Sunday, February 22, 2015


"Mr. Green Genes" is a pop song from the Mother of Invention's 1969 LP Uncle Meat.Slow and heavy, it featured strange lyrics about vegetables (a subject already used in "The Duke of Prunes" and "Call Any Vegetable") and contained culinary advice: "Eat your shoes," "You can eat the truck/That brought' em in/Garbage truck." The song ends on a concluding statement of "Nutritiousness/Deliciousness" and "Worthlesness" over a pompous finale. The slow pace and lugubrious mood of the song conjures up the image of a giant -- the Green Giant on packs of frozen vegetables!

In 1970 Frank Zappa released an instrumental version of the song entitled "Son of Mr. Green Genes" (the process of naming a song "son of..." is recurrent throughout Zappa's career, starting with the 1966 "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet,"and was the result of his fondness for cheap horror movies). This version, included on Hot Rats, kept the original melody over a jazzier, sunnier musical background and featured drummer Paul Humphrey for the first time on a Zappa recording. "Mr. Green Genes" was occasionally performed live from 1968 to 1973, disappeared for 15 years,and was resuscitated for the 1988 tour (it is featured on The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life). "Son of Mr. Green Genes" was part of Zappa's set list from 1970 to 1973, mostly in the form of a medley with "King Kong" and "Chunga's Revenge." The Grandmothers and the Muffin Men interpreted the original version. 

Frank Zappa the musician was born in Baltimore, the son of Sicilian immigrant Francis Vincent Zappa, Sr.  Frank Zappa Neither of them was related to Hugh Brannum,the actor who portrayed Mr. Greenjeans on the Captain Kangaroo television show between 1955 and 1984. Brannum, who started his career as a bass player with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians orchestra on the ''Chesterfield Hour'' radio show in 1940, had a son, but his son was certainly not Frank Zappa. One of the sillier rumors to make the rounds, this legend most likely came about because of Zappa's inclusion of a track entitled "Son of Mr. Green Genes" on his 1969 Hot Rats album. (The song itself was so named because it was a variation on the earlier "Mr. Green Genes," a track from Zappa's 1968 Uncle Meat album.) someone either made a joke about the song title (or took it literally, despite the misspelling), and a legend was born. Frank Zappa himself reported:Because I recorded a song called "Son of Mr. Green Genes" on the Hot Rats album in 1969, people have believed for years that the character with that name on the 
Captain Kangaroo TV show (played by Lumpy Brannum) was my "real" Dad. No, he was not.


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