Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Frank Zappa - Son Of Hot Rats (1970)

Following the release of 'Uncle Meat' in 1969, Frank Zappa disbanded the Mothers Of Invention and put together a new band, retaining only Ian Underwood from the Mothers, and adding Max Bennett and Shuggie Otis on bass, John Guerin, Paul Humphrey and Ron Selico on drums, Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, and an uncredited Lowell George on rhythm guitar. Using these musicians 'Hot Rats' was recorded between July 18 and August 30 1969 at TTG Studios in Hollywood. Because they were using new 16-track technology, only a few musicians were required to create an especially rich instrumental texture which gives the sound of a large group. It was this use of advanced overdubbing that was the main motivation for Zappa, who hated playing in a studio, and so the band were able to lay down basic tracks and Zappa would then tinker with them, speeding up and slowing down the tapes to create unusual effects. There was therefore more music taped than was needed for a single album, but never one to waste anything, Zappa used a lot of it on his later albums.
The opening to 'Toads of the Short Forest' from 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh', 'Twenty Small Cigars' from 'Chunga's Revenge', 'Excentrifugal Forz' (with overdubs done in 1973) from 'Apostrophe (')', and 'Lemme Take You To The Beach' from 'Studio Tan' were all taped at these sessions. Other songs, such as 'L'il Clanton Shuffle' and 'Bognor Regis' were released posthumously, the former on 'The Lost Episodes', and 'Bognor Regis' only on bootleg (which is ridiculous, as it's brilliant). The band stayed together for only a year, but in March 1970 they added Aynsley Dunbar on drums and laid down two more tracks, 'Sharleena' and 'Chunga Basement', and so this potential follow-up to the classic 'Hot Rats' includes everything that this incarnation of the band recorded in the studio. Normally I can take or leave Zappa, but 'Hot Rats' is one of my favourite ever albums, and as this collection is in a similar vein (with just a little more vocal), I think it hangs together really well. I've had to make a few edits, extracting the beginning of 'Toads...' and seguing it into 'Excentrifugal Forz', giving a better fade to 'Twenty Small Cigars', and cutting 'Sharleena' before it starts to get weird, but the rest is as it was taped nearly 50 years ago. The cover is from the original photo-shoot by Andee Eye (nee Nathanson), who posted it on Facebook recently 'for a giggle'.



Track listing

01 Lemme Take You To The Beach
02 Bognor Regis
03 Twenty Small Cigars
04 Chunga Basement
05 Introducing The Toads Of The Short Forest>
06 Excentrifugal Forz
07 L'il Clanton Shuffle
08 Sharleena

Enjoy / Enjoy

13 comments:

  1. Brilliant!! Thanks for posting this! Excellent job.

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  2. Thanks for this; your musical choices and hard work are much appreciated.

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  3. Hi Pj. I really like this project. I congratulate you! I am a collector of FZ and I have a channel on You Tube dedicated to FZ. I'd like to post this project on my channel and share it with other fans. Obviously I will mention your authorship of the project. Do you agree?
    In any case, thanks.

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  4. Sure, help yourself. I must admit that I was really pleased at how this turned out and play it all the time myself, so please share it with other FZ fans.

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    1. They will appreciate it very much! Thank you

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  5. Okay, I guess that you probably have been asked this at least a billion times, but where can these selections in this, and other libraries of yours be found. I would love to have some of them in my own music collection. Not just Zappa, but so many others that I see on this blog site.
    Sorry if it's just another stupid question, but I see no introduction here, and was wondering.
    Thanks

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    1. There isn't an easy answer, as I trawl the net for deluxe or expanded re-issues with bonus tracks, or if they're particularly elusive then youtube is a good back-up. Bootleg sites are another option, but it all depends on what I'm trying to find whether I can find them in a night or if it takes a week. For this Zappa album I managed to find them all on various archive releases, so this one wasn't too hard to do.

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  6. I really like this compilation. It has the "flow" of an actual Zappa album. Is this avaiable lossless, too?

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  7. Afraid not. Not sure if some of these track are even available in FLAC.

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  8. Are we looking at a revisit of this in the light of The Hot Rats Sessions, or perhaps a Grandson of Hot Rats?

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  9. Yes indeed to both suggestions. One's already done and the other will be posted soon.

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