Recording details

Date – Autumn 1971
Studio – The Record Plant, Los Angeles
Producer – Don Van Vliet
Engineer – Phil Schier


  • Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica
  • Bill Harkleroad – guitar
  • Mark Boston – bass
  • Elliot Ingber – guitar
  • Art Tripp – drums, marimba, piano, harpsichord
  • John French – drums
  • Rhys Clark – drums (Glider only)
Some of the musicians featured on the album were featured in individual paintings and poems on the sleeve.

Track list

  1. I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby
  2. White Jam
  3. Blabber ‘N Smoke
  4. When It Blows Its Stacks
  5. Alice in Blunderland
  6. The Spotlight Kid
  7. Click Clack
  8. Grow Fins
  9. There Ain’t No Santa Claus on the Evenin’ Stage
  10. Glider

Album overview from Graham Johnston

Spotlight Kid contains some very heavy, slow and spacious blues.

Although seen as a disappointment by many on its release, due to its tentatively restrained nature, it shines through today as being another Beefheart classic, containing some beautiful songs, such as Glider and Grow Fins, and a few live favourites, such as Alice In Blunderland and Click Clack. The killer opening tune, I’m Gonna Booglarize Ya Baby, never fails in its mission, no matter how many times you’ve been booglarized previously.

It may not be quite as arrestingly strange as that which came before (Lick My Decals Off Baby) and not quite such jaunty fun as that which came immediately after (Clear Spot) but it still has Beefheart’s singularity all over it, even if the band do sound uncharacteristically unsure and reluctant to really let go. This atmosphere really complements a song such as When It Blows Its Stack as the pressure built up around the band seems liable to blow any minute. The tension is almost unbearable.


Media appearances

Purchase The Spotlight Kid

The Spotlight Kid releases

View the Radar Station’s full information about the various editions of The Spotlight Kid which have appeared over the years.

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