The Worst of The Mothers

By Morgan Ames

High Fidelity, September 1971

THE MOTHERS: The Worst of The Mothers. The Mothers, vocals and rhythm accompaniment; Motherly Love; Mom and Dad; Flower Punk; seven more. MGM SE 4754, $4.98.

People don't appreciate The Mothers (of Invention). They don't dare. The group's outrageousness reaches dizzying proportions. They mock not only the establishment but also the youthful fans who love them. In a way, they are doing the job that many parents don't know how to do โ€“ restoring perspective by reminding the kids that they can be as foolish as the old folks.

No one is safe from The Mothers. It can be argued that such profound irreverence is its own defeat. On the other hand, it is insanely refreshing in the face of countless idiot albums in every field of pop music.

All the music is written by group-founder Frank Zappa, a self-acknowledged madman (and incidentally, a keen producer and formidable businessman). Zappa likes to write in the '50s' style, a particularly stupid era of music as displayed in such songs as Status Back Baby ("I'm losing status at the high school, I used to think that it was my school"). Zappa is a genius at titles. New songs include: Flower Punk, Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance, Wowie Zowie, and Help I'm a Rock. Past album titles include: "Burnt Weeny Sandwich," "Hot Rats," "Weasels Ripped My Flesh," and "We're Only in It for the Money." For all Zappa's madness and sometimes meanness, he is a beautiful writer. What's more, every member of the group is an excellent musician. It is one thing to quarrel with what The Mothers do โ€“ but only the deafest and/or most bigoted will question the professionalism with which the dastardly deed is done. All Frank Zappa albums require intensive listening. He works neither for the weak-stomached nor the lazy-headed types to be found among both young and old. Zappa tests us.

Try this album. See if you're as open-minded as you think you are. See if your sense of humor about yourself and the world is authentic or restricted. The Mothers make an entertainment of alienation and are thus pop music's most accurate reflection of the times we try to live in. They are one of a kind, and we need them. M.A.

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