Mo’s Vacation

Funny how some people who adore FZ’s “regular” music tend to shy away from his “more serious”, “classical instrumental” music. They tend to see it as impenetrable, obscure, entirely inscrutable — in short, way over their heads.

Not so.

The key, I think, is to listen to Zappa’s instrumental tunes as if they were cinematic accompaniments to one’s very own imaginary movie. They are visceral soundtracks wanting to cater to the stories that are in your very own mind.

Case in point: this rare, unreleased version of Mo’s Vacation below. I’ll hit play, close my eyes, listen, and make up my very own story – you try it too:

There… Was it as good for you as it was for me?

What was your story?

13 Responses to “Mo’s Vacation”

  1. Slap says:

    Funny you should mention it….

    Mrs. Slap is a perfect case in point. In the 40-plus years before she met me, she was never exposed to FZ, at all — and she had no background or interest in orchestral music. She quite readily realized how important FZ’s music was to me, and listened with open ears and heart as I played things for her. She found the rock stuff OK, and got it as I would try and describe what was going on; the orchestral stuff, however, made her light right up — she immediately and instinctively recognized the cinematic and story-telling properties, and was delighted.

    Hell, I’m of the belief that the funniest FZ piece I know is Reagan at Bitburg….

  2. exile says:

    Thanks for that refreshing piece. I hadn’t realised quite how “black-pagey” it was.

  3. Dark Clothes says:

    Yeah, sounded good, even better than Mo N Herb’s Vacation… Who’s playing, when was it recorded?

    My story: Big ones! Wet ones! Big wet ones!

  4. jonnybutter2 says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    the funniest FZ piece I know is Reagan at Bitburg….

    Agree! I find it hilarious, albeit in an extremely depressing, mordant way.

  5. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    Yeah, sounded good, even better than Mo N Herb’s Vacation… Who’s playing, when was it recorded?

    The YouTube page says:
    Studio version of Mo’s Vacation, recorded in the UMRK ca. 1982.
    * Chad Wackerman – drums/percussion
    * David Ocker – clarinets
    * John Steinmetz – basson

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    My story: Big ones! Wet ones! Big wet ones!

    Sounds like mine! :D

  6. Plooker says:

    I could not stop thinking about Chad and Vinnie. I would like to hear a Vinnie version.

    And thanks johnnybutter2, mordant is a good word.

  7. P-Rip says:

    See, now this is the sort of thing I would like to see out of The Vault. Gimme some dense instrumentals, throw in some synclavier tracks and anything with George Duke, maybe a few rehearsal tracks and call it; “The Real Lost Episodes”

  8. Tony says:

    Yo!
    That’s a piece called ‘The Black Page’!
    A rare- not bad version of the one Zappaheads love! err but u knew that.
    Woteves- i miss Frank!

  9. Theydon Bois says:

    Well, I think it’s a rare ska version of “Dinah-Moe Humm” from 1958, and no amount of listening to the actual notes is going to convince me otherwise. Yo!

  10. xorg says:

    My mind conjures up pictures to go with most of the music I listen to, not just FZ. I don’t necessarily get a story in the sense of beginning, middle, and end ending though. It’s more akin to Chekhov’s short stories which kind of give a view of life, love or death or all three. You should try some Debussy. Caution is advised with the likes of Schoenberg and Stockhausen, however!
    Meanwhile, I’m with P-Rip (see above). Why is this recording ‘unreleased’ and does the so-called vault contain more like it? If so, it would make a much more worthwhile project than the Joe’s Rubbish series and ‘Congress Shall Pass No Law’ for example.

  11. Ride My Face To Chicago says:

    Here’s my story. Some people just don’t groove to the serious music. I would see some guys at show after show at The Palladium and many other local venues. Some wanted to hear Dinah-Moe Humm and Camarillo Brillo at each and every show. If those songs were not played some were disappointed. Operative keyword some. I would specifically ask one long island guy who fittingly could tighten his headband for an extra rush during a Jerry Garcia guitar solo. All that noodling in the Greatfull Dead with little diversity in the compositional realm. In the early 80s tour period I asked him about new things that were so called serious rock arrangements such as Envelopes, Drowning Witch, Moggio where all he said was he did not like that stuff and wanted to hear Dinah-Moe Humm and Camarillo Brillo. For others I do not speak, for me each and every is my favorite! Nice general concept for a blog. If it opens eyes and ears good.

  12. Ride My Face To Chicago says:

    Here’s my story. Some people just don’t groove to the serious music. I would see some guys at show after show at The Palladium and many other local venues. Some wanted to hear Dinah-Moe Humm and Camarillo Brillo at each and every show. If those songs were not played some were disappointed. Operative keyword some. I would specifically ask one long island guy who fittingly could tighten his headband for an extra rush during a Jerry Garcia guitar solo. He even drove from Long Island to Chicago see Zappa and Jerry Garcia in 1984. I always think of him when I hear that Zappa song. As far as Greatful Dead, all that noodling with little diversity in the compositional realm i get totally bored after a while. In the early 80s tour period I asked him about new things that were so called serious rock arrangements such as Envelopes, Drowning Witch, Moggio where all he said was he did not like that stuff and wanted to hear Dinah-Moe Humm and Camarillo Brillo. For others I do not speak, for me each and every is my favorite! Nice general concept for a blog. If it opens eyes and ears good.

  13. Jimbob says:

    HERES WHAT I SEE:

    Slapstick…a guy trying to get something into a box…he fails as the box itself seems to be trying to stop him. Eventually an evil-looking-serious-guy with dark hair and maybe an oversize moustache pushes him aside and approaches the box as if it can give him no problem… some more slapstick fun and hilarity as he tries, but fails to get, WHATEVER IT IS, in. Meanwhile the original guy tries to prevent him from the sidelines.

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