The Mothers Of Invention: The Mothers, Fillmore East – June 1971

By Don Heckman

Stereo Review, November 1971

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: The Mothers, Fillmore East-June 1971. The Mothers of Invention (vocals and instrumentals). Little House I Used to Live In; The Mud Shark; What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?; Bwana Dik; Latex Solar Beef; Willie the Pimp; and five others. REPRISE MS 2042 $4.98.

Performance: Mothers "alive"
Recording: Very good

It's a good thing we have Frank Zappa. Without his insane blend of rock, perversion, obscenity, theater, classical music, and aleatorism, the pop scene would be in sad straits. This latest installment from the work of his many traveling bands was recorded at the Fillmore East in June 1971. Don Preston and Ian Underwood are still around from past Zappa holocausts, but the rest of the names are new to me (except for drummer Aynsley Dunbar, leader of his own group).

The maniacal facet of Zappa's diamond-bright talent is most prominent. If there are any young kids in your house not completely familiar with the sexual concerns of most teenagers, you'd better prelisten to this record – assuming, of course, that censorship is your thing. Despite the language and the quite explicit storytelling, I find Zappa's stuff utterly charming and, in its own way, almost Victorian in its fascination with the specifics of sexual play.

The music, as usual, is superb. Zappa always starts from a base of technical excellence, and builds from there. The bits and pieces of instrumental playing, the references to Stravinsky and Varèse and Fifties rock-&-roll are all here, and the singing is as good as ever. Zappa's talents have occasionally been pushed too far by well-wishers. I like him best when he is working as he is here – with competent, sympathetic musicians and a responsive audience. This is Zappa at his best.