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The Mothers of Invention was an American rock band from California that served as the backing musicians for Frank Zappa, a self-taught composer and performer whose diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often impossible to categorize. Their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Originally an R&B band called The Soul Giants, the band's original lineup included Ray Collins, David Coronado, Roy Estrada and Jimmy Carl Black. Zappa was asked to take over as the band's guitarist following a fight between Collins and the band's original guitarist. Zappa insisted that the band perform original material, changing their name to The Mothers. Founded in 1964, the band first became popular playing in California's underground music scene in the late 1960s. Under Zappa's leadership, the band signed to Verve Records, releasing a début album, Freak Out! (1966), with a lineup which consisted of Zappa, Collins, Black, Estrada and Elliot Ingber. Under Zappa's leadership and a fluctuating lineup, the band released a series of acclaimed albums, including Absolutely Free, We're Only in It for the Money and Uncle Meat, before being disbanded by Zappa in 1969. In 1970, Zappa formed a new lineup of The Mothers which included Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons, George Duke, Aynsley Dunbar and singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, formerly of The Turtles, who were credited as The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie for contractual reasons. Later adding another ex-Turtle, bassist Jim Pons, this lineup lasted until the end of 1971, when Zappa was injured by an audience member during a concert. Zappa focused on big-band and orchestral music while recovering from his injuries, and later formed the Mothers' final lineup in 1973, which included Ralph Humphrey, Sal Marquez, George Duke, Tom and Bruce Fowler and Ruth and Ian Underwood. The final album using the Mothers as a backing band, Bongo Fury (1975), featured guitarist Denny Walley and drummer Terry Bozzio, who continued to play for Zappa on non-Mothers releases.
Absolutely Free is the second album by The Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. Absolutely Free is, again, a display of complex musical composition with political and social satire. The band had been augmented since Freak Out! by the addition of saxophone player Bunk Gardner, keyboardist Don Preston, guitarist Jim Fielder and drummer Billy Mundi. Fielder quit the group before the album was released and his name was removed from the album credits.
Absolutely Free (1st In A Series Of Underground Oratorios)
1. Plastic People 0:00
2. The Duke Of Prunes 3:42
3. Amnesia Vivace 5:55
4. The Duke Regains His Chops 6:56
5. Call Any Vegetable 8:49
6. Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin 11:05
7. Soft-Sell Conclusion 18:05
8. Big Leg Emma 19:45
9. Why Don'tcha Do Me Right? 22:17
The M.O.I. American Pageant (2nd In A Series Of Underground Oratorios)
10. America Drinks 24:54
11. Status Back Baby 26:47
12. Uncle Bernie's Farm 29:41
13. Son Of Suzy Creamcheese 31:52
14. Brown Shoes Don't Make It 33:26
15. America Drinks And Goes Home 40:56
Frank Zappa -- guitar, conductor, vocals
Jimmy Carl Black -- drums, vocals
Ray Collins -- vocals, tambourine
Don Ellis -- trumpet on "Brown Shoes Don't Make It"
Roy Estrada -- bass, vocals
Bunk Gardner -- woodwinds
Billy Mundi -- drums, percussion
Don Preston -- keyboards
John Rotella -- percussion
Jim Fielder -- guitar, piano
Pamela Zarubica -- vocals