Frank Zappa: “The Mothers 1971” (Review & Stream)

Those years seem confusing and marked by a wild urge to create. But when you consider the chronology, the sheer number of records and the touring schedule, you can see in Frank Zappa an artist who was just as obsessed and determined as the other giant at the bottom of the record shelf, Neil Young. In 1971 he continued the hodgepodge with the Mothers. In June he appeared at the Fillmore East, where Yoko Ono and John Lennon performed the scream song “Scumbag,” a production Zappa liked so much he would have liked to include it in its entirety on the live record – but the couple, themselves extremely enthusiastic, published it on “Some Time In New York City”.

Just as obsessed and determined as the other giant at the end of the record shelf

With Turtles singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, Zappa staged a potpourri of Kregl’s ’60s pop with whistles and fanfares. Zappa was now so popular in Europe that the Mothers embarked on a tour in the winter of 1971. In Denmark, Belgium, Austria and Germany, the concerts were admired like a circus spectacle (there were also corresponding announcements with drum rolls). In the casino in Switzerland, two terrorists stormed the stage with incendiary devices, after which the establishment burned down.

It was even worse at the Rainbow Theater in London, where Zappa was pushed off the stage by an audience member during an encore. The head and spine were injured, an arm was broken, and back pain was later attributed to this fall. Zappa was brought to the United States and took almost a year to recover from the injuries. Volman and Kaylan had moved on, and Ian Underwood had gone his own way. “The Mothers 1971”, remixed, cut and mastered, contains the work of this year on eight CDs – perhaps the best Zappa year ever. “Fillmore East – June 1971” will be released as a remaster with bonus tracks, “Rainbow Theater” on three LPs.


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