The Mothers of Invention
Burnt Weeny Sandwich



by theidiotbastardson USER (1 Reviews)
March 4th, 2016 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sublime exercise in instrumental virtuosity. Essentially a compilation, but extremely strong in the choice of material, and quite cohesive due to heavy editing in the studio. Not recommended for the casual fan, but a rewarding listen for those willing t

Following the sprawling Uncle Meat in the Mothers discography, in approach much of Burnt Weeny Sandwich is similar to the instrumental songs from that album, following the pattern of the modern classical “electrical chamber music” that Zappa had produced on that album. This is not a coincidence, as much of the album has its origins in the 1968-69 studio sessions that produced We’re Only In It For The Money, Cruising With Ruben And The Jets, and Uncle Meat. The genius of this album lies in the way that Zappa weaves these discarded studio odds and ends with live songs and unused snippets from the Hot Rats sessions to form a cohesive whole.

The album begins and ends with two doo-wop cover songs, WPLJ and Valerie. These are acceptable, mildly amusing covers, and if you dislike modern classical, or late 60s Zappa/MOI instrumentals, they may be the only songs you enjoy on the album, but to me, they represent charming bookends to the far superior material within.

Igor’s Boogie serves as a brief tribute to the composer Igor Stravinsky, and at under a minute is little more than a short intro to the Holiday In Berlin Part 1.

Overture To A Holiday In Berlin establishes the main theme of the piece, a somewhat lazy sounding, vaguely German instrumental that will be reprised in a slightly different form two songs later.

Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich is arguably the weakest of the instrumentals, being a fairly average Zappa guitar solo from the We’re Only In It For The Money sessions over a later percussion piece. It’s not necessarily a bad song, just more forgettable than the rest.

Igor’s Boogie Part Two is just a slightly different reprise of the original Igor’s boogie, preceding the second Holiday In Berlin.

Holiday In Berlin (Full Blown) expands upon the themes established in the Overture, featuring a decent Zappa guitar solo and some excellent piano and sax work. At six and a half minutes, it’s the second longest song on the album, and a personal favorite of mine.

Aybe Sea is a gentle piano piece, one of the most beautiful moments on the album and one that sticks out in the discography of an artist best known for his harsh, sometimes atonal music and challenging instrumental passages.

The Little House I Used To Live In is the centerpiece of this album, and an example of the seamless meshing of live and studio segments to form a cohesive whole. From the gentle piano solo that begins the song to the epic instrumental flourishes and the scorching violin solo of Don “Sugercane” Harris leading into the live version of “Aybe Sea” that closes the song, this in one of the best Mothers instrumentals. The guitar is less prominent here than on most of the album, giving more room for the piano and violin to jam, and producing one of the most sublimely beautiful songs in the Mothers/Zappa discography.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich is one of the finest releases from the first period of Zappa’s career, and is essential for any lovers of The Mother’s/Zappa’s instrumental work, especially that on Uncle Meat or Hot Rats. Those who only enjoy Zappa for the humor, prefer his admittedly more refined later work, or don’t enjoy instrumental music should give this release a wide berth, but otherwise, I highly recommend Burnt Weeny Sandwich to anyone who enjoys good instrumental music.

user ratings (203)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 4th 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

I disagree with the review, but you have decently developed ideas about I can see potential.

A few criticisms though:

1.Quotes go around song titles, not album titles.

2.Big paragraphs are encouraged, try to avoid ones that are too small.

3.This reads likes a track by track, which isn't a great format for reviews. It's better if you focus on overarching themes, ideas, and sounds, and maybe only mention like half of the tracklist when truly necessary.

But yeah Zappa's amazing. Also I checked your ratings and... great taste haha :D

March 4th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

awesome, glad to see someone trying to push Zappa's brilliance, not my fave Zappa

March 8th 2016


Album Rating: 4.5

Oh its definitely not my favorite Zappa either. it is high on the list, but there are other albums I enjoy more, such as Uncle Meat or One Size Fits All. I am a bigger fan of this album than I am of Weasels Ripped My Flesh though

March 8th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

agreed, those 2, this and Weasels are prob the lowest on the list, besides Reuben and the Jets

July 28th 2021


We needs more violin solos

December 30th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

awesome awesome fuckin record

December 30th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0


December 31st 2021


i will never understand why joe's garage gets so much more love than most of the mothers albums, especially on this site

December 31st 2021



I've never quite understood either. Haven't had a good Zappa binge in a long time...not sure when it'll strike me again, maybe never lol

January 1st 2022


Album Rating: 4.0

I love Joe's Garage but it's all about the batshit concept/lyrics. Musically most of his earlier material is more interesting.

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