Frank Zappa loved '50s doo wop music. He grew up with it, collected it, and it was the first kind of pop music he wrote ("Memories of El Monte," recorded by the Penguins in 1962). Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, the Mothers of Invention's fourth LP, is a collection of such music, all Zappa originals (some co-written with MOI singer Ray Collins). To the unexperienced, songs like "Cheap Thrills," "Deseri," and "Jelly Roll Gum Drop" may sound like an average doo wop song. A closer look reveals unusual chord sequences, Stravinsky quotes, and hilariously moronic lyrics -- all wrapped in four-way harmony vocals and linear piano triplets. A handful of songs from the group's 1966 debut, Freak Out, were rearranged ("How Could I Be Such a Fool" and "Anyway the Wind Blows" give the weirdest results), and old material predating the Mothers was recycled ("Fountain of Love"). "Love of My Life" and "You Didn't Try to Call Me" became live staples.
Performance CreditsMothers of Invention Primary Artist
Don Preston Piano
Jimmy Carl Black Rhythm
Ray Collins Vocals
Roy Estrada Electric Bass
Frank Zappa Guitar
Bunk Gardner Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Motorhead Sherwood Baritone Saxophone,Tambourine
Ian Underwood Piano,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Arthur Dyer Tripp Rhythm
Technical CreditsRay Collins Composer
Paul Buff Composer
Frank Zappa Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Art Direction
Dick Kunc Engineer
Cal Schenkel Cover Art
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cruising with Ruben & the Jets based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
For people that MUST have this album, I have heard that the original pressing is the best. The album is ok, but the drums were overdubbed in the 90s I think, and they don't sound that good. The songs on the album that were on other albums, e.g. Any Way the Wind Blows, are entirely different. But not in a good way. However, the live versions of these songs, like Love of My Life on Son of Cheap Thrills, are much better. I would not recommend this album. It's only saving device are the lyrics...check out stuff up the cracks. I had no idea what the song was about until I read the lyrics to it. If you want to fill out your FZ collection, then get this used.
An album never intended to be taken too seriously but some of these tunes Zappa played live for the rest of his life. Fun if you remember 50's Rock and DooWop.