Mo-Fo: Track Details

This page is also very ugly right now. Details on the two-disc set will come later.

Disc 2

A quick word about the source that comprises the majority of disc 2: during the recording sessions for “Freak Out!,” FZ apparently had a mono reel-to-reel deck plugged into the desk during several of the instrumental and overdub takes. This means that some material which would not have otherwise been preserved on multitrack tape—for example, early vocal overdub takes, which would likely have been wiped by subsequent takes—does, in fact, survive on the mono reel. I happen to feel that the “documentary” aspect of the recording is greatly enhanced by the availability of such a source, as we can now hear several “in-progress” versions of songs which would have otherwise been entirely lost.

1 - Hungry Freaks, Daddy (Vocal Overdub Take 1)
An early vocal overdub take. The entire instrumental track is accounted for, guitar solo included (although the percussion is a bit buried). The vocals are, especially for a “Take 1,” pretty similar in arrangement and performance to the released version; little differences abound (the kazoo blasts last longer), but otherwise all elements are in place. Frank and Ray screw up the “savage pride” line, but gamely continue to the end. Frank concludes the take with “obviously, one more time.” If anybody ever wondered if the kazoos were recorded live during the vocal sessions, it now appears that they were.

2 - Anyway The Wind Blows (Vocal Overdub)
Another early vocal overdub. This time, we get a single-tracked Ray vocal, along with the complete instrumental track. It sounds as if this is one of the vocal tracks that comprise the finished version, but it isn’t easy to discern if it’s the exact same performance. Regardless, an interesting alternate.

3 - Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder (Vocal Overdub Take 2)
Not even close to being the released vocal version, this. It’s very obviously an early attempt, with some different lyrics ("I gave you my high-school ring/down at the malt-shop, baby"). This is exactly the sort of material which is probably not preserved on the multitracks, and it's a treat to hear. We learn that Mary Poppins is a junkie.

4 - I Ain't Got No Heart (Vocal Overdub Master Take)
This and the “Motherly Love” and “I’m Not Satisfied” takes that follow are essentially the released versions of the respective songs, but with the vocals gaining particular prominence in the mix. While the released stereo mix tends to emphasize Ray’s vocal, Frank’s is more prominent here. We’re already editing to the “freak out” section by this point. Frank ends the take with “think that makes it?”

5 - Motherly Love (Vocal Overdub Master Takes)
See above. The final version, with all performance elements in place (including a double-tracked FZ). The mono balance emphasizes the vocal tracks; the track is otherwise dry. Intriguingly, it fades out, albeit way after where the released mix fades out. And hey, for that matter, where’s the intro bass riff?

6 - I'm Not Satisfied (2nd Vocal Overdub Master, Take 2 (Rough Mix))
See above. This sounds like it has all of the vocals in place (albeit without the echo that characterizes the released version), but unlike “Motherly Love” and “Ain’t Got No Heart” the vocals on this mix are pretty buried, which makes identification difficult.

7 – You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here (Vocal Overdub Takes 1 and 2, incomplete)
Two very rough vocal takes. Take 1 lacks the familiar “Doh doh doh” intro, and demonstrates that the kazoos were, in fact, recorded directly onto the vocal track. The take breaks down right after “you rise each day the same old way,” as Frank seemingly misses his cue to come back in (?!?!). Take 2 is similar, but by this point Frank clearly wants something under the introduction to the song, and he provides a brief monologue about getting to make a record by himself. Neat! The take breaks down right after the first line because of “feedback on the speakers.”

8 – You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here (Basic tracks)
The first in a series of backing tracks without vocals. This is the released take of the song, but all instruments either haven’t yet been added or aren’t included in the mix; the vibes and piano are missing in action, and the tambourine is buried really low in the mix. As the kazoo and percussion are absent, the “lead guitar” track is especially prominent, demonstrating some interesting and otherwise hard-to-hear figures during the portions later occupied by kazoo. The ending drum hit after “not that it makes a heck of a lot of difference to you” is either missing or hasn’t yet been added. Basically, this approximates the left channel of the common stereo mix, albeit without vocals.

9 – Who Are The Brain Police? (Basic tracks)
The first of several “Brain Police” related endeavors. As with most of the “basic tracks” on MoFo, this seems to represent a rough mix of the “finished” instrumental take of the track, albeit with some elements missing. An entire percussion overdub track—comprising several cymbal flourishes, the “ticks” during certain parts, and so on—isn’t yet added or isn’t represented in this mix; consequently, the otherwise-buried tympani (?) part is especially prominent during the latter verses. Intriguingly, this “basic tracks” assembly already edits into the freak-out section, which is also missing some percussion overdubs—this supports the idea that the multi-track tape, or some iteration thereof, was edited into the “Brain Police” multitrack at one of the recording stages. We get a MUCH longer fadeout, to boot.

10 - How Could I Be Such A Fool (Basic tracks)
After a gen-yoo-ine FZ count-in, we are treated to a very different sounding mix of the final instrumental take of this track, emphasizing the piano and percussion elements along with the (twelve-string?) guitar. Interestingly, and despite the “basic tracks” designation, the orchestra overdub is already present and accounted for. There’s a brief stereo “blip” right when the track begins; otherwise, everything’s mono. The brief guitar-spewage at the song’s culmination is absent.

11 – Anyway the Wind Blows (Basic tracks)
No guitar intro? Odd. Anyway, this is another more-or-less complete instrumental track. An entire layer of overdubs (vibes, tambourine) abruptly vanishes at the “she’s not like you baby” and…well, stays gone, for the most part. The solo section is charmingly bare.

12 – Go Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder (Basic tracks)
More of the above. This is missing the entire overdub that normally occupies the right channel of the finished version (i.e. piano, vibes), although it might just be mixed realllly low, as I think I can still hear ghosts of it at points—it’s amazing how much greasier this bare version of the song sounds! Anal tech note: the first few seconds of the track are actually in slight stereo, before it whips into “digitally correct” mono after the intro.

13 – I Ain’t Got no Heart (Basic tracks)
Not from the FZ worktape. Instrumental version of the backing track to the released version, in stereo. Missing lead guitar overdubs, and also doesn't edit into the ending freakout section, letting you hear the music that portion eventually replaced. Cool!

14 - You Didn't Try To Call Me (Basic Tracks)
Not from the FZ worktape. Instrumental version of the backing track to the released version, in stereo. Intriguingly, while the orchestral overdubs are present, several others—including the eventual 12-string overdub—aren't.

15 - Trouble Every Day (Basic Tracks)
Easily one of my favorite tracks on the set. We’re back to the FZ-reference-tape set (i.e. this one’s in mono). This is released version, but missing several overdubs (most notably the harmonica) and with a single-tracked vocal. It also continues past the "normal" fade, giving us more of the jam that ends the track. The snare that leads off the single is MIA here, which would normally imply that it was part of a later overdub, except that several intros seem to be missing on the FZ worktape. Fascinating.

16 – Help, I’m a Rock (FZ Edit)
A totally different edit of everything. Different segues, different pieces, different bits of the “freak out” section, and a different ending. If you love “Help, I’m a Rock,” you’ll love this “Help, I’m a Rock.”

17 - Who Are The Brain Police (Section B) (Alternate Take)
This is an alternate take of the “freak out” section from Brain Police/Ain’t Got No Heart/Help, I’m a Rock. Some fantastic guitar work. Stereo!

18 – Groupie Bang Bang
As some have opined, that this even made it to the vocal-recording stage is a bit of a wonder. It’s “Not Fade Away,” essentially, but with filthy (and, in the case of one Mr. Epstein, likely actionable) lyrics. That it wasn’t released is hardly a surprise.

19 – Hold On to Your Small, Tiny Horses
Part of “Monster Magnet,” obviously much extended (and unprocessed) here. The buried “fuck” on Monster Magnet comes from this section, where it’s much more audible.

Disc 3
This disc is mostly devoted to jams and fragments, some of which would later end up in the various collages on the album. As I am (echem) not quite as familiar with Monster Magnet/HiaR as I should be, I apologize if I miss some conceptual continuity herein. Hopefully, an Internet Compatriot will locate the snippets in question.

1) Objects
Some conducted chanting and whooping.

2) Freak Trim (Kim outs a Big Idea)
The first part is a jam that (somewhat oddly) reminds me of “Tiger Roach” from Lost Episodes. It edits into what sounds like a bit of “Objects” above, then reverts back to the jam, which features some incredibly tasty FZ guitar.

3) Percussion Insert Session Snoop
An interesting percussion workout. We get at least two distinct takes of…well, whatever this is, with a good chunk of studio dialogue in the middle. This features the “lion roar” sound we’ll hear even more prominently on the next track. This melds into…

4) Freak Out Drum Track w, Timp. & Lion
…more of the above.

5) Percussion Object 1 & 2 (FZ Edit)
More percussion experiments. The first part of this track (up until ~4:20) differs markedly from the preceding experiments; it’s more percussion, but composed, gentle, and contemplative, almost loungey. After that, we’re back in Timp/Lion territory.

6) Lion Roar & Drums From Freak Out.
More of the sort of material from 3/4.

7) Vito Rocks The Floor (Greek Out!)
A departure from the percussion experiments. This is clearly the “Help, I’m a Rock” vamp, with some fantastic harmonica and general grooviness. It gets slower (and a bit heavier on guitar) right near the end, before crossfading back into the more frantic version. This segues into…

8) Low Budget Rock & Roll Band
Frank exhorts (that word again!) his colleagues and assembled freaks to leave the studio and not, repeat NOT, steal the instruments. This is presented differently (as its own track) than it is on the mini-MoFo set.

9) Suzy Creamcheese (What's Got Into You)
A lovely 1960s-vintage interview segment. We discuss the origin of Suzy Creamcheese.

10-14) Motherly Love/You Didn’t Try to Call Me/I’m Not Satisfied/Hungry Freaks, Daddy/Go Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder
In my review of Mini Mofi, I plead for more of this. And I got it! Recorded directly to mono and fantastic all the way. I find it interesting, by the way, that FZ always talks about crowds reacting to Brain Police and Trouble Every Day, and neither of those is present. There’s a lot of lyrical alteration involved, and on the whole this is worlds apart from the sort of thing we hear on “Weasels.” Live Mothas is few and far between, and I’m grateful for this new snippet.

Disc 4
Odds and ends, and a whole lot of (ugh) interviews. I have nothing personally against interviews, but given their frequently public-domain nature, I am a bit leery of paying for them. That said, the crop of 1960s interviews is absolutely fascinating, so I eat some crow on this front.

1) Wowie Zowie (remixed basic track)
May I persist in my delusion that this was a personal shout-out from Joe? “Wowie Zowie” in all of its instrumental glory—as the track hasn’t yet been represented on MoFo (well, apart from its obvious placing on Disc 1), this is a nice treat. In particular, the piano (which tends to get buried in the commercial version) is a bit more prominent. The odd switch to semi-mono near the end of the song is finally explained, as there’s an obvious mistake/breakdown during that section, which probably necessitated some creative editing (but why from an alternate mix? Such a jarring transition).

2) Who Are the Brain Police? (remixed basic track, Section A, C, B)
This is *very* similar to track 9 on Disc 2. It shows “Brain Police” is more or less the same state—missing some percussion overdubs, and so on. This time, however, it’s in stereo, and presented by section. This is the only time in the set you can hear the note that normally gets edited out during the transition between sections A and B. Section C, by the way, is the edit piece that “concludes” the track, revealing that FZ knew he was going to edit into SOMETHING even at that stage. Sections A and B are presented complete; C fades out.

3) Hungry Freaks, Daddy (remixed basic track)
A stereo remix of the backing track of HF, D. All elements are accounted for, including the percussion overdub.

4) Cream Cheese (Work part)
Part of the basic track of “Monster Magnet.” Some overdubs are present in the left channel. Concludes with a bit of an FZ interview discussing Trouble Every Day.

5) Trouble Every Day (single mix)
The single mix, finally. Kick-ass. A reader has noted that this is obviously transferred in stereo, with a slightly wobbly stereo spectrum and a big “fwip” whenever edit points go by.

6) It Can’t Happen Here (Mothermania version)
A nice surprise, especially after the inclusion of the “1970” version on mini-MoFo raised the obvious “Where’s Mothermania?” question. See the details on the Mothermania page (and wonder why the other two tracks weren’t included).

7-14) Various
Some very entertaining 1960s-vintage FZ interviews, in which FZ is perhaps at his most playful. The range of topics includes the Beatles, psychedelic marketing, and “poop rock.” Great fun. The very end of the last interview contains a bit of a 1980s-era clip, introducing "Brain Police."

15) Who Are the Brain Police? (1987 Bob Stone/FZ remix)
An odd one. Very, very similar to the “Brain Police” remix on the Ryko “Freak Out!” CD, but not quite the same; most prominently, it’s doused in even more reverb than usual. Doesn't fade out.

16) Any Way the Wind Blows (1987 Bob Stone/FZ remix)
Now this is a fascinating thing. A drastic remix of the cut, with MUCH louder vocals, MUCH more prominent bass (pushed throughout the song), and a more "balanced" stereo layout. Presumably, this was a mix made for--but ultimately not used for--the 1987 disc, which instead seems to use a VERY differently equalized copy of the vinyl mix.

17) Hungry Freaks, Daddy
See “Brain Police” above. Doesn't fade out.

18-24) More interviews.


home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 19:02

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