Mothermania - the Best of the Mothers
old vinyl compilation (compiled by Zappa himself) has some tracks on it are unique mixes or edits. The Spanish vinyl is sort
of different. Re-released on Zappa.com as a digital download in 2009, and
(finally!) re-released on CD in 2012.
ESSENTIAL FOR COMPLETISTS: YES
- Original vinyl (blue Verve V6 5068(X) in the US, Verve SVLP9239 in the
UK (no gatefold cover), April 1969 - yellow-label US promos also
- Mono vinyl (Verve VLP9239 in the UK, no gatefold cover, April 1969)
- Italian vinyl (Verve 2304 164, 1969)
- German vinyl (blue Verve 710 021 -
white-label promos also reported)
- Italian vinyl (yellow Verve SGVL 51.033)
- Israeli vinyl (single sleeve, manufactured by
Litratone - Hifa)
- Australian vinyl (Verve V6 5058, 1969, no gatefold cover)
- New Zeeland vinyl (black Verve V6 5068, no gatefold cover)
- Reel-2-reel (Verve VVX-5068)
- 1970 re-issue (?)
- German re-issue (black Verve Rotation 2428 505) with different
- British vinyl re-issue (greyish-blackish-blueish Verve/Polydor 2352 017, February 1972, no gatefold cover)
- British vinyl re-issue (Verve/Polydor 2317 047, March 1973, no
gatefold cover, no track separation)
- British cassette (Verve/Polydor 3113 068)
- Spanish vinyl (Verve STEREO 23 04 202, 1974)
- 2009 Digital Re-Release (Zappa Records ZR 20009 5-10-2009)
- Bootleg vinyl, CDs and cassette
- 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR 3840 [U.S.] and
0238402 [elsewhere] October 26, 2012)
1. Brown Shoes Don't Make It [album version]
2. Mother People [new mono mix]
3. The Duke of Prunes [album version]
4. Call Any Vegetable 
5. The Idiot Bastard Son [new mono mix & edit]
6. It Can't Happen Here [new stereo mix & edit]
7. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here [new stereo mix]
8. Who Are the Brain Police? [new stereo mix]
9. Plastic People [album version]
10. Hungry Freaks, Daddy [new stereo mix]
11. America Drinks & Goes Home [album version]
Unique Versions on MOTHERMANIA (Relation to FREAK OUT!, WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY
and ABSOLUTELY FREE)
Mothermania was an old compilation that Zappa himself put together.
Some tracks were a bit different than the original versions: in fact, all Freak Out! tracks are alternate stereo mixes, all We're Only In It for the Money tracks are alternate mono mixes, and
all Absolutely Free tracks are the original Absolutely Free mixes (but "Call Any Vegetable"
has been shortened). And here are the exact differences, vinyl side by vinyl side, track
by track, according to JWB, Román García Albertos, Biffy the Elephant Shrew and Michael
- Brown Shoes Don't Make It - no difference.
- Mother People - alternate mono mix: Complete song from beginning to
end. No sound effects edited in, the line "Shut your fuckin' mouth about the length
of my hair" line is NOT censored, and the song ends after
"holding you near me" - no vinyl record scratch, just a natural fade-out
- The Duke of Prunes - no differences. But the subtitles that appear on Absolutely Free are not used on Mothermania; the title
"The Duke of Prunes" covers the whole suite, with "Amnesia Vivace" and
"The Duke Regains His Chops, which are included here.)
- Call Any Vegetable - the "improvised section" is edited out:
it jumps right from the Holst quote at the beginning of "Invocation & Ritual
Dance of the Young Pumpkin" into "Soft-Sell Conclusions", skipping the
whole sax/guitar solo part. (Note that these subtitles that appear on Absolutely Free are not used on Mothermania; the title
"Call Any Vegetable" covers the whole suite.)
- The Idiot Bastard Son - alternate mono mix: Complete song. full
blown intro not on We're Only In It for the Money (piano &
timpani - very nice), no "I never wanted to ..." section edited in, no
snorks, and the end fades out naturally. Also, Frank made the acoustic guitars and
clarinets more relevant in this mix. (The LP is worth getting just for this track alone.)
- It Can't Happen Here - On Freak Out!,
it is not differentiated by title, but only considered an untitled segment of "Help,
I'm a Rock". This is a completely new stereo mix; the old Freak
Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right division typical of '60s
stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix. It's also an alternate edit,
with straight singing all the way through, and no piano/percussion section. The end is
looped - it goes "It can't happen here, can't happen here, can't happen heeere
tape echo] ..." - and there is also "an extra scrap of FZ dialog
('... since you first took the shots')". At one point the word
"psychedelic" is plainly heard - the word is inexplicably edited out of the
Freak Out! version.
- You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here - completely new stereo
mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict
left/middle/right division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated
- Who Are the Brain Police? - completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right
division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix.
- Plastic People - no differences.
- Hungry Freaks, Daddy - completely new stereo mix; the old Freak Out! stereo featured the usual strict left/middle/right
division typical of '60s stereo imaging - this is a more sophisticated stereo mix. The
echo effect that was applied to the last words ("the great society") on the Freak Out! vinyl has been removed (and was also removed from the Freak Out! 1985 remix).
- America Drinks & Goes Home - some disagreement
here. Originally, Román said:
Free CD version, with a different stero image than the Absolutely
Free LP, with the voice going radically from left to right to left, and
the cash machine only on the left channel. In the original vinyl version,
the voice tends to stay around the middle, and the cash machine can be heard
on both channels.
David G., however does not agree:
I listened to both my vinyl Absolutely Free and the CD, and they
sounded the same on "America Drinks & Goes Home" ...
perhaps the fact that the vinyl is more compressed near the end of the side
was confusing the other listener? (it sounds like the vocal is more
centered, but I think that's due to compression).
Moving on; from ELLIOSENOR:
The Mothermania mix of "Who Are the Brain Police?" is an
interesting one. If you listen closely to the second bass note in the intro,
you can hear what sounds like an organ. The fuzz guitar in the intro is a bit
fuzzier, and the kazoo at the end has more of a "quacking duck"
quality to it. There is a "space echo" applied to the words
"home", "chrome", "off", "soft",
"knew", and "too". The piano is a bit more prominent as well. Also, it
sounds like there are more than one voice singing the "What would you do
if the people you knew" verse.
There may have been two variant covers. It appeared with both black and blue Verve
labels. The UK pressings did not contain the Bizarre inner sleeves or the booklet,
although this was included with some European issues (below).
Various European Vinyl Issues
From Mikael Agardsson:
This [2304 164] is the Italian issue of Mothermania (I have it
myself). It has a fold-out cover and is largely identical to the American version. The
back cover says "Original Americanrecording licensed and trademark registered by
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (Verve Series), New York, U.S.A. Printed and made in
Italy." On the front cover too, in the lower left corner, there's a small print
saying "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc." On the label, which is black, it says that the
record was released in 1969.
From Bjørn-Emil Madsen:
My Italian 1969 issue of Mothermania [2304 164] has no
From Dan Watkins:
I recently got a German pressing of Mothermania in the mail. It has a
yellow Verve label and no track separation. The entire article on back cover of the album
is in German [Ed: As it always is], but the rest of the notes are in English.
From Harry de Swart:
My German pressing of Mothermania has a blue Verve label nr 710021 and it has track separation, fold-out cover and the
UNCLE MEAT movie announcement.
The Spanish version was released by Polydor S.A. in 1974. The cover is the same as the
US version, the back cover has Zappa holding a guitar, in black & white, and the track
list is different:
- Plastic People (03:40)
- Who Needs the Peace Corps? (02:34)
- Concentration Moon (02:27)
- Call Any Vegetable (04:31)
- America Drinks & Goes Home (02:43)
- It Can't Happen Here (03:13)
- You Are Probably Wondering Why I'm Here (03:37)
- Who Are the Brain Police? (03:22)
- Hungry Freaks, Daddy (03:27)
- The Idiot Bastard Son (02:26)
In other words, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It", "Mother People" and
"The Duke of Prunes" have been replaced with "Concentration Moon" and
"Who Needs the Peace Corps" from We're Only In It for the
Money, and the order has been changed. The new tracks are censored
versions - "I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me in
the street" is cut from "Who Need the Peace Corps", and Gary
Kellgren's spoken part in "Concentration Moon" goes like this:
"... also, in the same time I get to work with the Velvet Underground
as Frank Zappa's group",
in other words, the words "which is as shitty a group" have been
edited out. On the heavily censored version of
Money, the whole Velvet Underground line was cut. This "which is as
shitty a group" cut also appears on an old compilation known as "Transparency".
From Román García
Next to the titles are Spanish translations of them, except "The Idiot Bastard
Son" (Franco was still alive). I think the three songs edited out is a case of
Franco's censorship in the '70s.
Was at a record fair yesterday and saw an Israeli version of Mothermania.
Single, non-gatefold sleeve. On the front cover, to the left of Motorhead's
head, there was an elliptic black spiky blob with Hebrew print inside it. The
back cover didn't have the "mouths", but the page from inside the
regular gatefold with a black and white halftoned picture of Zappa playing
guitar. The lower-left corner read "Manufactured by Litratone -
German Re-Issue with Different Cover
From Collecting Frank Zappa in Australia - Part
1: The Early Years, an article by Stuart Penny in it - The Australian Record
Collectors Magazine, Issue #14 June-July-August 1995 (provided by Henry
Griggs, Sydney, Australia):
While Mothermania is not generally considered a major rarity in Europe
or America, the Aussie issue (Verve V6 5068) is surprisingly hard to find and, along with Money, is possibly the most elusive of the Verve LPs. [---]
The Australian version arrived in a non-gatefold sleeve (natch!), but instead of creating
new artwork for the back cover - as they did in Britain, where this LP was also
issued (three times, no less) in a single sleeve - the Oz release simply reproduced
the liner notes from the back of the US album which, as everyone
knows, were almost completely in German! Curiously, although the advert for the
(supposedly) upcoming UNCLE MEAT movie was removed, the only other
English language section of the liner notes, advertising the first three MOI LPs
(including, of course, the unreleased-in-Australia Freak Out!),
remained. The aforementioned mammoth sleeve credit is also present, along with what were
then three new additions to the Phonogram stable: Buddah, Kama Sutra and Riverside. Expect
to pay up to $70 for an unplayed copy of Mothermania.
New Zeeland Vinyl
From Steve Jones:
Just got something very interesting:
a New Zealand pressing of Mothermania, V6-5068. It's a single-sleeve album too.
The back cover is a little different, it's like the USA pressing but it's has no
coming-soon ad for Uncle Meat but were that is it has the track listing.
On the bottom left hand corner it has "manufactured and distributed in New
Zealand by Philips Records (NZ) Ltd."
British vinyl re-issue (Verve/Polydor 2317 047)
From Robert Cloos:
Hi, I recently bought Mothermania, UK, third pressing. It's a
non-fold-out cover. The front cover has the same picture as the fold-out cover version. On
the back cover:
- Upper right corner: "2317 047 select", "previously available on 2352
017" and "also available on Musicasette No. 3113 068".
- Middle: "Mothermania", "the best of the mothers" and the picture of
Zappa from the inside right Absolutely Free cover.
Underneath the picture: "Frank Zappa". To the left of the picture is the track
list from side one, and to the right is the track list for side two.
- Lower left corner: "all selections composed ..."
- Lower right corner: "The Mothers of Invention and NT&B are divisions of
Intercontinental Absurdities. Engineered by Ami Hadani, Tom Hidley, Gary Kellgren and Dick
Kunc. First (P) 1966".
- Lower middle: "Verve", "trademark of Metro Goldwyn Mayer inc.",
"sleeve printed and made by MacNeill Press ltd. London S.E. 1" and
"marketed by Polydor".
Label: black. Label title: "mothermania / the best of the mothers of
invention". VERY INTERESTING: NO TRACK SEPERATION!
2009 Digital Re-Release
On Mother's Day, 2009, the ZFT finally re-released Mothermania in MP3 and
FLAC (YAAAY!) formats, bringing it back into "conceptual print." This version is
mastered by Bob Ludwig and sounds quite good. All of the exclusive tracks are
accounted for; before 2012, this was the only place to find the
original "Absolutely Free" tracks sans reverb (albeit with "Call Any
Vegetable" edited). The intro to "Plastic People" does not have the glitch found on the 2012 Absoultely Free CD.
2012 UMe CD
A physical release of the 2009 digital remaster: after more than forty years,
Mothermania is back in print!
Bootleg Vinyl, CDs and cassette
|alt.fan.frank-zappa, September 1999 - Conversation
obviated in 2012
||FAST FRANK: ... but this does beg the
question; why did the family decide not to re-issue Mothermania?
BOSSK (R): I think it's for economic reasons. As much as I'd like to have
it on CD, I can't imagine there are enough people like me to make it worth re-issuing.
SAM and/or KAREN ROUSE: But they reissued Francesco
how many copies of that did they expect to sell?
A bootleg called American
Pageant imitates Mothermaina, but doesn't have all the Mothermania
material. It has been copied and or re-issued on both vinyl and CD, and sold far and wide
in stores that don't normally carry bootlegs, so there's something weird about it. (In
February 1999, Kristian Kier reported that "they started selling this CD again: it
goes for 9.99 DM over here".) But there has also been a straight counterfeit (with bonus
tracks) of Mothermania.
- Two variant covers, yes/no?
- Any cassette details?
- Any 8-track details?
- Juha Sarkkinen
- Record Collector magazine #118, June 1989