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Cruising With Ruben & The Jets

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iTunes Review

For all of Frank Zappa's acclaimed weirdness and avant-classical pedigree, he was also a huge '50s doo-wop fan. The fourth Mothers of Invention album turned away from the tape-edit madness and musique concrète of the first three groundbreaking Mothers albums for a sound that's so traditional and so fine ... at first listen. Repeated plays reveal a cynicism in deliberately banal lyrics and a few stylistic flourishes that break through the music's fourth wall. "How Could I Be Such a Fool," "Any Way the Wind Blows," and "You Didn't Try to Call Me"—songs that appeared on Freak Out—are transformed into relatively straightforward tunes. Singer Ray Collins takes the reins for vintage vocal performances, while the driving piano and wall-of-sound approximations for "No. No. No.," "Love of My Life," and the rockin' "Jelly Roll Gum Drop" are among the most primal music Zappa ever recorded. Please note: this is the 1985 issue of the album, where Zappa had bassist Arthur Barrow and drummer Chad Wackerman re-record the rhythm tracks, except for "Stuff Up the Cracks," which is the original recording.

Customer Reviews

Sounds like 1985 remix, not the original vinyl mix

I greatly prefer the original vinyl mix over the 1985 remix, even though Zappa himself did the work. Looks like one will still have to seek out Greasy Love Songs. The description is misleading, making it sound like this version could be the original mix. Otherwise, this is a great album, but this mix really misses that original soul.

Frank Goes Doo Wop

Frank Zappa and the Mothers explore their doo wop roots on this one. More great music from the Mothers!


Frank's salvage job on this damaged album resulted in a mix that's sometimes unlistenable. A major loss. The "Greasy Love Songs" mix is now as close as you can get to the sound of the original vinyl.


Genre: Rock

The Mothers of Invention were led by composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa, a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although the Mothers were called a rock & roll band for much of their years together, Zappa used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music. As if his music were not challenging...
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Cruising With Ruben & The Jets, The Mothers of Invention
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