[alert_box type=”info”]This article first appeared in the April 1999 edition of The Wire, prior to the release of the Grow Fins box-set. Many thanks to Mike for his permission to use it.[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart likened making music to going to the bathroom – it’s not something he wants to look back on. Here, Mike Barnes grills the Revenant label on the ethics of its ‘unauthorised’ CD retrospective that claims its rare unguarded moments reveal the true Beefheart. “Some of the most compelling moments in Captain Beefheart’s recorded legacy have been heard by just a handful of people.” So says Dean Blackwood, co-founder with John FaheyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Everything you need to know about Revenant’s box set of rare Beef.[/alert_box] The Grow Fins sleeve. Beautiful, isn’t it? The official Revenant blurb Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band set rock on its ear from 1965 until 1982, when leader Don Van Vliet retired from music. Engineering a mutant strain of musical DNA (tuff-ass garage punk R-n-B, extraterrestrial field hollers, austere “classical” miniatures, loping sea shanties, scorched-earth delta blues, free-blowing skronk, fat-bottom groove and post-everything clangor all found their way into the soup), CB&HMB are now regarded as one of the most original and consistently compelling bands ever waxed. The closest to a Best OfRead More →

A special vinyl edition of Grow Fins was released on Table Of The Elements containing six LPs, a small poster (pictured above) and a 24 page libretto (pictured below). The six LPs were released over a period of time as three double vinyl sets. The vinyl set libretto features all the notes and most of the pictures in the CD book and the CD set will not contain the poster. Each volume of the vinyl edition contains the same libretto printed in different colours – useful for anyone who only wants one or two of the volumes. The first pressing of the first volume wasRead More →

1982 UK Original on Virgin V2237 With lyric inner. 1982 German (Ariola Euro Pressing) on Virgin 204 957-320 With lyric inner. 1982(?) New Zealand Original on Virgin Records V2237 marketed by RTC Cover as standard issue with logo andRTC Marketed by RTC P.O. Box 3825, Auckland. Label is Virgin Red/Green but with different layout and MADE IN NEW ZEALAND. Has monochrome lyric insert with RTC logo as cover. Inner sleeve is plain paper. 1982 Australian Original on Virgin V2237 by CBS Records Australia Ltd. (CBS MX 201900/1) Normal Red/Green Virgin Label Promo with This record is manufactured for the purpose of promotion only. It remainsRead More →

[alert_box type=”cross”]Taken from November 1982’s Sweet Potato.[/alert_box] A premeditated Captain Beefheart album might seems a tad anachronistic to admirers of Cap’s staunch spontaneity and much of his new album is indeed of less-than-recent material. But the Beefheart bozos will be as relieved as I was when they slap this plentitude of typical warmth and depth onto their turntables. Yes, it is a masterpiece just as I predicted it would be and no, it matters not when Beef first composed these tunes. Even the ones dating back to the early seventies sound totally contemporary and would stand up in the best of company. There are onlyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the October 1982 edition of Musician.[/alert_box] It happens every two or three years. Captain Beefheart, easily rock’s most abused underdog, after fifteen years of beating his head against fame’s door, issues another of his brilliant, confounding vinyl missives – vivid demanding documents of colliding technicolor imagery, exhausting primal rhythms divided into bizarre fractious and alien instrumental eloquence and the critics cry “Breakthrough! Hitsville! This is the one!” The rock comics’ oracle has predicted Beefheart’s commercial triumph so many times it’s no wonder the AOR mind-slaves dismiss it as the empty bluster of a few dozen typewriting malcontents. But just maybe this timeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the 22nd September 1982 edition of The New York Times.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet, who is better known as Captain Beefheart, is still in the forefront of rock’s avant-garde, more than 15 years after the release of his first album. Although he has polished his music and changed the personnel of his Magic Band a number of times since the mid-1960’s, the broad outlines of his style were already in place the first time he entered a recording studio. They include fractured rhythms; dislocated country blues riffs; disjunct melodies and passages of counterpoint that sometimes recall Stravinsky; extravagantly gruff singing and croaking, andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From Sounds September 1982[/alert_box] TO THE casual observer, Captain Beefheart’s vibe must appear to be similar to the window blind painting he has created to adorn his latest batch of surreal surface barking. It looks and sounds a blur, right? No. You’ve got to scratch deep down to relieve this particular musical itch. You’ve got to get some of that dark paint under your fingernails. ‘Captain Beefburger’, as our illustrious Ed mockingly refers to him, wallows deep and silent for years shrouded by his own notoriety and then without warning, emerges into the musical gloom, armed with tunes and words of earthy energy thatRead More →

Recording details: Date – May/June 1982 Studio – Warner Brothers Recording Studios Producer – Don Van Vliet Engineer – Phil Brown Musicians Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica, sax, chinese gongs Jeff Moris Tepper – guitar Gary Lucas – guitar Richard Snyder – bass, marimba, viola Eric Drew Feldman – bass, piano Cliff Martinez – drums See Leach’s Listings for a thorough guide to who did what on Ice Cream For Crow, compiled for the Radar Station by Jasper Leach. Track list Ice Cream For Crow The Host The Ghost The Most Holy-O Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian Hey Garland I Dig Your Tweed Coat Evening Bell Cardboard Cutout SundownRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Compiled by Jasper Leach. If you can help with any further info, please get in touch.[/alert_box] All songs (unless noted differently) Produced by Don Van Vliet Engineered by Phil Brown Recorded (mixed and mastered) at Warner Brothers Recording Studios, North Hollywood, California Mastered by Phil Brown All music and words by Don Van Vliet (not Vleit, as the outside case states!) Note: This album is a very special one. The Magic Band was made up of entirely new musicians with the exception of Jeff Moris Tepper (also Richard Snyder had been on the “final” tour). The first part of the album (ICFC, Ghost, Semi,Read More →

1980 UK Original on Virgin V2172. 1980 German (Ariola Euro Pressing) on Virgin 202 870-320. 1980(?) New Zealand Original on Virgin Records V2172 marketed by RTC Cover as standard issue with logo and RTC Marketed by RTC P.O. Box 3825, Auckland. Label is Virgin Red/Green but with different layout and MADE IN NEW ZEALAND. Inner sleeve clear plastic. 1980 Australian Original on Virgin L37440(V2172) by Festival Records Pty. Australia White Label Test Pressing with Matrix SMX 56823/4 and VIRGIN VGL 37440 DOCK AT THE RADAR STATION CAPTAIN BEEFHEART block printed in black on labels. Cover has red sticker with This album contains language which mayRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]The source and date of this piece is unknown, athough the layout of the original looks like Sounds.[/alert_box] CAPTAIN BEEFHEART makes no mistakes, tells no lies. He is a painter, not a photographer. He doesn’t encapsulate, summarise, categorise, conceptualise, react. His music is pure, as pure as you like, not that it matters whether you like it or not. He is greedy, and selfish, not like a shopkeeper, but rather like a baby crapping on the floor. It isn’t a case of his music not being like anybody else’s, but the other way round. The other’s aren’t even real hacks. They are hacks inRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review was taken from the January 1981 Down Beat.[/alert_box] Of all musicians loosely considered rockers, Captain Beefheart is the most original. Because his music is a genre unto itself, it’s particularly difficult to describe. Analogy, the efficient critics tool, gets nowhere near the heart of Beefheart’s creations. Beefheart’s late ’60s work was virtually all self composed, and he taught it note by note, beat by beat, to his Magic Bands. This is probably still true; on Run Paint hear Bruce Fowler, occasional db Pro Session writer, whinny on trombone like a rabid equine. In the beginning, Beefheart relied heavily on blues forms andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Writer unknown, this first appeared in the 30th November edition of Circus.[/alert_box] As in Captain Beefheart’s best music over the past 14 years, at the cholesterol-filled heart of his new album there is one big, intriguing contradiction. The songs are crawling with grotesque lyrical imagery and bluesy, growling vocals over totally non-conventional music that all suggests a complete breakdown in our perception of things. Yet the weird part is, this is seldom music of despair or destruction. While some other, truly unconventional modern musicians call for elimination or speak of disillusion (Public Image or Lydia Lunch and 8 Eyed Spy), Beefheart’s music is moreRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the 28th September 1980 edition of The New York Times[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band probably would have been an anomaly had they burst on an unsuspecting world anywhere, at any time. Ironically, the Captain, whose real name is Don Van Vliet, grew up in Southern California and put together his first magic band in Los Angeles in the mid-60’s. Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and other future pop icons were singing folk music and their own sensitive ballads at the Troubadour, the Ash Grove offered pure folk and blues, and the Birds were setting Bob Dylan’s folk songs to rock-and-roll rhythms.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from 16th June 1994 Los Angeles Times[/alert_box] An American original through and through, Captain Beefheart (born Don Van Vliet in Lancaster, Calif.) was a profound influence on the cutting edge music of the ’70s and ’80s. Such New Wave artists as Pere Ubu, Devo and Public Image Ltd. owe a sizable debt to the quirky and challenging sounds of this iconoclast. Unfortunately, most of the listening public didn’t, and doesn’t, know Captain Beefheart from Captain Kangaroo. Beefheart albums were hailed by critics but shunned by commercial radio as being simply too weird for popular consumption. Indeed, it says a lot about the ratherRead More →

On 22nd November 1980 The Magic Band gave a storming performance of Ashtray Heart and Hot Head in front of a studio audience for Saturday Night Live. Ashtray Heart Hot Head According to Doug Stacey: “The person yelling “Shit!” at the end of the SNL performance was Radames Pera, the once child actor playing “Grasshopper” in the TV show “Kung Fu.” He was disgusted with the Beefheart performance. It was evidently his first exposure to Don’s music.” Robert Williams, the Magic Band drummer, commented on this heckling: “After the show we went to an after show party at a bar in Manhatten with the castRead More →

Recording details: Date – June 1980 Studio – Sound Castle Recording Studios, Los Angeles Producer – Don van Vliet Engineer – Glen Kolotkin, Mitchell Gibson Musicians: Don Van Vliet – vocals, chinese gongs, harmonica, sax, bass clarinet Jeff Moris Tepper – guitar Eric Drew Feldman – bass, synthsiser, mellotron, piano Robert Arthur Williams – drums Bruce Fowler – trombone John French – guitar, marimba, bass, drums Gary Lucas – guitar, french horn Track list Hot Head Ashtray Heart A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit Gets To A Diamond Run Paint Run Run Sue Egypt Brickbats Dirty Blue Gene Best Batch Yet Telephone FlavorRead More →