The better copies such as this one had a healthy dose of the Tubey Magical richness found on the better analog recordings from the late ’60s and ’70s (1970 in this case). One of Frank Zappa’s more interesting releases, with a combination of groundbreaking live and studio material, like Chunga’s and Weasils.
We just finished a shootout for Burnt Weenie, our first in more than five years.
We went about it the usual way. We carefully cleaned all the copies we had in stock. We then found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing each of our copies on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.
If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that other pressings do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given copy reproduces those passages.
The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle — or fail — to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.
Simple enough. It may be a lot of work but it sure ain’t rocket science, and we never pretended it was. Just the opposite: from day one we’ve explained how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection.
As your stereo and room improve, as you take advantage of new cleaning technologies, as you find new and interesting pressings to evaluate, you may even be inclined to start the shootout process all over again, to find the hidden gem, the killer copy that blows away what you thought was the best. You can’t find it by looking at it. You have to clean it and play it, against other pressings of the same album.
For the more popular records on the site such as the Beatles titles we have easily done more than twenty, maybe even as many as thirty shootouts. And we might have learned something new from almost every one.
Igor’s Boogie, Phase One
Overture To A Holiday In Berlin
Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich
Igor’s Boogie, Phase Two
Holiday In Berlin, Full Blown
Little House I Used To Live In
Burnt Weeny Sandwich is the first of two albums by the Mothers of Invention that Frank Zappa released in 1970, after he had disbanded the original lineup. While Weasels Ripped My Flesh focuses on complex material and improvised stage madness, this collection of studio and live recordings summarizes the leader’s various interests and influences at the time.
It opens and closes on ’50s pop covers, ‘WPLJ’ and ‘Valarie.’ ‘Aybe Sea’ is a Zappafied sea shanty, while ‘Igor’s Boogie’ is named after composer Igor Stravinsky, the closest thing to a hero Zappa ever worshipped.
But the best material is represented by ‘Holiday in Berlin,’ a theme that would become central to the music of 200 Motels, and ‘The Little House I Used to Live In,’ including a virtuoso piano solo by Ian Underwood.
The album was essentially a ‘posthumous’ Mothers release having been released after Frank Zappa dissolved the band.
Ian Underwood’s contributions are significant on this album. The album, like its counterpart Weasels Ripped My Flesh, comprises tracks from the Mothers vault that were not previously released. Whereas Weasels mostly showcases the Mothers in a live setting, much of Burnt Weeny Sandwich features studio work and structured Zappa compositions, like the centerpiece of the album, “The Little House I Used to Live In”, which consists of several movements and employs compound meters such as 11/8 with overlaid melodies in 6/8 and 4/4.
The guitar solo portion of the “Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich” is an outtake from an unused extended version of “Lonely Little Girl” from the 1967 sessions for the We’re Only in It for the Money LP. Zappa and Art Tripp later added multiple percussion overdubs for the released version (The source recordings for the percussion overdubs were issued in 2012 on the posthumous Zappa release Finer Moments under the title “Enigmas 1-5”).