RCD 10509 Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Produced by Frank Zappa
Released on February 1970
US CHART POSITION #94 . . . UK CHART POSITION #17
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10509 cover  

A mishmash of musical grotesqueries, or yet another example of Zappa’s calculated dementia as art? I’m not asking you to decide, since Burnt Weeny Sandwich is probably both. It starts off innocently enough with the Cruising-compatible “WPLJ” and closes with another disarming doo-wop send-up in “Valarie,” but it’s what’s in the middle of Burnt Weeny Sandwich that merits attention. Quasi-orchestral lounge music, searing guitar solos, classical jazz, dissonance, deliberate destruction of music’s smooth facade. This is “serious” music filtered through Zappa’s unique sense of humor, iconoclasm on a surprisingly intimate scale. Selections like “Holiday In Berlin, Full Blown” and “Little House I Used To Live In” belong with most of Hot Rats in the hall of great instrumental moments. But where Rats was focused more on jazz/rock fusion, Weeny fuses together the wildly divergent aspects of Frank’s muse into a complex stew (Weasels would repeat this experiment). Underneath the chaotic haze, great ideas are afoot. “Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich” and the brief “Ivor’s Boogie, Phase One” are carefully contrived to combine ugliness and art, the band sounding on the verge of careening off the printed score into noisy oblivion, riveting the listener like a high-speed car chase where we wait breathlessly for the inevitable crash. Not being familiar with Lumpy Gravy or Uncle Meat, the Mothers’ most avant-garde outings to date, I can’t tell you where Burnt Weeny begins and they end. However, according to Zappa’s project/object theory, this clearly belongs to the same object as Weasels Ripped My Flesh and perhaps to Hot Rats as well, forming at least a contiguous trio of orchestral/jazz/rock efforts that put Zappa’s compositional genius to the test. The Flo & Eddie follies effectively ended this chapter, only to have it resurrected by (in part) 200 Motels, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. From these two trios come some of Zappa’s most brilliant and ambitious music, with Burnt Weeny in the top half of that group, and thus one of Zappa’s essential recordings.

TRACK LISTING

  1. WPLJ
  2. IGOR'S BOOGIE, PHASE ONE
  3. OVERTURE TO A HOLIDAY IN BERLIN
  4. THEME FROM BURNT WEENY SANDWICH
  5. IGOR'S BOOGIE, PHASE TWO
  6. HOLIDAY IN BERLIN, FULL BLOWN
  7. AYBE SEA
  8. LITTLE HOUSE I USED TO LIVE IN
  9. VALARIE

CREDITS

FRANK ZAPPA --
JIMMY CARL BLACK --
ROY ESTRADA --
BUNK GARDNER --
LOWELL GEORGE --
DON "SUGARCANE" HARRIS --
DON PRESTON --
MOTORHEAD SHERWOOD --
ART TRIPP --
IAN UNDERWOOD --
Gabby Furggy --
Dick Kunc -- engineer
Cal Schenkel -- cover artwork

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/GER February 1970 Bizarre LP/CS RS 6370 gatefold cover, insert
UK March 1970 Reprise LP/CS K44083 gatefold cover
FRA 1970 Reprise LP SRV 6116 picture sleeve
US 1991 Barking Pumpkin CD/CS 74239  
US Apr/May 1995 Rykodisc CD RCD 10509 digitally remastered

 

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