Zappa / Mothers - Our Man in Nirvana (Recorded November, 1968 in Fullerton, CA)

Feet Light Up 1:23
Bacon Fat 5:31
A Pound For a Brown (on the Bus)   6:13
Sleeping In a Jar 18:46
The Wild Man Fischer Story 3:28
I'm the Meany 2:03
Valarie 2:18
King Kong 30:59
Total Time: 70 min, 44 sec

Yet another of the Beat the Boots discs, from the second boxed set. I have a store-bought cassette of this, and a CDR someone made for me.

This boot was recorded just before Cruising With Ruben and the Jets and Uncle Meat were released, as Zappa introduces the "String Quartet" (see below) as being from the album that will be out in a couple weeks. The sound quality of this disc isn't nearly as good as the previous Boot series discs - it's muffled and mid-rangey. This might be because the sound in the venue was bad - at one point Zappa explains that "gymnasiums were not designed to make music in" but were instead intended for "people who like to jump around with balls and stuff".

The opening track isn't a song, it's just Zappa warning the audience not to step on the cables or their feet might light up. Next comes a good cover of Bacon Fat (although the vocals are so quiet they're almost impossible to hear), and then the band launches into an instrumental that Frank calls the String Quartet. This is made up of what would become Pound For a Brown and a very long, solo-filled version of Sleeping in a Jar. Oddly, a couple minutes into "Sleeping", we hear what sounds like a record player slowing down, then some silence, then it speeds back up and continues normally. I'm guessing this boot was originally a double vinyl album, and this was where side 1 ended and side 2 began.

A notable feature of the disc (and possibly the reason it was made part of the Boots series, despite its so-so sound quality) is that it contains two live performances by Wild Man Fischer - The Wild Man Fischer Story and I'm the Meany. These are solo vocal performances, and pretty strange ones at that. Makes me want to hear the long-out-of-print An Evening with Wild Man Fischer album (update 2002: I traded someone for a CDR of that album - can't say it was worth the wait).

The disc concludes with another performance of the doo-wop track Valarie, and then a long version of King Kong. This features Zappa's usual introduction that the song is about "a large gorilla that's on an island...some Americans found out about the gorilla...they catch him and stick him on a boat, they bring him back to the United States and show him off and make a bunch of money, and then they kill him". Of course, King Kong has no lyrics, so I guess Frank was just trying to make a point.

Album Cover

Image of the Our Man in Nirvana album cover