Captain Beefheart Album by Album thread *

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by vinyl diehard, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. vinyl diehard

    vinyl diehard Two-Channel Forever Thread Starter

    I searched around the site and couldn't find an album by album thread for CB.
    Any interest from the members for this? I would be glad to steer it.
  2. vinyl diehard

    vinyl diehard Two-Channel Forever Thread Starter

    While the forum members consider my offer, here's some history from Wiki on the Captain.

    Don Van Vliet (January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band (1964–1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. His music integrated elements of Delta blues, free jazz, rock, the avant-garde, and contemporary experimental composition with his surrealist wordplay, powerful singing voice, and wide vocal range. Beefheart was also known for often constructing myths about his life and for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians.

    An artistic prodigy in his childhood, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste during his teen years in Lancaster, California, and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with musician Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated. He began performing with his Captain Beefheart persona in 1964 and joined the original Magic Band line-up, initiated by Alexis Snouffer, the same year. The group drew attention with their cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy", which became a regional hit. It was followed by their acclaimed debut album Safe as Milk, released in 1967 on Buddah Records. After being dropped by two consecutive record labels, they signed to Zappa's Straight Records. As producer, Zappa granted Beefheart unrestrained artistic freedom in making 1969's Trout Mask Replica, which was ranked 58th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Beefheart followed this up with the album Lick My Decals Off, Baby, released in 1970. In 1974, frustrated by lack of commercial success, he released two albums of more conventional rock music that were critically panned, Unconditionally Guaranteed and Bluejeans & Moonbeams; this move, combined with not having been paid for a European tour, and years of enduring Beefheart's abusive behavior, led the entire band to quit. Beefheart eventually formed a new Magic Band with a group of younger musicians and regained contemporary approval through three final albums: Shiny Beast (1978), Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982).

    Van Vliet has been described as "one of modern music's true innovators" with "a singular body of work virtually unrivalled in its daring and fluid creativity." Although he achieved little commercial or mainstream critical success, he sustained a cult following as a "highly significant" and "incalculable" influence on an array of new wave, punk, post-punk, experimental and alternative rock musicians. Known for his enigmatic personality and relationship with the public, Van Vliet made few public appearances after his retirement from music in 1982. He pursued a career in art, an interest that originated in his childhood talent for sculpture, and a venture which proved to be his most financially secure. His expressionist paintings and drawings command high prices, and have been exhibited in art galleries and museums across the world.

    Van Vliet died in 2010, having suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years.
    tables_turning and CrazyCatz like this.
  3. grapenut

    grapenut Forum Resident

    I admire(?) anyone who can sit and listen to a whole Beefheart album.
    Whay, Sternodox, Galactus2 and 2 others like this.
  4. Sure!
    bagstiv likes this.
  5. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

    Trout Mask has more than can be contained in a thread (or universe). Sorry, it's just physics.
  6. Farthingscat

    Farthingscat Forum Resident

    I feel I should like him but despite numerous efforts (Trout, Safe and greatest hits) it just ain’t working for me.....
    Chemguy likes this.
  7. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Forum Resident

    You should try listening to Merzbow.
    JumpingBean and Dahabenzapple like this.
  8. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident

    Great idea. Do it!

    Man, I don't expect Trout Mask Replica to be anybody's Christmas morning record; but Safe As Milk is eeeeeeeeeasy, great listening....
    Jack Keck, adad, WillieDaPimp and 4 others like this.
  9. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

    I was just listening to "Radar Station" and "Blue Jeans and Moonbeams" last night in bed. Hell yes, I'm on board for this.
    Jack Keck, Sternodox and greenoort like this.
  10. Rne

    Rne Sufferin' succotash!

    I'd definitely like a Beefheart album-by-album thread :agree:
  11. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident

  12. SquaRoots

    SquaRoots The North Star Grassman

    Laniakea Superba
    Let's go abbazabbazoo
    Topcheeseman likes this.
  13. asdf35

    asdf35 Forum Resident

    Austin TX
    Surprised there isn't one already.

    Can someone start things out with info on the early '64(?) Zappa/Beefheart collaborations (please, someone!), since I still don't know much about that. I've long-since forgotten whatever info I read in various books.

    Diddy Wah Diddy '66!
  14. Phil Tate

    Phil Tate Forum Resident

    South Shields
    I pity anyone who can't!
  15. Morton LaBongo

    Morton LaBongo Forum Resident

    Manchester NH
    Mmm hmm, yeah I'd be up for an "album by album" and general Captain Beefheart & Band thread. I have Trout Mask, Shiny Beast, Safe as milk, Lick My Decals, Bluejeans & Moonbeams, Evening w./Zappa & Beefheart, and Clear Spot. Definitely a very interesting guy/band! I can't claim to be a aficianado but I do listen to his music somewhat regularly and find it... well... challenging and fun. My first introduction to Beefheart was through Zappa, with the Real Frank Zappa Book and Hot Rats, which features Beefheart doing vocals on one song. The Zappa book mentions Beefheart quite a few times and gives the background on the supposed origin of his name and his early life. Not too long after buying Hot Rats, Rolling Stone came out with an issue that listed Trout Mask as one of the best albums of the past 20 years (this was 1987, so it covered the years 67-87). I figured it must be spectacular if RS rated it so highly. Anyways, I hunted down a vinyl copy and was a bit shocked at what I heard. It was so... disjointed and weird! I wasn't sure if some of the "songs" were really music or if this was one of Zappa's elaborate jokes. Eventually though I started really liking some of the songs, particularly Ella Guru and Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish. Somehow, what Beefheart does makes sense in the context in which he's doing it, but it's probably not terribly surprising that his unique talents did not really have a lot of mainstream appeal to people who prefer "moon in June" love songs. My parents were not big fans of Beefheart but they would tolerate me occasionally playing Bluejeans and Moonbeams in the car. I've since learned that this is probably the least-liked album of his among Beefheart fans. Still, though, I find it pretty interesting and it is probably his most "mainstream" work.
    T'mershi Duween and listner_matt like this.
  16. vinyl diehard

    vinyl diehard Two-Channel Forever Thread Starter

    Not that hard. Safe as Milk is a great introduction. I will start this thing going in a couple of hours!
  17. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    My favorite album of Beefheart's aside from Safe as Milk and Decals would have to be I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain't Weird. It's a compilation of the material recorded between SAM and Trout Mask Replica. Basically what became Strictly Personal without all the added effects and phasing. It's a perfect companion to Mirror Man which came from the same sessions. Most of the same tracks appear on the deluxe editions of SAM and Mirror Man, but they sound better and flow better on this compilation, IMHO.

    I feel like that 1968 version of the Magic band is what a muddy swamp in Middle Earth would sound like if it came to life and started making music. The band just slithers around and sounds really organic. I've never heard anything remotely like it. My two year old son loves it. He keeps asking for "Captain Bigfart!!"
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  18. The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man Forum Resident

    "How about starting with the 'Legendary A&M Sessions'?" said the spectator sheepishly watching from the sidelines...
  19. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

    Let's start with "Lost in a Whirlpool"!
  20. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Forum Resident

    I love Beefheart but his voice gets on my nerves if I'm not totally ready for him. I know I tend to gravitate towards the most "normal" of his albums (Safe As Milk, Lick My Decals, Spotlight Kid, Clear Spot). I also thought the RSD live album by the Magic Band from recent years was great too. No vocals, just music.
  21. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    Seems to me I can recall such a thread. I know his work inside out.
  22. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    How can that mother****er see?
    Leviethan, dlokazip and The Zodiac like this.
  23. Captain Keefheart

    Captain Keefheart Forum Resident

  24. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    That’s all accurate but it should be noted he added the ‘Van’ to his name later in life. He was born Don Glenn Vliet.
  25. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    My favorite period is the 1966-1970 material. I'll discuss a little as time permits.
    elaterium likes this.

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