Because of the man’s skill with the razor blade, there really is an excellent flow from track to track, even between those featuring different Mothers. The program begins with “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It”, sounding even more schizophrenic outside the context of Absolutely Free. “Mother People” appears without any censorship, in its most complete version anywhere. “Duke Of Prunes” is the complete suite, but “Call Any Vegetable” is edited to remove most of the “Invocation And Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin”. “The Idiot Bastard Son” gains an intro and loses some edits. “It Can’t Happen Here” is basically the end section from “Help, I’m A Rock”, but with one piece of dialogue snuck in at the end. “You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here”, “Who Are The Brain Police?” and “Hungry Freaks, Daddy” mingle nicely with “Plastic People” and “America Drinks And Goes Home”, in new stereo mixes according to websites that track such things. (The guitar solo on “Hungry Freaks” sounds especially tasty here.)
Partially because Frank hated any attempt to repackage his work out of context, Mothermania was only ever released on vinyl, and ignored by most reissue programs, even by Rykodisc. Collectors were pleased, somewhat, when the Zappa Family Trust made it available as a download (in both MP3 and lossless FLAC) in 2009; we haven’t been able to determine whether said download includes either the German newspaper article or the gatefold photos of the noses and mouths of “The Mothers Today”. This was made moot when the ZFT put out a bona fide CD version of the thing in 2012.
The Mothers Of Invention Mothermania: The Best Of The Mothers (1969)—3