Trouble Every Day

Sure it sounds dated now because the style that Frank was parodying was already dated then. That was kind of the point. Those unwilling to sit through an album and a half of early sixties genre parodies may be forgiven, and should proceed directly to the Watts riots blues rock “Trouble Every Day” and the goofy experimentation of the “Help! I’m A Rock” to hear what The Mothers were really all about. But if you can stand Frank’s vision of doo-wop and archaic rock, there are some very funny moments on here. Good songwriting too; Frank, as we know, was an unqualified genius, a composer more than a songwriter, who could delve deeply into detailed stylistic parody if he so chose. Some of this stuff is quite subtle: “Who Are The Brain Police?” is the kind of song that convinced the heads that Zappa was one of them, in the way perfectly captures the sound and tone of acid rock, though you can already hear his chastising of hippie culture (“What will you do when the label comes off?’); “Go Cry On Somebody Else’s Shoulder” might be typical doo-wop if not for Frank’s silly bass vocals and background asides (“I got my car reupholstered, I got my hair processed”); “Hungry Freaks Daddy” presages the more openly critical assaults on Absolutely Free and onward. And dig those xylophones on “Wowee Zowee” just waiting for the virtuosity of future band member Ruth Underwood, who Didn’t Need Zappa’s Lyrics in her badass performances on the ‘phones. There is some real sincerity in this album too, which makes it quite rare in Zappa’s catalog.

Here’s some Ruth fer yez: