Bluesy, Dissonant, Guitar-Hero, Happy, Intimist, Jazzy, Low vocals, Melancholic, Old School, Psychedelic, Symphonic, Technical, Theatrical
"First album by Frank Zappa and his Mothers. A wide variety of styles and an originality that heralds a giant work to come."
ADRIANSTORK (14.08.2023)  
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In California in the 60s, young Frank Zappa, who had turned his back on his academic failures, was musically wide awake. A precocious multi-instrumentalist, he was interested in the dodecaphonic work of Edgar Varèse and wanted to turn the notes he heard in his head into music. But for the time being, he has to survive by selling prefabricated hits (in the manner of the hits of the moment), surrounded by other losers who decide to accompany the young man determined to make his way in the world of music.

Joining him on vocals and guitar were vocalist Ray Collins, Indian drummer Jimmy Carl Black, falsetto-savvy Mexican guitarist Roy Estrada, bassist Elliott Ingber and a veritable classical orchestra. In the studio, the rule is simple: Frank Zappa gives his musicians scores for their respective instruments, and they must more or less stick to them. There's no dictatorial attitude from Zappa, who already knows the drill. The Freaks on the album are the Los Angeles hippies who want to distinguish themselves from the San Francisco hippies around whom the Mothers live without really being part of them. The album can be considered the second double album in history, beaten by a head by Bob Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde", released a few weeks earlier. Tom Wilson, who had electrified the same Bob Dylan, produced these freaks.

Frank Zappa likes to revisit genres: jazz, rock, blues, doo-wop, rhythm and blues, doo wop ballads, classical music (the bluesy 'You Did Not Try To Call Me' has a classical feel that foreshadows future projects). The lyrics turn out to be socially committed: 'Trouble Everydays' is about the race riots contemporary with the recording of this album. The ominous 'Who Are The Brain Police', whose heavy guitar riff was later borrowed by Black Sabbath on 'Iron Man', is an early critique of the woke philosophy. You Are Probably Wondering Why I Am Here' is the first salvo against the Plastic People (who we'll meet again on the next album), with kazoo and vibraphone.

Not everything is perfect, however, with 'Motherly Love', which is a pushy, self-denying track, 'I'm Not Satisfied', which is a little demonstrative, and the ballad 'How Could I Be Such A Fool', which is not necessarily unforgettable, even if it evokes the failed marriage of its usually more modest author. 'Help I Am A Rock', with its sinister distorted guitar riff, sees speakers scream into microphones and lose themselves in shattered structures. But it's with 'Return Of The Son Of Mother Magnet' that the all-out experimentation kicks in. This joyously anarchistic mess sees Zappa multiplying collages, accelerated and slowed-down tapes and eccentric sound effects over a tribal rhythm marked by a few female orgasms for a dozen minutes. In retrospect, this delirious piece is not structured enough - Zappa would later combine frenzy and rigor.

This first album by Frank Zappa and his Mothers is torn between a caustic, light-hearted spirit and a more serious, darker, even experimental thought. The mix of styles, tones and experimental originality is rather copious to digest, but this "Freak Out!" is the ideal gateway for those who would like to understand the journey of the man considered to be the greatest classical guitarist of the modern era. The best is yet to come.
- Official website

01. Hungry Freaks Daddy - 3:32
02. I Ain't Got No Heart - 2:30
03. Who Are The Brain Police? - 3:33
04. Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder - 3:41
05. Motherly Love - 2:45
06. How Could I Be Such a Fool - 2:12
07. Wowie Zowie - 2:53
08. You Didn't Try to Call Me - 3:17
09. Any Way the Wind Blows - 2:52
10. I'm Not Satisfied - 2:37
11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here - 3:38
12. Trouble Every Day - 5:50
13. Help, I'm a Rock (Suite in Three Movements): 1. Okay to Tap Dance / 2. In Memoriam, Edgard Varèse / 3. It Can't Happen Here - 8:37
14. Return of the Son of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet in Two Tableaux): 1. Ritual Dance of the Child-Killer / 2. Nullis Pretii (No Commercial Potential) - 12:20

Elliot Ingber: Guitares
Frank Zappa: Chant / Guitares / Tambourin, Harmonica
Jimmy Carl Black: Batterie
Ray Collins: Chant / Tambourin, Harmonica, Cymbales
Roy Estrada: Basse
Arthur Maebe: Invité / Cor, Tuba
Carol Kaye: Invité / Percussions
David Wells: Invité / Trombone
Edwin V. Beach: Invité / Violoncelle
Emmet Sargeant: Invité / Violoncelle
Eugene Di Novi: Invité / Piano
Gene Estes: Invité / Percussions
George Price: Invité / Cor
John Johnson: Invité / Tuba
John Rotella: Invité / Clarinette, Saxophone
Joseph Saxon: Invité / Violoncelle
Kenneth Watson: Invité / Percussions
Kim Fowley: Invité / Hypophone
Kurt Reher: Invité / Violoncelle
Les Mccann: Invité / Piano
Mac Rebennack: Invité / Piano
Neil Levang: Guitares / Invité
Paul Bergstrom: Invité / Violoncelle
Plas Johnson: Invité / Saxophone, Flûte
Raymond Kelley: Invité / Violoncelle
Virgil Evans: Invité / Trompette
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