[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Shiny Beast[/alert_box] Bat chain Puller Bat chain puller Puller, puller A chain with yellow lights That glistens like oil beads On its slick smooth trunk That trails behind on tracks, and thumps A wing hangs limp and retrieves Bat chain puller Puller puller Bulbs shoot from its snoot And vanish into darkness It whistles like a root snatched from dry earth Sodbustin’ rakes with grey dust claws Announces its coming into morning This train with grey tubes That houses people’s very thoughts and belongings. Bat chain puller Puller puller This train with grey tubes that houses people’s thoughts, Their very remainsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Go back ten years ago, sunbeams dancin’ round Go back ten yeas ago, sunbeams dancin’ down Autumn’s child Autumn’s child Autumn’s child got a loophole ’round her finger, Halo rings her head, Corn husk hair makes me linger Her carriage fair meets my dare, A marraige share greets my stare Gonna be m’ wife, she sang, she said Gonna be m’ wife, gonna spice my life, she said Go back ten years ago, sunbeams everywhere Go back ten years ago, sunbeams fill the air Harvest moon be nimble Apple dunking tremble Fish pond streaks of kind Found the child I hadRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Doc At The Radar Station[/alert_box] You used me like an ashtray heart Case of the punks Right from the start I feel like a glass shrimp in a pink panty With a saccharine chaperone Make invalids out of supermen Call in a “shrink” And pick you up in a girdle You used me like an ashtray heart Right from the start Case of the punks Another day, another way Somebody’s had too much to think Open up another case of the punks Each pillow is touted like a rock The mother / father figure Somebody’s had too much to think SendRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Shiny Beast[/alert_box] Apes-Ma, Apes-Ma Remember when you were young Apes-Ma? And you used to break out of your cage? Well you know that you’re not Strong enough to do that anymore now And Apes-Ma… The little girl that Named you years ago died now And you’re older Apes-Ma Remember when she named you And it was in the paper Apes-Ma? Apes-Ma, Apes-Ma You’re eating too much And going to the bathroom too much Apes-Ma And Apes-Ma, your cage isn’t getting any bigger Apes-Ma (1976) Originally made available at Justin Sherill’s Home Page Replica.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Trout Mask Replica[/alert_box] White ants runnin’ Black ants crawlin’ Yella ants dreamin’ Brown ants longin’ All those people longin’ to be free Uhuru ant man bee uhuru ant man bee All the ants in God’s garden they can’t get along War still runnin’ on It’s that one lump uh sugar That they won’t leave each other ‘lone Why do yuh have t’ do this You’ve got t’ let us free Why do yuh have t’ do this You’ve got t’ set us free Why do yuh have t’ do this You’ve got t’ set us free Why do yuh have t’Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Long before song before song blues Babbette baboon [repeat] abba zaba zoom Two shadows at Noon, Babbette baboon [repeat] Comin’ over pretty soon, Babbette baboon Run, run, catch her soon, draft of dawn, sunshine on Babbette baboon Mother say son, she say son, you can’t lose, with the stuff you use Abba Zaba go-zoom Babbette baboon [repeat both] Run, run, morning soon, Indian dream, tiger moon Yellow bird fly high, tabacco sky, two shadows at noon Babbette baboon gonna catch her soon Babbette baboon Song before song before song blues Babbette baboon abba zaba zoom [repeat both] TwoRead More →

My musings on the meaning of the lyrics for that particular song aren’t my personal interpretation, I’m merely relaying what Don Van Vliet told me that the lyrics are all about. So, it’s the author/composer’s own interpretation of what the words mean, not mine. Meaning The words are about human evolution, which Don somehow seemed to feel took place on the Indian subcontinent – not Eastern Africa. He apparently wasn’t familiar with L.S.B. Leakey and his various progeny and kin – or their discoveries at Olduvai Gorge. “Babbette Baboon” is an ape-like creature on the brink of “comin’ over pretty soon” to a more humanoid existence – if she canRead More →

Rhino’s Captain Beefheart career retrospective. Track list Disc one: Diddy Wah Diddy Frying Pan Electricity Abba Zaba Beatle Bones ‘ N’ Smokin’ Stones Safe As Milk Moonlight On Vermont Ella Guru Old Fart At Play Sugar ‘N’ Spikes Orange Claw Hammer My Human Gets Me Blues China Pig Lick My Decals Off Baby Woe Is Uh Me Bop I Wanna Find Me A Woman That’ll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go The Smithsonian Institute Blues I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby Click Clack Grow Fins When It Blows Its Stacks Little Scratch Big Eyed Beans From Venus Golden Birdies Disc two: Nowadays ARead More →

4/9/98 Update From Dean Blackwood at Revenant: Hey guys. Things are still coming together nicely. John French is busy on the bulk of the notes and I am attempting to wrap up the recordings end of things. Some cool surprises in the works. We are looking for good quality versions of the following live performances from any era: Suction Prints Pompadour Swamp Peon Dali’s Car Old Fart Well Dust Blows Apes Ma Odd Jobs Best Batch Yet Owed T’Alex And, since the BBC has erased its tapes and Peel himself has no tapes, we are auditioning versions of the Peel Sessions (all 8 tracks) toRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review appeared in the16th July 1999 edition of The Chicago Reader. Hey! It even mentions the Radar Station! Many thanks to Jeff Economy for sending this along, and to Monica for her kind permission to reproduce it here.[/alert_box] My primal memories involve Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, whose difficult masterpiece Trout Mask Replica came out the same year I did. My father was (and is) a Beefheart fan, and I vividly recall my response to that record. With its eruptions and churnings, its stops and starts, its self-interruptions and declamations, its epic unrelentingness-right down to the idiot stare of that top-hatted deadRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the 20th July 1999 edition of The Village Voice. Many thanks to Peter Warner for sending this along to me.[/alert_box] Since the 1969 release of Trout Mask Replica, the artist dubbed Captain Beefheart has incarnated the gold standard by which “weirdness” in rock has been calibrated. And with a suitcase like that to lug around, no wonder Don Van Vliet put out his 12th and final album in 1982, before retiring to the high desert or coastal mountains or wherever to paint his broad-stroke nature abstractions and fade away. Nevertheless, any band with stuttered beats, hyperactively ping-ponging blues guitars,Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review first appeared in the 16th July 1999 edition of The Guardian’s Friday Review.[/alert_box] Legend has it that before he reinvented rock music, Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, sold vacuum cleaners for a living, wandering the scattered trailer communities of the Mojave Desert in search of potential customers. Once, a trailer door opened and Aldous Huxley, author and LSD pioneer, appeared before Vliet’s disbelieving eyes. Stunned, Beefheart pointed at the vacuum cleaner and uttered the immortal words, “This machine sucks” before disappearing into the desert to pursue his true vocation. The 78 “songs’, – and I use the word in its loosestRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review appeared in the 30th June edition of the Philadelphia Weekly, 1999. Many thanks to Chris Previti for sending it along.[/alert_box] More than any other artist, Don Van Vliet – aka Captain Beefheart – defined Surrealism in rock ‘n’ roll. Like Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte, his work was based on startling juxtapositions – a blues riff suddenly shifting into free jazz, three different rhythms playing against one other with vocals bellowing above. For almost 20 years, Beefheart released a series of brilliant, gleefully absurd albums that often hinted at deeper, far darker truths. “Dachau Blues,” for example, from his 1969 masterpiece TroutRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review first appeared in the May 1999 edition of The Wire and was written by Byron Coley. Many thanks to Byron for his permission to reproduce it here, and for sending it along.[/alert_box] Although it was their third released album, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band arrived with 1969’s sprawling Trout Mask Replica. The ability to appreciate its seemingly random, all-but-impenetrable 2LP length seemed beyond the ken of all but the most hardcore weirdos. Those who were able to decode Trout Mask felt that they had passed a grueling test. Few who were able to successfully complete this mission could resist the impulseRead More →

After spending over a quarter of a century sitting in cardboard boxes, being furtively traded between dedicated fans; at long last the secret history of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band is now available on the record shop shelves, jostling for space with Ricky Martin. The Magic Band only produced 12 albums in its 15 year existence, and now suddenly we have an extra five CDs of hidden treats, complete with unseen photographs, a selection of live videos on an enhanced CD, and extensive revealing notes in a 112 page book. The package itself is extraordinary. Designed as a miniature replica of an old 78Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This brief article appeared in the 1st October 1998 edition of Rolling Stone.[/alert_box] “We’re in the luxurious position of putting out eactly what we want,” says Dean Blackwood. The Nashville attorney, along with guitarist John Fahey, is the co-proprietor of Revenant, a re-issue label dedicated to what he calls “raw musics.” During the last year, they’ve unearthed treasures by avant-garde improvisors, Cecil Taylor and Derek Bailey, rocabilly legend Charlie Feathers and the white country blues man, Dock Boggs. How does Revenant pay the rent? “John came into some money through an inheritance,” says Blackwood. “Instead of doing something sensible like buiding a house, heRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the April 1998 edition of Spin. Not even mentioning Beefheart, it is a general piece about the releases of the record label Revenant, who released the Captain Beefheart rarities box set ‘Grow Fins’.[/alert_box] Since Smithsonian Folkways’ ballyhooed reissue of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, many of our world’s duller knobs seem to have been reborn as experts in roots music. So it’s a safe bet that spasms of delight will greet the latest release on avant-acoustic guitarist John Fahey’s label Revenant: Dock Boggs’ Country Blues (RVN 205), which collects the complete early (circa 1927-29) recordings by theRead More →

The cover for the Grow Fins promo, featuring the magic man himself. If his vacuum cleaner sales routine was as impressive as this then who could blame Aldous Huxley for being tempted? This was released by Revenant in March 1999 as a taster to the Grow Fins set, and is very tasty indeed. Track list Below is the track-listing as it appears on the inside front sleeve. Sampler review from April 1999 The sound quality is by far superior to the majority of the bootlegs circulating which feature this material, and the material itself is stunning, boasting many gems which I have never heard before.Read More →