The Mothers of Invention - Ahead of Their Time (1993)

Prologue   3:07
Progress?   4:44
Like It Or Not   2:21
The Jimmy Carl Black Philosophy Lesson   2:01
Holding the Group Back   2:00
Holiday In Berlin   0:56
The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves the Stage   2:55
Undaunted, the Band Plays On   4:34
Agency Man   3:17
Epilogue   1:52
King Kong   8:13
Help, I'm a Rock   1:38
Transylvania Boogie   3:07
Pound For a Brown   6:50
Sleeping in a Jar   2:24
Let's Make the Water Turn Black   1:51
Harry, You're a Beast   0:53
The Orange County Lumber Truck (Part 1)   0:46
Oh No   3:22
The Orange County Lumber Truck (Part 2) 10:36
Total Time: 67 min, 28 sec

The Flo and Eddie band got their archival release with Playground Psychotics, and now the original Mothers of Invention get one with Ahead Of Their Time. This album documents a concert that the Mothers played at the Royal Festival Hall in London, on October 28th, 1968. The first half of the album also features the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

This release is split into two parts. Part one is a play, in which the members of the Mothers who know how to read music form a new group with the orchestra members. Motorhead wants to join this group because he likes their uniforms, but they won't let him because he's not a good enough musician. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carl Black heads into the audience to try to find a little female companionship. Then Roy Estrada protests the Pope's ban on birth control by coming out on stage dressed as the Pope in drag, and throwing "pills" (actually candy) into the audience. Later, he tries to quit the band because he thinks his being a Mexican is somehow holding them back. There's more to it, and the basic plot is outlined in the liner notes, but it's really hard to understand what's going on without seeing it (some video of this concert has been released, I think as part of the Uncle Meat movie, so hopefully the whole thing will come out someday). For now, it's best to just sit back, have a few laughs and enjoy the music.

The second half of the album features the Mothers rocking out. The notes describe this portion of the show as "a fair - not outstanding - 1968 MOI rock concert". If this is just fair, I'd love to hear outstanding. I think this performance smokes, and just keeps getting more and more intense until the very end, when a representative of the hall comes out and ends the show because the local subways are about to shut down for the night. These may be my favorite performances of King Kong and Orange County Lumber Truck.

Fans of the early Mothers need to get this disc, just for the second half if nothing else. Considered as a two-disc set, this CD and disc one of You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 5 do a great job of documenting the original Mothers.

Album Cover

Image of the Ahead Of Their Time album cover