The Mothers of Invention - 'Tis the Season to be Jelly (Live in Sweden, 1967)

You Didn't Try To Call Me 3:12
Petroushka 0:52
Bristol Stomp 0:45
Baby Love 0:47
Big Leg Emma 2:09
No Matter What You Do (Tchaikovsky's 6th)   2:41
Blue Suede Shoes 0:53
Hound Dog 0:14
Gee 1:52
King Kong 14:18
It Can't Happen Here 9:18
Total Time: 37 min, 1 sec

This is the first (chronologically) in the series of bootleg recordings that made up the Beat the Boots and Beat the Boots 2 sets released by Rhino records. In an attempt to turn the tables on bootleggers, Zappa took several of the most famous bootlegs of his concerts and released them officially, complete with the original sound quality (which ranges from surprisingly good to horribly bad) and original artwork. As of late 1999, most of the albums from the first Beat the Boots series could still be found in stores, if you looked hard enough. Unfortunately, the second series is long out of print. Rather than review each Beat the Boots set as a whole, I'm going to try to work the individual albums in with the official releases, based on when they were recorded.

'Tis the Season... comes from the first Beat the Boots series. It's one of the better sounding recordings, which is surprising considering its age. This is the original Mothers, working their way though a few originals and a strange collection of covers. The medley at the beginning is one of my favorite bits of the Zappa catalog, and must be one of the weirdest medleys ever performed - Stravinsky, the Bristol Stomp, the Supremes and Zappa - who would have thought they'd mix so well? Just announcing the upcoming songs gets a laugh from the audience.

Other highlights of the disc include the lengthy live version of King Kong, complete with solos and a "conducted mayhem" section. The version of It Can't Happen Here that closes the disc is very cool, featuring a creepy effect that sounds like a radio being scanned across random channels, with heavy reverb applied.

Album Cover

Image of the 'Tis the Season to be Jelly album cover