Track list

  1. The Blackouts
  2. Lost In A Whirlpool
  3. Ronnie Sings?
  4. Kenny’s Booger Story
  5. Ronnie’s Booger Story
  6. Mount St. Mary’s Concert Excerpt
  7. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
  8. Tiger Roach
  9. Run Home Slow Theme
  10. Fountain Of Love
  11. Run Home Cues, #2
  12. Any Way The Wind Blows
  13. Run Home Cues, #3
  14. Charva
  15. The Dick Kunc Story
  16. Wedding Dress Song
  17. Handsome Cabin Boy
  18. Cops & Buns
  19. The Big Squeeze
  20. I’m A Band Leader
  21. Alley Cat
  22. The Grand Wazoo
  23. Wonderful Wino
  24. Kung Fu
  25. RNDZL
  26. Basement Music #1
  27. Inca Roads
  28. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle
  29. I Don’t wanna Get Drafted
  30. Sharleena

Catalogue number: RCD 40573
Label: Rycodisc
Released: 1996

Album overview from Graham Johnston

This is a mostly superb collection of previously unreleased Zappa gems, mostly from the earlier end of his career, beginning as early as 1958. Don Van Vliet is featured on five of the tunes, though many of the other 25 are more than worth hearing as well.

The CD comes with an excellent book of detailed notes by Rip Rense which fully cover dates, personnel and any other interesting tidbits of information or anecdotes which make a very entertaining read.

The Beefheart tunes are as follows:

Lost In A Whirlpool (1958 or 59) – Don sings a splendid blues parody in a falsetto voice, about being flushed down the toilet by a lover:

“There’s a big brown fish
looking at me
he ain’t got no eyes
how could that mother fucker possibly see?
ooh baby baby I’m afraid he’s gonna touch me.”

and a little later:

“Get the plunger right after me
I’ll let you know a little secret baby
I’m getting tired of all this pee.”

Puerile, possibly, but wait till you actually hear the whole song – it’s a killer.

Tiger Roach (1962 or 63) – The trademark Beefheart voice is now instantly recognisable, and his pig-squeals are certainly very impressive. According to the notes the vocals were recorded with Don in the hallway flicking through an X-Men comic while the backing track was gently wafting its way through the door. The backing track is a splendid fuzz-tone R’n’B number which complements Don’s guttural choking and squealing perfectly.

I’m A Band Leader (1968 – 69) – A foppish spoken word piece written by Frank Zappa, with Beefheart occasionally stumbling over the words.

Alley Cat (1969) – A very special tune, apparently the product of a simple bluesy jam session in Zappa’s basement, featurng Magic Band members Elliot Ingber and John French with Frank Zappa on guitar.

The Grand Wazoo (1968 and 1992) – Originally a spoken word piece with the Synclavier music added 24 years later.

I’m not going to cover all the Zappa material here, though that isn’t in any way to suggest that it is less interesting than the Beefheart tunes. This is a stunning collection and includes aspects of everything that was great about Frank Zappa.

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