Frank Zappa ‘The Mothers 1971’ box set detailed

1971 Fillmore East run in NYC and final Rainbow Theatre Gig in London compiled into set for 50th anniversary

The Zappa Estate has detailed The Mothers 1971, a monumental and definitive new super deluxe edition eight CD and digital collection from Frank Zappa and The Mothers due March 18th via Zappa Records/UMe. The set showcases the special 1971 lineups and commemorates their New York City Fillmore East and London Rainbow Theatre gigs, in celebration of their 50th anniversaries.

Overseen by the Zappa Trust and produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, the 100-track, nearly 10-hour set brings together every note of the fabled four shows that closed down the vaunted Fillmore East in New York City on June 5-6, 1971, including the entire John Lennon and Yoko Ono encore, along with the full Rainbow Theatre performance in London, England, on December 10, 1971. Also included is an unreleased hybrid concert culled from June 1 and June 3, 1971 performances in Scranton and Harrisburg, PA, which denote the first time Mothers shows were recorded on Zappa’s preferred, then-newly purchased half-inch four-track tape machine (throughout the ’70s, this was the main tape recorder used to document shows if the budget allowed).

The extensive collection is rounded out with the original rare single for “Tears Began To Fall” and its non-album-track B-side “Junier Mintz Boogie,” signifying the single’s first re-release in 50 years and digital debut, as well as a homemade radio spot and its related outtakes.

This release is significant for marking the first time the complete back-to-back double-header Fillmore East concerts have been released in their entirety, allowing fans to hear the full performances that Zappa edited the album from, and for the very first time anywhere, contains the official audio of the Rainbow Theatre show’s truly shocking ending which was thought to have not been recorded until recently discovered while putting this project together.

The Mothers 1971 will also be available digitally for streaming and download, in both standard and hi-res audio (96kHz/24-bit).

The majority of the box set’s unedited live tracks have been newly mixed from scratch by longtime Zappa Trust associate Craig Parker Adams at Winslow Ct. Studios and mastered by John Polito at Audio Mechanics. The complete historical Rainbow Theatre concert was newly mixed by legendary producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (his first Zappa Trust project to date) and mastered by Bernie Grundman. All recordings included on The Mothers 1971 were sourced from their original two-inch, 16-track, one-inch eight-track, and quarter-inch two-track stereo analog master tapes discovered in The Vault and digitally transferred and compiled by Joe Travers in 2020, who then supervised the mixes in early 2021.

The Mothers 1971 boxed set comes in a CD size slimcase with all eight discs residing in their own respective mini-jackets, which are collectively housed within an inner slipcase, along with a comprehensive 68-page booklet showcasing a quite revealing, in-depth interview with key Mothers 1971 bandmember Ian Underwood as conducted by Ahmet Zappa, in addition to separate recollections and learned musings from Eddie Kramer and then-bassist Jim Pons alongside detailed, tape-by-tape liner notes from the ever-irrepressible Joe Travers, and historical photos from famed photographer Henry Diltz.

The Mothers lineup that ruled the Fillmore East roost in New York City for four extraordinary sets across two back-to-back nights on June 5-6, 1971 consisted of Ian Underwood (winds/keyboards), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Jim Pons (bass/vocals/dialog), Bob Harris (keyboards/vocals) and was rounded out by Howard Kaylan (lead vocals/dialog) and Mark Volman (lead vocals/dialog), aka Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, with special guest Don Preston. It was a fitting Mothers collective chosen to close the renowned NYC venue, and they performed such iconic tracks like “The Mud Shark,” “Bwana Dik,” and the groupie routine labeled as “Do You Like My New Car?” (For his part, Don Preston provided Mini-Moog at Fillmore East, then rejoined The Mothers fulltime to take over for Bob Harris on keyboards and vocals for the band’s ensuing summertime dates and onward, through that December.)

The June 1971 Fillmore East finale was made even more special thanks to John Lennon and Yoko Ono appearing alongside Zappa and The Mothers to perform a final encore for the unsuspecting crowd, including a red hot version of Walter Ward’s “Well” led by John on vocals (an old Beatles live favorite from the Cavern Club in Liverpool) with two solos by Zappa, a seminal reading of “King Kong” that soon enough metamorphosized into an extended jam ultimately called “Scumbag” as well as further improvisational vocal ululations from Yoko with guitar feedback by John and backing from The Mothers.

Zappa had plans to release this historical encore in its entirety after mixing it in 1971, but shelved it after John and Yoko released their own encore mixes on Side 4 of June 1972’s Sometime in New York City. Zappa eventually released his version of the encore as part of October 1992’s Compact Disc, Playground Psychotics.

After being awarded the rights to his back catalogue in the early 1980s, Zappa mulled other plans for releasing the encore, but upon inspection of the returned Fillmore East masters, it was discovered the Lennon encore tape was missing from its master tape box. In 2021 following a request via Universal, the Lennon Estate kindly provided the Zappa Trust and UMe with a high-resolution transfer of the multi-track safety reel (which FZ had made for them in 1971), thus ensuring that, for the first time in 50 years, the full encore performance could be heard, remixed, in its entirety.

Vinyl lovers will also be able to get their fill via a pair of concurrently released individual 3 LP configurations. First, the expanded 50th anniversary 3 LP vinyl edition of Fillmore East – June 1971 will have a remaster of the original 1971 live album on LP 1 along with 2 LPs of bonus tracks, including the John Lennon and Yoko Ono encore and the complete masterpiece “Billy The Mountain,” plus liner notes by Joe Travers. Significantly, the vinyl version of Fillmore East has been expanded to include vintage, period-perfect Zappa mixes, some of which are not included in the CD box set and can’t be found anywhere else. The original album appears on Sides 1 and 2, while Sides 3, 4, 5, and 6 contain the original “Billy The Mountain” as well as Zappa’s original version of the John & Yoko encore along with other material from the original mix sessions of the Fillmore East album. The Fillmore East 50th Anniversary Edition 3 LP set was cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.

Second, Rainbow Theatre is the 3 LP vinyl equivalent to the CD box’s contents, featuring a brand new 2021 mix and liner notes by Eddie Kramer. The Rainbow Theatre 3 LP set was cut by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Both vinyl sets were pressed on 180-gram high-grade vinyl by Optimal: Media in Germany.

CD 1: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 5, 1971 – Show 1

1. Peaches En Regalia
2. Tears Began To Fall
3. Shove It Right In
4. Status Back Baby
5. Concentration Moon – Part 1
6. The Sanzini Brothers (Sodomy Trick)
7. Concentration Moon – Part II
8. Mom & Dad
9. Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra
10. Billy The Mountain
11. King Kong

CD 2: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 5, 1971 – Show 2

1. Peaches En Regalia
2. Tears Began To Fall
3. Shove It Right In
4. Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra
5. Billy The Mountain
6. Little House I Used To Live In
7. The Mud Shark
8. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?
9. Bwana Dik
10. Latex Solar Beef
11. Willie The Pimp

CD 3: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 5, 1971 – Show 2 (CTD)

1. Do You Like My New Car?
2. Happy Together
3. ”Any Chord Of Your Choice”
4. King Kong – Part I
5. Lonesome Electric Turkey
6. King Kong – Part II

Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 6, 1971 – Show 1

7. Fillmore Improvisation
8. Peaches En Regalia
9. Tears Began To Fall
10. Shove It Right In
11. Status Back Baby
12. Concentration Moon – Part I
13. The Sanzini Brothers (Sodomy Trick)
14. Concentration Moon – Part II
15. Mom & Dad

CD 4: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 6, 1971 – Show 1 (CTD)

1. The Story Of Billy The Mountain
2. Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra
3. Billy The Mountain
4. Chunga’s Revenge

Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 6, 1971 – Show 2

5. “Herd Of Cattle”
6. Peaches En Regalia
7. Tears Began To Fall
8. Shove It Right In

CD 5: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 6, 1971 – Show 2 (CTD)

1. The Story Of Billy The Mountain
2. Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra
3. Billy The Mountain
4. “Conglomerate Assembly”
5. Little House I Used To Live In
6. The Mud Shark
7. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?
8. Bwana Dik
9. Latex Solar Beef
10. Willie The Pimp
11. Do You Like My New Car?
12. Happy Together

CD 6: Fillmore East, New York City, NY, June 6, 1971 – Show 2 (CTD)

1. Well [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]
2. Say Please [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]
3. King Kong [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]
4. Aaawk [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]
5. Scumbag [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]
6. A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono [John & Yoko Ono Encore Set]

Radio Spot, Single Version, B-Side & Outtakes

7. Homemade Radio Spot
8. Tears Began To Fall – Single Version
9. Junier Mintz Boogie – Single B-Side
10. Homemade Radio Spot Outtakes

Bonus Hybrid Concert: Harrisburg/Scranton, PA 1971

State Farm Show Arena, Harrisburg, PA, June 3, 1971

11. Peaches En Regalia
12. Tears Began To Fall
13. Shove It Right In
14. Status Back Baby
15. Concentration Moon – Part I
16. The Sanzini Brothers (Burning Hoop Trick)
17. Concentration Moon – Part II
18. Mom & Dad
19. My Boyfriend’s Back
20. Tiny Sick Tears

CD 7: Bonus Hybrid Concert: Harrisburg/Scranton, PA 1971

State Farm Show Arena, Harrisburg, PA, June 3, 1971 (CTD)

1. Call Any Vegetable
2. The Story Of Billy The Mountain
3. Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra

State Farm Show Arena, Harrisburg, PA, June 3, 1971 & Watres Armory, Scranton, PA, June 1, 1971

4. Billy The Mountain

Watres Armory, Scranton, PA, June 1, 1971

5. Willie The Pimp
6. King Kong (Outro)

Rainbow Theatre, London, England, December 10, 1971

7. Zanti Serenade
8. Peaches En Regalia
9. Tears Began To Fall

CD 8: Rainbow Theatre, London, England, December 10, 1971 (CTD)

1. Shove It Right In
2. “Pain In The Ass”
3. Divan: Once Upon A Time
4. Divan: Sofa #1
5. Pound For A Brown – Part I
6. Super Grease
7. Pound For A Brown – Part II
8. Sleeping In A Jar
9. Wonderful Wino
10. Sharleena
11. Cruising For Burgers
12. “That’s Your Tough Luck”
13. King Kong
14. I Want To Hold Your Hand

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com
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