The Mothers - Fillmore East - June 1971 (1971)

Little House I Used to Live In 4:41
The Mud Shark 5:22
What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?  4:17
Bwana Dik 2:21
Latex Solar Beef 2:38
Willie the Pimp part one 4:03
Do You Like My New Car? 7:08
Happy Together 2:57
Lonesome Electric Turkey 2:32
Peaces En Regalia 3:22
Tears Began to Fall 3:50
Total Time: 42 min, 6 sec

The infamous pencil-front album - Zappa went for a bootleg look on this one, with a plain white cover with just the group name and album title scrawled on it in pencil. As mentioned in the last review, this official album and the Freaks and Motherf*#@%! bootleg have much in common, but there are unique benefits to owning each. Fillmore East has better sound quality, although it still sounds somewhat bootish. It also has a better developed groupie routine, and the complete Happy Together (the F&M version only has the first minute of the song). There's also a nice live version of Peaches En Regalia on the official album.

One little in-joke I just noticed: At one point, Flo and Eddie are singing about shouting things out, and for no apparent reason they start singing "Alice Cooper! Alice Cooper!". I just realized that on one of the earlier Beat the Boots discs (I forget which), some guy in the audience shouts out "Alice Cooper!" for no good reason. Frank makes a comment about that being some strange stream of consciousness - whatever he was talking about suddenly reminded the guy in the audience of Alice Cooper.

Vinyl purists complain that the CD omits Willie the Pimp part two. Having never heard the original vinyl I don't really notice it, but it's annoying to know that something's missing there. Plus Willie the Pimp part one is really just a guitar solo that segues out of Latex Solar Beef. It does include a couple bars of the main riff from Willie, but if you're not paying attention it's easy to miss.

As mentioned in the Chunga's Revenge review, a lot of the material on Fillmore East is somewhat juvenile, with several sexually graphic sections of lyrics. If that sort of thing bothers you, skip this album. This is not one to play while the kids are around. Don't be fooled by the fact that it has the innocent little Turtles' tune Happy Together on it - the bit leading up to that song is some of the dirtiest stuff on the CD. Also some of the funniest, depending on your sense of humor.

If forced to choose, I think I'd take Freaks... over Fillmore..., just for the Holiday in Berlin with lyrics. But both are worth having, even though they're not my favorite albums of the Zappa catalog.

Album Cover

Image of the Fillmore East June 1971 album cover