the same song - "America Drinks" and the closing number "America Drinks and Goes Home" - a device we were to become used to with Frank's albums, where familiar, sometimes very short, passages pop up now and again throughout his entire ouvre. The former is a kind of streetwise ballad sung a la Tony Bennett, and the closer is essentially the same, delivered in mock inebriation with a raucous outro of clinking glasses and party hollering. In the penultimate piece, Brown Shoes Don't Make It, FZ manages to sandwich together a treatise on American social paranoia and local government corruption (and not for the last time in his career). So - a worthwhile purchase, deserving its five stars but not quite as attention-grabbing as Freak Out and not as entertaining as the next release ... but that's another story.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2011
I was born in 1964 and was lucky enough to grow up with punk rock in my influential years.
I had an older brother with very diverse taste in music and thanks to him, this album was something I grew to love outside my somewhat blinkered teen view back in the '70's.
I ordered this album a few weeks ago out of curiosity and when I actually had the cd in my hands, I was slightly anxious as I had not heard it for nearly 30 years.
I'm glad to say that on listening, it was everything and more that made this album so special to me.
To my older ears now, it is a (deliberately)disjointed,challenging piece of work which makes me think of Kurt Weill.
But don't be put off by that..this is an album for chin strokers and light hearted coves alike.....there is so much humour in this. Anyone who truly listens to music will appreciate the amazing soundscapes created by pushing the available technology at the time, to it's limits.
Even better than I remember...that's quite a compliment.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 April 2003
The second Mothers of Invention album first released in 1967 is amazing. Cutesy pop songs sit alongside avant garde nightmare parodies with lots of interspersed jazz noodlings. Zappa points his finger at various aspects of the Amrican way of life and it staggers and reels under his scrutiny. Call Any Vegetable and Brown Shoes Dont Make It are amongst his best work without a doubt A true folk musician methinks
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The second Mothers of Invention album first released in 1967 is amazing. Cutesy pop songs sit alongside avant garde nightmare parodies with lots of interspersed jazz noodlings. Zappa points his finger at various aspects of the Amrican way of life and it staggers and reels under his scrutiny.
Call Any Vegetable and Brown Shoes Dont Make It are amongst his best work without a doubt
A true folk musician methinks
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Freak Out!
Freak Out! by Frank Zappa (Audio CD - 2012)

Absolutely Free
Absolutely Free by Frank Zappa (Audio CD - 2012)

Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Burnt Weeny Sandwich by Frank Zappa (Audio CD - 2012)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.