Mothers Of Invention: Uncle Meat

By Don Heckman

Stereo Review, August 1969

MOTHERS OF INVENTION: Uncle Meat. Mothers of Invention (instrumentals and vocals). Uncle Meat; The Voice of Cheese; Nine Types of Industrial Pollution; Zolar Czakl; Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague; and twenty-two others.
BIZARRE two discs 2024 $7.98, Ⓡ P-2024 (71/2) $11.95, Ⓑ 8RJ-2024 $12.95.

Performance: Instrumental Mothers
Recording: Excellent to good
Stereo Quality: Very good

Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention have been working on a film titled (that's right) "Uncle Meat." According to Zappa, he is $300,000 short of being able to finish it. When, and if, they do, it should be one of the more remarkable neighborhood-theater events of the season. In the meantime, he has released this two-record set of what is presumably to be the soundtrack (along with an enclosed booklet of pictures, music, and scenario). It showcases a vocally subdued collection of Mothers who put their instrumental talents on the line in a series of long, rambling, sometimes good and sometimes not so good but always interesting improvisations. The use of various kinds of distortion pre-amplifiers on the wind instruments introduces fascinating special effects into otherwise fairly pedestrian jazz solos. But the real talent is Zappa's. He writes like a dream, dipping in and out of a myriad of musical styles v avant-garde "classical," jazz, Fifties rock, and doubtless anything else that comes into his admittedly strange head. All in all, it is a superb performance, musically and instrumentally, from a young composer who is surely one of the major musical talents of the decade. So don't wait for the movie; try "Uncle Meat" (somehow, that doesn't sound quite right) now.