Sunday, August 28, 2016

Frank Zappa - Willie The Pimp

Sunday, time for a classic.

I'm a little pimp with my hair gassed back
Pair a khaki pants with my shoe shined black

Got a little lady ... walk the street
Tellin' all the boy that she cain't be beat

(That's the first part of the lyrics of todays tune.)

Today's tune "Willie the Pimp" is a blues rock song from Frank Zappa's 1969 album "Hot Rats". It features an idiosyncratic Captain Beefheart vocal and one of Zappa's classic guitar solos. It is 9 minutes and 16 seconds long on Hot Rats. It is the only track that is not instrumental on the album, though the track features a long guitar solo.

The song has also appeared on Zappa's Fillmore East - June 1971 and You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 albums.

The album title Hot Rats comes from a lyric of Willie the Pimp. The origin of the song was explained in a conversation Zappa recorded in 1969. This interview recording was later released as "The Story of Willie the Pimp" on the Zappa album Mystery Disc.

The song was ranked number 75 on the list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" of Rolling Stone

Hot Rats largely consists of instrumental jazz-influenced compositions with extensive soloing, the music sounds very different from earlier Zappa albums, which featured satirical vocal performances with extensive use of musique concrète and editing. Multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood is the only member of the Mothers to appear on the album and was the primary musical collaborator. Other featured musicians were Max Bennett and Shuggie Otis on bass, drummers John Guerin, Paul Humphrey and Ron Selico, and electric violinists Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Jean-Luc Ponty.

This was the first Frank Zappa album recorded on 16-track equipment and one of the first albums to use this technology. Machines with 16 individual tracks allow for much more flexibility in multi-tracking and overdubbing than the professional 4- and 8-track reel-to-reel tape recorders that were standard in 1969.

The album was dedicated to Zappa's newborn son, Dweezil Zappa. In February 2009, Dweezil's tribute band to his father's musical legacy, Zappa Plays Zappa, won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for their rendition of "Peaches en Regalia."

Frank Zappa - guitar, octave bass, percussion
Ian Underwood - piano, organus maximus, clarinet, saxophone
Captain Beefheart - vocals
Don "Sugar Cane" Harris - violin
John Guerin - drums
Max Bennet - bass

More info @

Official Frank Zappa Web

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