This review for the Zappa / Mothers / Beefheart collaboration originally appeared in the January 1976 edition of Creem.

A classic Cal Schenkel cover surrounds one of the most listenable Zappa / Mothers records since the old days, but anyone coming to this set to hear Beefheart will be semi-disappointed. Semi because he does a lot of singing on Bongo Fury, but what he’s singing are the same old Zappa lyrics, which deal with the same old Zappa hang-ups. It’s a strange experience to listen to the album’s first cut, “Debra Kadabra,” and hear Beefheart singing like Beefheart, but realize a little way into the song that he’s singing what is essentially a continuation of that ridiculous schtick about the poncho. Beefheart singing about pimples? Shudder.

Zappa’s stuff here features good playing, little talking, and fine singing from his new band. No noise, in other words. But I am still tired of his sourness. But the good Cap gets two recitations, and they so outshine Zappa’s sour bullshit that if I were Zappa I’d have left them off the album. “Sam With the Showing Scalp Flat Top” and “Man With the Woman Head” show that Beefheart still has a lot of good material nobody’s heard. Maybe the next album from this collaboration will reverse itself and have as much Zappa on it as this one has Beefheart. Yeah – more Beefheart and I’ll keep the next album.

2 Comments »

  1. the stikman says:

    The “Debra Kadabra” lyrics are about Don (and Frank) when they were in high school.

  2. Kris Martinez says:

    Sam with the showing scalp flat top,
    Particular about the point it made.
    Why, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper,
    This black juice came out on a hard shelled chin.
    And they called that ‘tobacco juice’.
    I used to fiddle with my back feet music for a black onyx.
    My entire room absorbed every echo.
    The music was . . . thud like.
    The music was . . . thud like.
    I usually played such things as rough-neck and thug.
    Opaque melodies that would bug most people.
    Music from the other side of the fence

Leave a Comment »




Popular topics:

2017 | Alex Snouffer | Anton Corbijn | Art Tripp | Bat Chain Puller | Benjamin Horrendous | Big Eyed Beans From Venus | Bill Harkleroad | Bluejeans and Moonbeams | Bongo Fury | Byron Coley | Cal Schenkel | Captain Beefheart The Biography | China Pig | Clear Spot | Collaborations | Creem Magazine | Dave Dimartino | Death | Denny Walley | Derek Laskie | Diddy Wah Diddy | Dirty Blue Gene | Doc At The Radar Station | Don Aldridge | Down Beat | Encounters in the wild | Eugene Chadbourne | Exhibitions | Frank Zappa | Gary Lucas | Gary Marker | Graham Johnston | Grow Fins | Henry Kaiser | Herb Bermann | Ice Cream For Crow | Interview | Jan Van Vliet | Jasper Leach | Jeff Cotton | Jerry Handley | Jimmy Carl Black | John French | John Lennon | John Peel | Knoedler and Co | Kristine McKenna | Legendary A&M Sessions | Lester Bangs | Lewis Taylor | Lick My Decals Off Baby | Los Angeles Times | Magic Band reunion | Mark Boston | Michael Eivaz | Michael Traylor | Michael Werner Gallery | Mike Barnes | Mirror Man | Mojo Magazine | New York Times | Nulsh | Old Fart At Play | Orange Claw Hammer | Orange Claw Hammer (band) | Outtake | Pachuco Cadaver (tribute album) | Pamela Des Barres | Phonograph Record Magazine | Retirement from music | Revenant | Rhino Handmade | Robert Palmer | Robyn Hitchcock | Rolling Stone | Ry Cooder | Safe As Milk | Shiny Beast | Sounds | Spotlight Kid | Steal Softly Thru Snow | Steve Froy | Strictly Personal | Sugar 'N Spikes | Sundazed | The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart | The Dust Blows Forward | The Guardian | The Independent | The Lost Episodes | The Wire | Through The Eyes Of Magic | Tom Waits | Tragic Band | Trout House | Trout Mask Replica | Unconditionally Guaranteed | Victor Hayden | Wha?
Captain Beefheart Radar Station - about us