Burnt Weeny Sandwich on glorious black vinyl. They’re wasting no time in following up on the success of that previous offering, as on July 20th, 2018 Zappa Records and Universal Music will reissue Zappa’s 1970 solo effort Chunga’s Revenge on 180gram audiophile vinyl. Mastered for reissue by industry veteran Bernie Grundman (who has worked on albums by Prince, Michael Jackson, and Kendrick Lamar, among many others), the reissue was cut directly from the original analog master tapes. The album has been unavailable on vinyl for over 30 years, when it was included as part of the 1986 Old Masters Box Two vinyl box set, and the reissue features the original album artwork.
Zappa oversaw the release of three albums in 1970, the first two – Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh – really posthumous Mothers albums ‘frankensteined’ together from existing material after Zappa had broken up the original band. After a few months, though, the Maestro put together a new version of the Mothers of Invention that included guitarist Jeff Simmons, jazz keyboardist George Duke, journeyman British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (i.e. “The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie”) from the Turtles, all of whom appear on Chunga’s Revenge. The lone holdover from the earlier incarnation of the Mothers was multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood.
Stylistically speaking, Chunga’s Revenge was all over the board. As I wrote in my Frank Zappa Buying Guide book, “as he was wont to do, Zappa again changed musical directions with his second solo album, eschewing both the social satire of the early Mothers albums and the jazz-rock fusion of Hot Rats to deliver the intriguing and eclectic Chunga's Revenge. Set against a diverse musical backdrop that included lengthy guitar jams (“Transylvania Boogie”), jazzy outtakes from Hot Rats (“Twenty Small Cigars”), and bluesy rockers (“Road Ladies”), the critically-slagged album would find greater acclaim later in the context as a precursor to Zappa's 200 Motels.”
The album has held up well through the years, showcasing Zappa’s talents as a composer and instrumentalist as well as displaying an immediate musical chemistry with the talented members of his new band. It really needs to be heard on vinyl to fully appreciate Zappa’s nuanced production, so what are you waiting for? Order the LP from Amazon right now!
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Mothers of Invention - Burnt Weeny Sandwich LP review