Frank Zappa - Mothermania (Originally released 1969, CD Re-release 2012)

Brown Shoes Don't Make It   7:31
Mother People   1:42
Duke of Prunes   5:07
Call Any Vegetable   4:23
The Idiot Bastard Son   2:25
It Can't Happen Here   3:18
You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here     3:40
Who Are the Brain Police?   3:32
Plastic People   3:42
Hungry Freaks, Daddy   3:30
America Drinks & Goes Home   2:46
Total Time:    41 minutes, 38 seconds

For years I've been reading on the newsgroup that this is the one Zappa compliation worth owning, because Frank put it together himself using alternate versions and remixes of songs. It was out of print for ages, but has finally be re-released on CD, just 43 years after its original release. After reading about it for so long, I had to have a copy so I ordered it along with Finer Moments from Amazon. I wasn't sure where to put it in the "timeline" of this web site, but in the end laziness won out and I just stuck it at the end of the 2012 releases so I wouldn't have to go back and change the links in a bunch of older reviews.

The biggest draw of this album, according to most folks, was that Mother People and possibly other tracks that had been censored by the record label on their original albums were presented in uncensored form here. Maybe it's because we live in a more jaded age, or maybe it's because a lot of that censorship was removed when the original albums were released on CD, but lines like "Shut your fuckin' mouth about the length of my hair" didn't even really register with me the first time I listened to this CD.

What caught my ear were the remixes. They're fairly subtle for the most part, but when you've been listening to these songs for decades, little changes jump out at you. A more distinct vocal part here, a orchestral flourish I never really noticed there, some zaniness from the Mothers that was originally buried in the mix. If you're just playing this album in the background or weren't that familiar with the original versions, you might not notice the difference. But listening through headphones with the volume cranked up, this CD provided plenty of little "Wow, I never really noticed that before" moments.

Is this CD a must-have for fans who already own all the early Mothers albums but weren't around when Mothermania originally came out? Probably not. But it's a fun listen for us obsessive collector types.

Album Cover

Image of the Mothermania album cover