Frank Zappa & The Mothers: Little House I Used to Live In

Track

Little House I Used to Live In

Group

The Mothers

CD

Fillmore East: June 197 (Rykodisc RCD 10167)

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Musicians:

Frank Zappa (guitar),

Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan (vocals), Ian Underwood (winds, keyboards, vocals), Don Preston (Mini-Moog), Bob Harris (keyboards and vocals), Jim Pons (bass and vocals), Aynsley Dunbar (drums)

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Composed by Frank Zappa

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Recorded: live at the Fillmore East, New York, June 1971

Albumcoverfrankzappa-fillmoreeastjune1971

Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

As jazz.com's editor-in-chief Ted Gioia makes clear in his review of Frank Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia," Zappa possessed real jazz sensibilities. Jazz-rock would be the music he impacted. Fusion cognoscenti always include Zappa's music in any conversation of the genre. But sometimes jazzophiles give him less credit than he deserves because he didn't appear to be taking jazz seriously. His famous quote that "jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny" probably rubbed some jazz snobs the wrong way.

The first couple of measures of "Little House I Used to Live In" sound like Return to Forever. And Return to Forever didn't even exist yet! The tune quickly becomes a blues, then a funk fusion number with some nonsense vocals thrown in. (That's the stuff the snobs didn't like.) The band kicks into a double-time jam as Zappa shows off his playing skills. Of particular interest, though not heard much on this particular tune, is Don Preston's use of the Mini-Moog keyboard synthesizer. In 1971, this was a new and rare sound. Its inclusion in Zappa's band automatically made it sound fusion-like.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Brian Pook // Dec 12, 2008 at 04:07 PM
    The 'nonsense vocals' were the unfortunate side effect of Zappa indulging the excesses of the two ex-Turtles vocalists. Zappa's lyrics were always rather 'specialist taste', but Volman & Kaylan took things to a new level of self indulgence that did Zappa's reputation no favours.
  • 2 Walter Kolosky // Dec 12, 2008 at 05:38 PM
    Point well taken Brian. But I do admit to digging hearing the Zappa band play "Happy Together."
  • 3 Joe Rhinewine // Dec 13, 2008 at 12:05 AM
    The nonsense of course is part of the appeal to Zappophiles. What is understandably perceived as "self-indulgence" is intrinsic to the unique combo of humor, soul, and incredible musicianship that we FZ-heads enjoy. It's tempting to go down the road of "if only Zappa had been more serious..." If he had been more serious and less silly, he wouldn't be Zappa. He'd be something else. But everyone else is being something else. Why not let Zappa be Zappa? Which would include large helpings of silliness, irreverence, and disdain for ALL forms of purism.
  • 4 Walter Kolosky // Dec 19, 2008 at 04:04 PM
    Here! Here!
  • 5 Walter Kolosky // Dec 19, 2008 at 04:51 PM
    I'm cold this morning. Brain freeze. Eating too much of that yellow snow. Should be "Hear! Hear!"