In his lifetime, Frank Zappa recorded approximately 12 million albums. I have listened to nine of them. Die-hard Zappamaniacs have listened to about 100 of them. I accept that I will never fully understand Zappa due to the sheer breadth of the man’s material. Zappa “experts” do not. Being an expert on Zappa is nigh on impossible; his studio albums alone could serve as the mortar for a new Tower of Babel. (Imagine that if you will: A thousand greasy Zappaites climbing to heaven so God can sign all their copies of Shiek Yerbouti. Yikes!) Yet, I have met far too many rubes who claim they “get” Zappa because they’ve listened to a third of his recorded output and know exactly what he was “trying to say,” despite remaining ignorant to the months worth of unreleased live material and studio recordings that are just sitting in Zappa’s storage unit on the moon or in Captain Beefheart’s fallout shelter.

Well, I’m not sure about any “moon unit” releases just yet (hey-oh!), but the Zappa Family Trust has announced plans to release a series of expanded editions of Zappa’s early albums, starting November 25 with his strictly orchestral solo debut Lumpy Gravy and classic hippy send-up We’re Only In It For the Money. According to Billboard, this initial combo will be titled Lumpy Money, and along with brand new mixes of both albums, it will include a never-before-heard Stravinksy-esque “ballet” recording of Lumpy Gravy. “You're going to be listening to how Frank worked, all the little developments of these pieces as opposed to just an outtake or another performance of that particular piece. You're going to hear how he got there from here," said Frank’s widow Gail Zappa.

Subsequent releases will receive individual treatments as opposed to the twofer presented here. 1968’s Cruising with Ruben and Jets is already slated for the deluxe treatment thanks to extensive plundering through the Sequin Mines vault located underneath the Zappa’s house. Other releases include live recording from the Roxy in Los Angeles and a collection of Edgar Varèse compositions performed by the fu-manchued man himself. So, Zappa freaks, looks you got some more studying to do. Hopefully these new releases don’t throw a wrench in all your doctoral theses about how “Camarillo Brillo” should become the new national anthem. Or maybe you’ll at least snap back into reality and actually have fun listening to a Frank Zappa album instead of behaving like a pompous crybaby when somebody doesn’t say the full title of “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” But probably not.

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