Title - 'Hot Rats' (Ume)
Artist - Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa's first solo album, Hot Rats was actually given to me on cassette a long, long time ago - and I loved it! Couldn't stop playing it, even though it wasn't my musical cup o' tea!
A far-cry from the da-da adventures and audio collages of the original Mothers of Invention, it is mostly instrumental and filled with long jams between Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty and Ian Underwood
Slickly-produced, Hot Rats is one of the first 16 track recordings made, filled with "hummable tunes," and still to this day resonates with me and my youth.
The album opens with a 'Peaches En Regalia,' a song that enables Zappa on guitar and multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood to flex their musical muscles. Funnily enough, these two musicians are the only two to appear on every track! One of Zappa's more commercial songs, it is a true delight to listen to, from start to finish.
Next up is 'Willie The Pimp,' which is the only vocal track on the album. Sung by the esteemed Don Van Vliet, better known as `Captain Beefheart,' it contains a guitar solo that takes the roof off your head! 'Son Of Mr. Green Genes' is next, and is followed by the quick 'Little Umbrellas,' before 'The Gumbo Variations 1.' A huge seventeen minutes long it allows major solo moments to occur re: Zappa on guitar, Ian Underwood on, well, everything, and Sugar Cane Harris on violin.
The album rounds out with 'It Must Be A Camel,' which also brings to the fore the legendry Jen Luc Ponty. He joins the fray just in time to bring it all to a fitting climax. Complete with some astounding violin work, some incredible guitar playing, and a very strong album (from a musical viewpoint); and as far from his soon-to-come eclectic approach, Hot Rats is a veritable goldmine of music. And one I am so glad to have back in my collection, albeit in a different form!