FRANK ZAPPA — Fillmore East - June 1971 (The Mothers) (review)

FRANK ZAPPA — Fillmore East - June 1971 (The Mothers) album cover Live album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Warthur
A live concept album that gives an accurate portrayal of the Mothers' theatrical stage show at the time, Fillmore East sees Zappa and crew (featuring Flo and Eddie) playing the roles of both egomaniacal rock stars and dizzy groupies. Lyrically, the album is a reasonable take on the concept, replete with smutty jokes - including a recounting of the infamous Mud Shark urban myth which gives a clear idea of the participants involved but, cleverly, doesn't actually give any details on precisely what transpired, leaving that part down to the listener's own filthy imagination Whether this is a problem will depend on your own tolerance of juvenile comedy and off-color jokes.

Musically speaking, whilst the band on show is alright, it doesn't come across as being quite as tight and technically proficient as the original incarnation of the Mothers, or indeed previous recording ensembles of Zappa's. This is most evident in the renditions of earlier Zappa material, like The Little House I Used to Live In, or Willie the Pimp, which are notably slower and more careful than the blisteringly fast original versions of those tracks.

On the whole, the album is a fun and amusing listen, but it's hardly Zappa's most cutting-edge experimental work. Still, it's worth a listen if you enjoy crude sexual comedy - it's like the audio equivalent of one of the American Pie films.
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