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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover

HOT RATS

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.33 | 1074 ratings

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crimson87
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This was the first Frank Zappa album I ever heard , and it left me with my jar opened down to the floor. The musicians involved in this record are very talented and the various rhythm sections present on it make Hot Rats a really entertaining release. The record is entirely instrumental featuring loads of FZ soloing on guitar as well as sax or violin by other guest musicians.

Peaches in Regalia is probably the most known FZ track in all his career. The song is one of those rare cases in which the popular and the sublime can coexist. Being a little over the 3 minute mark , the composition is varied as hell and also very colourful and uplifting. Truly one of the greatest openers in ANY record.

The second song is mostly a terrific FZ solo. But almost every time that I hear Willie the Pimp , my attention is centered not on the soaring guitar , but on the solid drum & bass work by John Guerin and Max Bennett. Only with such a rhythm backup as that one you can make 6 minutes of guitar soloing sound fine and not overindulgent.

Son of Mr Green Genes is , as the name suggests a rework on the Uncle Meat track but this time without any vocals. Musically this tune is more interesting and varied than the previous track. Apart from guitar soloing there are keyboards , clarinets and saxes. After two earthshaking instrumentals , the subtle Little Umbrellas feels like a breeze of fresh air. By far this is the most jazz oriented track on the album.

Gumbo variations features interesting interplay between Ian Underwood and Sugar Cane Harris. Luckily , guitar soloing is replaced with violin soloing so we have a tad more of variety on the record. Finally the record closes with It Must be a Camel . featuring Jean Luc Ponty on violin. This track includes some dissonant moments as well , but it's very relaxing in the end.

I know several FZ albums have been remastered in the 90's and Hot Rats is no exeption , people that owns the old LP version says there are some different guitar tracks on it. I can't make a comparaison since I never heard the 1969 release , but this Rykodisc version sounds clean as hell. Overall , this record is a masterpiece and one of the most iconic FZ releases. However I would not reccomend it to people interested in discovering Zappa since his overall sound is not vell represented on the album. Hot Rats is a ground breaking JAZZ ROCK release but I would reccomend some live albums of his or some of the mid 70's releases to the newcomer to catch a glimpse of what FZ is all about.

crimson87 | 5/5 |

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