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Cruising with Ruben & The Jets Original recording remastered

68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, May 16, 1995
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Cruising with Ruben & The Jets + Uncle Meat [2 CD] + We're Only In It For The Money
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Frank ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION Cruising With Ruben And The Jets CD

From the Label

"Is this the Mothers of Invention recording under a different name in a last-ditch attempt to get their cruddy music on the radio?" It didn't work, but who cares: This now stands as a much-loved, oddball item in the Mothers catalogue. Zappa's love for the '50s doo-wop style of early rock'n'roll was never much of a secret, and this collection of (just barely) original tunes was both a tribute and an affectionate sendup. As Zappa explained at the time, "We made it because we really like this kind of music."

After placing doo-wop homages like 'Wowie Zowie" on earlier Mothers albums, Zappa went all the way with silly gems like "Cheap Thrills" and "Jelly Roll Gum Drop," with the original Mothers in all their greasy splendor; while "How Could I Be Such a Fool" and "Stuff Up the Cracks" lampooned the melodrama of early rock ballads. This is the 1984 remix.

1. Cheap Thrills
2. Love Of My Life
3. How Could I Be Such A Fool
4. Deseri
5. I'm Not Satisfied
6. Jelly Roll Gum Drop
7. Anything
8. Later That Night
9. You Didn't try To Call Me
10. Fountain Of love
11. 'No. No. No. '
12. Anyway The Wind Blows
13. Stuff Up The Cracks

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B0000009S0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,906 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pollock on February 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Ah yes, Ruben and the Jets. Pull out your Verve vinyl, and listen to the vintage sounds of Zappa and the Mothers reconstructing their heritage of classic doo-wop and r&b.
What? Your vinyl was lost or destroyed? Your record player was donated to charity?
Well, go buy a record player and a copy of the old vinyl version of this, because the current cd is garbage!
In the mid 80's, Zappa decided that the drum and bass sounds on two of his album, WOIIFTM and Ruben, were simply not up to snuff. He made the thoroughly bizarre decision to re-record those parts with current band members.
The result is something like a modern remix of a sixties-era track - it just doesn't work. The bass and drums do things that nobody did in 1969. They simply sound wrong.
So, if you want to hear this album properly, get the old vinyl. The cd is good for a laugh, but not for much more.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"I conceived that album along the same lines as the compositions in Stravinsky's Neoclassical period. If he could take the forms and cliches of classical era and pervert them, why not do the same with rules and regulations applied to Doo-Wop in the 50s?" - FZ
This album is often written-off unfairly, even by fans of the original Mothers lineup, as just a Doo-Wop spoof album. However, Cruisin' isn't just a joke side-project that FZ dreamed up one night, and it deserves its rightful place as an MOI album proper. FZ loved Doo-Wop, and here's his tongue-in-cheek homage to it. Of course, like all of Zappa's musical apings, his version of Doo-Wop is much more musically involved. On this album, FZ uses chord progressions that are considerably more advanced than traditional Doo-Wop songs, but is careful not to lose the charming simplicity of the music.
When listening to Ruben today, on CD, one also has to be aware of something else: this album, more than any other, was completely overhauled in digital remix. When FZ got the master tapes, (he claims) they were in disastrous condition, and, never being satisfied with the musicianship to begin with, he decided to re-record the bass and drum tracks in addition to new edits. A reluctant Arthur Barrow provides a new (funk!) bass, and I believe its either Wackerman or Logeman on drums. The result? The album sounds fuller, richer, and much more polished for sure. But its lost the charm of the original Mothers sound completely. There are merits in both versions, should you ever be able to track down an original vinyl to hear it. Regardless, it looks like this version is the one posterity will have to get to know.
The most noticable (and best) change on the album is the opener, CHEAP THRILLS, which now has the energy to really kickstart this album.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Watts on November 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is one of my favorite records by any artist and one of my favorites by the Mothers and Frank Zappa.
I like it probly for the same reason some Frank Zappa fans don't like it -- because it's rather simple, silly and in someways quite heartfelt, a rarity for Frank Zappa. I find myself humming and singing these songs out of nowhere even after I haven't heard the album for months.
It is also the best existing showcase for Ray Collins' pure R&B vocals. He is really an excellent singer and this record shows it. This record is Ray's even more than it is Zappa's.
The cover art for the album (a cartoon showing all the musicians with stupid dog faces) is also a riot.
What I find most amusing about Cruising With Ruben and The Jets is that Frank Zappa wrote and released it almost a decade after this music went completely out of style. The idea of recording and releasing this ridiculously cheesy doo-wop music at the height of the "acid rock and Clapton is God" era makes this record as subversive and bizarre as any of the records Frank did which were bizarre.
If you can't enjoy and sing and laugh along with this stuff (especially "Fountain of Love") then you have serious emotional problems.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Renfree on March 14, 2008
Format: Audio CD
During the 80s, Zappa began to reissue his back catalogue on CD. Most suffered some sort of tweaking as Zappa attempted to "improve" on what he'd done in years before. Some albums got through unscathed (Absolutely Free & Burnt Weeny Sandwich) some benefited from well chosen additional material (Hot Rats & Weasels Ripped My Flesh) some suffered from indulgently chosen additional material and crappy remixing/re-editing (Uncle Meat & Freak Out)and a couple were just really sloppily mastered. A quick comparison between portions of "Weasels" and the same material on the beautifully mastered "Ahead Of Their Time" amply demonstrates this point.

But the biggest travesty was reserved for "We're Only In It For The Money" and "Cruising With Ruben And The Jets". Both these albums copped new rhythm tracks, recorded using members of his contemporary touring band. It's interesting to note that even the musicians booked to do these sessions thought Zappa was out of his mind.

The reason Zappa gave at the time was that the original masters were lost, but as all tracks on the reissued CDs use some components from the original recordings, the original multi track recordings must have been available to Zappa. A remix using all the original performances was - and probably still is - possible.

The real reason is likely to be that the ever-litigious Zappa was at war with his old band, The Mothers Of Invention, who wanted to be paid royalties from the reissues. But, whatever the reason, the result was two completely awful sounding albums, completely devoid of the warmth, humour, personality and humanity that enveloped even the most technically difficult Mothers Of Invention albums.
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