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Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers

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The short-lived collaboration in 1974 between Frank Zappa and his group (notionally dubbed The Mothers although none of the original Mothers Of Invention were left by this time); and his old school friend Don Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart. The two had previously made music together in Zappa’s Studio Z in the early 60s (recalled in the lyrics of “Cucamonga”), and Zappa produced Beefheart’s masterpiece Trout Mask Replica in 1969. At the time of this collaboration, Vliet was amid wrangles over his recording contracts, so Zappa invited him on tour to earn some money. They had a difficult working relationship: Vliet would spend a great deal of time with his pen and sketch pad creating unflattering likenesses of Zappa; while Frank would later comment, with characteristic understatement “It wasn’t easy, but it was only a few weeks.” The album Bongo Fury was mostly recorded live, supposedly at “Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas”, interwoven with some studio recordings.

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