Frank Zappa / The Mothers 1970

50th anniversary 4CD set packed with unreleased audio

Frank Zappa / The Mothers 1970 4CD set

Zappa Records/UMe will next month issue The Mothers 1970, a four-CD Frank Zappa box set which features 70 unreleased tracks from the short-lived 1970 line-up of the Mothers of Invention.

The band during this period last around seven months and was Aynsley Dunbar, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons, and Flo & Eddie (aka Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman).

This new box set features over four hours of unreleased music, with the first CD featuring unheard studio sessions from Trident Studios in London England (with engineer Roy Thomas Baker) and the remainder offering historical live performances mostly captured by Zappa’s own tape recorder (a UHER recorder).

All recordings were sourced from their original tapes discovered in The Vault and digitally transferred and compiled by Travers in 2020. Some tracks were mixed by Craig Parker Adams and the collection was mastered by John Polito at Audio Mechanics.

The Mothers 1970 is presented in a clamshell box and includes a booklet and a button. It has been produced by Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers and will be released on 26 June 2020.

CD 1 – Trident Studios, London, England June 21-22, 1970

  1. Red Tubular Lighter
  2. Lola Steponsky
  3. Trident Chatter
  4. Sharleena (Roy Thomas Baker Mix)
  5. Item 1
  6. Wonderful Wino (FZ Vocal)
  7. “Enormous Cadenza”
  8. Envelopes
  9. Red Tubular Lighter (Unedited Master)
  10. Wonderful Wino (Basic Tracks, Alt. Take)
  11. Giraffe – Take 4
  12. Wonderful Wino (FZ Vocal, Alt. Solo)

CD 2 – Live Highlights Part 1 – “Piknik” VPRO June 18, 1970 / Pepperland Sep 26, 1970

  1. Introducing…The Mothers (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  2. Wonderful Wino (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  3. Concentration Moon (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  4. Mom & Dad (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  5. The Air (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  6. Dog Breath (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  7. Mother People (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  8. You Didn’t Try To Call Me (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  9. Agon (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  10. Call Any Vegetable (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  11. King Kong Pt. I (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  12. Igor’s Boogie (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  13. King Kong Pt. II (Live on “Piknik” June 18, 1970)
  14. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are? (Live at Pepperland September 26, 1970)
  15. Bwana Dik (Live at Pepperland September 26, 1970)
  16. Daddy, Daddy, Daddy (Live at Pepperland September 26, 1970)
  17. Do You Like My New Car? (Live at Pepperland September 26, 1970)
  18. Happy Together (Live at Pepperland September 26, 1970)

CD 3 – Live Highlights Part 2 – Hybrid Concert: Santa Monica August 21, 1970 / Spokane September 17, 1970

  1. “Welcome To El Monte Legion Stadium!” (Live)
  2. Agon (Live)
  3. Call Any Vegetable (Live)
  4. Pound For A Brown (Live)
  5. Sleeping In A Jar (Live)
  6. Sharleena (Live)
  7. The Air (Live)
  8. Dog Breath (Live)
  9. Mother People (Live)
  10. You Didn’t Try To Call Me (Live)
  11. King Kong Pt. I (Live)
  12. Igor’s Boogie (Live)
  13. King Kong Pt. II (Live)
  14. “Eat It Yourself…” (Live)
  15. Trouble Every Day (Live)
  16. “A Series Of Musical Episodes” (Live)
  17. Road Ladies (Live)
  18. “The Holiday Inn Motel Chain” (Live)
  19. What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening? (Live)
  20. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are? (Live)

CD 4 – Live Highlights Part 3 – FZ Tour Tape Recordings

  1. “What’s The Deal, Dick?”
  2. Another M.O.I. Anti-Smut Loyalty Oath (Live)
  3. Paladin Routine #1 (Live)
  4. Portuguese Fenders (Live)
  5. The Sanzini Brothers (Live)
  6. Guitar Build ’70 (Live)
  7. Would You Go All The Way? (Live)
  8. Easy Meat (Live)
  9. “Who Did It?”
  10. Turn It Down! (Live)
  11. A Chance Encounter In Cincinnati
  12. Pound For A Brown (Live)
  13. Sleeping In A Jar (Live)
  14. Beloit Sword Trick (Live)
  15. Kong Solos Pt. I (Live)
  16. Igor’s Boogie (Live)
  17. Kong Solos Pt. II (Live)
  18. Gris Gris (Live)
  19. Paladin Routine #2 (Live)
  20. King Kong – Outro (Live)

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Tom Caselli

When will we get an official release of the Olympic show from March 1970 with
Bass – Max Bennett
Drums – Aynsley Dunbar
Violin – Sugarcane Harris*
Woodwind – Ian Underwood
That was a great band although they only played

Lee Realgone

During the first half of this year, I listened to all of FZ’s official releases chronologically (yes, all 115 of them), several bootlegs and the handful of 1987/92 UMRK album remixes. You could say I’m more than a casual fan, but after tackling that mammoth musical mountain, I came to the conclusion that I really hate the Volman/Kaylan Mothers. Their childish comedy skits overshadow most of the music. Given that there are some superb shows from between 1973-76 that deserve a decent release, it’s disappointing that the family have decided this should take priority.

I think the Piknik set has previously circulated on one of those grey area discs that have appeared at Amazon and in HMV over the past couple of years, but there’s lots of stuff here I don’t recognise and at least one of the discs hasn’t been dominated by a tedious 50 minute rendition of Billy The Mountain, so that’s a plus point at least. All of that said, I probably won’t be buying this. Well, not unless it goes super cheap.

John Drayton

I’ve ordered this. Please God, don’t let it be another ‘Playground Psychotics’

Peter Smith

Went to do an Amazon pre-release order where it was showing at £39.99 and by the time I got to the checkout it had already changed status to “currently unavailable”
Another price change ahead

Rik K

I’ve never much cared for the Flo & Eddie bands of 1970-71, but this one has George Duke (on organ mainly) so it might be somewhat worthwhile. I’m tempted to just cherry-pick the instrumentals and make my own compilation of those. My favourite Zappa (by far) is the big band instrumental jazz music he made in 1972, on “Grand Wazoo” and “Waka/Jawaka”. Maybe one day we’ll see a box set of that music.

Jerry Bloom

I’m with you all the way. Much preferred his jazzy instrumental stuff. The Flo and Eddie period was the worst for me. Played Playground Pyschotics twice I think and in my view there have been far too many posthumous releases from the “Vaudeville” band.
But maybe more people enjoy the slapstick and bawdy lyrics more than the sublime musicianship?


I’m a little different from some. I’m familiar with some Zappa recordings: Overnight Sensations, Studio Tan, Orchestral Favorites and some others. However, I’m not what you’d call a big fan.

As such, I’m thinking this is the perfect time to try to get into his music more. These box sets are going to be perfect for that. They’re spaced out release wise, exhuastive, and nicely compartmentalized. A deep dive is a great way of truly getting to know an artist you sort of, like on the side, as it were.


You might not want to start your edification with the Flo & Eddie years. They’re chaotic, sloppy, talky and joke-oriented, and probably not the best place to “dive” in. That said… I first saw FZ on the 1970 tour and love it, but the repeat listening value IS diminished.

paul wren

I wonder what younger millennial listeners would make of Zappa if they ever got to hear his output?

Gareth Jones

As an extremely casual fan, I’d love to see some “best of” box set of his studio work rather than endless live recordings. The studio albums alone are too much to digest, nevermind knowing where to begin with his live releases!


I would highly recommend ‘Strictly Commercial’ as a starting point into Zappa’s catalogue.


If you want a single box set that covers the full range of Zappa’s work, from the stupid songs to orchestral stuff (albeit over a limited period of time), you can’t really go wrong with Läther.

Uncle Meat

Gareth, I recommend you take a dive first into “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore” live series, volumes 1-6. From there choose your favourite FZ period (or band) and then move on to FZ studio work accordingly.

Or attack the Roxy band era 73-74. Great band, great music, great recordings. You can’ t go wrong with any of these: “Road Tapes volume 2”, “Roxy & Elsewhere”, “Roxy By Proxy”, “The Complete Roxy Performances”, “YCDTOSA volume 2: The Helsinki Concert”. Enjoy!

Gareth Jones

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve seen ‘200 Motels’ on TV a couple of times, but I only own two compilations, ‘Strictly Commerical’ and ‘Have I Offended Someone?’

I enjoy them both, I guess partly for their silliness, but I’ve never known where to go from there. Always wanted to investigate more, but it’s such a huge back catalogue!


people who play music should probably start w Grand Wazoo, Waka Jawaka & Hot Rats.
or perhaps the orchestral disks … Lumpy Gravy, Orchestral Favorites, Boulez, LSO

That said, the turtles/vaudeville band always put on a fun show, albeit ‘less musical’ than some others.

For me, the perfect balance was 73-74 (the George Duke+Ruth Underwood era).
The songs were less crude & the musicianship of the band was way up there.
Early 73 w Ponty was less vocal & more music, but less show.
After Ponty left (fall 73), Napoleon joined, & vocals re-emerged.

The most complete Zappa experience for me is ‘Inca Roads’.
It satisfies on every level.
Great melody, arrangement, lyrics, gtr solo, synthesizers & percussion & complexity all the way through.

Gene Magruder

There are several “best of’ sets available

Nick Pap

That’s fine but we have been waiting for an official 200 Motels reissue for years and also a Studio Tan re-reissue because its sold out and aomw wise guys are asking for earth and water to sell it…


There has already been an authorised remastered set from Rykodisc in their deluxe soundtrack series 1997 including radio spots and the trailer for the film (video) as it was an ECD.


Fantastic news! Thanks Paul!

Wayne C

I haven’t heard much Frank Zappa material over the years, but the guy surely had some of the most inventive names
for song titles in musical history . Only listened to Joe’s Garage many years since, maybe one day I’ll investigate but he’s did that much stuff it’s quite overwhelming!.

Murray Robbins

Thanks for stocking this Paul as well as the continued coverage of Frank’s Music. Thankfully some sanity with the presentation and packaging of this box set.

Aynsley’s drumming was great at this period and the Flo and Eddie vocalisation of Zappa Road-Lore was still fresh.

I was lucky to get an early Amazon UK pre-order in at £21.99 when a friend tipped me off. Later they were still taking pre-orders but at £39,99. Probably $69.95 now….regular FZ customers will appreciate the significance of this price point!!!

A You Tube clip of the guitar solo Portuguese Fenders was posted at the weekend (Disc 4 Track 4 ) and both the performance (typically ballsy FZ guitar workout) and audio quality are great.


Wowee- Zowee, this is great news!

The Mothers line-up that included Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, is one of my favourite periods in Frank Zappa’s musical history. Howard and Mark did some amazing vocals for their group, The Turtles, and as back-up singers for Marc Bolan & T. Rex, but really stole the show when doing lead vocal harmonies (and naughty satirical dialogues with Frank) as the reincarnation of The Mothers for the 1970-1972 live performances. I loved this stuff when I was in my early teens, plus the fact that my mom and dad really hated it :-}

I’m hoping “Fillmore East – June, 1971,” “Just Another Band From L.A., will be re-released soon too — and of course (if the MGM/United Artists lawsuit can be settled by the attorneys for the Zappa Family Trust estate), an SDE of “200 Motels” with restored full feature movie would make for a crown jewel moment!

David Fisher

Awesome – although it’s a tragedy the Zappa kids have been having personal differences (to say the least), the ZFT is still putting out a steady stream of essential vault recordings for Zappa nuts like me. Some unheard Flo and Eddie studio sessions sounds very interesting. The live stuff may not be of the best quality from what I understand but I hope to be proved wrong. This release was hinted at in one of the recent podcasts from zappa.com which are worth a listen.

Peter Haas

I think the kids settled their differences, and are at least on the same page now.


not really a Mothers fan… I love Frank’s work post Mothers…but this set is REALLY pretty cool.


Sound on disc 1 (studio) is ok, A bit rough, but quite listenable.
The rest is VG+ bootleg quality.
But the performances ….. Wow !!!