Top positive review
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These Mothers is crazy
on 17 May 2008
Let's be plain about this, if you don't know the music of Frank Zappa but are somehow intrigued and want to know more, you should start with 'Apostrophe' or maybe 'Hot Rats'.
If however, you know a little Zappa and want to find out about his roots then here's a good place to start. This album is quite different from all the stuff that came after. The reason for this is that there's some pretty personal stuff on here. On subsequent releases he developed a sort of highly articulate barrier based on a number of techniques. In matters of a personal nature he later directed his attentions to other groups of people and manufactured the kind of 'Frank' he wanted people to see. In short, after this album he was totally in control. He was the 'Central Scrutiniser'.
The darkly cynical and angry track 'I Ain't Got No Heart' is a real song about real feelings. And there are more. 'How Could I be Such a Fool' and 'I'm Not Satisfied' also reveal the bitterness and betrayal he had experienced as a result of relationships with a woman or women unnamed.
This CD also contains plenty of the stuff we all know about Frank but in embryo form. Groovy paranoia (Who Are The Brain Police), Teen parody (Wowie Zowie) and statements of intent (Hungry Freaks, Daddy).
Then, surfacing like a monstrously embarrasing reality check point, we are treated to 'Trouble Every Day' - a wake up call to bigots and racists of every colour. This is the most serious political piece that Frank Zappa ever wrote. His rage at the ramifications of a repressed people driven to fighting in the streets goes way beyond the silly pseudo-revolutionary rants of his contemporaries. Just listen to the way he sings: "He wants to go and do you in, because the colour of your skin, well it just don't appeal to him, no matter if it's black or white because he's out for blood tonight".
The album finishes with 'The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet' (originally subtitled 'The Ritual Dance of The Child Killers'). This album was originally released on MGM records' 'Verve' label which was the home of fine jazz at the time. There really is no wonder that there were questions asked as to why on earth MGM were paying for studio time for a freak to record a cacophony like this. Indeed, 'Monster Magnet' took up almost the whole last side of what was an astonishing double vinyl album.
So, why did this reviewer give it five stars? Well, because it's a great album. The songs are hooky, brilliant, intelligent and probably more a sign of the times than any of the other corporate nonsense that was released in 1965.
You don't have to be a student of Frank Zappa to like this stuff but it helps to be prepared. It's not always easy but this is a truly great debut by a truly great artist.