Five of Frank Zappa's Biggest Albums Coming to Vinyl

by VVN Music

Five of Frank Zappa's most loved albums are set to be rereleased on vinyl by the Zappa Family Trust and UMe on December 9.

The release is all part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Zappa's first albums and has included a number of new sets including the recently released Meat Light, Little Dots and Chicago '78. Also on tap is a special pink vinyl 45 for Record Store Day's Black Friday of How Could I Be Such a Fool b/w Help I'm a Rock (3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here).

The five albums being released on vinyl on December 9:

Zappa's first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, is the work of Zappa the composer. Recorded at Capitol Studios in 1967 by legendary producer Nick Venet, Zappa's compositions were performed by the 50-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra, which included several musicians from the legendary Wrecking Crew. Armed with the session tapes and a razor blade, Zappa sat in his New York City apartment and pieced together a masterwork that included the use of tape collages, dialogue, parody, musique concrete and DADAist tendencies. The self-produced album became one of his personal favorites. The LP will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl from a pristine 1968 analog safety tape found in Zappa's vault.

In the top 300 of Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums, We're Only In It for the Money is a scathing satire of right-versus-left politics that's as fresh in today's charged political atmosphere as it was upon release in 1968. In part a parody of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album pits the hippies against the squares, skewering them equally, as pawns held sway by corporate sellouts catering to the masses in the name of profit. The restored original 1968 mix is pressed on 180-gram vinyl from FZ's approved Digital Master.

Cruising with Ruben & The Jets is the fourth Mothers of Invention album. Released at the end of 1968, the concept album was written in the style of 1950s doo-wop and classic R&B, a childhood love of Zappa's and members of the band, including singer Ray Collins, who all came up with the idea while in the studio recording other music. It is being reissued with the original 1968 mix from the master analog tape on 180-gram vinyl.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the last album of recordings made by the original Mothers of Invention lineup released after it was disbanded by Zappa. The group, which included a horn section, made the blend of studio and live experimental and traditional tracks from 1967-69. Weasels Ripped My Flesh, released in 1970, provides a fascinating look at the group's range and diversity of influences, from avant-garde tracks like Didja Get Any Onya to the straight-up R&B of their cover of Little Richard's Directly From My Heart to You. In an interesting historical footnote, Lowell George makes an appearance here with the band previous to forming Little Feat with bass player Roy Estrada.

Conceptually and musically as challenging as anything Zappa released in the 1970s, three-act rock opera Joe's Garage was released as two separate packages in 1979 (the new release arrives as a three-LP set). Zappa described the dystopian tale as "a stupid little story about how the government is going to do away with music." The rock opera proved prophetic years later when the government began to examine ways to limit the spread of explicit content in music. The song cycle, conceived over a weekend, tells the story of a young rock 'n' roller who's thrown into prison and released into a world turned upside down by evil corporate, political and religious forces who've outlawed music. Zappa used the practice of "xenochrony" to record parts of the album, taking previously cut live guitar solos and overdubbing them onto new studio tracks. This 2016 vinyl edition is mastered in all analog by Bernie Grundman using the 1979 1/4" safety master tapes from The Vault.

The track lists:

Lumpy Gravy (1967)
  • Side A
    • Lumpy Gravy-Part I
  • Side B 
    • Lumpy Gravy-Part II
We're Only In It For the Money (1968)

  • Side A
    • Are You Hung Up?
    • Who Needs The Peace Corps?
    • Concentration Moon
    • Mom & Dad
    • Bow Tie Daddy
    • Harry, You're A Beast
    • What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?
    • Absolutely Free
    • Flower Punk
    • Hot Poop
  • Side B
    • Nasal Retentive Calliope Music
    • Let's Make The Water Turn Black
    • The Idiot Bastard Son
    • Lonely Little Girl
    • Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
    • What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise)
    • Mother People
    • The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny
Cruising With Rubin & the Jets (1968)

  • Side A
    • Cheap Thrills
    • Love Of My Life
    • How Could I Be Such A Fool
    • Deseri
    • I'm Not Satisfied
    • Jelly Roll Gum Drop
    • Anything
  • Side B
    • Later That Night
    • You Didn't Try To Call Me
    • Fountain Of Love
    • "No. No. No."
    • Anyway The Wind Blows
    • Stuff Up The Cracks
Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)

  • Side A
    • Didja Get Any Onya?
    • Directly From My Heart To You
    • Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask
    • Toads Of The Short Forest
    • Get A Little
  • Side B
    • The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue
    • Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula
    • My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
    • Oh No
    • The Orange County Lumber Truck
    • Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Joe's Garage (1979)

  • Side A (Act I)
    • The Central Scrutinizer
    • Joe's Garage
    • Catholic Girls
    • Crew Slut
  • Side B (Act I)
    • Wet T-Shirt Nite
    • Toad-O Line
    • Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
    • Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up
  • Side A (Act II)
    • A Token Of My Extreme
    • Stick It Out
    • Sy Borg
  • Side B (Act II)
    • Dong Work For Yuda
    • Keep It Greasy
    • Outside Now
  • Side A (Act III)
    • He Used To Cut The Grass
    • Packard Goose
  • Side B (Act III)
    • Watermelon In Easter Hay
    • A Little Green Rosetta

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