Review Summary: It's a huge disappointment, but charming doo-wop songs and the epic guitar and violin in "The Little House I Used to Live In" keep it from being a complete failure.
The Mothers of Invention, headed by the genius of Frank Zappa, had previously released albums consisting of analytical satire, psychedelic rock, and doo-wop, and experimentalism. Sadly, the original line-up for The Mothers had just broken up after the release of Uncle Meat. Because of this, Zappa decided to take unreleased material from The Mothers and put them onto two new albums: Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
Burnt Weeny Sandwich in specific borrows orchestral instrumentations, doo-wop covers, and guitar solos from The Mother's previous studio sessions and concerts. There's no satire or experimentalism to be found on the entire album. The orchestral songs are for the most part brief and follow a loose theme; literally every single one is forgettable. Luckily, the two doo-wop covers, "WPLJ" and "Valerie", are charming little numbers that serve as bookends to an otherwise instrumental album.
More than half of the album (over 29 of the 41 minutes) is devoted to three guitar solos. The first two of which are rather average for Zappa and yet again forgettable. In complete contrast, "Little House I Used to Live In" serves as a just under 19 minute thrilling battle between the guitar and violin. The drum and piano parts are also quite impressive. It's more than just your typical live jam. This track alone makes the album worth a listen, or better yet: just listen to this song.
Overall, the album comes off as more of a compilation than something whose track listing was given the utmost care in writing. Basically, it's a huge disappointment, but charming doo-wop songs and the epic guitar and violin in "The Little House I Used to Live In" keep it from being a complete failure. Don't bother listening to it in full unless you're attempting to listen to Zappa's entire discography. On the other hand, Burnt Weeny Sandwich's twin album, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, is awesome and totally worth checking out.