Frank Zappa / Hot Rats Sessions box

Frank Zappa‘s second album Hot Rats is being reissued for its 50th anniversary and formats include a 6CD box set full of previously unreleased sessions.

The 1969 album was the first record to be recorded on a prototype 16-track tape machine and the recording sessions produced a wealth of material that ended up being sprinkled among multiple releases during Frank Zappa’s lifetime.

This box set documents and compiles “every composition recorded during those days in July 1969”, along with an abundance of rare mixes, ‘vault nuggets’ and complete basic tracks. That’s 65 tracks in total, with just the six original album tracks previously released (the 1987 CD mixes). Everything here was mixed from the original multi-track masters by Craig Parker Adams in 2019.

Sleeve notes come courtesy of a certain Matt Groening and there are essays by Ian Underwood, Andee Nathanson and Vaultmeister Joe Travers. It’s not exactly clear what size this box is but it does apparently include a Zappa Land board game “with custom game pieces, dice and playing cards.”

As well as the box set, the standard album is available as a new vinyl pressing. This is coloured vinyl (‘hot pink) and pressed at Pallas.

Hot Rats is reissued on 20 December 2019.

Hot Rats Sessions 6CD box


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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 #

Hot Rats pink vinyl LP

Side A
1.  Peaches En Regalia
2.  Willie The Pimp
3.  Son Of Mr. Green Genes

Side B
4.  Little Umbrellas
5.  The Gumbo Variations
6.  It Must Be A Camel

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bruce kelso

never before have I heard so much new music in a box set. unreal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Like (almost) everyone else here, I would have bought this (probably) if it’d been around the USA price (or lower) and without the board game etc. Don’t need that kind of useless tat!

bruce kelso

on youtube they just posted it must be a camel 1969 outtake. its sound great. ill get the box after the new year cause the band of gypys fillmore shows will be go to for at least 2 months.


Perhaps the most important question to me is, is there more Beefheart besides the Willie the Pimp outakes?


no, there is not

Paul in SLC

Will the vinyl be the original album mix or the 1987 remix?

Johnny T

where are you getting that info?

Johnny T.

Well whatever info you got is wrong.

The news page at Zappa.com says, “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.”


I totally agree with most here, especially Rob and Murray. I’m a huge Zappa fan and own all the vinyl Frank put out. I picked up most of his CDs too. The recent Roxy multi-disc set in a clam shell box would be just fine for this release. There’s a lot of repetition in the song listings on this release, as Frank was working this material out. I’m not sure I’d listen to it very often. So, for this price, it just seems ridiculous. I am glad to see the song Bognor Regis on here though. It is finally getting released! I did buy the Live in New York box, but that manhole container is just silly. The music is stupendous though! Ugh, Pink Floyd with marbles/scarf….Ahmet Zappa with masks and board games. Sigh.

bruce kelso

20 small cigars on chungas revenge was cut july 69 ttg studios ,why isn’t that included.


It is on disc 3 as Transition, an edited version of which became 20 small cigars.

bruce kelso

thanks martin. very good.

Tim Joseph

Admittedly I’m not that familiar with this album. But what is it with these boxes that they pretend the original mix (aka the LP people loved for 50 years) never happened?


Zappa’s estate reissued the original vinyl version in 2012 via UMe. Thank goodness that they did that for not just this album but very nearly all of them! But yes, bit of a shame it also wasn’t included for completeness’ sake.

bruce kelso

on dec 15 there will be the hot rats book.it is written by bill gubbins and the sessions where photographed also by him. it is a hard back book .cost from amazon is $36 american.size is 10×10 and has 256 pages.


Hey Paul! What happened to the ability to shift from pounds to dollars?


Oh, yeah. How did I miss it? Now I feel stupid. I kept clicking the price arrow and was baffled. Getting old, I guess.

Andrew r

UK is treasure island .We pay more for everything.
Suppliers know it .Will get worse not better post brexit.
Not political just financial fact .

Paul Mortimer

Fabulous set from a treasured artist – but why on earth does a 6-CD box set cost in excess of £105 GBP?

No chance of me investing in this, until some discount offers emerge in years to come!

I agree with Andrew r; it always seems that UK customers pay a lot more for a release.

Perhaps there should be a “Price Alarm” flag on the reviews if each CD in a box set works out at more than a tenner, and each vinyl album costs more than £15?

Sadly, I expect that would upset record labels and then they wouldn’t send Paul S the info and the samples to un-box for us!

Magnus Nilsson

Potential explanation: The V.A.T.
Imports are pricier here, too.

Ed Pigon

The content looks amazing, but I also expected a bluray audio or multichannel mix, it would had been a great chance to release it and that would justify the price… or not?


Frank was very excited by quadraphonic sound and continued to create quad mixes long after the format’s demise. He certainly would have been into 5.1 so it’s a shame that his catalog is not being given that treatment. Especially when Steven Wilson has stated that he would jump at the chance to do surround mixes of Frank’s material.

C’mon Ahmet, forget the board games and Halloween masks. Give us Blu-rays with hi-res & surround sound!

Dan Thomann

For US buyers it is currently available for pre-order from Bull Moose for $95.97. They also do not take payment until it is released and shipping is free. I discovered them last year and they often have better pricing then Amazon.

P.W. Brip

Hi, Paul. Love your site.
About Zappa bullying the Velvets in San Franciso…. Well, you know the cliché : only 250 persons bought their first album, but each one of them formed a band. I love the Velvet, but the thing is : maybe their music was more easy to replicate than the prog/freejazz intricacies heard on Mothers’ records. And as far as I can tell, Lou Reed was not himself the most affable of men. He left in his wake the corpses of many terrorized interviewers.
Being influential is good but is not the ultimate criterium.

Terry Mac

Criteria” not “criterium”. A criterium is a bicycle race!

Paul Mac

Think you mean criterion….


At long long last a deluxe version of Hot Rats. Hopefully there will be a high resolution download available from Qobuz. There is a very nice hard back book – “The Hot Rats Book” and a AAA pink vinyl edition available.

Joe Mac Pherson

Oh, Frank Zappa, how do I feel about you?
On May 27, 28 and 29, 1966, in San Francisco, Bill Graham’s Fillmore West hosted 3 truly extraordinary concerts, presenting something no one in San Francisco ever saw the likes of, before:
Andy Warhol And His Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Featuring The Velvet Underground & Nico
It was so much more than that. Danny Williams, their light show innovator and designer, created the most advanced systems for displaying colored light, and reflected/refracted effects amplified on the stage wall. He created ways to show ephemeral, ethereal usage of color, forms, lines, dazzling arrays of imagery that were absolutely new.
Plus, there was the contingent of Warhol Superstars, on stage, in front of the stage, dancing, acting in Silent Film gestures, Voguing, before anyone ever called it that, and more. Edie Sedgwick! Gerard Malanga and his Whip Dance! So many Superstars! PLUS, The Velvet Underground, performing while all this was occurring. And Nico!
PLUS, a number of Warhol Films, projected on the Fillmore stage wall, while everything else was happening.
It WAS a real Happening. Only one thing, quite unexpected, was ruining the wonder of it ALL: The opening band on each of the 3 nights was The Mothers Of Invention. Led and encouraged by Frank Zappa, especially him, the Mothers were absolutely horrible to The Velvet Underground, and definitely Nico.
They openly, brazenly mocked them, shouted insults, really, really rude catcalls, terrible behavior. Through this barrage, the VU & Nico, and the Warhol Superstars, and Warhol’s Films, and the most extraordinary light shows the West Coast had ever witnessed, courtesy of Warhol’s production, continued. Zappa was ruthless. He simply couldn’t allow this truly Avant Garde band & troupe & multimedia performance from New York City, to go on in San Francisco, without being cruelly ridiculed.
You can believe Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico, Andy Warhol and everyone else involved, never forgot. However, there is Karma. Ask yourselves, seriously, how many bands and recording artists decided to pursue that path, because of The Velvet Underground? How many bands, in the late 1970’s, the 80’s, 90’s, even now, created or still redefine music because the Velvet Underground paved the way? How many recording artists have performed songs, originally done by The Velvet Underground?How many songs do YOU know, by The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico?
NOW: How many bands were formed because of The Mothers Of Invention? How many bands and recording artists have covered songs, originally done by The Mothers Of Invention? How many bands and recording artists state that they were, are are, inspired by Zappa and his band?
Karma. We all know, today, which band has been an extraordinary influence on so many, many musicians. They were from New York City, not San Francisco.


The thing is, just because you can’t name songs by the Mothers or contemporary bands who cite them & Zappa as influences, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. One clue about their continuing popularity might be the fact that there’s still sufficient interest for Zappa’s heirs to take a 50 year old album, polish it up a bit & shift loads of units for large quantities of cash.

Still, it’s great to see the East Coast/West Coast wars being kept alive after all these decades. However, Zappa was from LA – He was even ruder about the San Francisco bands than he was about the Velvets. Actually, he was also rude about other LA bands, such as The Doors. I guess he was rude to pretty much everybody.


Zappa was influential in many styles of music such as rap which evolved into hip hop. Songs like moving to Montana and Dynamo Hum. He was doing what I classify as the birth of rap long before the first rap artist even thought of that shit. Did he get the credit for it? I really don’t think he did but there are many of us that know. East West Wars are just one small part of his genius

John McCann

So you won’t be buying this one Joe,, Frank dident do peel of bananas,hang about rawhides and shoot up smack, he got his kicks shouting from the wings at your mob,it couldn’t have been that bad as they put up with it for 3 nights,for me Joe’s garage l,p, is every bit as influential as anything lou and the velvets ever done,

Nick Love

Regarding covers – as a teenager new to the guitar, I was able to play most of my favorite Velvet songs along with my little contingent of likewise naive musician friends. 20 odd years later, there are many Frank tunes that are out of my grasp and will likely forever remain so. I wouldn’t count influence as the only reason you don’t hear many Zappa covers.


If Lou never forgot, then he certainly forgave. When Frank was inducted into the Rock Hall, Lou gave the induction speech and had this to say:

It’s very rare in life to know someone who affects things; changes them in a positive way. I’ve been lucky enough to have known some in my life: Andy Warhol, Doc Pomus. People whose vision and integrity was such that it moved the world a bit. People who, through the articulation of their talents and intelligence, were able to leave things better than they had found them. People who were not only not in it for the money, to paraphrase Frank Zappa. Frank Zappa was such a person and of the many regrets I have in life, not knowing him a lot better is one of them.

Whether writing symphonies, satirical broadsides or casting a caustic glow across the frontier of madness that makes up the American political landscape; whether testifying before Congress to put the PMRC in its rightful lowly place, or acting as a cultural conduit for President Vaclav Havel and the Czech government, Frank was a force for reason and honesty in the business deficient in those areas. As we reward some with money for the amusement they supply to the cultural masses, I think the induction of Frank Zappa in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame distinguishes the Hall as well as the inductee.

Musicians usually cannot speak. That’s why they communicate through their instruments. But Frank was one who could. And because music is pure, the musician is pure as well and when Frank spoke he demonstrated the power of purity. Who will do that now? I admired Frank greatly and I know he admired me.

Chris S

Great, great music. I love the original album and the alternative cover of the box.

More reasons to celebrate FZ as Dweezil will be doing a Hot Rats Live tour starting real soon.


Should be cool, but man do I hate that cover. Surely there were better outtakes from that photo shoot.


Love this album, but the price!! Bloody hell. And what is with the Zappa family now throwing massive amounts of tat in with their sets to bloat the price.
The recent Project/Object releases seem to swing insanely between sensible (Meat Light, Orchestral faves 40th) and ridiculous (this, New York, & Halloween)
I want this, but not at that price. Hope Qobuz or similar do a download, fingers crossed

Murray P Robbins

The music offered in this set promises to be an extremely insightful and exhaustive dive into the sessions that led to one of the absolute pinnacles of Frank’s career.

There is however, a giant BUT hovering over this release that is both frustrating AND costly!

Sadly, the curation of the releases by the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT) remains inconsistent and expensive , despite signs here and there that common sense could be prevailing.

The 3 CD resume of Orchestral Favourites, priced at under £20/$20, was a step in the right direction. It ticked all the boxes in terms of musical content and accompanying material Furthermore, the complete Roxy set was also a no-frills release of great significance if a little poorly edited in places. 7 CDs at about £10/$10 each. Considering the quality of the music really great value!

Unfortunately those successes are by no means typical. Please take a moment to digest the following flawed releases that deliver the Zappa fanbase questionable value for money whilst also raising significant questions regarding the philosophy behind their conception.

1. Halloween 77 set. Ridiculous plastic mask and a bubble gum stick that contained some files that were found to be corrupted. Cost of the files for all 7 shows in a non-physical format £100 plus.
2. Halloween 73 (due later this year) ANOTHER horror mask, as if one weren’t enough AND green plastic Halloween gloves. Cost for 4CDs and all that tat…£60
3. Hot Rats Sessions . Trending on Amazon at £120 for six CDs including a board game. Really? There was clearly, the option of increasing the literary content in the set, as a bespoke book on Hot Rats is available in the mega-bundle the ZFT has up for sale on zappa.com.
4. The whole Roxy By Proxy sham before Gail Zappa died some years ago.

I could go on…. the Corsage/Xmasage rip offs. Stuff that FZ would surely never have sanctioned for release. The promising Road Trips “series” that lasted three issues only. Etc. Etc.

Yes, the unprecedented (by ZFT standards)) torrent of releases is welcome, but the ridiculous time wasted on firstly conceiving and then manufacturing this tatty rubbish to accompany the music is just dumb. What did Frank hate most ……. stupidity! Joe Travers must take most of the blame for this nonsense. When Ahmet Zappa was interviewed about the releases recently he came across a sbeing ignorant of details germane to the catalogue not to mention the upcoming schedule of releases.

Other bands legacies are curated in a vastly more consistently professional manner. I’ll cite just three.

1. The Grateful Dead
2. King Crimson
3. Jethro Tull

Rant over!

Thanks for continuing to cover the FZ canon Paul!

Uncle Meat



Nice to see the UK leading the way in affordability as ever.


Yep. As usual we get fleeced again in the UK. I know the exchange rate at the moment is approx 77p to the dollar. If that’s the case like for like UK buyers should be charged £62.88 or American buyers should be charged $141.19. There is as usual quite a disparity in the pricing structure. Yes it’s taxes blah blah blah, but come on!

adam shaw

Love the music but I don’t need a board game .
Glad it has unrealeased takes and not filled with live tracks , there’s so much out there already .


Very desirable but very expensive too, especially when the 3CD Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object is only £8.40 brand new direct from Amazon.


Oh my word.

Wayne Olsen

Wowee zowee! Sign me up!


6 cds ! £100 + amazon . Jethro tulls stormwatch now delayed 15/11/19 makes this look stupid 4 cds+2dvds £30 .?


One of my all time favourite albums but at that price, Wowie Zowie. Who needs a board game with it? I don’t see what that has to do with Hot Rats. I can understand the Halloween releases with the mask and scary hands but this?
I will see if there is a cheaper option via one of the digital download stores.


Pricing on this is ridiculous. 6 CDs for £108? Why not ditch the “board game” and give us the music at a halfway reasonable price? Make the Depeche Mode box look reasonable…


No the Depeche Mode is a blatant RIP-off of the highest order. Here you get 6 discs of unreleased sessions. DM give you 3 rarities and recycled masters and horrible artwork. No comparison. Now if Depeche mode released a 6 disc set of violator sessions. I would definitely be a buyer at this price. And here you get a board game, hours of fun. Some people just can’t be happy.


Well, not quite…you do have to endure the subpar 1987 remix of the album which we’ve all surely got, give that it was the only available version for a while. But you don’t really address the point. Meat/Light – 3CDs, was about £15 upon release, can now be had for under a tenner. Orchestral Favourites – 3CDs – about £20 on release, currently higher. So why is this over £100? That’s about £18 per disc.

The pricing and packaging from ZFT has been frustrating – some very reasonable, simple and affordable, others just crazy and packaged with tat. I accept I’m cheesed off at being priced out of something I would like to hear but I’m far from alone.


Yes but you get a bored game.
I actually agree this is expensive and really come with a roach clip, as with nearly every sessions type set, it is cutting room floor, barrel scrapings that never eclipse the original brilliance that reels you in.
I don’t think any of these ancient sets of outtakes should be that much. This is definitely hitting the highs of Bowiphile madness. Not value for money, and in truth if this were priced correctly, Without tat, more people would buy. Even so this is nowhere near the insult of that cheesy Depeche Mode box.

Woodsey Niles

This set doesn’t come cheap but Hot Rats (and the early Mothers) was “instrumental” in forming my adult musical tastes. I can’t pass over a touchstone in my life. It’s not only the music – it’s what else was going on in my life at the time – clumsy teenage sex and drug experimentation. Good times.


One again the Zappa Family Trust leading the way how *not* to do a box set by including a pointless board game.

Having so far this year stumped up for ‘In New York’ in a ludicrous manhole tin inside a cardboard box. & currently eagerly(?) awaiting Halloween ’73 with a stupid mask & scary hands, I hope that I have the self-control to leave this one alone.

Murray P Robbins

Hi John,

I forgot to add the New York manhole cover in my list of stupid decisions made by the ZFT (my lengthy rant is still awaiting publication by Paul).

I not sure whether to say thanks to you for reminding me of yet another tatty and costly packaging decision that compromises my Zappa experience.




Hi Murray

You’re welcome. Great rant & I agree with all of it. Just imagine how great it would be to have shelves full of Zappa albums done the same way as the Tull releases…

Johnny T

NO! Zappa was unique and the ZFT are keeping that alive with the way they are packaging these deluxe editions. Who needs cookie cutter crap that all looks the same?

Kevin from Edinburgh

And as per usual, the price in the UK is around 30% higher than the price in the US.

Paul – do you know why this is? I realise that there are price differentials for many things, not just music, but given the centralised manufacturing , presumably more-or-less equitable distribution costs, and a ‘global’ marketplace, why should the UK invariably be more expensive than elsewhere?

I’m no expert on international economies so the answer may be straightforward….


Have you never heard the expression “Rip Off Britain”?

Kevin from Edinburgh

Yes, many times. I’m trying to work out what the justification for the higher price is.

From Paul’s reply, one can infer that the labels/distributors place a higher price in the UK than other countries. Is it really as simple as saying that they do so because they can (i.e., get away with it)? Or something else?