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Ahead of Their Time


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Audio CD, December 18, 2012
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 18, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B008XNPNBM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,184 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prologue
2. Progress?
3. Like It Or Not
4. The Jimmy Carl Black Philosophy Lesson
5. Holding The Group Back
6. Holiday In Berlin
7. The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves The Stage
8. Undaunted, The Band Plays On
9. Agency Man
10. Epilogue
11. King Kong
12. Help, I'm A Rock
13. Transylvania Boogie
14. Pound For A Brown
15. Sleeping In A Jar
16. Let's Make The Water Turn Black
17. Harry, You're A Beast
18. The Orange County Lumber Truck (Part I)
19. Oh No
20. The Orange County Lumber Truck (Part II)

Editorial Reviews

Official Release #61
Originally Released: March 1993
Produced by: FZ

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
Zappa is always entertaining.
Harvey J. Mitchell
The early MOI are a great band, but Zappa constantly tweaked them to get the maximum juice into his music.
pixelgnome
It's a bit too esoteric, a little too deep into the FZ/MOI cosmology.
Sir Charles Panther

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on February 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
You get two performances for the price of one: enforced recreation/drama and musical presentation.

This is a FZ/Mothers of Invention London Royal Festival Hall concert from October 28th, 1968. The FZ faithful have heard a litle bit of this show before, specifically "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" and "The Orange County Lumber Truck" on Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Other than these (edited) bits, this is newly released material.

FZ calls the first half of the album a "cheesy little psycho drama," and if you're a fan of traditional Mothers of Invention stage antics, you're in hog heaven. By comparison, this is no involved epic a la Fillmore East: June 1971. The cheez factor is pretty high here, with some sight gags onstage, easy enough to figure out if you're really listening and have read the liner notes. It's standard FZ on-the-road musical theater, with shots at pop music and pop culture, with a mildly enthusiastic and strictly polite English audience laughing and applauding in all of the right places.

This album doesn't warm up musically until track 11 and "King Kong," and it's only after track 15, "Sleeping in a Jar" that this musical portion of the show really picks up and starts to rock. The album then just steamrolls through the finale, a wonderful, extended, full, boss-band "Orange County Lumber Truck (Part II)." FZ himself, true to form, is a bit more critical, describing this musical portion of the album (tracks 11-20) as "a fair-not outstanding--1968 MOI rock concert performance.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brion Emde on January 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent album. It contains most of a concert that the Mothers of Invention performed in London in 1968. The first half of the album features the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing some of Zappa's chamber music that eventually appeared in the film 200 Motels two years later. This music is interspersed with a semi-improvised psychodrama performed by the members of the Mothers. The chamber music is beautiful, if somewhat primitive by the standards of Bogus Pomp from Zappa's London Symphony Orchestra album. The play's dialog is entertaining. Especially enjoyable is Roy Estrada's 'audition' consisting of an abbreviated version of Holiday in Berlin.
The second half of the album is a performance of early Mothers' music, brilliantly sequenced. The rendition of King Kong on the album contains the seldom heard Ark segment. Zappa's guitar soloing on the Orange County Lumber Truck is an extended version of that found on the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh and is very masterful.
This is an album that I never grow tired of hearing. The orchestral music combined with the driving musical power of the Mothers makes for very enjoyable listening.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The first half of this cd is amusing FZ mothers bantor, which in itself is not a bad reason to buy this cd. Funny and imaginative.... but, track 13-20 starting with 'Transylvania Boogie' on through 'Orange County Lumber Truck prt 2' is serious mother smashing down some grooves. Way wonderful. Worth the price of admission.. and if you don't have any early mother material, this is a great one to start out with. very enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pixelgnome on November 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I picked this up because I'm a fan of live FZ/MOI. Some performances are legendary-this one is not. It is superb, however, because it documents a musical phenom in his early phase. I continually am fascinated by Zappa's abilities as composer.
The orchestral pieces echo Lumpy Gravy/In It for the Money, and you can hear material that would find its way onto Weasels Ripped my Flesh. The early MOI are a great band, but Zappa constantly tweaked them to get the maximum juice into his music. The melodic phrasing/interplay between Preston, Zappa, and Sherwood is really laid back and comfortable. You could tell they're playing hard.
Getting to hear Roy Estrada talk is also a treat. The Rejected Mexican Pope bit is funny, and he really does have a funny voice (The Radio is Broken/Nowhere)! Mothers fans should have this CD. The original lineup is often overlooked in favor of the other bands. They should be appreciated, too. This album gives you a fair idea of what an early MOI performance was. Worth the money. I give it four and a half stars because sound improves later in the show.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kireviewer VINE VOICE on March 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I would put the value of this CD in the same class as an interview CD. It gives you some perspective on what Frank Zappa with the Mothers of Invention were doing at the time. As an entertainment CD or music CD, you might not want to play this more than once, especially when there are better Zappa CD's out there.

There are a number of things wrong with this CD. If you really want this, you should search out the video. Maybe you can find it on Zappa's website.

The sound is poor. There is a buzzing noise and the dynamic range is flat. It has that echo, bootleg king of sound. There are other CD's from this time period that sound much better. All of the Beat the Boots CD's have better sound quality. Beat the Boots is where Zappa took bootleg albums and remastered them so they have decent sound. I don't know why the effort was not taken with this CD.

The first 25 minutes of this CD is a play, similar to what they did on 200 Motels, about band friction issues. The problem is that much of the humor is visual. You had to be there to appreciate it. There are blank spots and you hear people laughing, but you don't know why (maybe if photos of the concert were included in the liner notes, it would help).

There is about 40 minutes of wonderful music. But, these are all the same instrumentals that the Mothers of Invention were playing during that time period. If you have the Beat the Boot series of CD's, you have all this same stuff.

But, I do have to admit that the Mothers of Invention were a jam band, and they never played everything quite the same twice. But, is it different enough?

The one difference on this CD is that there is an orchestra.
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