Brown Shoes Don't Make It

Notes and Comments

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  The Real FZ voice
  "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" is a song about the people who run the governments, the people who make the laws that keep you from living the kind of life you know you should lead. These unfortunate people manufacture inequitable laws and ordinance, perhaps unaware of the fact that the restrictions they place on the young people in a society are a result of their own hidden sexual frustrations. Dirty old men have no business running your country.
From: Pasi Heino <>
  2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, 1 trumpet and 1 contra-bass clarinet are added on 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It'
  To Album Refs
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Brown shoes don't make it
Brown shoes don't make it
Quit school, why fake it?
Brown shoes don't make it
From: Vladimir Sovetov
  Well, the idea why the shoes of this particular color were too square to wear can be found in lyrics of one of the earliest (MYSTERY DISC) version of Plastic People.
Three nights and days
I walked the streets
This town is full
Of plastic creeps
Their shoes are brown
To match their suits
They got no balls
They got no roots
  To Album Refs
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A world of secret hungers
Perverting the men who make your laws
Every desire is hidden away
In a drawer, in a desk
By a
Naughahyde chair
On a rug where they walk and drool
Past the girls in the office
  It's a sort of fake-leather
  CC For details check out FILLMORE EAST, JUNE 1971. Latex Solar Beef
  To Album Refs
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Only thirteen, and she knows how to NASTY)
From: TTrocc7007 <>
  I recently began a pen-pal thing with a woman who went to school a couple of years behind Frank, Don, Motorhead and others. Hers is a pretty interesting perspective I thought I would share. As she has not given permission for me to give out her address, I've snipped the headers. (her text follows)
  It was rumored that the song "She's only 13 and she knows how to nasty" was written about a girl a year younger than me called Patty Keenen who was a dead ringer for Bridget Bardot and looked old enough to buy beer for the boys..Alas poor Patty is no longer with us. And the song "Brown shoes dont make it" was the was it was in our school..brown shoes just weren't cool.
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She's a dirty young mind
Corrupted, corroded...
From: Vladimir Sovetov
  This is a direct musical reference to a refrain of a Beach Boys' hit single "Little Deuce Coupe" (Released 7/22/63 (Capitol 5009))
Little deuce Coupe
You don't know what I got
Little deuce Coupe
You don't know what I got
From: (Pat Buzby)
  FZ mentions in TRFZB that he liked the fact that "Little Deuce Coupe" used a V-ii progression in the chorus, a reversal of the standard ii-V. I don't believe he made any other comments about the Beach Boys.
From: Jon Naurin <>
  On the winter 1977 tour, "Broken Hearts Are For Asshole" would occasionally feature a snippet of "Little Deuce Coupe".
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If she were my daughter, I'd...
What would you do, Daddy?
  It's a voice of Herbie's daughter Liza.
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Gonna smother my daughter in chocolate syrup
And boogie
till the cows come home!
  This "till the cows come home" doesn't ring any country blues bell for you?
From: Masahiro Sumori <>
  I've heard that expression before, and I believe it's quite common in blues lyrics. The one I recall now is Tampa Red's classic "Don't You Lie To Me" (covered by so many artists, too) and it goes:
"I'll be with you till the cows come home
But mama, please don't you let me catch you
getting down wrong

Don't you lie to me
Don't you lie to me
Because it makes me mad
I get evil as a man can be"
  I'd assume you know already, but it means "till dawn".
  Vladimir: After Mas answer I checked and found among artists who covered this Tampa Red's song
Chuck Berry
B.B. King
and really many, many others
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Time to go home
Madge is on the phone
Gotta meet the
And a dozen gray attorneys
  According to Greg Russo' Cosmik Debris book Senator Gurney is a character from FZ aborted movie project of 1965 'Captain Beefheart vs. Grunt People'. But most interesting that vice squad Sgt. Willis who played the main role in FZ's arrest for 'conspirancy to a make a porno materials' while spyed on Frank and Studio Z activity innocently tried to audition for Gurney character.
  Subject: Favourite Planet by Holst??
From: Chris Koenigsberg (
  Various rock groups have used the rhythm from "Mars", and Frank Zappa stole an entire excerpt, verbatim, from either Saturn or Jupiter, I forget which? I believe it was a piece on Absolutely Free, that came after "Brown Shoes Don't Make It"? (haven't listened to it for years)
From: "D.G. Porter" <>
  It's the triple-time section from "Jupiter" inside "Brown Shoes.."
  Also two letters from one curious music lover
Number #1
  Hey Vladimir,
  I was searching the net and found your website. Years ago I had bought an LP I NEVER listened to: Holst: The Planets. It sat in my record collection for years collecting dust. After reading a book of essays about Zappa compiled in collection of sorts (they were mostly about his symphonic works) I decided what the hey, and started listening to all of my "serious" music. The first I grabbed was the Planets. I was listening to it in the background when much to my surprise, halfway through Jupiter, the Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin came screaming out. I had to listen several times before I believed my ears. The man I thought was the most original and innovate music guy I had ever heard was a thief! Oh well, I still think he is awesome but I wonder what else he has blatantly ripped off. The musicians in his band said he constantly stole their ideas and then took credit for them. At first I thought they were just jealous but now I'm sure their comments are valid at least to a degree.
  Anyhow, I don't even know if you will get this message, but if you could comment I would appreciate it. I did a search: Holst + Zappa + Jupiter and your website description recaps the above but I couldn't find it anywhere in your site.
  Look forward to hearing from you
  Shannon Stumpf St. Louis, Mo USA
And Number #2
(after I mumbled something about tradition of quoting other people materials)
  Thank you for responding. I appreciate it.
  I guess my problem with Zappa "quoting" Jupiter is that he didn't "transmutate" it in anyway, which he usually does (then again, maybe I haven't listened to enough of his symphonic music.) At the end of Call Any Vegatable he satires the Beatles' Twist and Shout. It is obviously making fun of the Beatles. With the Planets the rythm varies a little but (aside from the instrumentation) otherwise there is little of his usual personal interpretation. The reason I called Zappa a thief ( I do so wishing I could be as clever) is because the Planets are not mentioned anywhere in the liner notes. In fact, Absolutely Free states that all music on the album is Written, Arranged and Conducted by FZ. Well . . . he knew that was a lie when he told MGM to print it! He has used Stravinsky's material on several occasions, not mutated it and given Stravinsky full credit . Indeed, Zappa usually just went ahead and used Stravinsky's song title.
  Thank You, Shannon

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