Hot Rats

Released: October 15 1969


  1. Peaches En Regalia
  2. Willie the Pimp
  3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes
  4. Little Umbrellas
  5. The Gumbo Variations
  6. It Must Be A Camel

Captain Beefheart (vocals), Sugar Cane Harris (violin), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin), John Guerin (drums), Paul Humphrey (drums), Ron Selico (drums), Max Bennett (bass), Shuggy Otis (bass), Ian Underwood (keyboards, clarinets, saxes) and of course FZ (guitar, ocave base, percussion)

20 thoughts on “Hot Rats”

  1. With Hot Rats, we see a new Zappa. This time, he’s disbanded the Mothers and brought Captain Beefheart along for quite an insane ride. Although Beefheart appears only briefly on the record, his influence can be heard in each track. Hot Rats is the babymama of some of the best psychedelic jazz ever recorded (see “Peaches En Regalia,” “Son of Mr. Green Genes,” and “Little Umbrellas”). The early peak of the album, however, is “Willie the Pimp,” sung by Beefheart and containing a kick-ass guitar solo that is exhausting to listen to.

  2. This is the first album that serious jazz freaks would listen to and liked. I remember in college in the early 1970s some “serious musicians” borrowing my copy of this lp and commenting that “those cats can really play”. It was Zappa at both his most innovative and ascessiable.Cool jazz-rock fusion and some killer guitar as well.

  3. This was my first real taste of zappa. i had heard of the eclectic wonders of his boisterous sounds, but with the rolling intro of ‘peaches en regalia’ i was hooked. it’s still my favorite album since i first heard it, simply because it prooves the fact that zappa was one of the most musically talented persons who has ever lived. true, he could write wonderful rock operas like Joe’s Garage, or 200 Motels, which are simply mindblowing within themselves, but he could write hours of orchestral work or 3 minute ditties like ‘peaches’ that are so jampacked with note upon note of mastery. Then combine that all with ‘willie the pimp’ and the rest of the wonderous tunes, it’s wonderful.

  4. A brilliant album, and a great introduction to Zappa’s music, Hot Rats is one of the best albums ever made, but not THE best (the best album ever made was Thing-Fish, but I digress …) From ‘Peaches En Regalia,’ a brilliant mind-melting instrumental, to ‘Willie The Pimp,’ containing vocals by Captain Beefheart, A.K.A., Don Van Vliet, Zappa’s friend, and fellow recording artist and composer to three more of the best instrumental songs ever recorded, Hot Rats is brilliant, and cannot be missed.

  5. A brilliant album, and a great introduction to Zappa’s music, Hot Rats is one of the best albums ever made, but not THE best (the best album ever made was Thing-Fish, but I digress …) From ‘Peaches En Regalia,’ a brilliant mind-melting instrumental, to ‘Willie The Pimp,’ containing vocals by Captain Beefheart, A.K.A., Don Van Vliet, Zappa’s friend, and fellow recording artist and composer to three more of the best instrumental songs ever recorded, Hot Rats is brilliant, and cannot be missed.

  6. A very important album in the Frank canon. I remember when I first tried to get into Zappa. I was advised to buy Uncle Meat. This was a BIG purchase at the time as it was a DOUBLE record. I took it home, listened to all 4 sides and absolutely hated it. SO…(and I’m finally admitting this after all these years) I took a pin and put a gouge in side 4 thus allowing me to return it. The guy at the store offered to replace the copy but I asked him what one should buy if they’re just trying to get into Frank. He steered me to Hot Rats. I haven’t stopped playing it after all these years and own everything Frank ever put out.
    What’s the word I’m looking for here….?….a SEMINAL Zappa album.

  7. “Hot Rats” is pretty universally loved, and I love it too. The world seems to love the fact that it is a very satisfying jamming album, and that it is in droves. Zappa’s extended guitar solo on “Willie The Pimp” is so burnin’, it just gives me goospimples. There is a moment in his solo (about 2 minutes into it) where he just lays on a low “A” on the guitar and wah-wahs away rhythmically, right before kicking his solo into a much HOTTER, more intense level. That moment is breathtaking for me, and the rest of the playing on the album comes consistently close. The jazz vs. 20th century composition of subtle pieces like “It Must Be A Camel” and “Little Umbrellas” is also extremely noteworthy (all puns intended). I get rather annoyed with all the constant bashing of Zappa for “stealing” all of his original material from all his players. I’m sure that Zappa lifted all kinds of ideas and riffs and motifs from many of his musicians over the years, but come on, did any of those guys write or arrange anything as complexly beautiful as “It Must Be A Camel”? Give Uncle Frank his due, now. Many have made a big deal about the CD remix of this album, but I have heard both the original vinyl and the CD mix, and I like them both. At least he didn’t try to replace the drums with cheesy ’80’s simmons pads like the ones Wackerman played on for the 1984 tour!!! This is an immensely satisfying Zappa masterwork. My own horn band used to close our sets with “Peaches” nightly, and the educated audience who knew anything about Zappa would usually come up to the bandstand in shock to ask “…….was that really PEACHES you played?”

  8. HOT RATS was my first Zappa album. It’s fair to say that it changed my live. BRILLIANT!!! After all these years it still gives me goosepimples. The work of a true genius.

  9. one of the first zappa albuns I heard…what first got me was “willie the pimp” but later on I found myself going nuts in every track, specially “peaches en regalia” and “son of mr. green genes”…later on I discovered other zappa albuns and etc but this one…man….makes me wanna cry, music is the best, zappa is the best, and he is far ahead of the 2nd place guy

  10. Este disco marca un antes y un después en la historia de la música popular. uno de esos discos que resultan adictivos desde la primera escucha… y la guitarra suena como pocas veces se ha conseguido en estudio.
    Una obra de arte

  11. After being intoduced to the humour side with APOSTROPHE(‘), I bought HOT RATS. First I learned to love the CD….and the songbook…..and Ian Underwood…..and the instrumental works of Frank. Cut to three months later, I’m skulking around Rhino Records looking at five copies of HOT RATS on vinyl. One is $1.50, one is $2, one is $3.25, two are $4, and one is $7. I wonder why such a great album is so cheap? Do people no longer expect fantastic music, and go for the social norm–yes. Looking at why the cheapest was $1.50 and the most ‘exorbitant’ was $7, I found that three small tears decreased value. I bought the $1.50 and ran. Several small bits of Scotch tape and one record player later, I loved this album even more. Later I went back to Rhino and noticed an original copy of RUBEN & THE JETS for $35. Yet HOT RATS was only $7! This not only shocked me, but angered me, for I knew that people who went to that shop were not out for the music (like people who hate Zappa, or only like the sex jokes), but for the plastic and cardboard. Without albums like HOT RATS, humanity would be stuck in a rut with no alternative music sources. Ever time I listen to ‘Son Of Mr. Green Genes’ or ‘Little Umbrellas,’ I am not only amazed by the musicianship (still, after over 30 listens to the disc), but I am also saddened by how many people will never appreciate this music and what it stands for in the world of to-day. MUSIC IS THE BEST! And it will stay like that, as long as true musicians and composers are out there. We are not alone.

  12. My first Zappa album, bought just days after it’s release here in the UK. Not sure if Hot Rats or Roxy are my favourire Zappa albums, whichever is spinning at the time I suppose, difficulty is deciding which one to play!!
    Whenever I get tired of hearing some twiddling self satisfied feedback which passes for so much rock guitar I put on Willie The Pimp. It’s like a long cold beer after a hot day’s work, it refreshes and replenishes.
    A masterpiece!!


  14. I play tenor sax, and that playing is real. If it’s out of tune, it’ll sound like that. Plus, you don’t know how long he’d been playing. After a couple of hours, that sound comes out.

  15. ok frunobulax! i give up! however…. the nick you are using….. it is taken from the roxy&elsewhere album!! am i right??? or what….?

  16. Capt. Beefheart was pure Gold with his voice in
    willy the pimp. No one could have done this better!
    I love it.

  17. This is my favorite Frank Zappa album, bar none, and for years when I had given up my Zappa fix and moved on to other things, it was still there. The one album I’d still return to.

    Hot Rats is a record I can love. Most of the others I can respect. But can I love Uncle Meat? Freak Out? Money? Yeah, probably, but I couldn’t readily admit it to myself for the longest time. Still, where Zappa’s technical genius never ceased to awe and amaze me, I’ve rarely felt an emotional connection. Except for, of course, Hot Rats. This, to me, is beautiful music. Not avant-garde, not satirical, not off-the-wall for it’s own sake, but beautiful. Spiritual, even, if Zappa would ever consent to me applying the term to his art.

    For me, there’s the nostalgia factor, creating my crazy paintings and following my own muse to the stirrings of Peaches En Regalia and Willie the Pimp. Heck, I’ve even learned to appreciate Capt. Beefheart’s singing voice. Time and age will do that to you, if you’re willing to grow up a little.

    It’s a perfect record, one of only a few I could say that about. There isn’t anything I’d chop out. I’m still looking around for a vinyl copy, which would compliment my growing Zappa vinyl collection (currently at Weasels, Freak Out, and Meat). I’d cross my fingers, but…well, I’m already crossing them in hopes that nobody grabs those Zappa LPs already at the Treehouse record store.

  18. looks like a camel was a fustibale (not fistula)+looks like a pound for a brown of tenderfluke(flake)…it was a restraint francis jr used on all his muscians…ask colauita and berlin.

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