Personnel: Frank Zappa (guitar, bass, percussion); Captain Beefheart (vocals); Jean-Luc Ponty, Sugar Cane Harris (violin); Ian Underwood (clarinet, saxophone, piano, organ); Max Bennett, Shuggie Otis (bass); John Guerin, Paul Humphrey, Ron Selico (drums). Engineers include: Dick Kunc, Jack Hunt, Cilff Goldstein. Recorded from August to September 1969. HOT RATS was digitally remixed in 1987. “The Gumbo Variations” has been extended an extra 4 minutes from the original LP version. All of the tracks have been remixed, and in some cases sound quite different. Having temporarily disbanded the Mothers Of Invention, Frank Zappa recorded this exceptional solo album. His group was renowned for musical satire, but here the artist opted to showcase his prowess on guitar. Aside from “Willie The Pimp,” which features a cameo vocal by Zapppa’s old friend Captain Beefheart, the set is comprised of instrumentals. The players, including Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Ian Underwood, are uniformly excellent, combining to provide a solid jazz-rock platform for Zappa’s compulsive soloing. Here the guitarist relishes a freedom which, while acknowledging past achievements, prepares new territories for exploration. As such, HOT RATS was a pivotal release in Zappa’s oft-misunderstood career.