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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh CD (album) cover

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.78 | 362 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the second release from Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention after they disbanded in 1969. The album consist of archive recordings. By the time Weasels Ripped My Flesh came out in 1970 Frank Zappa had already started his solo career but it seems he felt the need to share these recordings and the songs on Burnt Weeny Sandwich with the fans of The Mothers of Invention. For many years this was one of the few Zappa related recordings I didnīt really like. I felt the album was too noisy and not coherent enough. Iīve had the album since the early nineties but never got through the avant garde compositions, so the only songs I really enjoyed was My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama, Oh No and The Orange County Lumber Truck. Songs like Did You Get Any Onya ? and The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue was simply too strange for my virgin ears in those days. Things have changed though and today I can enjoy the more challenging compositions much better than back then. Weasels Ripped My Flesh will probably never be my favorite Mothers of Invention album but at least today I enjoy listening to the album. If not for anything else this is a nostalgic goodbye to one of the most innovative, creative and odd bands of the sixties: The Mothers of Invention.

The album starts with Didja Get Any Onya? which is a live recording. There is lots of free jazz like sax soloing, some avant garde vocal parts and some loose instrumental themes. After a couple of listens this composition became enjoyable to me. I was not impressed the first time i listened to Didja Get Any Onya? I normally donīt like free jazz much but for some reason Zappa almost always makes the most hard musical styles go down smoothly. The man is a genious.

Directly From My Heart to You is a blues with Don "Sugar Cane" Harris singing and playing some mean bluesy violin. Itīs typical for Zappa to go from avant garde music and directly into a pretty straight blues and then back into avant garde territory againg with the next song.

Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask is a strange but typical MOthers of Invention live composition. Zappa was probably conducting this on the spot. Odd vocal parts and more free jazz sax soloing. The song ends with disgusting piggy snorts and coctail jazzy piano playing underneath. what an odd song.

Toad Of The Short Forest starts with a studio part which reminds me a bit about Twenty Small Cigars from Chungaīs Revenge. Great little pleasant part. At the 1 minute mark the song changes into a live avant garde song. Note the part where Zappa tells the audience what time signatures the different instruments play. Zappa loved to involve his audience in music theory. This might seem arrogant to some, but to Zappaīs fans ( at least for me) this was educational and inspiring.

Get A Little is a vehicle for a Zappa Guitar solo. Nice song to calm down to after the strange avant garde hell we have just been witness to.

The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue is one of the arranged compositions on the album. It could easily have fitted into the track list on Uncle Meat and was probably written at about the same time. A band like Henry Cow is probably very influenced by a song like this. There is also a Zeuhl flavor to The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue and Magma seems to have found some influence here too. This is a highlight on Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula has a similar sound to some of the songs on Burnt Weeny Sandwich for the first half minute until strange noises kick in.

Straight from the noises of Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula to My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama which is a RīnīB song with nice brass motives and funny lyrics. Pretty basic stuff but listen to that middle section. It could have been taken right out of Uncle Meat. Great song.

Oh No is a beautiful vocal based song. Itīs very short and lasts only for 1:46 minutes but in that time we get some really nice parts. Ray Collins sings with his smooth vocal style. Oh No could easily have been on Uncle Meat. Together with The Orange County Lumber Truck which Oh No seques into the two of them became live classics. The Orange County Lumber Truck is a nice brass theme driven song but it really is just a vehicle for a Zappa guitar solo. Note the uptempo section with the guitar solo. There is some great brass underneath that solo.

The title track ends the album with two minutes of noise from a live concert and the song ends with Zappa saying good night boys and girls and thank you for coming to our concert. What a fitting end to The Mothers of Invention.

The musicianship is astonishing to say the least. The Mothers of Invention will forever stand as one of the most technically challenging groups of the sixties. There are so many examples of their great skill on Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Note that Lowell George ( Little Feat founder and heroin addict extraordinaire, died of a heart attack on the 29th of June 1979) plays rhythm guitar and sings on Did You get Any Onya? Lowell George was as I remember it a member of The Mothers of Invention for a very short time.

The production is really good when you think about when this was recorded. Frank Zappa is an excellent producer and mixer. He makes studio and live sections of songs seque into each other smoothly. You hear the change but it sounds great.

The cover artwork by artist Neon Park is one of the most significant covers in rock history. Itīs pretty disgusting really ( well in a positive way). The cover is based on the cover story from the September 1956 issue of Man's Life, a Men's adventure magazine ( The cover depicts a man standing in water being attacked by weasels, trying to fight them off) and an advertisement for Schick brand electric razor.

Allthough this is not my favorite Frank Zappa album Iīm still much happier about it today than I was 10 - 15 years ago and Iīm a bit undecided if this deserves 3 or 4 stars. Iīll rate it 3 big stars but I might upgrade this to a 4 star album in 10 or 15 years time because this album is a grower for sure.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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