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Frank Zappa - Burnt Weeny Sandwich

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Burnt Weeny Sandwich

Frank Zappa, The Mothers Of Invention

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"Overture To A Holiday in Berlin," one of several miniatures on this overstuffed album, begins with a calliope-like sound of unclear origin—maybe it's two harpsichords that have been intentionally and diabolically de-tuned? The ear hears it as "off," but follows along anyway because the theme is so curiously and specifically nostalgic: This could be the entrance music for a winsome local clown hired to entertain an elementary school assembly.

The "Overture" lasts less than two minutes, and satisfies the minimum foreshadowing requirement expected of such a piece. Yet it's all Frank Zappa needs to create a remarkable sensory experience—a tableau, or several interconnected ones, that become scarifying detailed in Hi-Res. He gets the kindly clown on stage, provides a schmaltzy (atonal) waltz for a little dance number, and then moves the program right along. It's hardly the most breathtaking music Zappa created for this album-length orgy of ideas, but it offers a clue about the composer as both student and satirist: He starts by understanding the traditions, right down to those governing ignorable stuff like incidental music.

Long before he made opera or satirized Broadway, Zappa mastered—and then mocked, and then improved upon—these tiny fine points of music theater. His works with the Mothers of Invention, particularly this album's epic "The Little House I Used To Live In" and "King Kong" on the previous year’s Uncle Meat, situate technically demanding themes and memorably complex melodies within an array of theater devices gone wild—campy interludes and radio-drama sound effects, cartoonishly overwritten transitions and sudden, unexpected shifts of tempo and meter. To manifest his vision, Zappa didn't simply need musicians who could groove and groove hard in 7/4; he needed musicians who could pull off bagatelles and can-cans and galumphing military marches.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh illustrate just how crucial this kind of instrumental audaciousness was to Zappa as a composer. Both were released—seven months apart—after Zappa disbanded the original Mothers of Invention in 1970 but where Weasels emphasizes risk-taking in live performance, this set finds Zappa dropping memorable live moments (like the profoundly lyrical guitar solo in "Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown") into tightly scripted compositional settings. There are moments during the "Little House" suite when the whole contraption sounds like a mad-scientist mashup gone awry. Then, out of nowhere, comes a crystalline lead guitar or some frantic chordal pounding on a piano, transforming the parade of cartoony incidental fanfares into an unexpectedly clear, uniquely Zappa narrative. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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Burnt Weeny Sandwich

Frank Zappa

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1
WPLJ
00:02:53

Lowell George, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Frank Zappa, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Underwood, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Estrada, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Art Tripp, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist - Luther McDaniels, ComposerLyricist - Bunk Gardner, Woodwinds, AssociatedPerformer - Janet Ferguson, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Buzz Gardner, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

2
Igor's Boogie, Phase One
00:00:36

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ian Underwood, Woodwinds, AssociatedPerformer - Art Tripp, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist - Bunk Gardner, Woodwinds, AssociatedPerformer - Buzz Gardner, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

3
Overture To A Holiday In Berlin
00:01:27

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

4
Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich
00:04:33

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

5
Igor's Boogie, Phase Two
00:00:36

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

6
Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown
00:06:25

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

7
Aybe Sea
00:02:49

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

8
The Little House I Used To Live In (Live)
00:18:46

Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist

℗ 1969 Zappa Family Trust

9
Valarie
00:03:13

Morris Levy, ComposerLyricist - Clarence Lewis, ComposerLyricist - Frank Zappa, Producer, MainArtist - The Mothers Of Invention, MainArtist - Jack Rue, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1970 Zappa Family Trust

Album Description

"Overture To A Holiday in Berlin," one of several miniatures on this overstuffed album, begins with a calliope-like sound of unclear origin—maybe it's two harpsichords that have been intentionally and diabolically de-tuned? The ear hears it as "off," but follows along anyway because the theme is so curiously and specifically nostalgic: This could be the entrance music for a winsome local clown hired to entertain an elementary school assembly.

The "Overture" lasts less than two minutes, and satisfies the minimum foreshadowing requirement expected of such a piece. Yet it's all Frank Zappa needs to create a remarkable sensory experience—a tableau, or several interconnected ones, that become scarifying detailed in Hi-Res. He gets the kindly clown on stage, provides a schmaltzy (atonal) waltz for a little dance number, and then moves the program right along. It's hardly the most breathtaking music Zappa created for this album-length orgy of ideas, but it offers a clue about the composer as both student and satirist: He starts by understanding the traditions, right down to those governing ignorable stuff like incidental music.

Long before he made opera or satirized Broadway, Zappa mastered—and then mocked, and then improved upon—these tiny fine points of music theater. His works with the Mothers of Invention, particularly this album's epic "The Little House I Used To Live In" and "King Kong" on the previous year’s Uncle Meat, situate technically demanding themes and memorably complex melodies within an array of theater devices gone wild—campy interludes and radio-drama sound effects, cartoonishly overwritten transitions and sudden, unexpected shifts of tempo and meter. To manifest his vision, Zappa didn't simply need musicians who could groove and groove hard in 7/4; he needed musicians who could pull off bagatelles and can-cans and galumphing military marches.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh illustrate just how crucial this kind of instrumental audaciousness was to Zappa as a composer. Both were released—seven months apart—after Zappa disbanded the original Mothers of Invention in 1970 but where Weasels emphasizes risk-taking in live performance, this set finds Zappa dropping memorable live moments (like the profoundly lyrical guitar solo in "Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown") into tightly scripted compositional settings. There are moments during the "Little House" suite when the whole contraption sounds like a mad-scientist mashup gone awry. Then, out of nowhere, comes a crystalline lead guitar or some frantic chordal pounding on a piano, transforming the parade of cartoony incidental fanfares into an unexpectedly clear, uniquely Zappa narrative. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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