[alert_box type=”info”]The Radar Station’s review of The Dust Blows Forward – Rhino’s Captain Beefheart career retrospective.[/alert_box] 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.Read More →

After spending over a quarter of a century sitting in cardboard boxes, being furtively traded between dedicated fans; at long last the secret history of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band is now available on the record shop shelves, jostling for space with Ricky Martin. The Magic Band only produced 12 albums in its 15 year existence, and now suddenly we have an extra five CDs of hidden treats, complete with unseen photographs, a selection of live videos on an enhanced CD, and extensive revealing notes in a 112 page book. The package itself is extraordinary. Designed as a miniature replica of an old 78Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]My review for Buddha’s two classic Beefheart albums repackaged, re-mastered and ready to take off into the wind.[/alert_box] It was with some excitement that I first heard about these re-releases, perfectly timed to coincide with what appears to be a significant increase in interest in the magic music of the Magic Band from both music consumers and the industry itself. Just as we are all about to Grow Fins and feast upon a host of previously unreleased music from Revenant, here are two Magic Band classics which, although hardly wilting anyway, have benefited from having a serious breath of fresh air breathed into them.Read More →

This is indeed a curious universe, but its cosmological clockwork has finally fallen into place; or it has for me at least. I’ve been listening to this kind of stuff for years but never really knew what to call it, and at last I now know: it is the music of the outsider. I remember when I was a teenager, a few friends were going on a trip around Europe. Finances had prevented me from going too so, as the next best thing, I recorded a tape for them to take my place. The tape would be so unusual that it would inevitably make anRead More →

In recent years it seems that every aspiring writer capable of pressing keys on a word processor has felt obliged to publish their attempt at telling the Captain Beefheart story. Many of these writers have skilfully bypassed the entire research stage and plunged headlong and brain-free into the telling of a story that they know little about, occasionally with hilariously half-baked results. Those of us who have gained a perverse enjoyment from these humdrum handbooks should prepare themselves for a severe disappointment – Mike Barnes can not only write, but he also knows what he’s talking about. Facetiousness aside, this is a marvellous read. CaptainRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Otis Owens e-mailed me in early April ’98, putting me straight about a few things, and I soon realised it would be worth getting him to write something for the site. He agreed to answer a few questions, though at the time I didn’t expect the result to be quite so fascinating.[/alert_box] First, some background info… You said that you worked for Zappa… how long was this for and what did you do? I worked for John Williams (Art Director) for Frank’s Bizarre/Straight records. I began in 1968 and was there until August 1970. John hired me because my style was very similar toRead More →

Mode 7 Media Ltd

I have recently taken the plunge and become a freelance web designer and information architect. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now the opportunity has arisen, I’m delighted. My new professional website is now live (though still a little rough around the edges) and available at www.mode7media.co.uk I’ve just published my first blog post there called Keep It Simple Smarty-Pants about the importance of simplicity on the web. If you or anyone you know needs the services of a freelance web designer / information architect please do get in touch, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Now that IRead More →

Don’s gallery have announced that he died today. I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and especially his wife Jan. We will miss you greatly, Don. Into the sun in my glider There’s a shadow beside her Up ‘n’ down through the blues Clouds give me my silent cues I’m up in my glider With a shadow beside her It begins to rain on her window pain Up in my glider There’s no shadow beside her Thundering ‘n’ lightning Gettin’ pretty frightenin’ I feel like an outsider Then the sun shows through ‘n’ right on cue There’s a shadow beside herRead More →