Is it really 50 years since I first heard the Safe As Milk album? Well, yes it is and I still play it regularly. It still sounds fresh and exciting although probably not quite as ‘weird’ as it originally sounded to me all that time ago. Hey, Beefheart soon got much weirder but Safe As Milk is still one hell of a debut album. Not only was it a debut album but it was the first release on a brand new label, Buddah, set up by Kama Sutra Records. They must have had some faith in the band back then. It’s a pity the MtRead More →

One of those real collectors’ items for the Beefheart fan. Track List Side One Electricity (version 4) Electricity (version 5) Plastic Factory (version 2) Grown So Ugly (version 3) Where There’s Woman (version 2) Side Two Yellow Brick Road (version 2) Aba Saba [sic] (version 2) Autumn’s Child (version 2) Sure Enough[sic] (version 2) At some point during the recording of Safe As Milk, an acetate was pressed with various versions of some of the album’s songs. Was it for the band or the producers .. or someone else? Were these tracks seen as the (almost) finished versions and committing them to disc was one way of helping makeRead More →

The sound quality of Safe As Milk is something that has been discussed in one way or another quite a bit over the years. Why does it sound the way it does and which release is the best version available? Some (but not all) of the issues can be traced back to the way the album was recorded in the first place. Ry Cooder and Gary Marker have both been critical about the way Bob Krasnow and Richard Perry took the recording out the superior eight track Sunset Sound Studios and moved it to the four track RCA Studios to the detriment of the overall soundRead More →

Before the recording of the Safe As Milk album there was a studio session where a number of demos were recorded produced by Gary Marker which became known as the Safe as Milk Demos, or the Buddah Takes or the Disneyland Demos. March [?] 1967 Original Sound Studios, Los Angeles, California Producer: Gary Marker Track List Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do Yellow Brick Road Plastic Factory Electricity Abba Zaba (Follow links above to hear the songs on Youtube) The story behind the demos The band finally left the desert and moved to Los Angeles, to a rented place off Armor Road in Laurel Canyon, inRead More →

The Safe As Milk baby featured in the 27 May 1967 edition of Cashbox: … and in the 17 June 1967 edition of Billboard; This version has the ‘Beware!’ caption added. From World Countdown, June 1967: Here’s another advertisement from World Countdown, July 1967: One side of the inner sleeve of the album plus the lyrics to two songs, Sure Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do and Zig Zag Wanderer have been crammed together for this ad. From World Countdown, August 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 onRead More →

A look at the new book from Herb Bermann, Don’s co-writer on Safe As Milk. It’s not that long ago that many people thought that Herb Bermann was just another myth created by Don Van Vliet. Although he shared writing credits on eight songs on the Safe As Milk album, and, much later, one on Shiny Beast, he seemed to have disappeared off the radar. But the Radar Station kept looking for him … You can read about my and Derek Laskie’s search here. We were certain he was out there and Derek eventually managed to secure an exclusive interview with him for the RadarRead More →

On 27 January 1968 Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band performed on the beach at Cannes, France, in front of the Martinez Hotel. They were in Cannes to perform at the MIDEM music festival. The video of Electricity and Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do is a fantastic document of a tight band on the rise: This video can be found on the enhanced disc included with Grow Fins (Rarities 1965-1982) Band members Jeff Cotton Jerry Handley Don Van Vliet John French Alex St. Clair Snouffer Photographs The above photo was taken by photographer Herman Selleslags. Other shots were features on the 1970 French reissueRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Zig zag wanderer, zig zag wanderer (rep.) You can huff, you can puff You’ll never blow my house down You can zig, you can zag Ole house gonna stay, gonna stay around (rep.) You can jump, you can holler Never lose what ah found Heaven’s free, ‘cept for a dollar You can zig, you can zag Ole house gonna stay, gonna stay around (rep.) The zig zag wanderer had a zig zag child Zig zag traveller fathered mercy mild Found his Queen in Nature’s scene Quenched his thirst where he’d never been Zig zag wanderer (rep.) You can dance, you canRead More →

In 2001 Gary Marker wrote to say the following: Zig-Zag Wanderer was a specific reference to the popular rolling papers of the same name. (“You can huff, you can puff…” doesn’t ring any faint, tinkling bells and conjure up any smoke-drenched images?) I probably read this a while back on the Beefheart newsgroup: someone was confused about the bass line on “Zig-Zag Wanderer” and wanted to know if anyone had transcribed it. Well, one of the difficulties in figuring out the bass part on that song is probably because – and if you listen carefully you can hear it fairly clearly – there are threeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Around the corner the wind blew back I followed the yellow brick road – It ended up at black-board black, I was taught the gift of love Smilin’ children, painted joy Sunshine bright, girl n’ boy Bag a’ tricks, n’ candy sticks Peppermint kite for m’ toy Yellow brick black-board black Keep on walkin’ n’ don’t look back I walked along happy n’ them came back, I followed the yellow brick road, Lost n’ found, I saw y’ down, alter-bound , alter-bound, I was taught the gift of love. Yellow brick road took m’ load, Sunshine girl, sunshine girl, come t’Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Where there’s truth, a green valley steams cottonwood Where there’s peace, a little cloud of music gleams brotherhood Where there’s love, I’d be a boy if I could Where there’s woman, I’d hold her when I should Where there’s woman Where there’s woman honey wine Where there’s woman lovin’ time Where there’s love, for a lover of my kind Where there’s evil, a hounds tooth bears white Where there’s good, is where I’ll be tonight Where there’s love, there burns eternal light Where there’s woman, I’ll take her without spite Where there’s woman Where there’s woman honey wineRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Well I was born in the desert came on up from New Orleans Came upon a tornado, sun not in the sky Ah waited ’round all day with the moon sticking in m’eye Hey hey hey all you young girls wherever you’re at Ah got a brand new Cadillac, got a Ferrari too Sure ’nuff baby, sure ’nuff n’ yes I do Got the time t’ teach ya n’ I bet you’ll learn some too Got the time t’ teach ya n’ I bet you’ll learn some too Sure ’nuff baby, sure ’nuff ‘n yes I do Hey hey heyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Phos’phrous chimney burnin’ Mortal man’s a’ learnin’ Time n’ space a’ turnin’ Motor’s n’ men a’ churnin’ fac’trys no place f’ me boss man, let me be Wind n’ waves a’ blowin’ Mountain ‘n sky a’ showin’ Bee n’ flower growin’ Boy n’ girl a’ glowin’ fac’trys no place f’ me boss man let me be Mind n’ sight a’ goin’ Muscle n’ bone a’ showin” One thing sure I’m knowin’ Get a fire goin’ fact’ry’s no place for me boss man let me be boss man let me be boss man leave me be (1967)   Checked with Herb Bermann’sRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] (so sad baby so glad girl) When you first came round I was sad My head hung down I felt really bad Now I’m glad, glad about the good times that we’ve had Walked in the park kissed in the dark leaves burned just like just like a spark Now I’m glad glad about the good times that we’ve had You went away I cried night and day for what you done I had to pay Left me so blue I don’t know where to go or what to do please come back and let the sun shineRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] I got up this morning And I put on my shoes I tied my shoes Then I washed my face I went to the mirror For to comb my head I made a move Didn’t know what to do I tipped way forward Got to break and run Baby, this ain’t me Baby, this ain’t me Got so ugly I don’t even know myself I left Angola 1964 Go walking down my street Knock on my baby’s door My baby come out She asks me who I am And I say, honey, Don’t you know your man? SheRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Singin through you to me Thunder-bolts caught easily Shouts the truth peacefully E-LEC-TRI-CITY High-voltage man kisses night to bring the light to those who need t’ hide their shadow deed Go into bright, find the light and know that friends don’t mind just how you grow Bearded cowboy stains in black and reads dark roads without a map seeking: electricity, E-LEC-TRI-CITY Light-house beacon straight ahead, straight ahead across blank seas to free seeking: electricity, E-LEC-TRI-CITY High-voltage man kisses night to bring the light to those who need t’ hide their shadow-deed hide their shadow-deed (repeat) Seek electricity……….. (1967)   CheckedRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] You wanna do what?, you wanna do what? I told you what, I told you what You wanna do what?, you wanna do what? I told you what, I told you what Go t’school, go t’school Go t’school, go t’school Just cain’t, just cain’t Just cain’t, just cain’t Dropout, dropout, dropout, dropout Cain’t get a job, cain’t get a job Don’t know what it, don’t know what it What it’s all about, what it’s all about You told her you love her so bring her to mother You love her, adapt her, you love her, adapt her AdaptRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Call on me whenever you’re lonely and blue In my house whenever you need me to call on you At any time baby that you need love And a little of that understanding too Feel free love to call on me love cause I’m gonna call on you I’ll be there most any time of day call on me To see you baby in the same old loving way call on me If in the night you call and I’m away Leave a little note baby and I’ll be there when you say call on me I’m soRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Go back ten years ago, sunbeams dancin’ round Go back ten yeas ago, sunbeams dancin’ down Autumn’s child Autumn’s child Autumn’s child got a loophole ’round her finger, Halo rings her head, Corn husk hair makes me linger Her carriage fair meets my dare, A marraige share greets my stare Gonna be m’ wife, she sang, she said Gonna be m’ wife, gonna spice my life, she said Go back ten years ago, sunbeams everywhere Go back ten years ago, sunbeams fill the air Harvest moon be nimble Apple dunking tremble Fish pond streaks of kind Found the child I hadRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Long before song before song blues Babbette baboon [repeat] abba zaba zoom Two shadows at Noon, Babbette baboon [repeat] Comin’ over pretty soon, Babbette baboon Run, run, catch her soon, draft of dawn, sunshine on Babbette baboon Mother say son, she say son, you can’t lose, with the stuff you use Abba Zaba go-zoom Babbette baboon [repeat both] Run, run, morning soon, Indian dream, tiger moon Yellow bird fly high, tabacco sky, two shadows at noon Babbette baboon gonna catch her soon Babbette baboon Song before song before song blues Babbette baboon abba zaba zoom [repeat both] TwoRead More →