FRANK ZAPPA — Burnt Weeny Sandwich (The Mothers Of Invention)

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FRANK ZAPPA - Burnt Weeny Sandwich (The Mothers Of Invention) cover
3.75 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1970


1. WPLJ (2:52)
2. Igor's Boogie, Phase One (0:36)
3. Overture to a Holiday in Berlin (1:27)
4. Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich (4:32)
5. Igor's Boogie, Phase Two (0:36)
6. Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown (6:24)
7. Aybe Sea (2:46)
8. Little House I Used to Live In (18:41)
9. Valarie (3:15)

Total Time: 41:09


- Frank Zappa / organ, guitar, arranger, composer, keyboards, vocals, producer
- Don Preston / bass, piano, keyboards
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums
- Lowell George / guitar
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Gabby Furggy / vocals
- Bunk Gardner / horn, wind
- Don "Sugarcane" Harris / violin, vocals
- Jim Sherwood / guitar, vocals, wind
- Art Tripp / drums
- Ian Underwood / guitar, piano, keyboards, wind

About this release

Bizarre Records – RS 6370

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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Members reviews

After having heard the satirical bizarre side of Zappa this album took me by surprise as it is rather restrained by Zappa's standards. It features lengthy flute sections and some mesmirising beauty on organ. Frank Zappa plays multi instruments such as organ, and guitar. He is joined by the accomplished Don Preston on bass and piano, as well as Jimmy Carl Black on drums. The excellent guitar embellishments are courteousy of Lowell George, and the basslines of Roy Estrada are rhythmic augmenting the sound. There are others involved in this polished craftsmanship such as Gabby Furggy on vocals and Zappa stalwart virtuoso Ian Underwood on keyboards and guitar. The brass section of Bunk Gardner's horns and woodwind lend a truly majestic ethereal quality, and these are backed by Don "Sugarcane" Harris's violins. Together this band is able to create a compelling sound and one that is unique in the extensive catalogue of Zappa related projects.

The album is mainly instrumental and at times the jam sessions hook into a hypnotic groove that entrance the listener. The trademark doo wop style is there as usual but it is not as laboured as other albums. The music ranges from neo-classical to straight out rock. Highlights include WPLJ, Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown and the epic Little House I Used to Live In. The opening track and epic finale are the best moments but overall the album is an enjoyable listen showcasing the virtuoso musicianship of the Mothers of Invention. The tracks blend together and come across as one seamless work of art. Zappa is notorious for chatting to the crowd and this is no exception as he backchats an audience member who complains about the soldiers in the arena; Zappa retorts "Don't fool yourself, everybody in this room is wearing a uniform." Another solid album for Zappa in a period where prog music was becoming defined and formulated.
Mixing the 1950s Doo Wop R'n'R with lengthy jazz improvisations, this album is an interesting insight into the late 1960s Zappa's transformation period, still looking for a right direction. Still, the ending result appears not so strong as some later albums. Of course, there are several stunning guitar solos, orchestral imaginative arrangements and quite awesome percussion/vibraphone moments, but overall I don't find this album really essential. Perhaps, this is another of those albums which require repeated listens after certain breaks, so I will surely check this oddity again. In the meantime the best I can give to this LP is 3 stars.
One of two posthumous Mothers of Invention collections Zappa would release in the immediate aftermath of the band's breakup (more archival material would eventually trickle out over the years), Burnt Weeny Sandwich is structured like its title: the "bread" of the sandwich consists of WPLJ and Valarie, two of the Mothers' twisted doo-wop attempts - WPLJ is a straight out comedy song, whilst Valarie is a lament for lost love which actually sounds kind of sincere for once. As for the meat, we have a selection of Zappa compositions delivered in note-perfect form by the Mothers, which a tendency to showcase Zappa's classical influences - the "Igor" of Igor's Boogie being most likely Igor Stravinsky.

These tracks are almost entirely instrumental, making this an album you'll absolutely love if, like me, you liked the instrumental tracks on Uncle Meat. What pushes it into the must-have category is The Little House I Used to Live In, an epic track that takes up most of the second side and takes us through the Mothers' entire sonic universe before depositing us at a live concert (where we get to see Zappa's good-natured handling of a heckler). Maybe it is a posthumous Frankenstein rising from the MOI's grave, but it's an expertly designed one.

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  • progshine
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  • darkshade
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  • HeadlessJazzman
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  • Tychovski
  • Noak2
  • Sean Trane
  • The_Jester
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