Out Now: Frank Zappa ‘The Hot Rats Sessions,’ Commemorating 50 Years of Zappa’s 1969 Album (Listen)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

In 1969, Frank Zappa added to his developing legacy with Hot Rats, his second solo album (after 1968’s Lumpy Gravy project) and first recording project after the Mothers of Invention came to an end.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of that now-classic record, and today — with eleven days remaining in the year — a special 50th anniversary reissue has been released to commemorate the occasion. The timing is actually perfect, as Saturday, Dec. 21 would have marked Zappa’s 79th birthday.

The Hot Rats Sessions features unreleased recordings, rare/unedited mixes and a treasure trove of additional material for dedicated fans, and it’s sure to be a hit with Zappa collectors, too.

It’s available as a six-CD box set (click here), and the details are extensive. From the news release:

This creatively fertile time in Zappa’s career has been visually brought to life through a beautiful 28-page booklet featuring striking never-before-seen images of the recording sessions by Bill Gubbins, photographs of 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 of 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-of-a-kind “Zappa Land” board game. Inspired by vintage board games, players are tasked with helping Frank get back to the studio to finish Hot Rats. Starting at home in Laurel Canyon, players will move their guitar pick playing piece through a windy and unpredictable path to the recording studio. Just make sure you don’t get attacked by hot rats or end up with a watery cup of coffee.

Preview this “Zappa Land” board game below.

Seems a fittingly irreverent collection of memorabilia befitting an artist as visionary and important as Frank Zappa, doesn’t it?

Stream the Hot Rats 50th anniversary edition below, via Spotify.

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