Recording details

Date – April 1967
Studio – Sunset Sound, Hollywood; RCA Studios, Hollywood
Producer – Richard Perry, Bob Krasnow
Engineer – Hank Cicalo, Gary Marker

Musicians

  • Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica, bass marimba
  • Ry Cooder – guitar, bass
  • Alex St Clair Snouffer – guitar, backing vocals
  • Jerry Handley – bass
  • John French – drums, backing vocals
  • Doug Moon – guitar (Sure Nuff only)
  • Milt Holland – percussion
  • Russ Titelman – guitar
  • Taj Mahal – percussion
  • Sam Hoffman – theremin

unknown horn players, harpsichord player and harpist.

See Leach’s Listings for a thorough guide to who did what on Safe As Milk, compiled for the Radar Station by Jasper Leach.

Track list

  1. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
  2. Zig Zag Wanderer
  3. Call On Me
  4. Dropout Boogie
  5. I’m Glad
  6. Electricity
  7. Yellow Brick Road
  8. Abba Zaba
  9. Plastic Factory
  10. Where There’s Woman
  11. Grown So Ugly
  12. Autumn’s Child

Album overview from Graham Johnston

This was the very first Beefheart album I heard, about 23 years after its first release. I doubt I could have had a better starting place.

It’s all very explosive yet accessible and there isn’t a slack tune on the album. “Autumn’s Child” is one of my very favourites of his songs – it is so hard not to start the whole album over again as “Autumn’s Child” closes. An essential album for any Beefheart fan, and any fan of garage, psychedelia, blues, r ‘n’ b, music, etc.

A 1999 re-issue features massively improved mastering and packaging, and also includes a selection of hard to find outtakes from the Plain Brown Wrapper / Mirror Man sessions.

The Safe As Milk bumper sticker

The original release of Safe As Milk came with a splendid free bumper sticker, as pictured above (thanks to Michael Stanowski).

John Lennon reportedly liked the album so much that he had two bumper stickers on display in his Weybridge home, beating George Harrison’s paltry single sticker (see below; thanks to Bob Harkleroad for the JL picture and Richard Morton Jack for the GH picture).

Reviews

Media appearances

  • 1968 Bouton Rouge – the legendary “Cannes beach” performance of Electricity and Sure ‘Nuff “N Yes I Do

Advertising

The Safe As Milk baby featured in the 17 June 1967 edition of Billboard:

Safe As Milk advert

Here’s another advertisement from World Countdown, July 1967:

Note the presence of Ry Cooder’s replacement, Gerry McGee (second from the left), who played with the Magic Band for only two live shows and did not appear on the record.

Thanks once more to Richard Morton Jack for sending both adverts along.

Purchase Safe As Milk

Safe As Milk releases

View the Radar Station’s full information about the various editions of Safe As Milk which have appeared over the years.

Related links

Help us out

If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.

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