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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.33 | 1465 ratings

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5 stars If you've ever wondered who Frank Zappa was or were afraid to get into his music fearing his famed eclecticisms, this is THE Frank Zappa album to get. This is a primarily instrumental album with only Willy the Pimp sporting any kind of vocals (by Captain Beefheart no less). This is the birth of Jazz Rock and one of the more historically important albums in all of progressive music. The music is brilliant and the playing is exceptional. Even more amazing is that Frank came out with this effort in 1969! There really wasn't anything else like it to be found anywhere at the time.

Peaches en Regalia is perhaps one of Zappa's most appreciated songs. It has often been covered by Jazz/Fusion luminaries over the years; people who truly appreciate exceptional writing. This song is so lyrical that you almost forget it is an instrumental.

Willy the Pimp is the only song sporting vocals. Captain Beefheart provides his unique vocals which really fit the vibe of the song like no one else could. He sings about the worlds oldest profession. The rest of the song is one of Frank's best guitar solos. As long as it is it really never gets boring, he had such a great guitar tone. This is the most "Rockin'" track on the album.

Son of Mr. Green Genes features a great, jazzy performance complete with a great horn section, vibraphone, and another killer guitar solo.

Little Umbrellas sounds vaguely like something you could hear Steely Dan comming up with (minus the vibraphone). It's a short, jazzy piece with flute and horns to spare, but played rather softly as not to disrupt the delicate texture of the song. This is definite a more jazz oriented piece.

The Gumbo Variations is the monster rock/jazz/funk jam that I keep combing back to time and time again. The bass line is very simple, but so incredibly catchy it just gets you going and you can't stop. The song features long jams for sax, guitar and violin. I love wailing tenor / barritone sax and this brings down the house, no doubt about it. It may be over 17min long, but it goes by in no time at all. It makes you tap your toes, bob your head, and gently sway beat and there's nothing you can do about it.

It Must Be a Camel is another jazz oriented tune with the kind of horn section that once again reminds you of 70's Steely Dan. There are lots of percussion accents throughout the song providing lots of wonderful textures.

I can't really express just how incredible this album is. It was recorded 3 years before I was born, yet sounds as current and vibrant today as it did some 37 years ago. I would recommend the Japanese LP replica edition if you can find it. It only costs a couple bucks more, but the sound quality is better than the Ryko version (I've owned both). This album was so magnificantly recorded that it is any audiophile's dream. If you've never experienced the music of Frank Zappa before, this is the perfect introduction. It was for me when I was a 15 year old lad!

dltonya | 5/5 |


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