The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich

By Noel Coppage

Stereo Review, June 1970

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: Burnt Weeny Sandwich. The Mothers of Invention (vocals and instrumentals). WPLJ; Igor's Boogie; Overture to a Holiday in Berlin; Theme from a Burnt Weeny Sandwich; Igor's Boogie, Phase Two; Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown; Aybe Sea; Little House I Used to Live In; Valerie. BIZARRE RS 6370 $5.98, Ⓑ 8RM 6370 $6.95, Ⓒ CRX 6370 $5.95.

Performance: Trippy
Recording: Excellent
Stereo Quality: Comfortable

Frank Zappa, a sort of unwashed, people's (read that without the comma if you insist) version of John Cage, talked Reprise into starting two record labels, Bizarre and Straight, and I guess nobody need be told that the Mothers of Invention record for Bizarre. They are reasonably bizarre here, although not as freaky as they have been on other recordings. Those who still get haircuts
can get an idea what the Mothers are like if they can picture the old Sauter-Finegan Orchestra gone berserk; here we have an ultimate squeak, over there creative use of feedback, and in the back a french-fried ohm.

And yet it is all real, fairly honest music. Sugar Cane Harris performs a violin solo on Little House I Used to Live In that would, if done in formal (or at least clean) clothing in the august atmosphere of a classical concert, extract that throaty yet refined cry of "Bravo" we all like to hear. Zappa presides over it all from the organ, picking his way through the complicated electric maze he has set up. He wrote all the pieces except White Port and Lemon Juice and Valerie, the only two cuts that involve vocals and are the low points of the recording. (The Mothers fall into a Four-Seasons vocal style on Valerie; must be a put-on.) The high points, for me, occur several times in Little House, which runs for almost twenty-two minutes.

The Mothers don't play rock, usually, although their music is called rock. I suppose it eventually will be called jazz, for lack of a better word. They sound like a fairly straight avant-garde jazz combo at times, and at other times they kid jazz unmercifully. One cut here features a brilliant piece of satire with an alto sax. And anyone who refuses to take an alto sax seriously is all right in my book.