For the first time in the seventeen years since the musical career of Captain Beefheart drew to a close a comprehensive retrospective collection has been released honouring his work. I am not normally one to buy ‘greatest hits’ albums, but the conspicuous absence of a good Magic Band compilation probing his recorded history has been surprising. Plus the fact that Captain Beefheart never had so much as a whiff of a hit is bound to make this a more interesting collection, especially if you are new to his music. It is a whopping collection as well – two CDs filled with 45 tunes – andRead More →

It takes an outsize ego to make great art. By all accounts that was the case with Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, leader of the quintessential cockeyed rock ‘n’ roll band. Creators of perhaps the most obscure critically revered rock record of all time, 1969’s “Trout Mask Replica,” California’s Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band epitomized rock’s version of art for art’s sake. Misunderstood – even openly reviled – in its day, the band has been an inspiration for such disparate musicians as PJ Harvey, Joan Osborne, Tom Waits and the late Jeff Buckley. This month, Revenant Records, a small, meticulous reissue label inRead More →

Now Little Scratch was a cat that never made the mat But he sure had a real good time All the chicks on the block used to watch his pockets flop But they never heard the ring of a coin Well he was tattered and thin But all of the men Were jealous of his natural charm You could always see him on the street With a beautiful dish on each arm Jealous of his natural charm Well he never had a dime But he sure made time He had a beautiful dish on each arm Well he was tattered and thin But all ofRead 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 →

Oh, the yin and yang of it all. At the exact moment the music industry is overrun with homogenized teen harmonisers, along comes a grizzled, determinedly weird voice from the deep vault, bellowing a sloppy counterattack to all that manufactured cheer. It’s Captain Beefheart, superhero of the surreal, right on cosmic cue. More than 35 years after Beefheart (the nom de rock of Don Van Vliet) and his Magic Band began sending psychotropic messages from the exotic outposts along rock’s fringe, his category-defying music is about to experience an unlikely rebirth, courtesy of catalogue projects on three different labels. The recordings – a five-disc boxRead More →