Frank Zappa: Absolutely Free (1967)

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Frank Zappa: Absolutely Free (1967)
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Barking Pupkin Records 1988


Personnel includes: Frank Zappa – guitar, conductor, vocals, Jimmy Carl Black – drums, vocals, Ray Collins – vocals, tambourine, Don Ellis – trumpet on "Brown Shoes Don't,Make It", Roy Estrada – bass, vocals, Bunk Gardner – woodwinds, Billy Mundi – drums, percussion, Don Preston – keyboards, John Rotella – percussion, Jim Fielder – guitar, piano, Pamela Zarubica – vocals

Absolutely Free (1967) is the second album by The Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. Absolutely Free is once again a display of complex musical composition and with political and social satire.

The title of "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" was inspired by an event covered by Time Magazine reporter Hugh Sidey in 1966. The reporter correctly guessed that something was up 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. This story appeared in the news again upon Sidey's death in 2005.

In the songs "America Drinks and Goes Home" and "America Drinks" Zappa combines a silly tune with nightclub sound effects to parody his experiences playing with drunken bar 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.)

Comments about some of the other songs: "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": however, when Zappa first began performing "Plastic People" ca. 1965, the words were set to the tune of "Louie, Louie."

tracklist:

Side one

Suite No. 1: "Absolutely Free" (1st in a Series of Underground Oratorios)

1. "Plastic People" – 3:42
2. "The Duke of Prunes" – 2:13
3. "Amnesia Vivace" – 1:01
4. "The Duke Regains His Chops" – 1:52
5. "Call Any Vegetable" – 2:15
6. "Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin" – 7:00
7. "Soft-Sell Conclusion" – 1:40

1967 Mothers of Invention single, bonus tracks for the 1995 Rykodisc CD reissue:

8. "Big Leg Emma" – 2:31
9. "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" – 2:37

Side two

Suite No. 2: "The M.O.I. American Pageant" (2nd in a Series of Underground Oratorios)

10. "America Drinks" – 1:52
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 and Goes Home" – 2:46