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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE BACK IN ITS GLORIOUS ORIGINAL MIX
For the first time ever, the 1969 mix of Frank Zappa's 'Hot Rats' has been released on CD. This album was released long before I was born, so my first approach to it was in its 1987 remix encarnation. I considered it a masterpiece back then, and I must say it is not a bad remix, but the original is superior nevertheless. First of all, the sound has more low end, therefore...
Published on 7 Aug 2012 by R. N. ESPIŅEIRA

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A weird remix!
I used to own and love the vinyl version of this album but when I bought the CD I was horrified!
It has been severely remixed and the balance of the album has been altered dramatically and, to my mind, detrimentally.
I wish I still had the vinyl or that the original mix was released on CD. This just sounds wrong.
Published on 11 Nov 2005 by Carole


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE BACK IN ITS GLORIOUS ORIGINAL MIX, 7 Aug 2012
By 
R. N. ESPIŅEIRA "Rne" (Malaver , Argentina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
For the first time ever, the 1969 mix of Frank Zappa's 'Hot Rats' has been released on CD. This album was released long before I was born, so my first approach to it was in its 1987 remix encarnation. I considered it a masterpiece back then, and I must say it is not a bad remix, but the original is superior nevertheless. First of all, the sound has more low end, therefore the instruments sound "fatter" (especially bass and drums). This original mix is also drier and clearer compared to the 1987 mix which featured reverb and an overall not very pleasing "tinny" sound quality. However, the remix featured a longer "Gumbo Variations" and some extra flute work on "Little Umbrellas", but some sped-up percussion parts are sorely missed. There are many other differences, some of them much more subtle.
A lot has been said about this album. It is one of FZ's masterpieces. He makes a clever use of the then state-of-the-art 16-track recording system to orchestrate his magnificent compositions always avoiding to sound excessive or overloaded with sonic information. A special mention must be done to Ian Underwood, who plays all winds and keyboards like the extraordinary multi-instrumentist he is.
Conclusion: the original mix (the one recovered for this 2012 reissue) sounds great. The 1987 mix (previous CD editions) has some sound deffects, but featured extra material. If you love this album, try to get both (I'm sure you have at least the old CD version by now if you love it!). If you have to choose, pick the ORIGINAL MIX, mark my word.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Rats - Hot Zappa!, 10 Dec 2006
By 
G. Don Fielder (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
Apologies for the slightly corny review title but it's pinched from Chris Welch's piece from the 1969 issue of Melody Maker which reviewed Frank's wonderful instrumental masterpiece. The impact that Hot Rats made at the time was huge. One of the first ever 16-track recordings, we'd not heard anything like it before. The brilliant melodies, the beautiful interweaving flutes, clarinets, saxophones, keyboards, percussion and guitar, knitted together with FZ's distinctive, creative arrangements, were quite stunning. I'd hesitate to describe it simply as jazz-rock - but if you're new to FZ, it's a helpful enough definition of what you'll get. In reality, its boundaries spread somewhat wider, from the bluesy Willie the Pimp to the almost indefinable It Must Be A Camel, one of my favourite ever FZ compositions, which is kind of jazzy but has hints of the orchestral Zappa yet to come, notwithstanding the few titbits to be found on Lumpy Gravy. With Hot Rats, we get our first real taste of Zappa the incredible guitarist, from the acoustic coupled with a wah-wah pedal on Peaches En Regalia, through the rocking electric of Willie the Pimp and Son of Mr. Green Genes, to the fat, mellow jazz break on the final track. Yes, out of the blue, as if the rest of the album wasn't enough, we have a guitar hero too! Regarding the comments elsewhere about the mix of the CD, I would agree that it is very different from the vinyl. But words such as "disaster" and "beware" are ridiculous. However, if you only have the CD, then the LP is worth tracking down. Frank remixed almost his entire catalogue to CD in the early nineties, knowing he did not have long to live. I would guess that he was trying to bring the best out of the original master tapes and that must have been a tricky task with only 16 tracks to draw upon, given the complexity of the music. Maybe he fell short of his usual meticulous standard but you do hear things on the CD which were pretty well masked - or completely absent - on the original. Perhaps Dweezil will do another remix sometime - or maybe even re-record it. That said, almost forty years on - and still there is no musician in the world who seems able or willing to do stuff like this - Hot Rats captures the essential FZ and wraps it in a package which remains as accessible and enjoyable as ever.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistent and satisfying, 18 Dec 2003
By 
Gareth Smyth "Enjilos" (County Mayo, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
Yeah, it's a cracking record that has well stood the test of time. Some of the flourish on it has made many people describe 'Hot Rats' as jazz, which is maybe a little misleading.
Zappa was a zany and often inspired creator, whose records could swing from beauty to near-banality. Hot Rats is perhaps his most consistent and satisfying offering, with subtle arrangments, a rock edge and the trademark walkie-talkie guitar. Other than a brief guest appearance from Captain Beefheart - as "Willie the Pimp" - it is entirely instrumental.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 8 Mar 2004
This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
This was the first Zappa album i bought and right from the start of 'Peaches En Regalia' (reason enough to buy this album) to the end of 'It Must Be A Camel' this is a fantastic classic album. If you are familiar with Zappa's music (especially with the MOI) then you will love this album. If you haven't heard any of his stuff then this album is the most accessible and all of the tracks will grow on you eventually. Buy It!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A weird remix!, 11 Nov 2005
This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
I used to own and love the vinyl version of this album but when I bought the CD I was horrified!
It has been severely remixed and the balance of the album has been altered dramatically and, to my mind, detrimentally.
I wish I still had the vinyl or that the original mix was released on CD. This just sounds wrong.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still great after thirty-two years!, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
I remember first hearing this LP when it came out in 1969, at a music club at school. I'd heard of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart but never heard their music.
I bought the record the following year when I started at university and it was a huge hit with all my friends - especially "Son of Mr Green Genes". This track really is a tour de force. Perhaps for jazz fans the variations and returns to a theme (was this orchestrated or improvised?) will be familiar - to a rock fan like myself there is nothing else quite as good (although the Doors "Light My Fire" runs it close).
While it's probably a bit too slick for hard-line MoI fans (and I think I would probably agree with this criticism of "Peaches En Regalia"), I still listen to this music with the same exhilaration I felt when I first heard it. Buy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...etc., 1 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. J. Gould (Newbury, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
If you like instrumentals, LOOK NO FURTHER!!! This be the record for you.

I have to say that not many tracks compare to the ones found on this album. The opener, 'Peaches En Regalia', is joyous, the guitar work on 'Willie The Pimp' is superlative, 'Son Of Mr Green Genes' is simply wonderful, 'Little Umbrellas' is great, 'Gumbo Variations' is a sprawling Jazz-Rock masterpiece and 'It Must Be A Camel' is a great closer.

I've read reviews on here saying the mix on the C.D. is strange compared to the old vinyl. I can't comment on this as I am a young lad and have only ever heard this on C.D. What i can say is that it sounds good to me.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this..., 12 Dec 2008
By 
This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
Do not buy this..., 12 Dec 2008
By I Stoddart(Scotland) - See all my reviews

Speaking as a long-term FZ fan, I would advise everyone who knows the original genius of Hot Rats NOT to buy this. The remix has substantially altered the original tracks for the worse. Little Umbrellas and the Gumbo Variations have become sterile track overlays, and the zenith of Ian Underwood's marvellous sax solo on the original Gumbo is flatly edited into a modern(?)piece of layered desperation. Even though I am a substantial collector of CDs my advice would be to buy the vinyl rather than this 'empty pantomime'. I can only believe that Frank, if he was responsible for this, was too ill to realise what he was doing. A plea to the FZ estate - please allow us to have a digital version of the original, for Frank's sake...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK, this version IS the despised remix -- but it's magnificent for all that, 16 Mar 2010
By 
J. Patterson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
Snap this up if you don't have it and ignore complaints about it being "the remix". For anyone coming to the album for the first time or someone who doesnt have a firm memory of its previous incarnation it's a revelation. It has the richness of jazz, the impact of rock and the sheer up-ness of gospel, all perfectly blended into something virtually unique. Musical blue-label Johnnie Walker! Frank Zappa is the subject, sometimes justifiably, of all sorts of criticisms, but all anyone needs by way of refutation is this stunning album, maybe THE guitar album, the only possible rival IMHO being Marquee Moon. Willie the Pimp -- enough said!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 27 Feb 2008
This review is from: Hot Rats (Audio CD)
I own the original vinyl, and I can confirm that it sounds a damn sight better. However, it is very immature to give this album one star because the mix isn't as good. The genius of Zappa's music is still self evident.

More a avant-garde jazz album than anything else, but still absolutely outstanding. Buy buy buy.
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