The great John Peel’s record and memorabilia collection is, sadly, in the process of being dismantled. On 14 June 2022 two hundred items will be auctioned by Bonhams, the London auction house, under the heading Live In Session. Property From The John Peel Archive There are a few Beefheart related items which are of interest. Firstly, there is An Acetate Recording Of The Album, Strictly Personal, described as : a double-sided, 12inch disc, with DCT Recorders Hollywood labels with typewritten recording details, some variations in track titles, in black, die-cut paper sleeve It has an auction estimate of £3000 – £4000 (Sold for £4462.50 inc. buyer’sRead More →

On his Facebook page John French further tries to explain what happened with the recording of the legendary ‘It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper’ album.   After writing an 864-page book, “Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic,” in which I tried my best to accurately “set the record straight” on many of the myths and misunderstandings that have collectively swirled and snowballed down the hill of legends into the confused form-a-heap ( yes, I’m using that phrase from Bill’s Corpse from TMR) it is today, I still find the number one thing people seem to keep scattering misinformation about is Strictly Personal,Read More →

One of Gary’s top ten albums from his list compiled for a Facebook challenge in 2020 … Rolled round de corner comin’ up SEVEN Come Eleven My lucky number Lord Ah feeeeel like I’m in Heaven Ah said –“Ah Feel Like Ahcid”, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band And **LUCKY SEVEN** it is today in the Bang On A Gland Roll-Call of the Ten Most Happenin’est, Earth Shakin’est Albums reverberating still in the hippodrome and flippodrome of my skull, until the last syllable of recorded time even (or something like that–I keep revising my list to try and keep it fresh due to multiple listsRead More →

Yes, it’s 50 years since the band’s second album, Strictly Personal, was released. It was October 1968 in the US and December 1968 in the UK. The recording of the follow-up to Safe As Milk had begun back in November 1967 not long after Jeff Cotton had joined the band to replace Jerry McGee. However, these recordings were destined to remain unissued for a few years and the band had a second go at recording the album in May 1968. It was these later  sessions that were to be eventually released by Blue Thumb in the US and Liberty in the UK as Strictly Personal.Read More →

Ever since Don started complaining about the ‘bromo seltzer’ that had been added to the Strictly Personal album fans have wondered what it would have sounded like without Bob Krasnow’s pyschedelicized production. Surely the pristine untreated master tapes were tucked away in storage somewhere people thought. Not so. Gary Marker said that it was highly unlikely because Krasnow had used the master copy for all the phasing etc. he had added to the album’s sound which meant the original raw recording of the band was lost. Over the years various collections of alternate versions of many of the Strictly Personal songs have turned up andRead More →

IT #41, 4 – 17 October 1968 From John Peel’s ‘Perfumed Garden’ column in the legendary sixties ‘hippy’ newspaper IT (International Times). This review of Strictly Personal takes up half of the column space and appears to be based on an acetate version given to him by Beefheart himself – this would have been during the band’s tour of the UK in July 1968.  Other bands mentioned by Peel after this review included Duster Bennett, MC5, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, The Liverpool Scene, Bridget St John and Brian Jones. The autumnal air is heavy with promise – a new Beefheart LP is on the way.Read More →

The front cover of Strictly Personal was, at the time, quite unusual although it didn’t really hint at the strangeness that lay within those vinyl grooves. However, if you opened up the gatefold sleeve you were confronted head-on with the weirdness that was Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band even if he did say himself that “I may be hungry but I sure ain’t weird”. This certainly wasn’t your usual band photo call, no cheesy smiles, no macho posturing and no dodgy hairdos. Have you ever wondered who was who in that iconic photograph by Guy Webster? Well, we can tell you. Thanks to JerryRead More →

The late Gary Marker, a jazz and session bassist at the time, was a close associate of Don Van Vliet during the 1960s. He produced some demos for the band, as well as early versions of some of the Safe As Milk songs. He also played bass on Moonlight  on Vermont and Veteran’s Day Poppy on Trout Mask Replica. Gary often graced the online forums devoted to chat about Beefheart where he responded to questions and comments freely and extravagantly in his own inimitable way. Here are some of his posts concerning the Strictly Personal album. In 2001 Gary was asked about the lines “Cheese inRead 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 →

The path is the mask of love, a way, a way The flow is the task above today, There is no other way (repeat) You gotta trust us when y’ need a friend T’ find us y’ gotta look within Y’ gotta trust us (repeat) before y’ turn t’ dust (repeat) Y’ gotta see before y’ see Y’ gotta be before y’ll be (we love you) Y’ gotta touch without taint Y’ gotta hear without fear Y’ gotta feel t’ reveal Y’ gotta touch without taint Such is IS n’ AIN’T is AIN’T (repeat) We’re for you, love you, with you, love you, just a few We love you,Read More →

Mirror mirror mirror (repeat) mirror man mirror me(repeat) mirror man mirror than mirror man follow the band farther than you oh farther than me mirror mirror day mirror way mirror man mirror me mirror man farther than mirror man mirror me mirror man farther than you’re a me and you’re a me and you’re a me…….. oh mirror man oh mirror man mirror me mirror me mirror me (bop bee boo bop do-be-do) (1968) Transcribed by John Ellis and CBM. Originally made available at Justin Sherill’s Home Page Replica.Read More →

Well my cigarette died when I washed my face Dropped some drops in an ashtray hit a wrong place Open up my blinds to see spiders spinning nines Its uh safe as milk it’s uh safe as milk I never heard it put quite that way The shape I’m in is uh worn a way They called a day they called a day Yesterday’s paper headlines approach rain gutter teasing rusty cat sneezing Soppin wet hammer dusty and wheezing Lusty alley whining trashcan blues Children running after rainbows stocking poor Gracious ladies nylon hanging onto line Jumping onto leg looking mighty fine Sorrows lollipop lands stick-broken onRead More →

We’re all brothers of tomorrow (we won’t have to talk) we won’t need to talk We won’t need to walk on tomorrow Rush comes the love shapes to share shapes Love love love on tomorrow baby spring son yellow wings red skies showing on Lively ivy growing on tomorrow Wish your way around hair stingin’ to the ground Silver streams all our dreams cleansed free of sorrow Love love love love love love Lush skies above shapes to share shapes Peace escapes to play away today tomorrow Mothers graze on grasslands Grazin’ woman stands on today’s shiftin sands grazin woman stands and baby springs onRead More →

Yellow and orange and Well they taste so good I want to eat ’em And they taste so good I get to need ’em Can-can-can-candy candy Candy corn yellow and orange and candy corn yellow and orange and candy be reborn be reformed Roses thorn, stains stains stains warn. (1967) Transcribed by John Ellis and CBM. Originally made available at Justin Sherill’s Home Page Replica. Last line courtesy John French.Read More →

Gimme that harp boy Ain’t no fat man’s toy You hear what he is saying You hear he’s saying today Harp cry harp smiling Shiny moon white note Give me room Ain’t no time to Rock no boat gimme room Harp sing time and playin ohm…. (Cocle-doodle-doo) Gimme harp this harp harp this harp bite Harp this harp kiss harp money Gimme that harp boy don’t just stand around Gon’ blow pure joy -girl you wear this crown Gimme that harp boy gimme that harp girl Gimme that harp girl gimme that harp boy Harp string harp ring Harp toke harp smoke Harp float harpRead More →

Unreleased 1971 version Uh life(?) turned into a while ‘n’ then into a mile A shirt to work, a back to ache And someday we’ll smile, Oh, I will ‘n’ you will But that ain’t gonna bend you down ‘n’ tie your workin’ shoe Don’t you wish you never met her Dirty Blue Gene A mile after mile Stand there bubblin’ like a open cola in the sun Troublin’ n fizzlin’ in the noonday sun Wonderin’ if you got the time to get clean Empty headed handed pockets ‘n’ shoes A Dirty Blue Gene, boys, is achin’ hard to lose Don’t you wish you never metRead More →

Beatle bones ‘n’ smokin’ Stones The dry sands fall The strawberry mouth; strawberry moth; strawberry caterpillar Strawberry butterfly; strawberry fields The winged eel slither on the heels of today’s children Strawberry feels forever Yeah, roosters, ol’ glass roosters, stick to your race In a drag-queen, live-wood farmhouse Tractors are clawin’; the folks are crawlin’ Trees in a row climbing a coach and I blow rich Red, blue, yellow sunset Where I set and you set; and I’ve loved and you’ve loved And I’ve seen and you’ve seen Salt Man has just made his mark – and crumbled The dark – the light – the darkRead More →

In this day of dubious miracles, when lucky new arrivals on the rock scene are spotted, slated for super-stardom, and hyped to oblivion, all in a matter of a year or so; when the ability of the American Kulture-Complex to absorb revolutionary ideas and turn them into profit reaches weird osmotic states, the enlightened listener tends to become somewhat cynical when confronted with the term ‘underground music.’ We all know what the underground is; we can read about it in ads for Columbia Records: The Man Can’t Bust Our Music or Know Who Your Friends Are. Who are our friends? Who is the man? AsRead More →

US Vinyl Releases 1968 US Original on Blue Thumb BTS1 The first release on this label named by Don and set up by the producer Bob Krasnow who had also been involved with the production of Safe As Milk. Very thick card gatefold sleeve. Two different issues (that we know of): Black label with silver lettering; banded; there are pressings with different matrix numbers: J-1-RE-1 (on both sides) BTS 5001 D-1 (side 1), BTS 5002 D-1 (side 2) Black label; unbanded Jim Neher wrote to pass comment on the quality of the different releases: Next to the black label banded version, the black label unbandedRead More →