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Frank Zappa



Preconceptions about Frank Zappa are rife. He’s either a genius or an irritating polymath. His second solo album, Hot Rats, is therefore either one of the greatest albums of all time or just the one which turned out to be too jazzy. The 1969 release was his first proper Top Ten hit and Universal are celebrating its 50 years’ existence by releasing the entire Hot Rats Sessions over six CDs as well as repressing the original on a shade of vinyl, which echoes the colour of Andee Nathanson’s infrared cover photo of Christine Frka emerging from the abandoned swimming pool. Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention releases frequently featured social and political satire and wilful experimentation – tellingly, the slew of releases prior to Rats had the working title of ‘No Commerical Potential’. Hot Rats swerves all this, crucially by placing the one remaining Mother, keyboardist Ian Underwood, at the centre of the project and letting him dominate. Album opener, Peaches En Regalia is the dictionary definition of jazz fusion, features 16 year-old Shuggie Otis keeping it funky on bass and still lifts the hairs on the back of the neck. Zappa’s mate Captain Beefheart dominates track two Willie The Pimp and provides the only vocal on the album. Side Two’s The Gumbo Variations is a psychedelic jazz wig-out over 16 minutes. As Matt Groening states in his liner notes to the overindulgent CD boxset, “you know how great Hot Rats is […] with The Hot Rats Sessions we 9 know it’s even better.” Best stick to the vinyl, then. Ben Wardle

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About Long Live Vinyl

ISSUE 35 of Long Live Vinyl is now on sale! In our first issue of 2020 we bring you the inside story of Bob Dylan's most diverse, divisive and fascinating decade – the 1970s. Dylan made eight hugely different studio albums in those 10 years, and we've rounded up some of his closest confidants and bandmates to tell the tale. It's a must-read for any fan of Mr Zimmerman. Elsewhere in issue 35, our packed interviews section features Angel Olsen, Seth Lakeman, The Go-Betweens, Field Music, DJ Shadow and Courteeners, plus we take an in-depth look at The Doors' Morrison Hotel and meet the music fanatics behind America's coolest label group – Secretly Canadian. If that's not enough, we bring you 40 essential folk-rock classics, a guide to building your perfect hi-fi setup in 2020 and the usual eclectic mix of vinyl columnists, news and reviews. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.