The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

By Mike Bourne

DownBeat, 10 December 1970

WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH – Bizarre/Reprise 2028: 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; 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.
Personnel: Buzz Gardner, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Ian Underwood, alto; Bunk Gardner, tenor; Motorhead Sherwood, baritone, snorks; Don Preston, piano, organ, electronic effects; Don "Sugar Cane" Harris, electric violin, vocal; Zappa, lead guitar, vocals, composer, arranger; Lowell George, rhythm guitar, vocal; Roy Estrada, bass, vocal; Jimmy Carl Black, Art Tripp, drums; Ray Collins, vocal.

Rating: ★★★★★

Any album by Frank Zappa should seem a special moment – but he is too seldom offered that sort of reverence, no doubt because to so many his music sounds odd. But then the music of Frank Zappa is odd, and brilliant by that very abnormality. As a composer, as an arranger, even as a guitarist, he is seldom equalled in rock, if indeed his music may be so simply classified. As an editor especially, the skill with which Zappa fuses the sense of a whole from his diversely recorded live and studio pieces is amazing, virtually inexplicable: so much so that, in one instance, the live instrumental The Orange County Lumber Truck (recorded at Festival Hall) jumps in on the bar as if the natural improvisation of Oh No (recorded in a New York studio), and without being noticed until long switched. Yet praise such as this is constant for Zappa, if only the pop mass would care enough to listen.

Fantastic moments on this latest include: the gutsy violin and vocal of Sugar Cane Harris on Little Richard's Directly from My Heart; the Zappa vocal and guitar on the very funny hard-rock My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama; the feedback explosion climax of the title cut; several group improvisations, all under assorted bizarre titles, and likely all hand-directed by Zappa; the usual comic interludes of a few lines of laughs here and there, some fabulous Sherwood snorking on Prelude; and my favorite piece, Ray Collins' vocal on Oh No, with perhaps the greatest Zappa lyrics yet recorded.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh is ultimately an album as magnificent as its cover is hilariously grotesque.

Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at)