Posts Tagged ‘Ruben and the Jets’

Cruising with Ruben & the Jets is the fourth studio album by the Mothers of Invention. Released on December 2nd, 1968, on Bizarre and Verve Records with distribution by MGM Records, it was subsequently remixed by Frank Zappa and reissued independently.

As with the band’s previous three albums, it is a concept album, influenced by 1950s doo wop and rock and roll. The album’s concept deals with a fictitious Chicano doo wop band called Ruben & the Jets, the cover illustration depicts the Mothers of Invention as anthropomorphic dogs. Zappa described the album as an homage to the 1950s vocal music that he was “crazy” about. Mothers member Collins later left the Mothers of Invention, and Zappa began working on a project entitled No Commercial Potential, which included sessions that produced Cruising with Ruben & the Jets,which later produced three other albums: Lumpy Gravy, We’re Only in It for the Money and Uncle Meat.

Zappa later stated, regarding the releases Lumpy Gravy, We’re Only in It for the Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets andUncle Meat, “It’s all one album. All the material in the albums is organically related and if I had all the master tapes and I could take a razor blade and cut them apart and put it together again in a different order it still would make one piece of music you can listen to. Then I could take that razor blade and cut it apart and reassemble it a different way, and it still would make sense. I could do this twenty ways. The material is definitely related.

The album and its singles received some radio success, due to its doo wop sound.

Ray Collins rejoined the Mothers of Invention for the recording of the album, as his high falsetto was really suited for the recordings. According to Collins, “I brought the style of being raised in Pomona, California, being raised on the Four Aces, the Four Freshmen, Frankie Lane, Frank Sinatra and Jesse Baldwin. The early influences of R&B came into the Southern California area when I was probably in the tenth grade in high school. And I remember Peter Potter’s show, and I think I recall the first R&B tune on there was ‘Oop-Shoop’. Frank actually had more influences from the ‘real blues’, you know, like Muddy Waters, those kind of people. But I wasn’t into that in my early life. I was more of the pop culture, pop radio things, and it’s always been more of a favourite of mine than the early blues stuff

The range of material includes originals as well as standards like Chuck Berry’s “Almost Grown,” and there’s not a weak moment anywhere on the album. And as good as all of For Real! is — without a false note sounded anywhere — they save the best for last, a stomping, killer version of “All Nite Long” that definitely leaves the listener wanting more