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Absolutely Free

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Absolutely Free
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 26, 1967 (1967-05-26)
RecordedNovember 15–18, 1966
March 6, 1967[1][2]
StudioTTG Studios, Los Angeles
ProducerTom Wilson
Frank Zappa chronology
Freak Out!
Absolutely Free
Lumpy Gravy
The Mothers of Invention chronology
Freak Out!
Absolutely Free
We're Only in It for the Money
Singles from Absolutely Free
  1. "Son of Suzy Creamcheese"
    Released: 1967
Professional ratings
Review scores
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[6]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[7]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[11]
Uncut8/10 [13]
The Village VoiceB−[14]

Absolutely Free is the second album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released on May 26, 1967, by Verve Records. Much like their 1966 debut Freak Out!, the album is a display of complex musical composition with political and social satire. The band had been augmented since Freak Out! by the addition of woodwinds player Bunk Gardner, keyboardist Don Preston, rhythm guitarist Jim Fielder, and drummer Billy Mundi; Fielder quit the group before the album was released, and his name was removed from the album credits.


The album's emphasis is on interconnected movements, as each side of the original vinyl LP comprises a mini-suite. It also features one of the most famous songs of bandleader/guitarist Frank Zappa's early career, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It", a track described by François Couture of AllMusic as a "condensed two-hour musical".[15]

In the book Necessity Is..., former Mothers of Invention band member Ray Collins said that Absolutely Free is probably his favorite of the classic Mothers albums.[16]


The UK-67 release (Verve VLP/SVLP 9174) came in a laminated flip-back cover, with a Mike Raven poem at the reverse that was not on any other issue.

The CD reissue adds, between sides one and two, two songs that were featured on a rare Verve single of the time. The songs from the single, "Why Dontcha Do Me Right?" (titled "Why Don't You Do Me Right" on the 45) and "Big Leg Emma", were both described as "an attempt to make dumb music to appeal to dumb teenagers".[17]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Frank Zappa

Side one: "Absolutely Free" (#1 in a Series of Underground Oratorios)
1."Plastic People"3:40
2."The Duke of Prunes"2:12
3."Amnesia Vivace"1:01
4."The Duke Regains His Chops"1:45
5."Call Any Vegetable"2:19
6."Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin" (instrumental)6:57
7."Soft-Sell Conclusion"1:40
Total length:20:28
Side two: "The M.O.I. American Pageant" (#2 in a Series of Underground Oratorios)
1."America Drinks"1:52
2."Status Back Baby"2:52
3."Uncle Bernie's Farm"2:09
4."Son of Suzy Creamcheese"1:33
5."Brown Shoes Don't Make It"7:26
6."America Drinks & Goes Home"2:43
Total length:19:23
2017 Reissue Bonus Record
1."Absolutely Free Radio Ad #1"1:01
2."Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?"2:39
3."Big Leg Emma"2:32
4."Absolutely Free Radio Ad #2"1:01
5."Glutton for Punishment..."0:24
6."America Drinks (1969 Re-Mix)"1:55
7."Brown Shoes Don't Make It (1969 Re-Mix)"7:27
8."America Drinks & Go Home (1969 Re-Mix)"2:42
CD Reissue
1."Plastic People"3:42
2."The Duke of Prunes"2:13
3."Amnesia Vivace"1:01
4."The Duke Regains His Chops"1:52
5."Call Any Vegetable"2:15
6."Invocation & Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin"7:00
7."Soft-Sell Conclusion"1:40
8."Big Leg Emma"2:31
9."Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?"2:37
10."America Drinks"1:53
11."Status Back Baby"2:54
12."Uncle Bernie's Farm"2:10
13."Son of Suzy Creamcheese"1:34
14."Brown Shoes Don't Make It"7:30
15."America Drinks & Goes Home"2:45


The Mothers of Invention

Additional musicians


Year Chart Position
1967 Billboard 200 41


  1. ^ "FZ Chronology 1965-69". Donlope. 2001. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  2. ^ Ulrich, Charles (May 13, 2018). The Big Note: A Guide to the Recordings of Frank Zappa. New Star Books. ISBN 1-554201-46-2.
  3. ^ Reed, Ryan (4 July 2020). "Top 25 American Classic Rock Bands of the '60s". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  4. ^ Grimstad, Paul (September 2007). "What is Avant-Pop?". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "Absolutely Free – The Mothers of Invention". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2002). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  7. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1998). The Great Rock Discography (1st ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 978-0-86241-827-4.
  8. ^ Henderson, Paul (28 January 1989). "Slippery Customers". Kerrang!. No. 223. p. 18. ISSN 0262-6624.
  9. ^ Gary Graff, ed. (1996). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (1st ed.). London: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-0-7876-1037-1.
  10. ^ Marchini, Massimo. "Frank Zappa". OndaRock (in Italian). Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Frank Zappa". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). London: Fireside Books. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  12. ^ jimmy, praise (26 May 2013). "Review: The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  13. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention reissues". uncut.co.uk. Uncut. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (20 December 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide to 1967". The Village Voice. New York. p. 69. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  15. ^ Couture, François. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It - The Mothers of Invention,Frank Zappa | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  16. ^ James, Billy (2002). Necessity Is: The Early Years of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. p. 51. ISBN 9780946719518.
  17. ^ Keeley, Matt (3 December 2018). "Frank Zappa and the Mothers' 'Absolutely Free' Finds a Way Around the Sophomore Slump". Kittysneezes. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020.

External links[edit]