All the compilations, divided into three categories: the absolute must haves, the interesting ones and the pointless ones. Each category is listed in date order.

The absolute must-haves

sunzoomspark-front-smallSun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972

4 CD set of 3 remastered albums plus an album of outtakes. A must have (with reservations!)

Recorded: 1970-72
Released: 2014
See full Sun Zoom Spark info

Grow Fins: Rarities 1965-1982

5 CD set of unreleased gems, including the Trout Mask Sessions recordings and excellent exhaustive notes from John French.

Recorded: 1965-82
Released: 1999
See full Grow Fins info

The Dust Blows Forward

Excellent full career retrospective. A good introduction to the Magic Band and a superb selection of highlights and rarities for the rest of us.

Recorded: 1966-82
Released: 1999
See full Dust Blows Forward info

The interesting ones

I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain’t Weird

Strictly Personal out-takes without the effects and overdubs. Great stuff, made redundant by the expanded releases of Safe As Milk and Mirror Man Sessions

Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1992
See full I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain’t Weird info

It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper

A vinyl only collection of outtakes from the ‘Wrapper’ sessions.

Recorded: 1967
Released: 2008
See full It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper info

The pointless ones

Beefheart File

Complete doubling of Safe As Milk and Mirror Man.
Recorded: 1967 / 68
Released: 1977
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

Music In Sea-Minor

10″ album featuring six tracks from SAM and two from MM.
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1983
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

Top Secret

Five tracks from SAM and two from MM.
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1984
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

Abba Zaba

Dutch release featuring five tracks from SAM and two from MM.

Recorded: 1967 / 68
Released: 1988
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

Captain Beefheart At His Best

SAM with it’s track order reshuffled. I wonder why.
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1989
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

The Best Beefheart

All of SAM and three tracks from MM.
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1990
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

zigzagwanderer-the collectionZigZag Wanderer The Collection

Another pointless release featuring all SAM tracks in wrong order, hopefully the last.
Recorded: 1967
Released: 1991
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

ZigZag Wanderer The Best of the Buddah Years

Eight SAM tracks plus two from MM and four from I may be hungry….
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1996
See SAM / MM Combinations & Track Reorderings for more info

A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond

Shoddy compilation with spoken-word pieces edited in-between songs. Nasty.
Recorded: 1974-82
Released: 1993
See full A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond info

Electricity

Compilation of earlier material from SAM, and MM Sessions.
Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 1998
See full Electricity info

The Best Of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band.

Yet another pointless compilation. Spans whole career except Safe As Milk, Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off Baby which kind of undermines the accuracy of the title. It’s subtitled The Virgin & Liberty Years.

Recorded: 1966-82
Released: 2002
See full Best Of Captain Beefheart info

Hot Head. Introducing…Captain Beefheart

Even more pointless repackaging of the above pointless compilation. At least it no longer claims to be a ‘best of’!

Recorded: 1968-82
Released: 2003
See full Hot Head info

The Buddah Years

A mix of tracks from the remastered Safe As Milk and Mirror Man Sessions.

Recorded: 1967-68
Released: 2006
See full Buddah Years info

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