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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover

HOT RATS

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.33 | 1053 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars If you are interested in Frank Zappa at all, buy this.

The pure mastery of this album is proved in the first four minutes. Peaches en Regalia, a clever little instrumental, displays such a scene of impossible melody and a myriad of styles that, to me, it literally defines what good prog really is. To guitarists, wondering what kind of skill the man might show here, the glories of the whole album don't even need to surveyed. Proof lies here, with what is not only some spidery fast fretwork but what I think is the most beautiful and perfect clean tone a guitarist ever recorded. The song is streamable from this site, so listen to it and see if what I have to say holds true.

The album continues with the only non-instrumental song, Willie the Pimp, a nice and traditional Zappa-lyricked bit of humor, with the vocals performed by noted Zappa collaborator Captain Beefheart. The sung portion, however, is only the first few minutes, while the remainder is filled with a wonderful jam session. The main riff, doubled by a violin, returns to clinch the song at the end. Son of Mr. Green Genes and Little Umbrellas continue the album, and though they are less remarkable as far as song goes, compared to most music ever made, they are stellar.

The highlight of this album, especially for the average prog nerd, is the 17-minute The Gumbo Variations. Mostly an extended jam, The Gumbo Variations follows an upbeat bass and drums drive, while solos, ranging from melodic to vicious, play over the top. These solos include some wild saxophone as well. I believe this song alone would launch Frank Zappa to prog stardom, whether or not he had ever written anything else. The album then closes with It Must Be a Camel, a much milder song than its predecessor.

Hot Rats is a terrifyingly unique album, even among Frank Zappa's music. It stands as one of the greatest recordings the man ever made, if not his defining work.

LiquidEternity | 5/5 |

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