Ahead of Their Time

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All Music Guide - Fran├žois Couture
The date is October 28, 1968. The Mothers of Invention are playing the Royal Festival Hall in London. Frank Zappa has booked 14 musicians from the BBC Symphony Orchestra to accompany them during the first part of the show. He had been writing chamber music pieces in the hotel rooms he visited and wanted to try them out. He strung them together by devising a psychodrama he called "Progress?" This was meant (and indeed turned out) to be a one-time performance, so he made sure to record it. He released the whole thing as Ahead of Their Time 25 years later. The first half of the disc is comprised of the "play." A faction of the Mothers want to play conservative concert ...
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AUDIO CD New 014431055928 NEW/SEALED & in Excellent Condition-BUY NOW and REMEMBER WHEN ***

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fran├žois Couture
The date is October 28, 1968. The Mothers of Invention are playing the Royal Festival Hall in London. Frank Zappa has booked 14 musicians from the BBC Symphony Orchestra to accompany them during the first part of the show. He had been writing chamber music pieces in the hotel rooms he visited and wanted to try them out. He strung them together by devising a psychodrama he called "Progress?" This was meant (and indeed turned out) to be a one-time performance, so he made sure to record it. He released the whole thing as Ahead of Their Time 25 years later. The first half of the disc is comprised of the "play." A faction of the Mothers want to play conservative concert music. Don Preston advocates progress with his avant-gardist electronics. He and pianist Ian Underwood battle it out while other frivolous characters (played by members of the Mothers) intervene. It must have been a lot of fun to watch (and it was filmed; parts of it appeared in the movie Uncle Meat), but some of the more visual scenes translate poorly on record. More important is the music itself, which definitely points toward the score to 200 Motels -- it even includes "Holiday in Berlin," which will eventually become a central theme of the film music. The second half of the CD presents the rock part of that night's concert. All instrumental and very focused, it presents Zappa's best tunes from 1967-1968, including the complete sequence that includes "Let's Make the Water Turn Black," "Harry You're a Beast," "The Orange County Lumber Truck," and "Oh No." The sound quality is far from perfect, but this is a crucial document that fans of the '60s Mothers will enjoy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/30/1995
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • UPC: 014431055928
  • Catalog Number: 310559

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Mothers of Invention Primary Artist
Frank Zappa Indexed Contributor, Guitar, Vocals
Don Preston Electric Piano, Noise
Jimmy Carl Black Drums
Roy Estrada Bass, Vocals
Bunk Gardner Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Art Tripp Percussion, Drums
Ian Underwood Piano, Alto Saxophone
Euclid James Sherwood Baritone Saxophone, Tambourine
Technical Credits
Bob Stone Remixing
Frank Zappa Arranger, Producer
Cal Schenkel Artwork
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    interesting performance

    Most of this recording is a performance of an interesting near-theatre piece cooked up by Zappa and called _PROGRESS?_ -- where the members of the MOI have formed factions, pitting the trained, ''classical'' musicians against the rock/free jazzers in the band who can't read music. Though it was clearly rehearsed, and includes some chamber music performed by members of the LSO (much of which Zappa rewrote for decades) the actual dialogue is off-the-cuff. So it's not exactly Shakespeare, but an interesting display of what you could expect at a Zappa show during this ''fertile period of Rock evolution'' [Zappa would have said that dripping with irony]. BTW - a lot of this show can be seen in the Uncle Meat video. <BR>The second half of the disc is all instrumental, since the 10-piece band included NO lead vocalist.

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