Frank Zappa ‘Hot Rats’ get 50th anniversary boxed set treatment | The Music Universe

The Hot Rats Sessions includes unreleased tracks, rare and unedited mixes and more

Fifty years ago today (Oct 10, 1959), Frank Zappa’s inimitable, groundbreaking first solo album, Hot Rats, was released, putting the songwriter and musician on the map as a virtuosic guitarist and changing the course music forever with its conceptual, compositional and technological innovations. Self-described as a “movie for your ears,” the mostly instrumental 1969 album was a new musical avenue for Zappa following the dissolution his band The Mothers Of Invention as he melded the sophistication jazz with the attitude rock and roll to create a highly influential masterpiece widely hailed today as a pioneering album jazz-rock fusion.

On December 20th, just one day before what would have been Frank Zappa’s 79th birthday, Zappa Records and UMe will celebrate Hot Rats and the legendary composer’s highly prolific 1969 period with a mammoth six disc boxed set titled, The Hot Rats Sessions. This expansive new collection documents and compiles every composition recorded during several days in July 1969 when Zappa recorded Hot Rats and a wealth other material that ended up being used throughout multiple releases during his lifetime. Filled with an abundance rare and unedited mixes, work mixes, relevant Vault nuggets and complete basic tracks mixed from the original multi-track master tapes by Craig Parker Adams and mastered by Bob Ludwig in 2019, the collection provides a fascinating look into the making this classic album, and includes essentially every musical entity that was recorded during these iconic sessions.

Overseen by the Zappa Trust and produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister, Joe Travers, The Hot Rats Sessions will be available in a 6 CD boxed set and digitally, including Apple Digital Master. This creatively fertile time in Zappa’s career is visually brought to life through a beautiful 28-page booklet featuring striking never-before-seen images the recording sessions by Bill Gubbins, photographs the master tapes and tape boxes, and stunning outtakes from original Hot Rats cover photographer, Andee Nathanson’s shoot with Miss Christine. Nathanson provides the collection’s new cover image and several unreleased photos, all from the same photo shoot, captured on Infrared film which gave the original album its otherworldly look. The photographer vividly details the shoot in the liner notes which also includes essays by Zappa collaborator Ian Underwood and Vaultmeister Travers and an appreciation from The Simpsons creator and lifelong Zappa fan Matt Groening, who recounts his first time listening to Hot Rats as a teenager: “From the opening moments that unforgettable drum fill, I was transported. The kaleidoscopic, calliopean, dare-I-say-callipygian, mini-masterpiece ‘Peaches En Regalia’ elevated my scrawny body into the air, spun me around like a propeller beanie, and melted my brain.”

The Hot Rats Sessions also includes a one–a-kind “Zappa Land” board game where fans are tasked with helping Frank get back to the studio to finish Hot Rats. All boxes pre-ordered will come with an instant grat download the unreleased outtake, “It Must Be A Camel” (1969 Mix Outtake).

Two exciting new vinyl releases will also be issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary: the original Hot Rats album will be pressed on limited edition translucent hot pink 180-gram vinyl featuring the 1969 mix mastered from the original analog master tapes by Bernie Grundman in 2008 and pressed at Pallas in Germany, and a limited edition 10” picture disc Peaches En Regalia EP will be released in conjunction with Record Store Day’s Black Friday on November 29th. The EP has rare mono mixes on Side A “Peaches En Regalia” and “Little Umbrellas,” intended in 1969 as a promotional single, and the 1969 unreleased rhythm track mixes from the forthcoming boxed set on the flipside.

Hot Rats was composed, arranged, and produced by Zappa who played guitar on all tracks and delivered extraordinary solos throughout. One the best-selling albums his career, the six-song record is made up five instrumentals, including one his most beloved works, “Peaches En Regalia.” Frequent Zappa collaborator Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart provides his unmistakable vocals to lone non-instrumental, the skronky blues-rock number, “Willie The Pimp.” Star musicians on these sessions include multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood, violinists Don “Sugarcane” Harris and Jean Luc Ponty, bassist Max Bennett, drummers Jon Guerin (Max and Jon played together in the famed fusion outfit L.A. Express), Paul Humphrey and Ron Selico, R&B pioneer Johnny Otis and his 15-year-old son, Shuggie Otis who lays down some astounding, ahead his time bass lines on “Peaches En Regalia” and several other tracks.

The Hot Rats Sessions fers a riveting and revealing fly-on-the-wall experience by showcasing the genesis and evolution the Hot Rats songs as well as tracks that would be featured on Zappa’s acclaimed albums, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Studio Tan and Chunga’s Revenge. Hot Rats was the first record to be recorded on a prototype 16-track tape machine and this new technology, along with Zappa’s overdub techniques, further inspired him to create and innovate. The first three and a half discs the set are dedicated to the basic track recording sessions recorded at T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood, California on July 18, 28, 29 and 30th, and allows listeners the opportunity to experience what it would be like to be in the studio as Zappa perfected these compositions. His intense work ethic is on full display and a newfound respect is gained for the choices he made when creating the final masterwork.

The fifth and sixth discs the set presents the original Hot Rats album with Zappa’s 1987 digital re-mix along with an assortment extras such as vintage promotional audio ads for the album, the mono singles “Peaches En Regalia” and “Little Umbrellas” and rare mixes more than a dozen tracks. The Hot Rats Sessions is rife with unreleased session material and also includes the first-ever ficial release “Bognor Regis,” and several unedited masters songs like “Peaches En Regalia,” “Twenty Small Cigars,” “Toads Of The Short Forest,” “Lil’ Clanton Shuffle” and “Directly From My Heart To You.”

The Hot Rats Sessions provides an awe-inspiring snapshot an especially productive time for Zappa, who in the year 1969 alone, outside his own projects, produced Captain Beefheart’s outsider classic, Trout Mask Replica and the one and only album for The GTO’s, toured and had his second child. With this new, exciting deep dive, fans can explore one Zappa’s most revered records like never before and experience how it coalesced to become one the greatest albums all time.

This month, just in time for Halloween, Zappa’s two complete Halloween shows recorded on October 31, 1973 in Chicago will be released on October 25th Zappa Records/UMe. These completely unreleased live recordings total more than four and a half hours and feature songs from across his prolific catalog. Continuing the Halloween series that the Zappa Trust began in 2017 with the acclaimed Halloween 77 releases, Halloween 73 will be released as a specially designed, limited run four disc costume box complete with a FRANKenZAPPA mask and gloves, housed in a display worthy box.

CD 1:

  1. Piano Music (Section 1)
  2. Piano Music (Section 3)
  3. Peaches En Regalia (Prototype)
  4. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, In Session)
  5. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, Master Take)
  6. Peaches Jam – Part 1
  7. Peaches Jam – Part 2
  8. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, In Session)
  9. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, Master Take)
  10. Arabesque (In Session)
  11. Arabesque (Master Take)
  12. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (In Session)

CD 2:

  1. It Must Be A Camel (Part 1, In Session)
  2. It Must Be a Camel (Part 1, Master Take)
  3. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, In Session)
  4. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, Master Take)
  5. Natasha (In Session)
  6. Natasha (Master Take)
  7. Bognor Regis (Unedited Master)
  8. Willie The Pimp (In Session)
  9. Willie The Pimp (Unedited Master Take)
  10. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 1)
  11. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 2)

CD 3:

  1. Transition (Section 1, In Session)
  2. Transition (Section 1, Master Take)
  3. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, In Session)
  4. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, Master Take)
  5. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, In Session)
  6. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, Master Take)
  7. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (Unedited Master)
  8. Directly From My Heart To You (Unedited Master)
  9. Another Waltz (Unedited Master)

CD 4:

  1. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (Remake)
  2. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Take 1)
  3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Master Take)
  4. Big Legs (Unedited Master Take)
  5. It Must Be a Camel (Percussion Tracks)
  6. Arabesque (Guitar OD Mix)
  7. Transition (Full Version)
  8. Piano Music (Section 3, OD Version)

CD 5:

  1. Peaches En Regalia (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  2. Willie The Pimp (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  4. Little Umbrellas (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  5. The Gumbo Variations (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  6. It Must Be A Camel (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
  7. The Origin Of Hot Rats
  8. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #1
  9. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Mono Single Master)
  10. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #2
  11. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mono Single Master)
  12. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (1972 Whitney Studios Mix)

CD 6:

  1. Little Umbrellas (Cucamonga Version)
  2. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mix Outtake)
  3. It Must Be A Camel (1969 Mix Outtake)
  4. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Mix Outtake)
  5. More Of The Story Of Willie The Pimp
  6. Willie The Pimp (Vocal Tracks)
  7. Willie The Pimp (1969 Quick Mix)
  8. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (1969 Quick Mix)
  9. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #3
  10. Bognor Regis (1970 Record Plant Mix)
  11. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
  12. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
  13. Little Umbrellas (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
  14. Arabesque (Guitar Tracks)
  15. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #4