Made at the height of Cream and love beads, Cruising With Ruben & the Jets, the 1968 LP by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, was the first rock & roll tribute record: 13 original songs soaked in the oiled-pompadour cool, prom-night lust and tremulous croon of Fifties vocal-group R&B. The corn was abundant ("Cheap Thrills," "Jelly Roll Gum Drop"), but the album — reissued in this spiffy retitled edition with the original '68 stereo mix and bonus material — was no parody. Doo-wop was as vital to Zappa's composing palette as Stravinsky, and Mothers' Ray Collins and Roy Estrada could sing the real thing, in nasal garage-choir harmonies and wildly looping falsetto. At the time, this music and its coded sexuality were still a fairly recent memory, although it's hard to imagine Zappa's Fifties idols, like Don Julian and the Meadowlarks, cutting anything as fiercely nihilistic as "Stuff Up the Cracks."
Greasy Love Songs (Reissue)
- Greasy Love Songs (Reissue)
- Frank Zappa
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