Captain Beefheart Discography: Beefheart Covers Collection – Part 5

Mark Lanegan Band

Clear Spot

2003 US CDEP Here Comes That Weird Chill (Methamphetamine Blues, Extras & Oddities) on Beggars Banquet Records

Ex-Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age frontman, Mark Lanegan has put his own band together. Originally intended as a single from the album this release has grown into an 8 track EP of session out-takes that includes a version of ‘Clear Spot’.

Thanks to Dave Crunelle for telling me about this one.

Andrew Lange

Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do

2008 live (unreleased)

Andrew Lange does a fine energetic one-man-band version, playing guitar, bass drum, snare drum and high-hat. It’s on Youtube if you want to take a look. Based in New Jersey he plays guitar with a band called Demon Jr who have also covered a Beefheart song

Amy LaVere

Candle Mambo

2011 CD Stranger Me on Archer Records

As far as I’m aware this is the first cover of this particular song to be released. Amy LaVere is beginning to build quite a reputation for herself on the Americana scene playing upright bass. On this she sings in a little girl voice with little emotion. The song itself does float along in an interesting way held together by drums and bass and cut through by treated guitar (?) and other electronics

Last Fair Deal

Harry Irene

2004 German CD Another Lucid Moment on R.U.M. Records/Buschfunk LZ20044

This German duo seem to mainly cover old blues stuff. Here they perform a very mellow and melodic take of Harry Irene. Cool.


The Last Front

Clear Spot

2009 live

A band from Boston make a good attempt at this song recorded at O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA

Check it out on Youtube –

The Levellers

Plastic Factory

1998 UK CD Bozos / Don’t You Grieve / Plastic Factory on China Records WOKCD2096
1998 UK 7″ Bozos / Plastic Factory on China Records WOK2096


A very nice picture disc for the vinyl release. Apart from the wailing violin instead of wailing harmonica, and a heavy bass hum, this is a pretty straight cover although it does have folk-rock undertones. Bit of a change from the usual stuff the Levellers attempt.

Be careful if looking for a copy of this as there is another ‘Bozos’ CD single release which does NOT include ‘Plastic Factory’ – it has a cover of The BeeGees ‘New York Mining Disaster’ instead.

Thanks to Simon Wall for letting me know about this one.

Matthew Lewis

Hot Head
Ice Rose
I’m Glad
Kandy Korn
Lick My Decals Off Baby
Little Scratch
My Human Gets Me Blues
Obeah Man
Tropical Hot Dog Night
25th Century Quaker
Upon The My Oh My
Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

2000 US CD/Tape Privately Released & Circulated

A young semi-pro musician from Atlanta and Beefheart fan Matthew Lewis has produced some stunning cover versions. Not only has he got the music right but he’s also managed to get the production ‘sound’ of many of the songs spot on. Some of these covers could easily fool people into thinking they’re out-takes or alternate versions from the original sessions.

He has also done versions of the Howling Wolf songs ‘Evil’ and ‘Somebody Walking In My Home’ that the Magic Band covered.

Check out the covers at Matthew’s
MySpace site

Lill Lindfors

Bluejeans & Moonbeams (in Swedish)

1975 Sweden vinyl Fritt Fram on Metronome MLP15.555
1975 Sweden vinyl Tillbakablick on Metronome MLP15.656

Blajeans och Stjarnljus! A straightforward cover of this song but it has been translated into Swedish. The only foreign language cover at the time. There have since been some others.

The Tillbakablick album is a ‘best of’ collection.

Lisa Christ Superstar

Plastic Factory

Great name! A revved up rocking rendering of Plastic Factory with distorted vocals breaking in for the chorus. Led by Lisa Cohen, the ‘jewess with the mostest’, this band have been described as ‘Motorhead with tits’!

This track is included on the Genus Records’ Mama
tribute album

Lithium X-mas

Zig Zag

19?? US CD Bad Karma on Lost Records LOST007

The title has been shortened but this is Zig Zag Wanderer. Sorry, but I have no info about this band

Gary Lucas

Oat Hate

2000 US CD Improve The Shining Hour. Rare Lumiere 1980-2000 on Knitting Factory Records KFW-265

A previously unissued Beefheart instrumental that appeared on this fascinating retrospective of Lucas’ career along with a live Magic Band track.

A carrot is as close… (live)
Evening Bell (live)
Suction Prints (live)

1988 tape – unknown venue – not officially released

Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do (live)

2000 webcast live at Dingwall’s, London for BBC radio ‘Mixing It’

Lucas started to play this but, unfortunately, decided to abort it. He has played it live (all the way through) at other shows though.

There are, however, many other live recordings of Gary during this tracks as it’s a regular feature on his setlist.


I Love You You Big Dummy

1978 UK 7″ Give Me Everything / I Love You You Big Dummy on Virgin Records VS237


1982 UK CD After The Fact on Virgin Records VM1
1982 US CD After The Fact on IRS CD70030
1990 UK CD Scree : rarities 1978-81 on Virgin Records CDOVD312
2000 UK CD Maybe It’s Right To Be Nervous Now on Virgin Records MAGBOX1

The 3CD retrospective, Maybe It’s Right To Be Nervous Now, includes two versions of ‘Dummy’; one is the original single, the other is from a John Peel radio session recorded in July 1978.

Apparently Don heard this cover and wasn’t impressed.

Howard Devoto takes some liberties with the lyrics but it must have been a favourite of his because he had also covered it when still with The Buzzcocks. And in 2009 the band reformed for a reunion tour on which they also played ‘Dummy’ … often as an encore.


Big Eyed Beans From Venus

2000 BBC Radio Session for John Peel Show



1975 UK vinyl Mallard on Virgin V2045
199? UK CD Mallard / In A Different Climate on Caroline Blue Plate CAROL 1897

The remains of the Magic Band who quit in 1974 got togther as Mallard and with financial help from Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull recorded an album of mainly originals. They did, however, also include this gentle and atmospheric version of the classic Beefheart instrumental although Don would probably not approve. He called them ‘a bunch of quacks’ and they gave the composer credit for Peon to Donald Vliet!
See the Mallard page for more info.

Married Monk

Observatory Crest

2004 French CD The Belgian Kick on Icidailleurs IDA025

A saxophone adds an interesting element to this cover by a French indie band. Midway through the song there’s an instrumental break with off-kilter drumming and some polite sax freak-out. Overall this has a certain charm to it.

Quincy McLean & The Smooth Bastards

I Love You You Big Dummy

1998 Australian CD Friends in Low Places on Swerve Records SWE009

A fine rollicking r’n’b style version of ‘Dummy’.

Thanks to Derek Laskie for digging this one up

Tolan Mcneil

Cardboard Cutout Sundown

2005 Canadian CD There Will Always Be a Salesman

Apparently this is the second solo self-made album from a guitarist based in Victoria, Canada – “Made for about 18 bucks on all kinds of noisy machines”. The first cover (that I know of) of this poem from Ice Cream For Crow, has been given a woozy organ and insistent bass accompaniment.

Medium Medium

Orange Claw Hammer

see C Cat Trance

The Membranes

Ice Cream For Crow

see Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Tribute Album

Men & Volts

Abba Zaba
Alice in Blunderland
Blabber ‘n Smoke
Clear Spot
Crazy Little Thing
Doctor Dark
Ella Guru
Grow Fins
Hobo Chang Ba
Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Moonlight on Vermont
Nowadays a Woman
Owed T’Alex
Smithsonian Institute
Space Age Couple
Spotlight Kid
Steal Softly Thru Snow
Sugar ‘n Spikes
Tropical Hot Dog Night
Veteran’s Day Poppy

Men & Volts started out as a Beefheart covers band in 1979/80 before deciding to write and record their own material. Check out their albums and you’ll hear echoes of the Beefheart influence.

None of their Beefheart material was released at the time. However, for a while David Greenberger was selling seven CDRs of material via his Facebook page. After being pestered by Bryon Coley he finally gave eleven of the recordings up for inclusion on a vinyl only release A Giraffe is Listening to the Radio in 2017.


Mercury Rev

Observatory Crest

2002 UK CDS Little Rhymes on V2 Records VVR5019788

Originally recorded at BBC’s Maida Vale Studio in 1999 for a John Peel session

Meridian Arts Ensemble

A Carrot Is As Close…
Apes Ma
Dropout Boogie
Ice Rose
Suction Prints
When I See A Mommy…

See the Meridian Arts Ensemble page for more info.

The Mock Turtles

Big Eyed Beans From Venus

see Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Tribute Album

The Mock Turtles originated from Manchester, England. The band’s lynch-pin was singer/guitarist/songwriter Martin Coogan. They had reasonable success between 1987 and 1991 which included a UK hit single, ‘Can You Dig It?’ (resurrected in 2003 for a mobile phone ad). They have also appeared on several of the Imaginary label’s popular tribute compilations (covering Syd Barrett’s No Good Trying, the Kinks’ Big Sky, the Byrds’ Why and the Velvet Underground’s Pale Blue Eyes).

It seems they knew of Beefheart but didn’t particularly know his songs – which, maybe, explains why Mr Zoot Horn Rollo is still asked to play that long lunar note on this cover!

Essra Mohawk w/ EDO

The Party Of Special Things To Do

This track is included on the Genus Records’ Mama
tribute album

The Mongrels

Plastic Factory

2007 unreleased

This live performance was recorded for posterity and can be found on YouTube –

The Mongrels from Canada play for fun, their motto being “None of the hits, all of the time!”

Motor Boys Motor

Grow Fins

1980 UK 7″ Drive Friendly / Fast ‘n’ Bulbous/Grow Fins on Silent Records SSH4


This cover starts off with the ‘squid eating dough’ quote and then kicks into a cool, almost reggae-like, version of ‘Fins’. They’ve added some of their own lyrics at the beginning too.

Apparently their album showed Beefheart influences. The band metamorphosed into the Screaming Blue Messiahs.

Muffin Men

Plastic Factory (live)

2002 CD Live @ The Cavern May 2002 on Muffin Records

Dropout Boogie (live)
Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do (live)
Willie The Pimp (live)

1999 CD God Shave The Queen on Muffin Records

Plastic Factory (studio)

1998(?) CD Muffinz on Muffin Records CD-056


Willie The Pimp

1993 CD Say Cheese and Thank You on Muffin Records

Dropout Boogie (live)
Plastic Factory (live)
Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do (live)
Willie The Pimp (live)

1999/2000 tape – various venues – not released

The Muffin Men are an excellent Zappa tribute band based in Liverpool who have had Jimmy Carl Black join them on vocals in the studio and on tour as well as Denny Walley sitting in with them. A feature of their live set is a Beefheart segment which usually includes the above tracks and ‘Evil’ (the Howlin Wolf song played by the early Magic Band).

The ‘Muffinz’ CD also includes a cover of ‘Poofters Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead’ (written by Frank Zappa) which Don sang with the Mothers on the Bongo Fury tour and with the Magic Band on the autumn/winter 1975 tour.


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