On Track … Captain Beefheart. Every album, every song by Opher Goodwin

Publisher ‏: ‎ Sonicbond Publishing
Date of Publication : 26 August 2022
Language : ‎ English
Paperback‏ : ‎ 160 pages
ISBN-10 : ‎ 1789522358
ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1789522358
Dimensions : ‎ 14.96 x 1.24 x 20.57 cm

Extract from blurb:

Few Bands are as influential. The Beatles, The Fall, PJ Harvey and Tom Waits all pay homage, while The Magic Band have inspired a myriad of tribute bands and created a mythology like no other. This book sets the history of the band in context, analysing every track and interpreting the music with its poetic content. It is essential reading for diehard fans and the Beefheart-curious alike

Review by Steve Froy

I don’t know how many books there are in the ‘On Track’ series but it has been going a while and is a well established brand. It was only a matter of time before the Captain received the ‘On Track’ treatment. I’d even thought of doing it myself but never seemed to find the time but I was pleased to see that my good friend and fellow Beefheart fan, Opher Goodwin, has taken it on.

Opher has been a fan since the early days of the band and was one of the lucky few to see the band perform their legendary 1968 gig at the Middle Earth. He’s lived through the ups and downs of Don’s career and recorded output and he brings this perspective to bear on his analysis of each track and album.

I know some people don’t see the point of books like this, as far as they’re concerned they know the albums and all the tracks so why bother reading about them too. If that’s your view, then fair enough but I have to disagree with you. Sometimes you can be too familiar with the music and a book like this gives you the chance to distance yourself slightly and see it through someone else’s eyes, giving you the chance to reassess what you think about the songs and maybe seeing them afresh.

All the studio albums are included plus the few official live releases. Opher also looks at some of the many unofficial live and outtake albums, as well as Magic Band members solo efforts, the Magic Band reunion albums and a few of the many cover versions of the Beefheart songbook.

Opher takes you on a wild ride. His writing style is highly enthusiastic and entertaining which amazingly he maintains throughout the book. The only time the book doesn’t work so well is in the section about compilation albums which is mainly lists of tracks and doesn’t have much in the way of the author’s comments.

Factually there is little to quibble about, a couple of mistakes have crept in despite proof-reading but these are probably due to the publisher not correcting the proof.

Overall this is a nice addition to the Beefheart library, and isn’t very expensive so why not treat yourself to a copy.



  1. Of course I want this book – but please tell me that it is available from somewhere other than Amazon.

  2. Good news – Book Depository sells it in the UK.

  3. Thanks Steve!! I’ve only just discovered this! You should have told me!

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