My olde Pig Paper co-conspirator John Pinto just blessed me with seventeen – count ‘em !! – vintage Frank Zappa / Mothers Of Invention albums …or, should I at least say, their Reagan-era digital incarnations (more about THAT later). So as you’ll soon plainly see I’ve been having late-night balls revisiting these choice gems, in chrono-logical order, one-by-one and track-by-track, recalling all the trouble I got in at home and especially school upon purchasing and playing, as loudly as was humanely possible, their original Verve vinyl pressings as a snotty young Canuck.
(btw: say what you may about Canada of course, but remember that the initial pressings of We’re Only In It For The Money up there in the Grey Wide North sported the uncensored “Pepper” parody cover right up front, whereas them Yanks had to have it hidden safely inside that ugly Motherly-yellow gatefold. So THERE).
anyways, Starting at the Start then, Frankly speaking: Freak Out.
Four (count ‘em!) long-playing sides BEFORE Blonde On Blonde; multi-minute suites of musique concrete slapped right alongside nice cute pop songs …BEFORE The White Album; an album-length “concept,” as it was, BEFORE Arthur, Tommy, or even Confessions of a Teenage Opera [sic!] …though, admittedly, several years AFTER the Little Deuce Coupe and All Summer Long LP’s.
And, speaking of Big Brother Bri and the Summer of 66, Freak Out proved a ground-breaking, genre-busting, earth-quaking true lush orchestral song cycle BEFORE posh li’l Pet Sounds ever did.
And, possibly as a direct result, it sold just about as badly back then too, even in the comparatively hep U.K…..