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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover

HOT RATS

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.33 | 986 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As we all know, Frank Zappa was an innovator in his sound and craft. Beginning his career in a very arty abstract kind of fashion, this is the first album to really get him the title of virtuoso musician. The album is mostly instrumental, the only song with actual vocal is Willie the Pimp (sung brilliantly by Captain Beefheart). The musicianship overall is top quality (as is the production). Frank Zappa plays precision guitar riffs and combines them with classy and over-the-top solos to create a very jazzy-blues atmosphere. The violin work on this album is magnificent (especially on the Gumbo Variations).

I will name the stand out tracks rather than describe them all. The album opens up with instrumental favorite Peaches en Regalia, which has a great riff and some great woodwind work from Ian Underwood. An instrumental with a virtuoso punch packed within a 3 minute time frame. My favorite song on the album, Willie the Pimp, is a 9 minute epic of sorts. With a catchy riff, and a convincing vocal from Captain Beefheart (I'm not very big on his voice, though), singing about a "Twenty dollah bill". Combine that with a great Zappa solo and some precision bass and drum interplay, and you get 9 minutes of heaven. The Gumbo Variations is a 16 minute instrumental epic that takes many different shapes and has many different moods. Only one word can describe it, breathtaking. Magnificent violin work from Sugar Cane Harris, great guitar work from Zappa, great bass and drum interplay, and some outstanding keyboard from Ian Underwood make this track a 16 minute utopia of music.

Overall, this is an album I think all Frank Zappa fans should have. I do not think it is as good as one of its counterparts, The Grand Wazoo, because it lacks flow and sometimes Son of Mr. Green Genes gets a bit boring. None the less, a great effort from this prolific artist. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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