Frank Zappa / Orchestral Favorites

Reissued on 3CD & vinyl • Mothermania also reissued on vinyl

Frank Zappa‘s 1979 album Orchestral Favorites is re-examined for its 40th anniversary and will be reissued as a double vinyl or expanded 3CD deluxe in August.

The instrumental album was actually recorded at UCLA’s Royce Hall in September 1975 and features music performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra. It was originally issued by Warners without Zappa’s permission and without liner notes, credits and artwork approval.

40 years on, the Zappa Family Trust have found the original tapes (along with the ‘tone reel’ that allows proper set-up of the master tapes) and created new hi-res transfers that have been remastered by Bob Ludwig. This new remaster features on a new single-disc vinyl version and and expanded 3CD deluxe.

As well as the original album, the triple CD package includes the entire evening performance from 18 September 1975 (the original album was derived from recording sessions in the afternoon) spread across the two additional discs, complete with Zappa’s song introductions and stories. These are brand new 2019 mixes by Craig Parker Adams from the original two-inch 24-track masters.

This reissue is produced by Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers and features a newly created cover and extensive sleeve notes from Joe Travers and former Zappa bandmate Terry Bozzio. The vinyl LP will be pressed at Furnace MFG on 180g ‘audiophile grade’ black vinyl.

While this album has been reissued a few times (Zappa himself reworked it for CD in ’91), we are assured that the archive research in terms of digging out tapes and finding the tone reel has resulted in the best-sounding version to date.

In other news, the Mothermania compilation is also being reissued on vinyl for its 50th anniversary. This has been out-of-print since 1972, has been mastered from the original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman and is being pressed on 180g black vinyl.

Mothermania is out on 19 July, while both versions of Orchestral Favorites are released on 30 August 2019.

Orchestral Favorites 3CD

CD 1
1. Strictly Genteel
2. Pedro’s Dowry
3. Naval Aviation In Art?
4. Duke Of Prunes
5. Bogus Pomp
6. Strictly Genteel (Keyboard OD Version)

CD 2
1. Show Star/Bogus Pomp Explained
2. Bogus Pomp
3. Revised Music For Low-Budge Symphony Orchestra
4. The Story Of Pedro’s Dowry
5. Pedro’s Dowry
6. The Story Of Rollo
7. Rollo

CD 3
1. Black Napkins Instructions
2. Black Napkins
3. Dog/Meat
4. The Players
5. Naval Aviation In Art?
6. Another Weirdo Number
7. Lumpy Gravy (Extract)/Improvisation
8. Evening At The Hermitage
9. A Special Guest Artist
10. Duke Of Prunes
11. Absolutely Disgusting
12. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary
13. Strictly Genteel

Orchestral Favorites vinyl LP

Side A
1. Strictly Genteel
2. Pedro’s Dowry
3. Naval Aviation In Art

Side B
1. Duke Of Prunes
2. Bogus Pomp

Mothermania vinyl LP

1. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It
2. Mother People
3. Duke of Prunes
4. Call Any Vegetable
5. The Idiot Bastard Son
6. It Can’t Happen Here
7. You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here
8. Who Are the Brain Police?
9. Plastic People
10. Hungry Freaks, Daddy
11. America Drinks and Goes Home



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Strange that the Zappa 3-Disc still isn’t on Amazon UK. Is it best to get it from France, or wait?

Jan Tore Skråmestø

My pre-order from amazon.fr arrived in Norway today. It was sent 29.08 – I suppose it will be quicker to UK.

Ron de Joode

What is audiophile grade vinyl? Another joke from the clowns of the marketing departement of the record company?….. Do they really think that their customers are so stupid to believe this blah blah nonsense?


This release of ‘Orchestral Favorites’ is welcomed, of course, but does leave me wondering whether the Zappa Family Trust will also release a long-wished for item: a vinyl box set of ‘Lather’ as Frank originally intended – original cover art and all…


So which is it, single or double record of the vinyl version of Orchestral?

Bruno Caron

Good question.


The “Mothermania: Best of the Mothers” re-release is a must have, as the songs that comprise this album were alternate versions and/or re-mixed differently by FZ when compared to how they sound on “Freak Out!” “Absolutely Free,” and “WOIIFTM.”

“The Orchestral Favorites” is mostly interesting to me because of “Bogus Pomp” and “Strictly Genteel,” which FZ originally scored for his movie, “200 Motels.” But the complete 200 Motels suites were performed posthumously by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2013. The CD of that concert has fantastic sound quality, and IMHO is occasionally superior to the Orchestral Favorites performances (maybe because the musicians had more time to rehearse, or they had a better understanding of Frank’s music), so I’m a little undecided.

Still hoping “Filmore East – June 1971,” “Just Another Band From L.A.,” “Waka-Jawaka,” “The Grand Wazoo,” and “Bongo Fury” are re-released soon!

Thomas C Baskys

I used to Eat, Sleep and Drink Frank Zappa! Now I eat tasty burgers, sleep like a baby and drink an awful lot of RC cola. Heard Ancient Anunnaki recently (super fan bootleg?) and I was really impressed by this Mother’s live recording!!! (Oh! On YouTube!) Sound quality was passable but improvisations were Wig City!!! Lengthy organ and sax solos were Flabbergasting!!!! I guess I was meant to be a Zappa fan, nobody can hear Marque Son’s Chicken and say, “Honey! They’re Playing Our Song!”


I wouldn’t say that Zappa “reworked” the album in 1991 – in fact, it was the only one of the post-Cohen DiscReet unauthorized releases that he didn’t fiddle with for the CD issue. (Unless you count that the CD had reversed channels, presumably on accident) The 1991 Barking Pumpkin, the 1995 Rykodisc and the 2012 UMe CD editions were all sonically identical and didn’t deviate from the original LP.

Robert Atkin

Wow. The Cd and both vinyl editions for each album are priced reasonably. I shall get the CD version. Nice


It’s probably worth pointing out that although all the “songs” are culled from Freak Out, Absolutely Free, & We’re Only In It For The Money, all mixes/edits are exclusive to this release except for Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, Duke Of Prunes, Plastic People and Hungry Freaks, Daddy.
As i’m typing this i’m listening to the new Bay City Rollers singles box set!!!

Ben in Colorado

Wow, from Frank Zappa to the Bay City Rollers.

SDE readers truly are an eclectic group.
And I’m one of them.

That’s why I like this website and its readers so much.


The version of “The Idiot Bastard Son” on “Mothermania” is probably the best one out there.

David Mcintyre

As the years roll by I appreciate Zappa orchestral works more, so this is a must have for me.

Mark H.

Totally agree. I listened to the “Lumpy Money” package a few months ago, and was surprised how much I enjoyed the various forms of “Lumpy Gravy”.