Recording details

Date – 1978
Studio – Automatt, San Francisco
Producer – Don Van Vliet, Pete Johnson
Engineer – Glen Kolotkin, Jeffrey Norman


  • Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica, sax
  • Jeff Moris Tepper – guitar
  • Richard Redus – guitar, bass, accordion
  • Eric Drew Feldman – bass, piano, synthesiser
  • Bruce Fowler – trombone, air bass
  • Robert Arthur Williams – drums
  • Art Tripp – marimba, percussion
See Leach’s Listings for a thorough guide to who did what on Shiny Beast, compiled for the Radar Station by Jasper Leach.

Track list

  1. The Floppy Boot Stomp
  2. Tropical Hot Dog Night
  3. Ice Rose
  4. Harry Irene
  5. You Know You’re A Man
  6. Bat Chain Puller
  7. When I See Mommy I Feel Like a Mummy
  8. Owed T’ Alex
  9. Candle Mambo
  10. Love Lies
  11. Suction Prints
  12. Apes-Ma

Album overview from Graham Johnston

What a comeback: some of Beefheart’s finest songs appear on this stunning album which overflows with its sly, joyous fun and unique Beefheartian take on pop.

It’s more good-timey than perhaps any other Beefheart album: Tropical Hot Dog Night, You Know You’re A Man and Candle Mambo will have you dancing on the tables. Bat Chain Puller and When I See Mommy I Feel Like A Mommy are perhaps the strangest songs you will ever hear which can be enjoyed on their first listen while simultaneously splitting your head in two. Harry Irene almost carries a fairly conventional tune and is all the more charming for it.

I’ve heard Owed T’Alex a million times, but it still sets my spine a-tingling on every listen. You Know You’re A Man makes me break out in a sweat.

Of his excellent three final albums, this is by far my favourite. Every facet of Beefheart you could imagine is here on Shiny Beast and, along with Clear Spot and Safe As Milk, makes an excellent introduction to Beefheartland without the total reconditioning of the listener that Trout Mask and Decals perhaps require.

Thrilling and utterly triumphant.

Pictures from the record sleeve

Paper bag illustration from the back of the CD and record:

This illustration is from the CD booklet, also appearing as a black on yellow illustration on the CD itself:


Purchase Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)

Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) releases

View the Radar Station’s full information about the various editions of Shiny Beast 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.


  1. Steven Hall says:

    Unknown Friend.
    I, too, have listened to Owed T’Alex at least 100 times. Incredible. It gives me the chills.

  2. “Owed T’Alex” is very near the top of my list of all-time favorite songs by *any* artist. (Seriously, how many songs do you almost always listen to twice or three times in a row whenever you listen to it? That’s how OTA is for me.)

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