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Mothermania


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Audio CD, November 19, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered edition of this 1969 compilation from Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention. Mothermania, subtitled The Best of the Mothers, is a compilation album by The Mothers of Invention. While the songs were previously released on Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and We're Only in It for the Money, the compilation contains unique mixes or edits done specifically for this compilation.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 19, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B009GGWX7M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on ... Read more in Amazon's Frank Zappa Store

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
92%
4 star
8%
3 star
0%
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1 star
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See all 24 customer reviews
In other words, collectors will find a lot to like here.
David Goodwin
I'm glad to have a "real" CD of it, and it's very nice to have an actual cover, etc.
Stephen R. Taylor
This is Frank's best work, at his best time in the music world.
Eric Orsolics

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David Goodwin on November 22, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Between 1966 and 1968, the Mothers of Invention released exactly four albums for Verve Records--five, if you count "Lumpy Gravy," which was a Zappa solo record. So on first blush, "Mothermania," a 1969 release that compiles songs from the first three Mothers records--Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, and We're Only In It For the Money--seems pretty unnecessary, much like "Big Star's Biggest" or other compilations that cull from two or three albums. After all, all three of the Verve albums are well worth owning, and each would be a strong starting point for the new initiate.

And yet "Mothermania," which was compiled by Zappa himself, is anything but superfluous; it's a brilliant encapsulation of those first three albums, a definitive statement of "We are the Mothers, and this is what we sound like." For one, the track selection is pretty stellar. Starting off side one with "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" and side two with "It Can't Happen Here" is a ballsy move, but it works brilliantly; Zappa trusts that his listeners will realize that both of those tracks, uncommercial as they are, reflect an indispensable side of the band. Indeed, "Mothermania" actually de-emphasizes the commercial side of the group, eschewing the greasy love songs of Freak Out! and Ruben and the Jets both. It's not a perfect selection--"Trouble Every Day" is missed, in particular--but finding a better balance between the freakish and the accessible would be tough to do.

Were "Mothermania" simply an excellent compilation, its forty-year absence would not have been much lamented; however, Zappa also saw fit to stuff it full of exclusive goodies that were not available elsewhere and, as such, were lost to time for four decades. Both tracks from "Money" are available in radically different mixes.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert on December 30, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When "Mothermania" was released there were already several compilation albums of The Mothers Of Invention floating around. Except for "Mothermania", none were compiled or approved by Frank Zappa. On FZ's only approved "best of The Mothers" collection, we get four unique mixes of four songs, which makes this release essential for the Zappa fan who needs EVERYTHING! "Mother People" has the verse that was censored out of "We're Only In It For The Money" (which includes the wonderful lyric: "Shut your f-----g mouth about the length of my hair". "The Idiot Bastard Son" features a short intro that was trimmed for "We're Only In It For The Money", and it also omits the mid-song dialog that ruined the flow of the song. "Call Any Vegetable", which consists of three parts and runs about 8 minutes on "Absolutely Free" is trimmed to a more digestible 4:23, by omitting most of part 2 ("Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin"). Finally, we get the alternate edit of "It Can't Happen Here", which has the piano ballet interlude removed, and adds an extra line of FZ's dialog with Suzy Creamcheese. For me, as a Zappa fanatic, "Mothermania" on CD is a long awaited, essential collection.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Stephen R. Taylor on December 6, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first reviewer above is right on the money in his illustrious opinions, in fact, I don't have much to add about the album at all. But while this may be a slight slam on the Zappa Family Trust, I gotta say, I'm one of the oafs who spent 10 or 12 bucks or whatever on the download of this fine compilation. Yep, I was convinced by Zappa.com that this album was only ever going to be available as a download, so I purchased said download, burned a copy of it, and that was that. But of course, there was no cover that way. Then, it came out like this. I'm glad to have a "real" CD of it, and it's very nice to have an actual cover, etc. But dang it, I got ripped off! Zappa.com intimated that downloading this is the only way one could ever get it. Hmmm. Buying all of these 2012 editions in chronological order, I also bought Grand Wazoo from them, because all the reviews on Amazon claimed one couldn't play it on a regular CD player! Lies! They ripped me off again with that album, as they charge a lot more for shipping than does Amazon! I'm actually starting to wonder if there isn't some kind of conspiracy shit going on with Zappa.com. Only time will tell, I guess.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Kelly on January 18, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The release of Mothermania on CD marks two milestones; it is yet another of the UME remasters and sounds fantastic and it represents what Frank himself saw as his most accessible and acceptable product to that point (1969).

Others who are more detail-oriented that I can elaborate on how the mixes for several of the songs on Mothermania were significantly different than those on the original LPs. What I think deserves some ink is how unusual his output was in the first three years, when compared to other music of the day. The 1960s saw the flourishing of music as expression for social viewpoint - historically songs, other than humourous ditties, only dealt with the vicissitudes of love. During the mid-sixties, songs began to deal with the larger world.

Zappa possessed a caustic wit and skewered both the uptight parents and the conformist-faux-hippie youth. Mothermania chooses some of these gems ("Brown Shoes Don't Make it", "Who Are the Brain Police?", "America Drinks & Goes Home") and presents them outside of the integrated contextual placement within his first severl LPs. They shine here on their own.

One small mention of the sound - it is glorious. The details of the nightclub sounds you can hear in the background of America Drinks & Goes Home are alone woth the investment, but all the tracks never sounded better, possibly never better in their original vinyl.

If you want a sampler of Zappa's Sixties work - I would say his freshest and most experimental period - you need this
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