The Mothers of Invention
Uncle Meat


4.5
superb


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Actually I really fucked up in Europe...Now that I've done it all over and nobody else will accept me. I've come home to my Mothers..."

To get it out of the way, I’ll simply say, Uncle Meat is really out there. Even for Zappa standards, it’s extremely weird. And it’s absurdly magnificent.

Uncle Meat, part of the “No Commercial Potential” series Zappa had going on at the time, Uncle Meat was the proposed soundtrack to a science-fiction film that Zappa had in the works, but never got completed (behind-the-scenes footage would be released in 1987 however). It is perhaps Zappa’s most diverse album, even more than We’re Only In It For The Money. Spanning over seventy-five minutes at its original release on April 21, 1969, it gathered its sound from several genres, from straightforward rock music, to orchestral music, and jazz, et cetera, et cetera.

Drawing the elements from the mostly spoken-word remake of Lumpy Gravy, Uncle Meat went one step further, and not only increased the use of bizarre spoken-word segments, but the use of percussion and orchestral movements. This all showcased Zappa’s ever-growing strengths as a composer and arranger. For example, Nine Types of Industrial Pollution and Uncle Meat: Main Title Theme, are based on percussional instrumentation and are formless in melody. The classic rock ‘n’ Roll influences of the 1950s are effortlessly captured in Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague, which from the start seems as a typical rock track, then turns into an avant-garde group effort dominated by overdubs and the new recording technology of the time. Throughout the album, the band’s unofficial spokeswoman, Suzy Creamcheese would pipe in and tell short stories of The Mothers, and what they were about, serving as quick introductions to the succeeding tracks. Another unique part of the album was the live segments from the band’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall. To say the least, these live portions of the album are the most droll and forgettable recordings The Mothers had the distinction of releasing, and serve no purpose whatsoever to the album.

But the shining moment of Uncle Meat most certainly has to be the finale: King Kong. A side long free jazz behemoth, and clocking in at seventeen minutes, King Kong was the crowning achievement of the original Mothers incarnation without a doubt. Mainly in ¾ time signature, the suite is one long repetition of the track’s melody in different variations, from a live rendition focusing on saxist Ian Underwood, to a variation of the melody put through various electronic effects, as well as a final variation featuring sped-up gongs, overblown saxophones, and several other instruments.

Although free of the satire associated with many of Zappa and The Mother’s albums and other projects, the abundance of ideas found on Uncle Meat place it among The Mothers’ greatest works. It most certainly is the most difficult of the classic-era albums to get into due to its avant-garde sound, and its inaccessibility compared to other Zappa/Mothers albums. That definitely doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time, because to put it straight: It is worth investing not only seventy-five minutes of your time, but a whole day dedicated to it.

Recommended Tracks:

Part One:

Nine Types of Industrial Pollution
Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague

Part Two:

Mr. Green Genes
Project X
King Kong



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user ratings (127)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
sleepdirt
April 4th 2014


387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Title track is so good.

Veldin
April 4th 2014


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OK, I've been digesting his discog lately & I've been procrastinating this behemoth, but this review has me fully convinced there is nothing better I should be doing. Thanks, pos'd.

Veldin
April 4th 2014


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

UNcle Meat Film Excerpt I (37:35)?? My King Kong is separated into 7 parts as well.

Jethro42
April 4th 2014


13016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm interested in this album and in all his bests that he calls Mothers of Invention. Good job on the review maing.

BMDrummer
April 4th 2014


12277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, pos'd.

Digging: Elemantra - You Feel Bad About You

Jethro42
April 4th 2014


13016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll just have to be more patient I guess. As for the ''mang'' I first discovered it outside of sputnik with a friend of mine. A francophone who used to say it all the time.

Veldin
April 4th 2014


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why isn't Zappa more popular on Sput? It's really perplexing, because I think most people who

frequent this site would enjoy his brilliant compositions and sense of humor. :=/ I'm enjoying the

hell outta this so far (might be cooler than We're Only In It...).

ArsMoriendi
April 4th 2014


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague" and "Mr. Green Genes" have to be my favorites from the album. I wouldn't say Uncle Meat is among my favorites by Zappa's in general, but its still pretty good.



The review was well written though so good job!

Digging: Portishead - Portishead

ArsMoriendi
April 4th 2014


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I guess it's that partly, but for the most part I just don't have a lot of favorites from it. Mainly the 2 I said above and

the "King Kong" stuff are my favorite.



It's definitely closer to a 3.5 than a 2.5 for me.

ArsMoriendi
April 4th 2014


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, although his satire stuff is a huge bonus I love plenty of his other stuff.



I gave Sleep Dirt and Waka/Jawaka both 4/5

I gave Jazz from Hell and The Grand Wazoo both 4.5/5

and Hot Rats a 5/5.

GrandpaSeth3000
April 4th 2014


382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was about 26 years old when this first came out. I remember seeing it in the neighborhood record

store and being really confused by the album cover and so I decided to check it out. I really like it

and its a really cool sound. I don't always like Frank Zappa's music but this is a good album.



- gs3k

GrandpaSeth3000
April 4th 2014


382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Music is my passion. It always has been since the 1950s.



- gs3k

ScuroFantasma
April 5th 2014


3183 Comments


Good review Frip, pos

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2014


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review frip

Penlord
April 14th 2014


186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review classic album although I'd say Lather is his most diverse

wakawazoo
April 16th 2014


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think it's my favourite album. Although it has 23 songs, every one is great(except Louie Louie

and the spoken tracks). And King Kong is the best jazz track by Frank

Jethro42
April 25th 2014


13016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He's the king. Hail to the king!

ArsMoriendi
April 25th 2014


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree about Louie Louie, but that spoken tracks are hilarious and enhance the album sooo I like them.

Jethro42
April 25th 2014


13016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds familiar to me

edit;(king kong and Ponty)

Jethro42
April 25th 2014


13016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prolly never heard of the album, but I heard about Ponty playing some Zappa's songs.



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