The Old Masters Box I, II & III

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Volume I

Released April 1985. 6 vinyls and bonus disc “The Mystery Disc”

Consists of the following albums:
Freak Out!
Absolutely Free
We’re Only In It For The Money
Lumpy Gravy
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
The Mystery Disc

Volume II

Released November 1986. 8 vinyls and bonus disc “The Mystery Disc”

Consists of the following albums:
Uncle Meat
Hot Rats
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Chunga’s Revenge
Fillmore East June 1971
Just Another Band From LA
The Mystery Disc

Volume III

Released December 1987. 8 vinyl case.

Consists of the following albums:
The Grand Wazoo
Over-Nite Sensation
Roxy & Elsewhere
One Size Fits All
Bongo Fury
Zoot Allures

7 thoughts on “The Old Masters Box I, II & III”

  1. I personally own all three “Old Masters” vinyl boxes, and what is so frustrating is that they all represent yet ONE MORE different remastered version of many of the albums than even exists now on CD or otherwise.

    At the time of their release, they were nothing less than a godsend (especially box one) because the whole Zappa catalog was out-of-print and Zappa fanatics had to just deal with what they could scrape up in other places. YET, even box one held some controversial surprises: a COMPLTELY re-mixed “We’re Only In It For the Money” with those obnoxious, ’80’s sounding bass and digital drum parts RE-RECORDED (ditto for “Cruising With Ruben and the Jets”), and the remixes on “Freak Out” were NOT the ones used later on the CDs (notice that the “Old Masters” vinyl version still has the whole Pachuco talking till “You Didn’t Try To Call Me” completely STOPS, whereas on the CD it fades early). All of this crazy remixing and re-recording drove many Zappa fanatics NUTS, and I don’t blame them.

    Of course, box one and two contain the “Mystery Discs” (which Rykodisc released recently as a single CD), which are so full of amazing, historical Zappa and Mothers tidbits, I almost can forgive Frank for what he did with the legitimate releases and artwork.

    What’s a little strange and nakedly BITTER is the hand scrawled additions (assumedly by Frank) to the whole “Old Masters, Box One” booklet. Throughout, it is very noticeable that Frank added little drawing comments to the original artwork of the early albums. If one looks carefully, blacked-out teeth are added to the pictures of the original Mothers on the “Only In It For The Money” pull-out sheet, and most painfully, Frank has completely scratched out and rubbed out Pamela Zarubica’s face from the news clipping where she and Frank are hugging.
    All of this addition, changing and rewriting of Zappa history can be off-putting at times. It was if Frank was engaging in a little Stalin-esque REVISIONIST HISTORY. Frank had just regained the rights to all his masters, and now he was getting a little revenge on those who had “betrayed” him from the past, as well as giving the finger to those “vinyl fetishists” who expected the original albums to be remastered in a perfectly preserved state. Don’t get me wrong, folks, I think Frank is arguably the greatest composer of the last twenty years, but sometimes even the artist him/herself isn’t the best judge of their own work (and history). Just know that if you are interested in still obtaining the “Old Masters” box sets, you really need to bone up on the REAL story and sound of those albums, many of which have been altered and changed drastically.

  2. I’ve only got a copy of the “Mystery Disc Box One” without track names. It seems that the content is again slightly diffrent from the CD (whilst the 2nd part of the CD is equal to the Mystery Disc Box Two).

    Can anybody help me correcting the following Box One title set:

    01-Theme From Run Home Slow
    02-Original Duke Of The Prunes
    03-Opening Night Party At Studio Z (Collage)
    04-I Won’t Tell Anybody Else (<— ???)
    05-I Was A Teen-Age Malt Shop
    06-The Birth Of Captain Beefheart
    07-Metal Man Has Won His Wings
    08-Power Trio Segment From The Saints’n Sinners
    09-Bossa Nova Pervertamento
    10-Excerpt From The Uncle Frankie Show
    12-Speed-Freak Boogie
    13-Original Mothers At The Broadside (Pomona)
    14-Party Scene From Mondo Hollywood
    15-Original Mothers Rehearsal
    16-How Could I Be Such A Fool?
    17-Band Introductions At The Fillmore West
    18-Plastic People
    19-Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin
    20-(sounds like something from Fillmore East ’71 <— ???)
    21-Why Don’t You Do Me Right? (<— ???)
    22-Big Leg Emma
    23-Harry & Rhonda (<— ???)
    24-Brown Moses (<— ???)

    Thank you very much

  3. Tom, you seem to have something a little different than the actual Mystery Disk from Box One. The LP is, in fact, the same as the first half of the CD, with the only real difference being that “Emma” and “Do Me Right” are not on the CD version, because they were already on the Absolutely Free CD (and wouldn’t fit on the Mystery Disc CD anyway).

  4. hmmm, Tom, you seem to be a bit confused about track spacing, or maybe the vinyl is different than the cd. If “I Won’t Tell Anyone Else” encompanses a band introduction and an R&B number, then you have The Village Inn track edited together with “Steal Away”. On the cd “Invocation” is edited on the end of Plastic People. The ’71 stuff may be The Mothers at the Fillmore E. (68), does Frank say, “wont somebody please go to bed with Jimmy Carl Black?” The “Harry and Rhonda” and “Brown Moses” stuff is new to me since the album SHOULD end after Big Leg Emma. Would you be able to describe those tracks and or provide scannings of the book that came with the box?

  5. Original MD looks so:4.The Village Inn;5.steal Away(no “I won’t tell…),and no Harry and Rhonda & Brown Moses

  6. Hello there!

    I have been a zappa fanatic since I heard Chungas Revenge which was formerly in my dad’s collection, this is around 1990 I reckon…

    I want’em ALL so I purchased THE OLD MASTERS BOX 1 a bit back, marvellous state and with A BOOKLET!
    Today I got TOM 2 also fantastic shape but NO BOOKLET!

    Is there NO BOOKLET included in 2 & 3?


  7. The plural of vinyl is vinyl. There are “6 records” or “6 LPs” or “6 twelve inch discs” but never “6 vinyls.”

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