Full performer name: Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention.
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention: Frank Zappa (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals); Ray Collins (vocals, harmonica, percussion); Elliot Ingber (guitar); Roy Estrada (bass, vocals); Jimmy Carl Black (drums, vocals).
Includes liner notes by Frank Zappa.
Personnel: Ray Collins (vocals, harmonica, finger cymbals, tambourine); Roy Estrada (soprano, guitarron); Elliot Ingber (guitar); Jim Black (drums).
Recording information: 03/08/1966-03/12/1966.
Arranger: Frank Zappa.
In 1966, when even the Doors and the Grateful Dead were still at a garage band level, Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention took great pride in being the ambassadors of freakdom. The hippie/flower power culture was just getting under way, but the Mothers' debut album found them already taking great delight in turning Aquarian imagery inside out. No starry-eyed rainbow people, the Mothers were the living incarnation of underground comics such as R. Crumb's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: nasty, ugly, and downright dirty.
Much of the musical template on this early effort is far more conventional than Zappa's later work. The framework is a blend of the avant garde, pop/rock, and, improbably, doo-wop, but it's overlaid with sardonic, subversive lyrics, bizarre instrumental touches, and an unrelentingly ironic sensibility. Along the way, the Mothers insert snatches of free jazz, bizarre sound collage, and parodic spoken-word, all with the aim of setting the nascent counterculture gloriously askew.
Entertainment Weekly (12/17/93, p.36) - "...The first Mothers Of Invention album is equal parts send-up and homage, chewing through everything from doo-wop to fractured Stones and Animals riffs....FREAK OUT's jeering anarchy was astonishing back in '66...."
Q (8/95, pp.150-151) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "The greatest debut album of them all, certainly the most ambitious in scope and attitude. Zappa has the Mothers blast through an hour of pachuco doo-wop, R&B, garage-punk, protest, bubblegum and free-form jazz..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.139) - "Pop as insurrection, rock as improvisation and music as satire make the LP a scabrous critique of its age."
Uncut (magazine) (p.68) - "The first ever double album in rock history....A collection of dark, satirical rock music, acknowledged by Paul McCartney as a major influence on SGT PEPPER."