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Hot Rats

Frank Zappa

1969

Buy At Rough Trade
Hot Rats
Album Summary

Hot Rats is the second solo album by Frank Zappa, released in October 1969. It was Zappa's first recording project after the dissolution of the original version of the Mothers of Invention. Five of the six songs are instrumental; while "Willie the Pimp", features vocals by Captain Beefheart. In his original sleeve notes, Zappa described the album as "a movie for your ears".

Wikipedia

Rating

3.37

Votes

12301
Genres
Rock
Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Fri May 07 2021
5

It feels like I'm in a very hip '60/'70s film and I'm into it. Actually was jamming hard enough that I put the record on from the top after I finished it the first time. And with this 5 stars I am officially my father's daughter.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Proof that with Zappa, jazz is not dead, it just smells funny.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

Not my personal favorite Zappa album but it may be his best in many ways. Certainly the most listenable. Peaches en Regalia is like the theme to a TV show I'd want to watch. The track with Captain Beefheart is a fucking ripper. Zappa's a true iconoclast and this album proves his versatility. Motherfucker could do anything he wanted it seems, especially play the electric guitar - holy shit. He's largely underrated in that regard. I wish he went more in this general direction over the years but this album sort of stands out in his catalog. Nice balance of exploration and focus.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
5

oh they're groovin!!!!!! they are groovin, absolutely swinging on the dancefloor! look at em go, they're just vibing!!!!! they're groovin!!!

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

I don't listen to Zappa that much, but when I do it's usually Hot Rats. Zappa's discography is like the Cheesecake Factory menu. There are so many options to pick from, yet you know damn well you're going to pick the same thing you're used to having. That's what Hot Rats is for me. Incredibly fun to listen to and masterfully performed.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

This is a jazz fusion masterpiece. The guitar work on this is superb and the instrumentation is just sublime. I can listen to this record over and over. I don’t have much else to say really. Favorite song: Willie The Pimp and Peaches En Regalia Least favorite song: None boy

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

It's been such a long time since I listened to Hot Rats that I forgot most of it. It's such a playfully groovy trip of an album with crazily long and diverse songs. I really like Son Of Mr. Green Genes & The Gumbo Variations, and It Must Be A Camel is a smooth culmination of such a fascinating album of instrumentation. Gonna have to grab it on LP. I can only imagine spinning this in the Shelter. Groove on!

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Thu May 27 2021
2

I wouldn't describe myself a full-fledged Zappa fan. I gravitate to either his classical avant guarde phase (e.g. The Yellow Shark) or his very short prog phase (Roxy & Elsewhere). Most folks consider Hot Rats an example of the latter. Opener Peaches En Regalia has a complex structure, memorable melodies, and an elaborate and detailed arrangement. It has some rock/R&B feel, but frankly, the genre is impossible to peg. Too bad I don't like it more. Some of the sonorities feel awkward to me, and the humorous elements are unwelcome. But this is purely a matter of taste. It's certainly a competent piece of music. Willie The Pimp is another matter. I've always found Captain Beefheart's Howling Wolf impersonation irritating, certainly in a blues/rock context, like here. The rhythm section is fine, but how much you enjoy this tune will depend on your tolerance for the lengthy solos. I've never found Frank Zappa's guitar playing especially interesting. He just drones on and on with permutations of standard blues and rock licks. His tone is okay, I guess. I just can't get very enthusiastic about it. Son of Mr. Green Jeans is of the same ilk as Peaches En Regalia. If you enjoyed that, you will likely enjoy this. There's also another extended guitar solo from Frank. Sigh. I find Little Umbrellas more appealing compositionally with it's gently insinuating melody and non-standard modal content. Ruth Underwood has the solo spots here, which helps. She's a monster player. And I like the bassist on this number, too. His bass tone is fat and his note choices are tasty. The Gumbo Variations is another standard blues riff extended to over 12 minutes! I don't hate the sax player, maybe because he brings some welcome skronk to the proceedings, but 12 minutes is a long time for this sort of thing. Once again, the rhythm players do a great job of maintaining interest, but there's only so much they can do. With Don Sugarcane Harris' extended violin solo, he proves he can be just as tedious as Zappa. Thankfully, the album closes with It Must Be A Camel, which has the sort of thoroughly unconventional melodies and harmonies that I've only heard from Zappa. Drummer John Guerin has a major role here. He's by far the most tasteful and imaginative soloist on this date. Too bad the rest of the album isn't this good. Interestingly, Jean Luc Ponty put out an album of Frank Zappa compositions called King Kong the same year Hot Rats came out, which Frank also arranged, and I adore that. Go figure. How to rate? Well, the session players are fine. The three through-composed tunes (as opposed to the jam sessions) are competent and show some creativity. The engineering is first-rate. But the solos bore the shit out of me. Ditto the jam tunes. 2.5/5

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Mon Dec 06 2021
2

This album started out SO GOOD. Then (apparently) the drugs kicked in, the saxophone came out, and everything started falling apart until, by the end, the tracks were reduced to atonal, tempo-agnostic, guitar "solos" and random horn bleating. I tried so hard to give it the benefit of the doubt (after the mandatory 1-star subtraction for saxophone solos) but it just never recovered itself. By the time the last track wrapped I was legitimately angry at Zappa for putting this nonsense out into the universe.

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Wed May 18 2022
2

Rats could have been hotter.

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Fri Dec 01 2023
2

Zappa’s Hot Rats were not bad company today, though after a first listen only enormous indifference stopped me from finding something else to play. Beefheart’s intro to one of Z’s long jams was my highlight, and I’m sure that the rest would go well with attendance at some school sports event; here I hope Simon can advise me. Until the happy day my scion rolls up to beat his schoolmates up at ice hockey or interpretative dance or somesuch, I shall not listen to this again. A lot of skill to admire here, all at the service of lecturing me with notes.

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Fri Sep 25 2020
5

9/10. the 18 minute track is a bit much but the first half of this is pure fucking quality. Peaches en Regalia is blissful, the guitar textures on Willie the Pimp are insane, and Son of Mr. Green Genes is just a really fun time the whole way through. after that it loses a bit of steam, but not that much. it's super psychedelic and just a really good time? glad it's instrumental too

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Familiarity: 6/10 Frank Zappa's Hot Rats remains one of his most well known albums, and as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. This album carries it's 43min runtime through only 6 songs. Starting off with beautiful guitar composition in Peaches, to a driven jam instrumental in Willie the Pimp. The album then leads into the light hearted Zappa composition, Son of Mr. Green Genes, and continues on into the soothing jazz bass line of Little Umbrellas. Finally the album closes out with the intense rock epic The Gumbo Variations and the album closer, It Must Be A Camel. Favorite Tracks: (All of it, obviously... but the stand-outs) - Peaches en Regalia - phenomenal solo work - The Gumbo Variations - that bass tho

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Sun Mar 07 2021
5

Awesome album, not really for the faint hearted but fantastic musicianship

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

Instrumental and long songs (only 6 songs) so good for background whilst working

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Thu Jan 12 2023
5

Weird, crazy, but very good. I found this album very enjoyable to listen to. Every song was great.

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Sat Oct 28 2023
5

This is crazy! Might be the best Jazz-Fusion album of all time and definitely Zappa's best work. The guitar with it's jazzy chords and the beautiful arrangements make this a truely one of a kind experience. Like Peaches en Regalia is sooo good and Willie the Pimp is the only song with vocals and Zappa isn't even the one singing it's fucking Capitain Beefheart!!! I really don't get why a lot of people don't like this album on this site: It's perfect through & through! favourites: Peaches en Regalia, Willie the Pimp, Gumbo Variations & the rest too least faves: none... really none rating: light to decent 10

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Tue Feb 13 2024
5

Man. This was really cool. That first track is out of this world! I can totally see the appeal. This must be one of the foundational Frank Zappa records that started us off on the absolute roller coaster of records that were to come. There are certainly peaks and valleys, and not everything is perfect, but… I can’t stop thinking about how unique and singular this album’s sound is. It sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard— free-wheeling, very bizarre, improvised and off-kilter and seemingly made in a daze, but also so obviously composed, obviously written out with all the intention of a mad scientist dictating his every perverse thoughts. I have no idea how this could have been made, because it sounds too planned to be totally random, but also too “live” to not be done in a super loose and freeform way. There are definitely better and more complete “albums” that Zappa gets into, but this one struck me as this perfectly insane, bizarre concoction that I don’t quite understand. For musicians and writers like me who are all about jamming, improvisation, this seems positively genius. For someone with a jazz background, I’d bet you couldn’t help but feel that there’s some insane method to this that we’re all missing. Zappa before the absurdism really took hold, but also a really convincing, *good* piece of music that defies the laws of gravity somehow. I’m gonna be thinking about this for a while. It’s 1969 and this kid is blowing my mind, 5/5

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Wed Feb 28 2024
4

Having grown up with a progressive rock bend, I’ve always been a fan of Frank’s… I see a lot of "jazz fusion", and "improvisational jazz" labels being placed on him – but he is a progressive rock artist – first and foremost in my mind… Gun to my head, my favorite Frank album is 1974’s “Apostrophe (!)” which I think is an absolute classic – though I am familiar with a fair amount of his more popular work… Have listened to “Hot Rats” before, and knew a few of these tracks – so it isn’t surprising given my natural bend, plus being familiar with some of this material already, that I really enjoyed this album… The song that is referenced as one of his best all the time is “Peaches En Regalia” – which is absolutely fine IMO – but there were so many other tracks on this album that I enjoyed more… Have always been a fan of “Son Of Mr. Green Genes”, as there are some spectacular live versions out there, as the JamOn Sirius XM station back in the day, used to play a lot of Frank… Besides the quality of the music, the humor behind writing a track based on an urban legend about you (i.e. Frank was rumored to be the son of Mr. Green Jeans from The Captain Kangaroo kids show in the 60’s – unfortunately not true…) says a lot about the fun side of Frank – which permeates his approach to music… Really enjoyed “Willie The Pimp” – especially the jam over the last half of the song, and “It Must Be A Camel” is a great closer… My favorite track on this album – even more so that every track I’ve referenced so far, was “The Gumbo Variations” as the jam on that one is just so well-done… I’m sure a lot of folks might be turned off by 8 to 12 minute songs, but in the progressive world – that is sort of that standard… Try experimenting with worrying less about how long a song actually is, and truly listen to the music with 100% of your attention and focus - and you just might find that the song ends much earlier than you wanted it to… : ) Since I’m going to give “Apostrophe (!)” a 5, I’m gonna slot “Hot Rats” in just a little lower – so definitely a solid 4 for me, and an album that I recommend that everyone give a listen to!

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Mon Jun 21 2021
3

Je résumerais l'album ainsi: Frank Zappa superpose des sons sans aucune cohérence et demande à nos oreilles de se démerder avec le résultat.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
3

envie de jouer au solitaire en ligne

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Wed Feb 28 2024
3

Not what I was expecting … Honestly, I kind of enjoyed this one. Nothing earth shattering, nothing that’s going to make the rotation for me but, it was enjoyable. I would describe it as jazz fusion, and again, that is not what I was expecting …..

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Tue Dec 22 2020
5

Good jazz fusion, maybe even a little bit of proto-prog. Some crazy instrumentation on this, sometimes to its detriment like on the opener, not in love with the weird accordion sounds, but it’s fun, it’s groovy, jazzy, and the playing is awesome

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

I remember Burt sharing this record in early 2000s and I listened to Peaches En Regalia a ton but neglected the rest of it. Solid jams, lots of extended instrumental bits and even a whacked out saxophone solo!

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Sun Apr 11 2021
5

Great tunes. Innovative and interesting. Lots to listen to.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

Natürlich bekannt, schon viel zu lange nicht mehr ganz gehört. Nach dem ganzen Schrott in den vergangenen 2 Wochen eine wahre Wohltat.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

An absolute banger, Zappa has an album of pure gold with wild sections of oddball stuff that always works. These are some real Hot Rats.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Finger licking good. Fav track: Nº3

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

I love Zappa, Hot Rats is great because it shows his great skills as a guitarist and bandleader.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
5

I have a weird relationship with Zappa - a lot of his music is deeply unpleasant, absolutely devoid of charity, warmth or human spirit, and not half as funny as his aficionados would lead you to believe. Yet, now and again, he would rise to the occasion and deliver something utterly sublime. Hot Rats is one of those moments - I love the grinding violin riff to 'Willie The Pimp' whilst 'Peaches En Regalia' might be his most focused and accomplished instrumental in the rock idiom. I don't chuck the word 'genius' around much, and I don't think it applies to Zappa ultimately, but when firing on all eight he came damn close.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

Kein Wunder das alles den Bach runter geht wie high kann man denn gewesen sein beim komponieren und hören. The Gumbo Variations Großartig während dem Fahrradfahren gehört habe mich gefühlt wie in der Auflösung der zweiten Wendung in einem heist movie

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Wed Feb 10 2021
5

Peak Zappa - incredible guitar work and full of absolute tunes. Second only to Overnite Sensation in my opinion!

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Good start. Of course, heard this one many times. Bitchin' album start to finish.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Занимательно, волнующе, качественно

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Thu Jun 17 2021
5

Orchestral rock, and groovy rock it is.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
5

Virtuoso magic. Great sounds and a great mind. Classic fusion.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

its actually really good to listen to nowadays... its so good couple good song some are too long

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Mon May 17 2021
5

10/10. Taught me a lot about science.

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Thu Jun 24 2021
5

I never know what to take from a Zappa album honestly. I always try to make a few listens, and sometimes I feel like I get it. I don't. It's like being stoned, having the best idea in the world. And then you sober up, and it's sorta just gone forever. That's how I feel When listening to Zappa. Maybe I get it in the moment, but afterwards I don't have anything. Not a clue, It's just a ride, and a fucking good one at that.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

Typical fun Zappa jam session. Groovin. Diggin the funky horns!

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Fri Aug 06 2021
5

All of the time great. Peaches. En regalia.

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Tue Aug 31 2021
5

Awesome out there album, musically sound

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Sat Sep 04 2021
5

9/10. Actually I really enjoyed parts of this while sitting in traffic, it must be solid.

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Sat Sep 04 2021
5

Pretty great beats actually, so much more fun than I was expecting. Listened to it twice because Spotify un-downloaded all my music. 9/10

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

Very captivating listen. Favorite tracks are Willie the Pimp and The Gumbo Variations.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

Not a bad track on the album. 5 stars.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
5

I’m biased as a zappa fan, but this iconic album has the perfect combination of jazz fusion and rock n roll shreddiness. Nobody does what zappa does, 5 stars.

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Fri Nov 05 2021
5

Absolutely cracking album! Even bough the vinyl after listening to this!

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Sun Nov 07 2021
5

Being the jazz-rock classic that it is, Hot Rats was the album that got me into Zappa. Peaches en Regalia has always been one of my favourite tracks, but perhaps I have been ignoring the other songs too often, because this time around I noticed some pretty amazing stuff across the whole album. Zappa has such a unique guitar playing style, and stands out when it come to composition and arrangement. The wild improvisations in the longer tracks do not always work perfectly, but the excellent musicianship and the energy and excitement that the album breathes makes it easy to get past the iffier parts.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
5

I greatly enjoyed listening to this album. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed all the songs, as I don't think there's a single one I dislike.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
5

Probably my favorite frank Zappa. album. Awesome stuff. Peaches in regalia.

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

flaming genius, fabulously intense - not one for listening to every day, but like many great LPs, there is an itch that only Hot Rats can scratch.

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Mon Jan 10 2022
5

Wow - Haven't listened to this before and was pleasantly surprised!!!

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

There is no way of dieing without listening this.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

Brilliant fusion of jazz and rock. One of Zappa's very best

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

Shocking, considering how insufferable I found "Freak Out!", that I would be so taken by this album. Zappa works a lot better without words for me.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

It's amazing, for a guitarist, how much saxophone is in this album. The first time I heard this album, it did not become one of my favorites. But still, it has some great songs. "Peaches" is probably one of his greatest works. Listening to that piece today I really tuned in to the drums and marveled at how well-constructed they were. "Son of Mr. Green Genes" I had heard as a live performance, with lyrics. Surprising that it was originally just an instrumental. I have the Hot Rats Session box set. I need to listen to that at some point. The album itself is important as it is listed as "Frank Zappa" and not "Frank Zappa and the Mothers". I tend to gravitate to his Grand Wazoo era and Waka / Jawaka. But as a Zappa fan, I should listen to this one more often. Great stuff here.

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Sat Mar 05 2022
5

Considering I hated the Mothers of Invention, this was a huge surprise. Virtuistic, clever, groovy, complex.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
5

This is the album to introduce people to Frank Zappa with. Especially when you're a rocker and a bit into jazz this is where you start before you dive into the man's immense back catalogue. If you're into instrumental solo's, whether guitar, clarinet, bass, violin, drums, this is the album for you. This album got it all and is likely one of the best Zappa has released.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
5

great album, I’m always in the mood for some jazz-rock - 10/10

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Fri Mar 18 2022
5

Probably the album i've listened to the most. Absolute banger. The one i always recommend to people who wanna check out Zappa but might be apprehensive due to all the yellow snow, tower of powers, and cum. The perfect way to ease them into the weirdness.

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Mon Mar 21 2022
5

Zappa is an acquired taste, I enjoyed it

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Mon Mar 21 2022
5

I've listen this album 100s of times. It's arguably the first true Jazz rock album and is still a masterpiece. Peaces is a Zappa standard and excellent example of Jazz Fusion. Willie the Pimp with Sugarcane Harris's and Franks blistering solos laid the groundwork for Jazz Rock, just listen Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
5

I've heard Frank Zappa's name for most of my life. When this popped up, I realized that I had no idea what kind of music he made. I must have heard some of his music somewhere along the way but I had not idea what that might be. I put this on and fell instantly in love with "Peaches in Regalia." It's catchy as hell, the arrangements are full of surprises - I love it! Even though I didn't know what to expect this was totally unexpected! "Willie The Pimp" changes the tone quite a bit with gritty vocals and guitars and a very long and groovy jam. Really enjoyed this too. "Son Of Mr. Green Genes" I guess is not about the recurring Captain Kangaroo character... but I love it so much! It's groovy, jazzy, and so cool and unique. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a most groovy dribble to work! A lot of this music is what the nondescript instrumental rock-and-roll the kids on the Brady Bunch played was based upon, only orders of magnitude better. I have no idea why an album like this has existed for my entire life and I haven't run into it before. This is one of my favorite new musical discoveries - I'm definitely going to be checking out more from Frank Zappa!

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Tue May 10 2022
5

Guitarra de Zappa. Brutal. Vinilo.

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Sat Jul 09 2022
5

My first Zappa album and I absolutely loved this. One of the best jazz fusion albums Iv heard.

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

Vitttuuuuu miten kova! 5/5 ainoot laulutkin taitaa olla Beefheartin eikä Zappan suusta

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

Holy fuck, come let’s get lost in music. A fascinating and exhilarating listen

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Zappa is an artist I just have never listened to. I dunno why. I should listen to him since everything about him is what I like, but yet I never have. I think this was a fantastic entry into his - very extensive - discography.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Absolutely amazing find. Great instrumentals. Cosmic rock mixed with jazz.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Didn't realize that this is Zappa. Intricate and widely varied.

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Sat Sep 17 2022
5

Jazz, blues, rock, solos interminables. Suena a liberación.

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