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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets CD (album) cover

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: CRUISING WITH RUBEN & THE JETS

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.73 | 248 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Believe it or not, this is a concept album. Frank Zappa created the fictional band....the band consisted of a bunch of teenagers that an old man (Uncle Meat) turned into "dog snout" people under the lead of singer Ruben Sano. The album itself belongs to the "No Commercial Potential" project. The other albums that belong to that project are "We're Only in it For the Money", the revised version of "Lumpy Gravy" and "Uncle Meat". FZ said that the song order from these 4 albums could be cut apart with a razor blade and reassembled in any order and it would still make one piece of music that you could listen to and then cut them apart again and assemble them in another order and still listen to it.

This is Frank Zappa's funny yet loving tribute to the 50s style doo wop the he loved so much. Yes he loved it. This album has both new and re-vamped songs on it, all written in the doo-wop style. There is no prog here, but out of all the FZ doo-wop collections, this one is the best, so in a way it is essential if you want to understand and appreciate the artist. FZ always did what he wanted, even though most of the time, he wanted to be recognized for his serious jazz/classical music, and he used popular music to get more people to listen to his serious music.

On the surface, the music here sounds really simple. Apparently, it was a really easy album to record. However, FZ still adds some strange harmonies, some winks to one of his favorite composers, Igor Stravinski. There are some odd key changes throughout the album and even a few weird meter changes. That was FZ adding his touch so that listeners that were listening would know that it really was him. But for the most part, don't expect to find much other than doo wop music, somewhat enjoyable and entertaining for the most part. No guitar solos here except for on the last track, and it is kind of out of place, but still good. Some of the songs are better than others, but on the whole, it's a fun record and a novelty to own the vinyl.

Strangely enough, a 2nd Ruben and the Jets album was recorded by an actual band by the same name. The album name was "For Real" and it was produced by none other than Frank Zappa. Good luck finding that one. Nothing prog here, but essential for those interested in FZ, so I'll call it a 3 star album.

TCat | 3/5 |

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