In 1966, when even the Doors and the Grateful Dead were still at a garage band level, Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention took great pride in being the ambassadors of freakdom. The hippie/flower power culture was just getting under way, but the Mothers' debut album found them already taking great delight in turning Aquarian imagery inside out. No starry-eyed rainbow people, the Mothers were the living incarnation of underground comics such as R. Crumb's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: nasty, ugly, and downright dirty.
Frank Zappa's liner notes for Freak Out! name-checked an enormous breadth of musical and intellectual influences, and he seemingly attempts to cover them all on the second Mothers of Invention album, Absolutely Free. Leaping from style to style without warning, the album has a freewheeling, almost schizophrenic quality, encompassing everything from complex mutations of "Louie, Louie" to jazz improvisations and quotes from Stravinsky's Petrushka.
This packagepackage contains the complete libretto (clean American version), plus two additional tracks not included on the original release.
Before becoming obsessed with sex, politics and the Synclavier, Frank Zappa was a performer of great whimsy, who here, on his second album, was singing about such topics as fruits and vegetables while also displaying a developing critical attitude toward American social mores. Dense with musical references from "Louie Louie" to Holst's "The Planets," ABSOLUTELY FREE is a testament to the young Zappa's awesome musical breadth. These Mothers of Invention lack the precision of Zappa's later combos, but give a firm R&B grounding to his experimentation. ABSOLUTELY FREE includes the classic "Brown Shoes Don't Make It," a biting parody of suburban American values, along with forgotten masterpieces like "Call Any Vegetable," a tune pointing out the ease with which we can become in tune with our little green buddies.