The Mystery Disc

Released: 1998


  1. Theme from Run Home Slow
  2. Original Duke Of Prunes
  3. Opening Night Party At Studio Z (Collage)
  4. The Village Inn
  5. Steal Away
  6. I Was A Teen-Age Malt Shop
  7. The Birth Of Captain Beefheart
  8. Metal Man Has Won His Wings
  9. Power Trio Segment From The Saints ‘n Sinners
  10. Bossa Nova Pervertamento
  11. Excerpt From The Uncle Frankie Show
  12. Charva
  13. Speed-Freak Boogie
  14. Original Mothers At the Broadside (Pomona)
  15. Party Scene From Mondo Hollywood
  16. Original Mothers Rehearsal
  17. How Could I Be Such A Fool?
  18. Band Introductions At The Fillmore West
  19. Harry You’re A Beast
  20. Don Interrupts
  21. Piece One
  22. Jim/Boy
  23. Piece Two
  24. Agency Man
  25. Agency Man (studio version)
  26. Lecture From Festival Hall Show
  27. Wedding Dress Song/The Handsome Cabin Boy
  28. Skweezit Skweezit Skweezit
  29. The Story Of Willie The Pimp
  30. Black Beauty
  31. Chucha
  32. Mothers At KPFK
  33. Harmonica Fun

5 thoughts on “The Mystery Disc”

  1. This is Zappa compiling odd things from the early Mothers and even earlier. Even from when he was a cocktail lounge cat. “Speed freak boogie” is as good a guitar jam as anyone has ever done over those two damn chords. “mondo hollywood” is amazing funk and ends way too soon . There are orchestral cuts from the Festival Hall that are some of the best classical pieces that Zappa’s done. There’s all kinds of great and eclectic music on this album, but I’m going to be a philistine and choose to dwell on the absolute crowning achievement: The track that starts “hello there kids, it’s your old friend captain beefheart….”

    “MMmm, It’s really groovy!”

  2. Yep, The previous reviewer got this one absolutely RIGHT!! I first heard the first “Mystery Disc” as part of the first “Old Masters” box, and used to listen to my vinyl version as much as I did the other remasters. This “Mystery Disc” is so full of wonderful, diverse musical elements, it is easy to quickly surmise how fertile an environment the young Zappa flourished in. Even the random “party at Studio Z” collage is delightful and wonderful. But COME ON, folks, let’s face it, the most awe-inspiring relevatory moment has to be Frank’s mesmerizing lead vocal on “Charva” (also available on the “Lost Episodes” CD with him warbling “I love you more and more, it’s not because you father owns a liquor store….”, Frank, you were WONDERFUL. This is the precious reminder of all the wonderfully EARTHY influences that kept Frank down-to-earth and always inspired. Get the MYSTERY DISC NOW!!!!

  3. I have listened to the MYSTERY DISC directly after THE LOST EPISODES, and they go together poerfectly. Tracks like ‘Charva’ and ‘Agency Man (Studio Version)’ sound great, like they were meant to come out, but could never find the perfect time. Overall, a fine compendium and a great summation of all that was left.

  4. To Whom It May Concern
    I am the Writer-Producer-Director and owner of all rights to MONDO HOLLYWOOD. Among the various misrepresentations made about my film are the following:
    1. That the music of Frank Zappa and his group, THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION, was edited out of the film. He and his group were, indeed, filmed by me at one of several parties, scenes from which are intercut in the film’s final “Freakout” sequence, but I did not record their music at any time. I shot them silent, using a non-blimped Arriflex 35-C. The few shots of them seen in my film constitute all the footage recorded. There were no out-takes.
    2. A certain “Kim Fowley” claims to have recorded Zappa and his group during the MONDO HOLLYWOOD party; and has been selling what he claims is the music from that party. The truth is that there was no one professionally recording the music performed at that event. I am in possession of signed releases from everyone who was present. I have no idea where Fowley acquired the music he is selling as “The sound track from the MONDO HOLLYWOOD party scene, or whose music it is, but it was never a part of my film.
    Robert Carl Cohen

  5. Frank had an inimitable way of presenting seemingly random musical and/or anthropological events together on an album…and somehow making them seem a completely logical whole. So sometimes, even when the individual items that make up the whole are not completely mind-blowing in themselves, they make a Project (in this case an album –or two) that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Although this CD is a bargain in that it contains around 78 minutes of music, I suspect that it actually slightly compromises Frank’s original intentions. See Frank knew when to Shut Up. That’s why a lot of his albums are not exactly lengthy. So what we actually get here is two albums that were originally included in the first two Old Masters box sets in the 1980’s.

    Whilst the first half whizzes along in fine style, the 1968 Royal Festival Hall material seems to really suffer by being presented after your ears have already listened to 45 minutes worth of brief snippets. This material is more complex, and of a longer duration than the preceding Studio Z and early Mothers stuff, so the pace seems to suddenly slow…. I guess this would have appeared as the beginning of the second Mystery Disc, and it probably sounded fantastic there as it did on the 1993 release Ahead Of Their Time.

    This is not to say that there is not some fine stuff on this here CD. The original Mothers had so much personality, it not only oozes out of their music, but also the spoken word snippets. Also, right from the very first track (the Run Home Slow theme) Frank’s guitar work is unmistakeable and wonderful throughout – even speeded up (as here on Speed Freak Boogie).

    But this album is primarily a lightning fast tour of a small corner of The Vault. Even though some of the material (eg: I Was A Teenage Maltshop, or Original Mothers Rehearsal) is not exactly riveting, the album as a whole is very enjoyable.

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