Mothers Of Invention – Live at l’Olympia, Paris – October 26, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The Mothers of Invention, on the last night of their 1968 European tour, recorded at l’Olympia in Paris on October 26, 1968. Tonight, it’s a portion of the first half of the concert; Plastic People, Hungry Freaks Daddy and Son of Mr. Green Genes. The rest of it is around here someplace and I will play the complete concert just as soon as I can fish it off the shelf. But in the meantime, this snippet of their earlier incarnation will have to do.
A lot of people consider this period, from Freak Out to roughly Hot Rats (1966-1970), the pinnacle of Frank Zappa’s work, and that the later material lost the edge that the earlier material had. That it veered off into technical proficiency while losing much of the societal relevance, that Zappa became something of a parody of himself as time went on.
There are also an equal number of people who feel the later material has much more substance and meat on its bones, and that the earlier incarnation of The Mothers of Invention were awkward attempts at what Frank Zappa would accomplish later on.
However the attitudes go, any period in the musical life of Frank Zappa has always been worth exploration. Some people admittedly have become acquainted with the music of Frank Zappa only during the later period and this earlier material is less familiar. If you’ve become familiar with the music of Frank Zappa over the last 20 or so years, there’s a good chance you may have missed this. In which case, check it out simply as a historic footnote.
For all the grousing about not having a “hit record”, Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention, even during this early period, were wildly influential among musicians – and they had an enormous fanbase as well as a huge following overseas.
This 20+ minute snippet should be a good introduction to the uninitiated, hopefully prompting you to dig around and discover the early material that might have been missed the first time around.
More to come.