Monday, June 4, 2012

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die #174. Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969)

174. Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969)

Label – Bizarre/Reprise
Producer – Frank Zappa
Art Direction – Cal Schenkel
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 47:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one  
1. "Peaches en Regalia" 3:38  
2. "Willie the Pimp" 9:25
3. "Son of Mr. Green Genes" 8:58

Side two
1. "Little Umbrellas" 3:09
2. "The Gumbo Variations" 12:55
3. "It Must Be a Camel" 5:15

“Hot Rats” is the second solo album by Frank Zappa after he disbanded the Mothers of Invention. It was released in October 1969. It is the last album of the 1001 to be released in the 1960’s.
To be honest, when I saw this was the selection of the day I was bummed out, knowing the previous Zappa records reviewed here were tedious listening at best. That’s what makes this such a fun endeavor however, because along the way you run into so pleasant surprises. This would be one of them.
Five of the six songs on the record are instrumental ("Willie the Pimp" features a short vocal by Captain Beefheart). Gone are the wild meanderings of Mr. Zappa and they are replaced with a focused, jazz-heavy, extensive soloing record. And make no mistake – love him or hate him, Frank could flat out PLAY the guitar! . "Willie the Pimp" (a blues –rock tune), "Son of Mr. Green Genes" (featuring both intricate horn charts and extended guitar solo sections), and "The Gumbo Variations" (complete with a tenor saxophone and violin solos) are showcases for his powerful and unconventional solo guitar performances and flat out jam!
The song "Peaches en Regalia" is widely recognized as a modern jazz fusion standard and is one of Zappa's best known tunes and became a concert staple of his for decades to come.
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition, the album came #13 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". It is surprisingly HIGHLY recommended.

(“Hot Rats” is not available on Spotify)
CD, vinyl

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