kireviewer | Sunnyvale, Ca United States | 12/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is part of Zappa's Beat The Boots series, where Zappa took bootlegs, digitally enhanced them and released them as his own. They were supposed to be limited edition. Nine years later, this one is still available. Zappa released something like 14 CD's in the Beat the Boot series. Many of them are hard now hard to find. This may be your last chance to get this....or Rhino may continue to produce them...who knows. This is the original Mothers of Invention, playing in Boston in 1968. There is alot of Zappa talking to the audience, introducing the songs and complaining about the record companies, radio stations and music fans. He does the few Mothers "hits". There is a nice guitar solo in My Guitar Wants to Kill YOur Mama, but it gets cut short. The real reason to buy this CD is for the 20 minute Uncle Meat/King Kong instrumental. There is alot of good jamming here on keyboards, sax and guitar. Note that a mystery track is listed. My copy of the CD does not have a mystery track. I don't know if the newer editions do, or if that is just a mistake."
ghengisadonis | United Kingdom | 07/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded at a venue called The Ark in Boston, ostensibly in 1968 (but some experts say 1969), this album would have attained classic status simply on the strength of being the first bootleg to be produced from a master tape stolen from Mr Zappa.
Other customer reviews frown upon the sound quality. I do not understand them. Sonically, it's as good as "board tapes" ever get. If anything lets the disc down, it's the sleeve - which omits to mention trumpeter Buzz Gardner even though he provides "the BIG solo" on the epic track that concludes the album. (Until I found out he was on the album, I presumed that solo was being played on a saxophone fed through a VCS3-type synthesizer. Well, you live and learn...)
A cynic might say `Thank God the tape was stolen before FZ had the chance to screw it up!' Because Zappa generally didn't allow us to hear unedited examples of the Mothers' lengthy improvisations, or works-in-progress that resurfaced three or four years later. But thanks to some enterprising bootlegger - and thanks to Rhino Records for releasing it legitimately - we can make up our own minds about `Some Ballet Music'. Some like it, some hate it. It combines some key themes from `The Adventures of Greggery Peccary' with a slightly different `Dance of the Just Plain Folks', scored for two woodwinds, one trumpet and two percussion. And we can all enjoy the 20-minute-plus medley of `Uncle Meat' and `King Kong' - which includes a brief Zappa/Tripp/Black massed-percussion jam and a chaotic Charles Ives-style blend of the two main melodies, as well as solos from Motorhead Sherwood, the two Gardner brothers (both magnificent), Zappa and Ian Underwood (until the tape cuts out).
Elsewhere, `Big Leg Emma' is sung by Black, the seldom-heard `Status Back Baby' is sung by Zappa (and it's in 4-4 time for some reason), Zappa explains his latest scheme for a subversive hit single, Roy Estrada adds something to `Valerie', and Zappa plays a brilliant solo on `My Guitar' (though this too gets cut off prematurely)."
The Diversity of The Mothers in Full Sonic Splendor
x | USA | 04/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Ark" is by far my favorite CD from the "Beat the Boots #1" series. In fact, it is one of my favorite Zappa CDs in general, even when viewed with respect to his immense catalog. What makes this disc so wonderful is that the sound quality is excellent (remember, this was originally a bootleg) and the tunes exhibit the full splendor and diversity of the early Mothers of Invention. "Big Leg Emma" really cooks with its strong drumbeats and precise changes. Then, hilariously, Zappa tells the audience that he will play something that "will be better for you in the long run" and delves into an avant-garde classical music piece ("Some Ballet Music"). Fantastic! The Mothers also demonstrate their doo-wop skills on "Valerie" and then collectively proceed to take the house down with a rousing medley of "Uncle Meat/King Kong." In sum, the vast array of styles represented on this disc (all played with virtuosity) make this a great CD to own whether you are just getting into Zappa's music or have been a fan for decades."
Definately one of the best Beat the Boots releases...
David Goodwin | Westchester, NY United States | 06/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always been wary of the Beat the Boot series; sure, they offer the "real deal," as compared with the You Can't...series, but...Anyway, this release changed my opinion. The Ark is WONDERFUL, and as stuff by the original Mothers is hard to come by, it's a fascinating artifact. Although side one seems to be running a bit slow, it's a direct copy of the bootleg release of the same name (although, truth be told, it isn't the best copying job on earth). It's worth it all, though, for My Guitar and the other tracks that will delight your teenage ears. Zappa's stage presense at the time, the Contemptuous Band-leader, is also interesting to hear (compare this to his Roxy and Elsewhere persona)."
kireviewer | Sunnyvale, Ca United States | 12/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is part of the Beat the Boots series. Zappa took bootleg LPs, digitally enhanced them and released them as CD's. Originally, they were supposed to be limited editions, but it looks like they are now readily available. This one is from Boston, 1968. It features most of the original Mothers of Invention. Zappa does a lot of talking, introducing the songs and explaining why none of them are hits. The first few songs are just quick renditions that don't sound much different than the studio tracks. "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" is six minutes long and has a pretty good guitar solo, but it gets cut in the middle. "Uncle Meat/King Kong" is an excellent 20 minute instrumental. Because of the "Uncle Meat/King Kong" track, I could almost give this CD 5 stars. But the sound quality and the rest of the album don't support the 5 star rating. This is a bootleg recording from 1968, so the sound quality won't be good. Zappa has done a lot to improve the sound, but there is only so much that can be done. Note that Uncle Meat and King Kong were standards that the Mothers played at most concerts from the late sixties to the mid seventies. Many of the the early bootlegs will have renditions of those tracks, but each version will be different."