For many fans of Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation was a perfectly titled revelation. The old Zappa fans understood the levity of it; it was Zappa’s 17th album. The new Zappa fans, for whom this album and the 1974 follow-up, Apostrophe (‘), served as the most accessible entry points into Frank’s music, to date, didn’t get the joke immediately, but would soon. The fact was, just over six years into his professional musical career, even after irreverently shaking up the scene on nearly a dozen albums with his Mothers of Invention, and a startling and inventive solo debut in ’69 with Hot Rats, and his foray into evolutionary and odd cinema, 200 Motels, the ever-so prolific, provocative, and profane Frank Zappa was still mostly an underground cult figure appealing to musicians in the know and teenage boys sneaking home his records.

Over-Nite Sensation opened the door a lot wider.

It was a legitimate hit album, landing in the Top 40 and eventually going Gold, owing its quick-rise success to its seven melodically-tight songs and a new ensemble of Mothers that helped create, then rode, the jazz-fusion zeitgeist that was infiltrating the pop/rock realm. This was a loaded band, with some of the era’s finest talent- including George Duke (keyboards), Jean Luc-Ponty (violin), Sal Marquez (trumpet), Ian Underwood (woodwinds), Ruth Underwood (vibes and percussion), Bruce Fowler (trombone), Tom Fowler (bass), and Ralph Humphrey (drums). There was also a wild card, in the form of vocalist Ricky Lancelotti, as well as the uncredited backing vocal performances from Tina Turner and her Ikettes.

Zappa, for his part, was the lone guitarist in the group- his playing was especially fierce- and had assumed more of the lead vocal duties. The lyrical content, while still eccentric, scathing, and suggestive, really was a lot of fun; ranchers raising dental floss (“Montana”), monsters as metaphor for commercial entertainment (“I’m the Slime”), or faux-hippie enlightenment (“Camarillo Brillo”).  Zappa had the ‘70s in his satirical sight.

The Super Deluxe Edition’s five discs, including a Dolby Atmos mix on Blu-ray, boast a plethora of attributes, namely two live performances- March of ’73 at the Hollywood Palladium, and months later in May, in Detroit- that certainly are worth the investment. Particularly for the “Palladium Jam-Part 2,” as it captures Lancelotti’s only live appearance with Zappa, and the infamous “smog sucker” scat. The bonus material from the session is compelling, as well, and reveals what may have been tough choices for Frank, as “Wonderful Wino” and a version of “RDNZL” are superb, yet left off the proper album. Not to mention an early and exquisite take of “Inca Roads.”

50 years later, the possible irony of the album, once again, serving as a gateway to a whole new generation of Zappa fans is more than possible. It holds up that well and still surprises with each listen. With this collection, and a reissued vinyl (conscientiously mastered by Chris Bellman), the sensational Frank Zappa and The Mothers are back, again, seemingly overnight.