UMe and The Zappa Family Trust have announced a pair of Frank Zappa releases that is sure to delight fans: an expanded deluxe edition of 1979’s Orchestral Favorites and a new reissue of the classic compilation Mothermania.
First up is a new, 40th Anniversary, deluxe 3-CD edition of Orchestral Favorites.
Orchestral Favorites is an odd release in the Zappa catalogue – one that started its life in a very different configuration. The music, recorded live in September 1975 with a full orchestra and Terry Bozzio on drums, was intended to be released as part of a larger project called Läther (posthumously released in 1996). But after a series of lawsuits surrounding Zappa and his former label, the material was eventually issued without Zappa’s approval (nor his usual quality control standards) in 1979. Original versions lacked artist credits and liner notes, and featured cover artwork that Zappa went on to disparage.
The 3-CD edition of Orchestral Favorites: 40th Anniversary , which will arrive on August 30, has been given a musical facelift. It features new, high-resolution transfers from the original master tapes; brand-new cover art; and a 32-page book with comprehensive liner notes from vault-keeper Joe Travers, not to mention never-before-seen photos and complete musician credits.
To prepare the set, Joe Travers and Ahmet Zappa returned to the original master tapes from that September 18, 1975 show at UCLA’s Royce Hall. During their search, they uncovered the original master tone reel that allowed them to properly set up the playback and transfer of the masters. As UMe notes in its press release, “Zappa reworked Orchestral Favorites for the CD format in 1991, and it has been reissued several times since his death. But the matching of the new master to the project tone reel means that the album can now be presented as he intended.”
The 40th Anniversary Edition of Orchestral Favorites will not only include that original, 5-song album (newly remastered), but it will also feature a further two discs comprising the entire September 18 performance! The 20-song set features some of the most intriguing Zappa material ever set to tape. As Ahmet Zappa said in a statement, “The [program] repertoire consisted of complex and challenging music that originates from all time frames of FZ’s career. Older themes that predate the original Mothers Of Invention, to brand new pieces hot off the pen, mixed in with some good ol’ FZ-directed improvisation.”
In addition to the 3-CD edition, UMe and The Zappa Family Trust will also release a vinyl edition of the original album sequence, newly mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed onto 180-gram black vinyl at Furnace in Alexandria, VA. Both editions will be available on August 30.
Zappa fans should also take note of an upcoming reissue of Mothermania: The Best of The Mothers. Originally assembled by the artist 50 years ago in response to the presence of unauthorized compilations, Mothermania featured numerous exclusive mixes and edits of Mothers of Invention classics from Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, and We’re Only In It For the Money. The album will now be back in print on vinyl for the first time since 1972, boasting all-analog remastering by Bernie Grundman from the original master tapes. Like Orchestral Favorites , the new edition of Mothermania will be pressed onto 180-gram black vinyl at Furnace.
You can secure your copies of the 40th Anniversary Edition of Orchestral Favorites and the new vinyl reissue of Mothermania: The Best of The Mothers using the links below, or grab some music and merch bundles from the Zappa Online store. Keep scrolling for a preview track from the expanded Orchestral Favorites – 40th Anniversary: “Revised Music for Low-Budget Symphony Orchestra”!
Frank Zappa, Orchestral Favorites: 40th Anniversary (originally Reprise/Discreet LP DSK 2294, 1979 — expanded and reissued UMe/Zappa Records, 2019)
Disc 1 – Original Album
1. Strictly Genteel
2. Pedro’s Dowry
3. Naval Aviation In Art?
4. Duke Of Prunes
5. Bogus Pomp
6. Strictly Genteel (Keyboard OD Version)
Disc 2 – Performance From September 18, 1975
1. Show Star/Bogus Pomp Explained
2. Bogus Pomp
3. Revised Music For Low-Budge Symphony Orchestra
4. The Story Of Pedro’s Dowry
5. Pedro’s Dowry
6. The Story Of Rollo
Disc 3 – Performance From September 18, 1975 (continued)
1. Black Napkins Instructions
2. Black Napkins
4. The Players
5. Naval Aviation In Art?
6. “Another Weirdo Number”
7. Lumpy Gravy (Extract)/Improvisation
8. Evening At The Hermitage
9. “A Special Guest Artist”
10. Duke Of Prunes
11. “Absolutely Disgusting”
12. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary
13. Strictly Genteel
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, Mothermania (originally Verve/Bizarre LP V6-5068X, 1969 — reissued UME/Zappa Records, 2019)
1. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It
2. Mother People
3. Duke Of Prunes
4. Call Any Vegetable
5. The Idiot Bastard Son
1. It Can’t Happen Here
2. You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here
3. Who Are The Brain Police?
4. Plastic People
5. Hungry Freaks, Daddy
6. America Drinks And Goes Home