Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band

More like CRAPtain PEE-FART if you ask me!!!!!!!

Oh wait I shouldn't say that - I like him

*special introductory paragraph!
*Safe As Milk
*The Mirror Man Sessions
*Strictly Personal
*Trout Mask Replica
*Lick My Decals Off, Baby
*The Spotlight Kid
*Clear Spot
*Unconditionally Guaranteed
*Bluejeans And Moonbeams
*Bat Chain Puller
*Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
*I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do: Live At My Father's Place 1978
*Doc At The Radar Station
*Ice Cream For Crow

Captain Beefheart (real name: Don Vliet) was a strange chap! An on-again /off-again friend of Mr. Frank Zappa, the Beef Weiner took blues rock into the strangest pastures of oddity that the music had henceforth been shoved. He had the voice of an 65-year old belting black bluesman when he was in his twenties, and he surrounded himself with musicians of the strangest, most talented calibre. Not only that but he had a goatee sometimes, and a beard once and a mustache a couple of times and a hat and some funny clothes and a voice and a nose and he drew and he drew pictures and married a woman and retired from music and now he's sick and when he was a kid he knew Frank Zappa and he had funny voices and his drummer went "pudda-pudda-pudda" and his guitarist went "whee-do! Whee-do! Whee-do!" and his bassist went "buddum-bum-bum" and he had poetry and weird lyrics that were weird and colorfully languaged and his songs were weird and sometimes normal. And he was weird.

Safe As Milk - Buddha 1967.
Rating = 8

The man and band began as a semi-normal clan for the fans, Jan. This album sounds like one of those "lost classics" from the 60s that you read about in books by Richie Unterberger (man, could I go for a Richie Unterberger right now - NO ONIONS!). Along with the Beefeater, lead guitarist Ry Cooder totally sets a "bLLLLUES" tone with his stinging slide guitar, but the music itself covers a surprisingly wide variety of sounds. There's Animals-style blues-based rock, some acid fuzz, psychedelic hippiea, some r'n'b and doowop soul, basic garage rock, avant-garde-ish weird rock and even a little bubblegum pop! But all played in that swampy slide bwang-twang style with Don gruffly shouting and rasping as he so loves to do.

There are moments on here that are a little kooky, but definitely no kookier than anything else that came out in '67. They were playing it pretty darn straight, all things considered. But a lot of the songs sound just TOTALLY cool. Not every minute is a hot tamale of juice (in fact, I'm shooting for a LOW 8 here), but crap like "Sure `Nuff `N Yes I Do," "Zig Zag Wanderer," "Electricity," "Yellow Brick Road," "Plastic Factory" and "Grown So Ugly" exemplify everything that the mid-60s were about - great songwriters taking chances and pushing the envelope just a wee bit, while celebrating the "rock spirit" that was still honestly pretty new. Remember that "rock and roll" didn't exist even twelve years prior! To put that in perspective, twelve years ago at THIS writing, "rock and roll" DID exist. Man, that's some fucked up shit.

Say, to make these reviews more fun, let's have some fun little survey questions at the end of each review! Just fun little things that you can think about and talk over with your friends and just have a good time with. Here's our first one: Which smells better - a rose or me taking a dump on your face?

Reader Comments (Bernardo Pacheco)
A rose. (James)
You asked for it, Prindle.

I'll choose the rose over mark taking a dump on my face. I just don't dig the smell of poo.
This wouldn't be that paki voodoo priest from Temple of Doom, would he????
Do you know the real meaning of Einstein's theory of relativity? It goes like this: If your nose is stuffed up my ass, we both have nose in the ass, but I'm feeling relatively better than you. Think about this, Mark, whenever you feel lonely.
I don't know, because (fortunately) I've ever smelled your fecal matter. I think a rose is the safe answer, though. (Ryan Maffei)
I've debated for about a year since reading this review and I have finally decided that "a rose" is the best answer. Close competition, though. Damn, Sam.

That was a Ryan Adams song. My name is Ryan!
as well as the being credited to dean stockwell, herb bermann is the unidentifiable figure who captain beefehart beefheart gave co-writing credits to almost all the songs on safe as milk, as well as to the song bat chain puller in 1978...does anybody know who he actually is? (The Adam) is wrong, AGAIN, because the SONG BAT CHAIN PULLER WASN'T CO-WRITTEN by Herb Bermann, but the song Owed T'Alex was, and it was ON the ALBUM bat CHAIN puller and if I had a real job I would even wager money on the subject. I do have some songs I could wager, but since I'm going to win anyway, I don't need any of perany's songs since mine are already better.
I've got a creative answer to your forum question: which smells better, a rose or you taking a dump on my face. It's a trick question, everyone! Obviously you taking a dump on my face smells better than a rose, because you have a nose and a rose doesn't! (Hint: the verb "smells" is transitive in that last sentence).

Please don't take that as an invitation to take a dump on my face.

Safe as Milk! Great album. Not my favorite CB album, but there's a few humdingers on here: "I'm Glad" is an absolutely wonderful R&B ballad that never fails to bring a tear to my eye (or is that dump residue?); "Dropout Boogie" is just too cool for words (and dig that meter change!); "Electricity" is garage rock at its finest; "Sure Nuff" is totally derivative, but it's executed nice n' dirty like. That reminds me - I need to go out and get the reissue of this album. The budget line CD I have now sounds like bat shit. Now a bat taking a dump on my face would NOT smell better than a rose, because bats can't see! Get it? Wait, that doesn't work... WHERE'S MY KLEENEX BOX?!?!
Since Captain Beefheart is one of my favorite musicians of all time, I guess I should send you my thoughts on each of these albums...

I always found Safe As Milk to be a bit overrated, despite some classics. I mean, really, "Electricity" -- that has to be one of the best songs of all time. This is also the best Beefheart album to play on vinyl. But, yeah, this isn't my favorite period of his music or anything. Apparently, this was John Lennon's favorite album of all time. Also, his favorite movie of all time was El Topo. He loved Asians and made some noise records. Maybe John Lennon WAS pretty cool. Uh... speaking of "Electricity", someone should make a guitar tab for that song that actually works. The one you can find on the internet is so off it's not funny. Okay, it's a little funny.

Add your thoughts?

The Mirror Man Sessions - Buddha 1999.
Rating = 7

Historians will lie and report that Captain Beefheart's second album was called Strictly Personal and was overproduced by an overproducer. This CD here was released much later, and apparently includes alternate versions of some of those very songs. With Ry Cooder gone, the band replaced him with a guy who played similarly to Ry Cooder. The music, though still containing a few elements here and there of that "diversity" gig, is much more BLUES-CENTRIC. I mean, like really, REALLY long modal blues jams. 15, 20 minutes in the same key, you dig me? And they're nice for like 5 minutes, but then they just keep going. The only one of these ultra-lengthy tracks that totally does it for me is "Kandy Korn," because it actually has a few different sections (including a jangly 12-string part that sounds like The Byrds gone crazynuts!). The only other songs on here that wow me from beginning to end are the last couple, which totally sound like they could have come off the first album. All the others shuffle along in an endless stream of harmonica blues-wailing. I'll give it a low 7 though. With a bit of editing, you'd have a darn fine compact electric blues album right here. But 9 songs in 74 minutes? That's like something Yes would do! However, Yes would give each song 65 jillion different time signatures and sing faggoty lyrics about spirituality.

That reminds me! I have a client in town from Britain and, when a colleague was missing today, he turned to us and said - without irony, mind you - "He's downstairs smoking a fag." Ha ha! HA Ha!!!! Heeeee! Apparently, in Britain, they "SMOKE" fags!!!! Here we just won't let them get married.

Okay, here's another fun survey question for you. You know, just a whimsical little funion that you can enjoy with your friends and people down at the office. Okay, here we go: If you could go back in time and spend a day with any person who has ever lived throughout history, could you pick me up some copies of that Beatles "Butcher Cover" album? Man, that thing would go for a MINT on ebay!

Reader Comments (Bernardo Pacheco)
The answer is maybe.
There's a great cigarrette/fag joke in one of the six episodes of Clerks: The Animated Series. And I'd be more than glad to go back in time (with Jim Varney) and get an armload of Butcher Beatles covers and put them up on eBay for you, Mr. Mark D. Prindle, as well as the rest of the world, to get the opportunity to bid on and possibly win. (Ryan Maffei)
Can I change my answer to Mark taking a dump on my face? Is his wife doing the same thing a possible answer?
The Mirror Man album, except for the awesome "Kandy Korn" (also done even more psychedelically on Strictly Personal), is WAAY too long and boring. These guys were pretty good at what they did, and had a unique sound (especially John French's drumming, which is in a class by itself), but who needs 19 minutes of "Tarotplane" which is basically just a ripoff of "You Gonna Need Somebody on Yer Bond" which is some generic blues tune by some geezer named Howlin' Panda or whatever? I don't have the reissue with all the bonus material, but I believe I have all those extra songs on an earlier release called "I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain't Weird", and if that's the case, then bump up the rating of the reissue a few notches, cause those tunes are great. It's basically Strictly Personal songs but without the extraneous post-production touches (phasing, stereo panning, whatever). Back to the original album: "25th Century Quaker" is a real stinker of a song; at least "Tarotplane" and the title track are pretty cool (albeit too long), but "Quaker" just goes nowhere for 10 minutes. As for the "Butcher Cover", I went back in time and couldn't find any, but I did pick you up a 1979 Bump Wills error baseball card, with him batting the wrong way around. That's probably worth at least $8 by now.
I pretty much agree with your Mirror Man review. Kind of just a boring, silly, overlong album. Pass.
I like it when you guys say "oh yeah he's pissed". To us limo's that means he's drunk(!)

Add your thoughts?

Strictly Personal - EMI 1968.
Rating = 7

I wanna send a shoutout to all my homeys in the Music Babble Posse - Booyaa! That means you, Martin Teller! BAMM! I'm talkin' at CHU, Mistah Matt Reyes! Keep on enjoyin' that Weezer, mah man! And how's ol' Auberon Suger? A man that calls a SPADE a SPADE! And I haint forgettin' you, muthafuqqin' Oliver. Nick Leu! This is fah you, Nick Leu! And don't be shittin' on The D-Man! The D-Man's got the D-Plan, homeslice! But don't forget the STAR of our STIN, Mister Gee-YOR-Gee! Stray Toasters anybody?

So after all the bitchin', moanin' and complainin' that Don Vliet did about the over-use of psychedelic production tricks on Strictly Personal, I buy it and what do I find? That these "tricks" have no effect on the music one way or the other. First of all, they're really only prevalent at the beginning and end of each trick. Secondly, as a whole, these songs just aren't as strong as the ones they recorded before and after. The riffs are bluesy sounding, but also unpleasantly unnerving in a few places and quite dull in a few other places! The bottleneck guitarwork is still really neato sounding though (like Robert Johnson, but in tune!) and when they score with interplay, they REALLY score. But yes, basically this is a normalish late sixties album like Safe As Milk, but with much less diversity, concentrating mainly on bluesy riffs centered in the minor keys (more bitter and Eastern-DOORS-sounding than fun and catchy).

If you liked this review and want to check what's behind the Third Planet From Altair, turn to page 56. If you didn't like it, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Reader Comments
"Strictly Personal" was also the third album by The Romantics. In honor of this fact, my comments below should be sung to the tune of "What I Like About You."

Ching ching ching ch-ch Fwah f-fwah etc etc

What I like about Don
He sings real Ni-eeece
Puts a second album out, hears it and then Holy Chri-eest, yeah
Krasnow's fucked around with the mix
Don wants to beat him with a pair of sticks
But doggone,
That's what I like about Don

What I like about Don
He wrote "Kandy Korn"
Interlocking trance guitars, yes my copy is well worn, yeah
"Trust Us" kicks all kinds of ass
Jerky rhythms just like "Trout Mask"
And doggone,
That's what I like about Don

(Lame Guitar break)
(2-note harmonica solo)
This album's great!! Took me a while to get into, and you're right, the "psychadelic" effects don't really add to or take away anything. To me, they're more intersting than the silly conversations between band members on Trout Mask. But yeah, I think it's great, because you can kind of see them wanting to go over the deep end with this album, but they still kind of hold things back enough... so, some of the riffs are weird and the songs are more complex but as a whole it'll still probably appeal to Safe As Milk fans.

Add your thoughts?

* Trout Mask Replica - Straight 1969. *
Rating = 10

Free jazz meets electric blues! This is one of the most unique records that I have ever heard, still to this day - 32 years after its release. Before I'd listened to it for the first time, a friend warned me, "It's not music. It sounds like a bunch of guys playing completely different songs at the same time." And when you put it in the old CD licker, you may very well be in for a shock first time round! It is ODD. It kind of sounds like a bunch of normal guitar songs that have been spread out on a table, beaten with a hammer and thrown out in the road in a jumbled, broken mess.

Okay, there are two guitarists, both of which sound like they've never played guitar in their lives. They pluck and smack at the strings, one in each speaker, playing guitar "lines" that don't really go together in any traditional manner. It all sounds haphazard and random until you listen very closely and carefully and realize that each guitar is in fact playing a "melody." Not a TRADITIONAL-style melody, mind you. But each axe's collection of notes, wrong chords or high ringing snaps repeats and repeats again, forming a cohesive repetition much like a "riff". Then they'll switch to another part (or at least one will) and eventually come back to the starting point. The more you listen, the more familiar it feels.

But that's not all you have to contend with as a listener. You also have to get used to a bassist that is playing bass lines having nothing to do with EITHER of the two guitar parts, a drummer who doesn't play a traditional 4/4 rock beat for more than about 45 seconds on the entire 80-minute CD (choosing instead to focus on the stiffest, herky-jerkiest take on a "swingin'" galloping beat that you will likely ever hear, at least outside of a man masturbating on a rocking horse) and Captain Beefheart shouting his colorful, confusing lyrics in NO time signature whatsoever (I read somewhere that he sang them without listening to the music, and it sure sounds that way!). And this is what a good, oh, 23 of these 28 songs are like. Like nothing you've ever heard. I can't imagine how another band could recreate this sound even if they wanted to, it's so friggin' confusing and WRONG-sounding.

But the songs are GREAT! Cerebral, exciting, bizarre, unexpectedly catchy - and in those few moments of each track where the guitars actually hit corresponding or complementing notes? Ringing tones of beauty result! Here's a good idea for how to approach the album if it sounds like a bunch of worthless, messy shit to you: shake your head around to the rhythm of the drums. Within seconds, you'll realize FIRST how groovy the beat is, in spite of its irky presentation. Then you'll realize that the guitars are sort of following along in their own screwy way (though they often play against the beat or even in a different time-signature - to confuse matters even further!). Then you'll realize that not only the guitar parts, but the style of both play and interplay are completely creative. Then you'll catch on to the bass lines, often ultra-hooky when separated from their surroundings. Finally, you'll get used to the bluesmerizing, timeless (literally) growls of Sir Beefgang. And there's your album!

Well, there's also three a cappela songs and one normal blues song. Okay, there's your album!

Wait - this is YOUR album? Great job on this album, guy!

Okay, it's time for another survey question! This is kind of an old one - the rock and roll fan's coveted "desert island disc" game. But it's always fun to find out what kind of music each person cherishes more than the rest of his collection. So think about it hard before you answer: If you were stranded on a desert island, what ten albums would you want to have with you while me and your wife fuck all day?

Reader Comments (Joshua Fiero)
Beefheart listened to the music; he just refused to wear headphones in the studio. Zappa had to play the backing tapes to him over the P.A., which meant the guy was basically singing in time to the music's echo. What a whacky guy. I love this damn album. I, too, heard all kinda stories from critics and fellow music fans about how _Trout Mask_ was impenetrable, and normal people couldn't possibly enjoy it, that it wasn't music. But I loved the record almost immediately. I think there's a lot of real beauty in it. "Pachuco Cadaver" in particular makes me shed a joyous tear. Or something.
A great reveiw of a perfect album. Perfect because it doesn't reach for perfection, knowing that is the enemy of the blues and any blues based art-form, which includes jazz and rock. An album to start of every Sunday morning: just start doing whatever needs to be done that day, put on the album and now go right back to what you're doing. Feel the power of the Van Vielt's genius now?

As to respond to what ten albums I woud have with me while you fuck my wife is simple. (These are in no particular order)
1.The Stooges-"Funhouse"
2.The Stooges-"Raw Power" (Iggy's remix of course)
3.The Stooges-"The Stooges"
4.The Pixies-"Surfer Rosa"
5.Spiritulized-"Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space"
6.Son House-"Delta Blues" The one on the Biograph label
7.The Birthday Party-"Hits"
8.The Melvins-"Gluey Porch Treatments"
9.Miles Davis-"Bitches Brew"
10.Stevie Wonder-"Talking Book"
And Mark, a little tip about my wife, she loves the Dirty Sanchez. (James)
I'm not married, so Mark would have sex with my hand all day while I listened to:
Unsane "Total Destruction"
Gang Of Four "Entertainment!"
Public Enemy "Fear Of A Black Planet"
Nation Of Ulysses "Plays Pretty For Baby"
Motorhead "Overkill"
Big Black "Songs About Fucking"
A CD with all the best songs from the "Nuggets," "Back From The Grave," and "Teenage Shutdown" compilations burned on it.
Slayer "Reign In Blood"
Gaunt "Sob Story"
Fugazi "Steady Diet Of Nothing"

Can't I bring more? Half of those are less than 40 minutes long! Actually. It's okay as long as Mark brings "Sexy Pee Story," "Grotesque (After The Gramme)," and the first five Ramones records for me to listen to while I jerk him off. (Zach English)
Mark, I'm so glad you like this album. I'd never heard you mention it before so I kinda got the vibe that it was probably too WEIRD or OUT THERE to be one of you favorites. But, like your review says, if you give this album five or six cursory listens it will weave its way into your bloodstream like nothing else out there. More dissonant than Ornette Coleman and P.I.L. put together, hoarser and bluesier than Eric Clapton's wet dreams and filled to the fucking hilt with psychedelic imagery, Trout Mask Replica is an album I literally approach with new ears each time I hear it again, and that's after at least twenty run throughs. My high points: "Veteran's Day Poppy," on a plane with CCR's "Fortunate Son" for pure, vitriolic protest; "Moonlight on Vermont," as gorgeous as Willie Nelson's version of "Moonlight IN Vermont" but more bluesy; and the Captain's oratorical breaks, like "Orange Clawhammer", which should be played while reading Ahab's steely soliloquies in Moby Dick for full effect. Lester Bangs called him the only true Dadaist in rock and roll, and while I'd also throw in a vote for Mayo Thompson or early Dylan, I couldn't mount much of an argument. A ten for this one.

As far as the "Desert Island" ballot goes, I'm breaking the rules a tad by giving it almost no thought whatsoever (as so much of my daily activity ends up coming to fruition) but here's my two cents, Horatio (and to add a spice of gnomic mystery to this Beefheart page, something all too apt, I'll only list the titles...if you don't know the artist, you're not fit to shit in a boot):

Rubber Soul
Trout Mask Replica
(see also: Langdon Winner's review of this for Greil Marcus' book Stranded)
Pretzel Logic
Change of the Century
(okay, this one's by Ornette Coleman for you rockers)
Let it Bleed
Nirvana's MTV Unplugged
Datapanik in the Year Zero EP

Something by Elmore James
Marquee Moon
Anthology of American Folk Music
(cheating, I guess, b/c it's actually six CDs, but it could keep me fascinated for three lifetimes and my mind off my wife's cooing lilt in the background)
Wonderfully weird music that goes where noone in rock has gone before, or will likely ever go again. It's hard to believe that this album has got such little attention over the years, but it's probably because it's so difficult to categorize. Even Prindle's review, as insightful and complimentary as it is, cannot truly describe what this record sounds like. You'll just have to experience it for yourself, and you will either LOVE it or HATE it. "Pachuco Cadaver," " Sweet Sweet Bulbs," and "Old Fart At Play" are my favorites, but there's plenty of other great material here.

If you're unfamiliar with Capt. Beefheart and would like a place to start, you might as well start here. If you enjoy this, you'll easily like the best of the rest of his other material, such as Ice Cream For Crow and Lick My Decals Off, Baby. If you get the courage to buy it, you'll be glad you did. If you don't like it, well, then you'll never need to buy another CB CD. But if you LOVE it, then you've got a new obsession to pursue.
this is fun

live 84 - black flag
lets take it to the stage - funkadelic
hot buttered soul - isaac hayes
zen arcade - husker du
i care because you do - aphex twin
garcia - jerry garcia
king tubbys prophecy of dub - yabby you
enta da stage - black moon
master of reality - black sabbath
zuma - neil young
music for films - brian eno

subtract one. i like pachuco cadaver (he is speaking of lurve) and i like you too but I aint got no wife for you to eff
A great album. When my 10th grade mind first heard this album, although I didn't quite understand it, I knew I was hearing something amazing. And amazing it is! I actually LIKED this album when I first heard it too. It's just so strange, that you can't not listen to it. This is still his weirdest and best album to date. Oh, and is there a cooler way to end an album than Veteran's Day Poppy? Hey, someone should review some of Wild Man Fischer's albums.

And on to my ten desert island discs:
Pink Floyd - Animals
Weezer - the blue one
Ween - The Mollusk
Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti
Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo
Talking Heads - Fear Of Music
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Devo - either Q: Are We Not Men? or Duty Now For The Future will do
Cake - Fashion Nugget (yes, you read that right)
The Cars - Just What I Needed
I'm sure I left out something extremely vital, but that's all I can think of for now.
Indeed a bizarre album. Took me a little bit to understand it all, but it really is true genious material. Lots of great songs on here, a stinker here or there, but overall, yes an excellent album. I agree with the 10.

As for my fave albums, too many to name. Some would involve Abbey Road, Soft Bulletin, Doolittle, In Utero, Sticky Fingers (or Let It Bleed, whichever), and Blood On The Tracks. Lots more though, but ill just leave it at that. (Glenn Lester)
I really like this album. At first the only thing I liked were the acapella pieces and the melody to "Frownland." But now I really dig many of these tunes. I love the guitar interplay and the way that four instruments will be zooming off in different directions and then all of a sudden crash back together. The two parts locking in in "Ella Guru" sounds like Fugazi to me. I hear a lot of TMR in Sleater-Kinney as well. My fave tunes: "Frownland," "Ella Guru," "Pachuco Cadaver," "Sweet Sweet Bulbs," "Dali's Car," "Fallin' Ditch," "Orange Claw Hammer," "Steal Softly Thru Snow." My least faves: "Bills Corpse," "Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish," "Hobo Chang Ba," "When Big Joan Sets Up."

I'm not married but right now I like these records:
The Clash - London Calling
Fugazi - Red Medicine
Weezer - Blue Album
Beatles - Abbey Road
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
Miles Davis - 1964: The Complete Concert
Beethoven - fifth and ninth symphonies, Vienna Philharmonic, Carlos Klieber
Husker Du - Zen Arcade
Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion, Celesta, Chicago Symphony, Fritz Reiner
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Charlie Parker - Yardbird Suite collection

That's way too many. sorry. There's about five hundred more i'd take too.
Captain beefhearts trout mask replica is true genius it has some of the best poetry in music ever and the music is great also. almost all the songs are great, and i also heard from allmusic guide that the captain wrote all of these songs in 9 hours, 9 HOURS it takes most musicians there entire life to write one good song! also every song on here is both funny and intense. this is easily one of my favorites.


Ah shit I forgot to give my desert island list well here it is:

wowee zowee- pavement
abbey road- the beatles
up- R.E.M
is this it- the strokes
grotesque (after the gramme)- the fall
to bring you my love- pj harvey
chicago XX- LuMP
emperor tomato catchup- stereolab
Ege Bamyasi- can
kid a- radiohead
I actually had to choose my desert island discs, when I moved to work in Russia (you know that cheesy little country just east of Finland). I took my wife with me, but Mark can use her best friend because she is drunk most of the time. My selection was:

Frank Zappa: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol 2
Frank Zappa: Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar
Deep Purple: Made In Japan
Deep Purple: Scandinavian Nights
Santana: Lotus
King Crimson: Frame by Frame
Yes: Yessongs
Led Zeppelin: Best Of Tour -73
Dream Theater: Scenes From A Memory
Liquid Tension Experiment: Liquid Tension Experiment
Well, this list makes more than 10 discs, but there are only 10 titles! Captain Weirdo didn't make it, but the selection process sure was fun.
I, like many of the respondents am single and male, so you'd be enjoying the services of my hand rather than my nonexistent wife. However, since James (RebelJukebox) was kind enough to volunteer the services of HIS hand, here are the ten albums I'd take to a deserted island and listen to while James develops severe shoulder problems from jerking you off continually.

1.) Ramones- Leave Home (The re-issue with a complete concert from the 70's as bonus tracks.)
2.) Subhumans- From The Cradle To The Grave
3.) Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters/In God We Trust Inc.
4.) Boris The Sprinkler- Suck
5.) The Vandals- either Live Fast, Diarrhea or Sweatin' To The Oldies: The Vandals Play Live
6.) Buzzcocks- Singles Going Steady
7.) The Rezillos- Can't Stand The Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos
8.) Iron Maiden- Ed Hunter (Swapping the computer game disc for Number Of The Beast, of course.)
9.) The Ventures- Live In Japan '65
10.) My Generation: The Very Best Of The Who

And, if I couldn't find one of those last 3 entries, a usual problem for me, the U.S. version of the Clash's debut, Cheap Trick's Complete At Budokan, AC\DC's Powerage, the Descendents' Milo Goes To College, the soundtrack from This Is Spinal Tap and a burned CD with 75 minutes of Dwarves & Zeke material (meaning at least 50 songs) are alternates.

Unless, of course, I could REALLY cheat and use a MP3 Data CD compatible CD player, in which case we're talking 10 discs with over 2,000 songs here. Of course, even with that, I'd need my guitar. And a TV. With the complete catalog of Simpsons and Family Guy episodes.

And finally, some books, namely Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth... because I'm going to have to set something on fire to stay warm at night. (Sanjay Ghosh)
23 out of 28 - for the review. May have removed (Hobo Chang Ba, Wild Life) but even their omission damages the rhythm; even then it's 26 out of 28 for me. I guess what makes Troutmask such an amazing album is it's unity. This is easily the most diverse set of CB songs on a single album and their very diversity lends an oblique unity to the whole album. The 'weirdness' spills over the songs, into the cover and the back. The 'sculpting genius' Don van Vliet (aged 8 ?) gracing the cd itself. It has an unprecedented amount of studio banter (between songs) and that too keeps popping up quite regularly ( like the 'melodies') . And those melodies keep humming for a long time after the cd has stopped. I guess even the Captain couldn't improve on that one, leave alone anyone else.

Hate making a desert island top 10 ( too few by far ) I'd rather kill myself than be be marooned with 10 ruddy albums. The ruddy ones.

Van Morrison - Saint Dominic's Preview
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Ustad Faiyaz Khan (any collection of the 78 rpm singles)
Brian Eno - Another Green World
Mississippi John Hurt - Avalon Blues (Complete 1928 Okeh recordings)
The Pixies - Surfer Rosa
Thelonious Monk - The genius of modern music
Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground with Nico
Sonny Rollins - very best of Sonny Rollins (Blue Note)
Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
Otis Redding - Sings Soul Ballads
Fairport Convention - Fairport Chronicles
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

... this is impossible, and all that cheating. I'll never entertain such a situation in real life, not with 10 box sets ! (John Richardson)
has any one heard the oranjclawhammer off grow fins wiv zaps guitar on it ,boodifal. top 10 while u contract hiv+various stds off the missus is(in no particular order)
In no specific order: 1. Will the Circle Be Unbroken, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
2. Tigermilk, Belle and Sebastian
3. Sail Away, Randy Newman
4. Night and Day, Joe Jackson
5. Shuffering and Shmiling, Fela Kuti
6. Abbey Road, The Beatles
7. Crime of the Century, Supertramp
8. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison
9. London Calling, The Clash
10. English Settlement, XTC
And then I'd castrate the bastard with half of Metal Box.

You're lucky I don't have a wife, Mark! Just sea after sea of willing underage fans. (David Dickson)
1.) Dark Side of the Moon (PINK FLOYD, 1973)
2.) Abbey Road (THE BEATLES, 1969)
3.) Hotel California (THE EAGLES, 1976)
4.) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (ELTON JOHN, 1973)
5.) Rubber Soul (THE BEATLES, 1965)
6.) Boston (BOSTON, 1976)
7.) It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (PUBLIC ENEMY, 1988)
8.) Odessa (THE BEEGEES, 1969)
9.) Blonde on Blonde (BOB DYLAN, 1966)
10.) Blood Sugar Sex Magik (THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, 1991)

The Beegees were NOT a disco band in 1969. Disco did not exist back then.

I've actually never heard Trout Mask Replica; I just thought I'd take the opportunity to list my favorite albums.

By the way, I'm perfectly aware that Boston is culpable for the existence of Bon Jovi, so don't even bother pointing that out. (Barrett Barnard)
captain is a genius.this is a great album.if you dont enjoy dachau blues and ella guru just as much as you enjoy michelle or honky tonk women(not that those arent great songs but just to prove a point)you dont like music.just wonderful stuff.i love every minute of it. (Andy Meerow)
pavement: wowee zowee
beatles: white album. why not
guided by voices: alien lanes
bowie: ziggy stardust
ornette coleman: shape of jazz to come. lonely woman whenever i'm feeling spiritual.
sonic youth: sister
woody guthrie: struggle
john cage: sonatas for prepared piano. fuckin' A.
hmmmmm: maybe some great electronic hits, stockhausen, or mev, or something, ohhhhh, i know, you guys are gonna laugh, GRATEFUL DEAD, DARK STAR, THAT ONE FROM DICKS PICKS #4. I WIN I WIN I WIN MY TOP TEN IS SO FUCKING COOOOOOOOOL. (Eric Sweenor)
Well, it's definitely fascinating to hear. Personally I don't dig it as much as most because it's just such a mess. Very long, and it gets kinda frustrating that all the nifty little guitar and bass parts that pop up seemingly at random disappear almost immediately, so once I start to really get into it I get turned around again. Anyway, 7.5/10 - fascinating, definitely, but not one I could leave in the CD player for months on end. I think I like Lick My Decals Off, Baby a bit better, a bit more song oriented. And man, his voice is absolutely amazing. Sounds like a cross between Howlin' Wolf, Tom Waits and an angry porcupine.

And no top 10 for you, it'll just change in a day and leave me cringing. (Mike K.)
This does take a long time to make sense, I think the way I first started to get it is that I positioned myself between the two speakers and started listening to it as though both speakers were presenting two totally different songs that happened to interact with each other sometimes. And it helps that bits of it sound comparatively "normal", once in a while the disorganized sounding mess will resolve into what sounds like a slightly disheveled blues/jazz jam, "china pig" is a fairly straightforward backporch blues number, and "Moonlight On Vermont" is certainly one of the most together-sounding things on here at first listen, although it's saying something when the second most normal sounding song on an album sounds like Slanted And Enchanted-era Pavement playing a half-remembered blues-rock boogie with a crazy homeless guy on lead vocals. On the whole, this isn't exactly something I can listen to every day, but it is a fascinating experience when you're feeling particularly up to it.

Incidentally, if you haven't already, be sure and read the often hillarious user reviews this has gotten. Those were a major factor on me giving this album a go, and the bad reviews actually got me more intrigued than the good ones. Some of the best comments included that it was like music written by an entire band who suffered from seizures... while they were having seizures, and that it's comporable to the house covered in old shoes done by someone in the reviewer's town for the sake of art.

Finally, on the desert island thing: it seems the audience for this site is almost entirely single white males. I personally am married to the sea*, so while Mark Prindle is masturbating into the ocean, I will no doubt be listening to the following (but not listening to No Doubt, haha):

Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City
Faith No More - Angeldust
Weezer - The Blue Album
Pixies - Doolittle
The Beatles - The White Album
Modest Mouse - The Moon And Antarctica
Pink Floyd - Animals (Piper At The Gates Of Dawn came this close, but there's just a few songs I don't like that much on that record)
Flaming Lips - Hit To Death In The Future Head
Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Radiohead - Ok Computer

It pains me somewhat to have neither longtime band obsessions They Might Be Giants or Soul Coughing in there (or Remain In Light by the Talking Heads, but that's just because Angeldust barely beat it out), but neither of them have had albums that are quite consistent enough. Ultimately I decided that at some point on this hypothetical desert island, "Santa's Beard" would come on, and I would be kicking myself thinking "Damnit, I could be listening to 'Paranoid Android' right now!". A homemade "best of" cd-r of either band would work nicely, but I think that's cheating. So yeah, other than that, I'm quite satisfied with the list I have set up.

*Not true. But my dad is a merchant marine and I have been on whale-watching cruises in Boston several times, so that's close enough.
don't have a wife (neither a girlfriend) but I would took:

1. White Album (kinda a clich‚, isn't it?)

2. Abbey Road

3. Doolittle/Trompe Le Monde (Only one of them, not so sure which)

4. No llores por m¡ argentina (Don't Cry For Me Argentina (It's a live album of Ser£ Gir n, an Argentine band, and no, Don't cry for me argentina is not that Evita song, I think Don't cry for me Argentina is something Evita said, but the song rulez. Ok, I don't even OWN this album, but it's like a greatest hits but with better versions (and 2 new songs) (I've heard a couple of them and they're superb(by the way (rhcp), if you dig Pat Metheney, the jazz musician, perhaps you know the ultra cool bassist Pedro Aznar, the best Argentine bassist which played with this band at the age of 18 through 22 years, and he isn't even the star))))

5. Odelay

6. Mutations

7. Ok Computer

8. Kid A

9. Homogenic (I need a bit of techno)

10. La hija de la l grima (an album by Charly Garc¡a, which actually WAS the star of Ser£ Gir n)

I wish I could squeeze Piano Bar/Clics Modernos/Parte de la religion, solo albums of Charly Garc¡a. In fact, I prefer those to Homogenic, but I need a bit of techno, I said. Oh, I would like to carry Ramones Anthologies, too. I think I could take out Odelay, but I don't wanna try. But who cares? I own less than 200 LP. I suck. Ok, ok

1. White Album

2. Abbey Road

3. Doolittle/Trompe Le Monde

4. No llores por m¡ argentina

5. Anthologies

6. Mutations

7. Ok Computer

8. Kid A

9. Homogenic

10. La hija de la l grima

So I have rock (1,2,3,4,5,7), I have plenty of ballads (1,2,4,5,6,7,8(yeah, isn't MPS a ballad), 9), techno (9), noisey/avant garde stuff (1,8,7,9,10), blues (1,6), and jazz (emm... parts of 1 and the horns of kidda, actually, I wish I could take Life In A Glass House, and seru giran bass is kinda jazzy).

Oh, Captain Beefhart. I've never heard him. But Zappa is cool. I always liked Bobby Brown. Boy that song is hilarious (Ken Stuebing)
I like yer all lists, but man, where are you getting the electricity to run your albums? What are you, going to look at the albums all day? That's it?

Naw, I just checked out Mark's site as I happened to be listening to Trout Mask Replica for the first time, really, and came upon the review naturally, and... Well, it's nice to know there's a buncha Trout Mask fans out there. Definitely a Fusion. Definitely the foundation for Tom Waits.


Boy, there are a lot of songs on here, huh? (Nathan)
Actually, I don't like this album, but I'm going to give my desert island list anyway! Oh, but I'm not jerking Mark off, he can do that himself.

1. The Beatles - Abbey Road
2. The Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed
3. The Clash - London Calling
4. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
5. Prince - Purple Rain
6. Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won
7. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
8. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
9. Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?
10. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
O.k. Mark...since I kinda freaked out on you yesterday about ol' Davey Jones, I'll play your little top 10 game. You do realize, however, that if I had the know how and resources to rig up a record player on a deserted island, I could probably figure out how to get the fuck off that island; but nevermind. That's kind of petty.

o.k....zis time for real Belsen vas a gasser!!!!

in no particular order:
1.Dinosaur Jr. - You're Livin' All Over Me
2.Syd Barrett - Barrett
3.Grateful Dead - Blues For Allah
4.Screaming Trees - Invisible Lantern
5.David Bowie - Alladinsane
6.Urge Overkill - Supersonic Storybook
7.Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
8.Crucifucks - Wisconsin
9.Judas Priest - Sad Wings Of Destiny
10.Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All

Of course this list always changes...but...

Trout Mask Replica changed my life when I got it back in '86 when I was a wee lad of 15. There was nothing like it before it came out. A true landmark. (The Adam)
Since a bunch of foolish fools have replied already, I'm sure you won't mind listening to my bitter cries of complaint.

Those people still don't understand Trout Mask. They gave up without trying. If you don't know that Hobo Chang Ba features one of the most exciting drum licks in the history of music, then WHAT FUCKING ALBUM WERE YOU LISTENING TO?

Turn your balance knob all the way left, so you only hear the left speaker.

Then listen to Old Fart at Play, or Hair Pie: Bake II

(Bake I is exactly the same composition, but a little slower and with saxes added. It wasn't recorded in stereo so you can't hear the guitars separately by turning the balance right/left).

The 10 best albums of all times were 10 albums by Captain Beefheart.

I listened to Trout Mask at least once a day for about a year.

It never gets old, and there's enough going on to keep your interest every time.

At least it keeps my interest.

Maybe your interest is harder to keep than mine; I can't know for sure.

I don't know that, because I'm just a simple caveman who was unfrozen and brought to your strange world of "music" and "nipples".

But what I DO know is that the greatest album ever made is called

Trout Mask Replica. (Preslatki Narantxa)
while yer doing my wife i'm listening to

public image ltd - metal box
fugazi - red medicine
the feelies - crazy rhythms
the rolling stones - exile on main street
pere ubu - dub housing
radiohead - kid a
fugazi - red medicine
faith no more - angel dust
pixies - surfer rosa
captain beefhert - trout mask replica

because of desert island situation i just replaced my beatles' revolver with trout mask replica: the last thing i want on a desert island is a record that i'm too familiar with and no matter how much i repeat trout mask i just can't remember anything. and that's because it sounds like two blues records played at the same time. ten outta ten.
I'm not going to say anything about Trout Mask Replica because I've only heard a few songs from it, but I feel like I have to belittle some of the people who posted their top 10 albums on a desert island.. Jesus Christ, some people are stupid. First of all, why would you bring a Public Enemy album (unless you're black of course)? But if you must, at least make it It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Fear Of A Black Planet? Come on. Maybe you're just trying to be "cool" and different, but don't be an idiot, Millions is where it's at. I guess the title is pretty clever, but isn't Millions even better? Secondly, who in their right mind would think that Surfer Rosa is better than Doolittle. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say Surfer Rosa is not even in the top 3 Pixies' albums (Trompe Le Monde and Bossanova are second and third, respectively). And this mistake was not made by just one misled soul, three people brought Surfer Rosa instead of Doolittle or one of the others. Sigh. What is this world coming to? And five Fall albums? They're good, but they're not that good. And props to the guy who brought Beethoven, but I'm limiting mine to post 1900 music, so here's my 10 albums in no particular order...

1. Aladdin Sane- David Bowie (By the way, read my comment about this album on George Starostin's site, it's a fine piece of writing)
2. Revolver- The Beatles
3. Parklife- Blur
4. Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire- The Kinks
5. Exile On Main Street- The Rolling Stones
6. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables- Dead Kennedys
7. Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs- Derek And The Dominos
8. Doolittle- Pixies
9. Dark Side Of The Moon- Pink Floyd
10. The Beginning Stages Of...- The Polyphonic Spree (Just thought I'd stir up a little controversy) (David Wells)
I borrowed this album once
I listened to it once
I returned it.

That was 25 years ago though so I may give it a second listen.

So here's the top 10 on a theory of one album per artist.

Grotesque after the gramme THE FALL
Singles going steady BUZZCOCKS
Londons Calling THE CLASH
Surfer Rosa THE PIXIES
Dread meets punk rockers uptown VARIOUS ARTISTS
Solitary man JOHNNY CASH
England made me BLACK BOX RECORDER
Greatest Hits THE KINKS

The following just missed out - The Beatles, the Au Pairs, Cabaret Voltaire, Danielle Dax, Echo and the Bunnymen, Frank Tovey, Gang of 4, Heaven 17, Ian Dury,Jam,Kirsty Macoll, Leatherface, Monochrome Set, 999, Only ones,PIL ,Ramones, Soft Boys, Television personalities, Undertones,Velvet Underground, Weezer, XTC, Young Marble Giants and Zoundz.
Hey! It's me again, and I HAVE listened to Trout Mask Replica. And ya know what? I give it a low 7 out of 10. It's not bad or good, it just kinda exists. I think its main problem is this: it sounds so freakin RANDOM. Like Clinton talking about his life, but starting with Monica Lewinsky and ending with Paula Jones. Kind of out of order there, pardner. The songs are catchy, though, in their freakish terrible way.

And I've figured out how to make it sound GREAT! REORDER THE SONGS!!! (That's always my solution to everything. If you like the album the way it is, skip this part)

"The Dust Blows For'ard and Back"
"Ella Guru"
"Moonlight on Vermont"
"Dachau Blues"
"Hair Pie: Bake 1"
"My Human Gets Me Blues"

side 2:

"Pachuco Cadaver"
"Bill's Corpse"
"China Pig"
"Sugar and Spikes"
"Fallin' Ditch"
"Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish" (tra la)
"Hair Pie: Bake 2"

side 3:

"Sweet Sweet Bulbs"
"Hobo Chang Ba"
"When Big Joan Sets Up"
"The Blimp (mousetrapreplica)"
"Ant Man Bee"

side 4:

"She's Too Much for My Mirror"
"Old Fart at Play"
"Dali's Car"
"Steal Softly Thru Snow"
"Wild Life"
"Veteran's Day Poppy"
"Orange Claw Hammer"

Here, side one is packed with the catchiest songs to hook us in, and the three a cappella songs anchor the beginning, middle, and end. That way, even if you hate the style, you can appreciate the logic behind it, whereas before, it was a monotonous, random slab of free blazz (blues and jazz together). Of course, some people like it that way. To each his own, I say.
Oh man, I need a Captain Beefheart album....... after hearing his vocals on 'Willie The Pimp' he sounds like........ well, Tom Waits.

Rain Dogs - Tom Waits

Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks

All Over The Place - The Bangles

Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello

Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan

Another Green World - Brian Eno

Sign 'O' The Times - Prince

At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash

ooh ohh, AND Up! - Shania Twain........ I'll hide it somewhere or pass it off as a comb or something before I get on the island. Oh, yeah, I'm serious too! You can kill me now if you want to....... I'll understand.

Man, if you touch my wife, (which I don't have) 'I'm Gonna Getcha Good(in the angry, hey! get your hands off my wife, she's totally hot, kind of way)'!
The black paper between a mirror......Breaks my heart that i can't go.

Here I wuz trollin' the web lookin for fuktup stories about the office paperclip guy and I came to this site. Alleluias are in order. Thanks everybody for your rememberances and testimonials and beefheartisms. Thick black felt birds are flying....Ceramic buds burst.... Beefheart's poetry is off the charts. I highly recommend listening on acid, but I don't really endorse acid much anymore, but the imagery was so freakin pourful that it changed my life and I don't say that lightly. Trout Mask is one of the greatest acts of creativity in the western world, its like the Watts Towers, but on vinyl and didn't take as long to make. For those of you who have never seen the Watts towers - well - get your ass there someday and look. I was in a band once and we covered STeal SOftly. It was wild but not as hard to play as you might think - but we were all Beefhearted back then. People could not dance to it that's for sure -unless they were trippin and then they could dance to it all over the place. There are no other albums like this one and if you like it I recommend the following posing as island last 10 records:

1) Hard Blues by Julius Hemphill (Rereleased as "Reflections}
2) 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle
3) Urban Bossa Vol2 by BPM
4) One by One by the Foo Fighters
5) Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen
6) Homogenic by Bjork
7) Speakerboxx by Outkast
8) Soft Songs LP: Aviating by Jackdrag
9) Hourglass by Kate Rusby
10) Piano Reflections by Duke Ellington
my mood always changes, so does my need of certain music. if i had to go now, i'd bring these with no particular order:

chrome - half machine lip moves
stooges - fun house
fugazi - repeater
minutemen - double nickels on the dime
fall - this nation's saving grace
voivod - dimension hatross
god machine - scenes from the second storey
led zeppelin - iii
slayer - reign in blood
cliff burton & the traitors - master of puppets

but i'd miss many others, shit! ok, that's the bargain: if you give me a return ticket, you can keep my wife even when i come back.
Gawd, I love this Top 10 shit.

David Bowie "Station To Station"
Roxy Music "For Your Pleasure"
The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds"
Sparks "Kimono My House"
The Who "Live At Leeds"
Television "Marquee Moon"
Van Morrison "Astral Weeks"
Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"
Scott Walker "Tilt"
Genesis "Selling England By The Pound"
What I WAS thinking? that list sucked. really. sucked big ass. I was way too influenced on what I was listening at that time. Beck and Björk albums do not belong on a desert island (hey're not bad, but I love the style, even if it not mindblowing), neither does an album I DO NOT OWN (asshole), or Trompe Le Monde. As a plus, I forgot about a good amount of records I love. Here it is, I'm sure it will grow over time:

Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles: White Album
Beatles: Abbey Road
Dream Theater: Images & Words
Bob Dylan: Highway 61
Charly García: La Hija de la Lágrima
Charly García: Parte De La Religion
Carole King: Tapestry
King Crimson: Red
Pixies: Doolittle
Radiohead: Ok Computer
Radiohead: Kid A
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation

Oh, I'm on a Yes intensive listening, so maybe sometime one of their records will make it onto the list. Fragile, I like it a lot, so maybe that. I absolutely adore the song "Close To The Edge", but that second side of the same titled LP is not that good. Who knows.
"My smile is stuck, I cannot go back to your Frownland." With these words, the Magic Band catapults into the great unknown. I love the instrumental work on this album. It's like 4 different lead parts (or melodies, as Mark put it) all racing independently, but together. Don Van Vliet himself puts forth some of his best ever lyrics (I'm not sure what "Bill's Corpse" is about, but damn it's evocative). And it's a double album! Produced by Frank Zappa! Sounds like a winner to me. Everyone else has already said everything this is to say about this album so I'll just agree with it all and move on to...

My Desert Island selection to listen to while Mark schtupps my spouse:
(Calculated as of 7/1/05 - "what my favorites are on this particular day")

1) Creedle - Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars
2) Yes - Relayer
3) Saccharine Trust - Pagan Icons EP
4) Can - Future Days
5) Pink Floyd - bootleg of Sept 1970 BBC session
6) Effigies - Fly on a Wire
7) Beatles - A Hard Day's Night
8) Faust - The Faust Tapes
9) Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On
10) Frank Zappa - Uncle Meat

Aw hell, I can't decide on 10 albums... these 10 would do just fine though. And the Fleetwood Mac just might scare Mark off so I could have my spouse to myself again.
Ten Desert Island Discs:

Black Monk Time - The Monks
Velvet Underground & Nico
Pet Sounds - Beach Boys
Fun House - Stooges
Rocket to Russia - Ramones
At Folsom - Johnny Cash
At Rope's End - New Bomb Turks
S/t - New York Dolls
Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys
Reign In Blood - Slayer

What missed out: "Philosophy of the World", "Fifth Dimension", "#1 Record", "Kind of Blue", "Rain Dogs", "My Generation", "Meat Puppets II", "Best Before 1984", "Walk Amoung Us", "Modern Lovers", "Out to Hunch", "Chet Baker Sings", "Kick Out the Jams", "Live at the Star Club, Hamburg 1964", "Surfer Rosa", "Songs the Lord Taught Us"
I bought it once. Listened to it. Hated it. A few years later, a friend of mine made me give it another listen and then : WOW ! Hated it again ! I hate blues. And Punk. And reggae. And rap.

My two cents ( My dream team is Hendrix, Dylan, Springsteen, Bowie ... FREE ) :

A Wizard/A True Star : Todd Rundgren

Eli and the 13th Confession : Laura Nyro

Todd : Todd Rundgren

New York Tendaberry : Laura Nyro

Love Bomb : The Tubes

Merci : Magma

Lil' Beethoven : Sparks

Todd Rundren's Utopia : Todd Rundgren

Queen II : Queen

Oblivion : Utopia

Here are some substitutes :

Strawberries : The Damned / Author Unknown : Jason Falkner / Magical Mystery Tour : The Beatles / Atthak : Magma / Healing : Todd Rundgren / Beads of sweat : Laura Nyro
Thank you Prindle. You've got me interested in Trout Mask Replica. Thanks for your explaination of how to listen to it. I've heard either its the worst album ever (next to Metal Machine Music) or it's actually quite excellent.

Top 10 desert island discs as of recently (in no particular order) (oh man this is going to be hard....)

1. IV Led Zeppelin
2. Close to the Edge Yes
3. OK Computer Radiohead
4. Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd
5. Abbey Road The Beatles
6. Incantations Mike Oldfield
7. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy Elton John
8. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Genesis
9. The Band The Band
10. Brothers In Arms Dire Straits (a few months later)
Ok, I was just totally whacking it and one of those feed the starving children ads came on, yeah, that just totally takes the mood away. I actually have a hobby in which I find the oddest things to whack it to.... like Oprah or my grandparents fighting.............. errrrr........ I just hope no one I know EVER sees that. But-but-bu-butt it kraut! Oooh, I love these lists when I'm alone and depressed at home on saturday nights desperately seeking Susan (trying to find a movie with Marisa Tomei in it). HYMEN AND BUTTFUNKLE THAT IS HILARIOUS!!! If you've EVER seen 28 Days Later you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. But if you haven't let me give you the scoop. This Sunday on Wistoria Lane our sexy and emotionally unstable sexy housewives catch a rare virus known as "influenza" distraught and scantily clad our girls roam the city in desperate search of large, muscular butts and the vitamins and minerals that may help them in maintaining healthy immune systems.

^ ^

if you go to Bruce Springsteen on this site and go to Born To Run you'll see trying my damndest to sexually gratify a blue whale while also trying to force a newly born camel into my dirty, stinky rectum

why you should even consider my ten desert island albums now is completely beyond me

1.Paul's Boutique - Awwww ma, you're just jealous, it's the BE-stie-BOYS! Ok, let's get this straight, when you have the infamous lines; No girl don't give me head/stick your finger in my urethra instead/no, no damn girl that ain't no fair/your finger gave me a third degree tear, then you KNOW you have a classic record y'all.

Blonde On Blonde - Bob "please feed me, I'm dying" Dylan. To the niggas that be holdin' the wall/fuck y'all.... we be somethin' somethin'. Yeah, that's right, Bob Dylan never did better.

Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen (you know what, no comment)

Pet Sounds - Beach Boys (for all the pimply, depressed teenagers, yes, Pet Sounds is for YOU)

Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder (ok, there are BETTER but NOTHING so gosh-darned HAPPY)

Rain Dogs - Tom Waits (you know what folks, ehs Mark Prindle and the free market system, Rain Dogs is like... a total turn-on)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (let's say we lined up anus' then one of us pooped, if the poop was hard enough that poop would then transfer to the next anus and up the rectum, thus one would be effectively pooping out another's poop if one wished to expel the... uhhh...poop!!!)

Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello (rather poopy but you can diss all you want, Imperial Bedroom is the shiz, it's hilarious, it's genuis, it's a 50-year-old mother of three getting the greatest rim-jaw of her life from her youngest son.... who later had a very stinky face)

Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones (when my misconception of actual blues as being just about as boring as laying in bed at night for hours pretending to be asleep chenges, well, then maybe Robert Johnson will be here)

Hot Rats - Frank Zappa (ok, ok, but really, who IS Randy Newman anyway!?)

I was about to put There's A Riot Goin' On, The River, Burt Weeny Sandwhich, and Stankonia in here........ but..... I COULDN'T BECAUSE I'M evidently A RAGING QUEER!!
I don't know what to say about this album that hasn't already been said. It's really great. I heard Mr. Don Vvlsfdlfi made his Magic Band practice in a dark room for 12 hours a day for months before they recorded this, and it doesn't surprise me. There's so much going on in this record, which is one of the reasons it's so great; every time I listen to it, there's something new going on. Pachucho Cadaver is one of the best songs ever composed. I also hear it was a huge influence on Mr. Thomas Waits, which, while unsurprising, makes Tom no less shitty. 10/10 (of course)

Desert island albums are tricky. For instance, I would consider Generic Flipper to have effected me emotionally more than any other record, and Confusion is Sex has had the a more profound effect on me musically than any other record. I would consider both of these "great" and "classic" records, and I would certainly include them in a personal top ten, but I don't think I'd want them to be my soundtrack to solitude on a desert island for years and years. Here are the ten I'd choose offhand:

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Minor Threat - Complete Discography
Sonic Youth - Sister
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
Pixies - Trompe Le Monde
Beatles - White Album
Jim O'Rourke - Insignificance
Wire - Pink Flag
Neutral Milk Hotel - in the aeoropkfmmhfhbbbbbbbbbbbb
Public Image Ltd. - Album
sure, i like captain beefheart too. so here's my 10 island discs of the moment:

1. ac/dc - highway to hell
2. black oak arkansas - raunch n roll live
3. buckner & garcia - pac man fever
4. dictators - go girl crazy
5. bryan ferry - these foolish things
6. judy's - washarama
7. national lampoon - lemmings
8. oasis - definitely maybe
9. elvis presley - elvis' greatest shit
10. rolling stones - exile on main street

if i'm stuck on a damn island losing my wife to a RECORD REVIEWER of all things, i might as well have fun.
Hey Mark, here are ten albums (off the top of my head) that would be included as my all time favs.

Monks - Black Monk Time
Meat Puppets - II
Neil Young - Harvest Moon
Wipers - Youth of America
Lee Hazlewood - Cowboy in Sweden
Sly and the Family Stone - Stand!
Comets of Fire - Blue Cathedral
Chris Bell - I am the Cosmos
Byrds - Younger than Yesterday
Love - Forever Changes

Tom Troccoli
Tom's Top Ten DESERTED Island discs (in no particular order):
John Fahey: Requia
The Beatles: Revolver
Captain Beefheart: Strictly Personal
Les Paul and Mary Ford: The World Is Still Waiting For The Sunrise
Duke Ellington: The Private Collection disc 10
Michael Deasy: Friar Tuck and His Psychedellic Guitar
Eddie Hazel: Game Dames, and Guitar Thangs
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
PiL: Metal Box
Pink Floyd: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Regarding the LYRICAL content of Beefheart, his stuff is oblique, but once you find the right key to deciphering ONE song, the rest DO start to make sense as well! For example, on Orange Claw Hammer, the Orange Claw Hammer itself is a bird, the claw hammer being a description of his tail feathers. When he refers to 'a licorice stick under a fly' he is referring to a pile of dog waste. When on The Blimp we learn that the track was 'recorded through a fly's eye, but you need a fly's ear to hear it, he is referring DIRECTLY to the fact that the poem is being recorded via telephone. Have a look at the handset of a pre-1972 telephone. The ear and mouth pieces DO resemble fly's eyes! He does write in a non linear fashion ( no more so than say, Dylan), but his stuff does make sense if you hear them the way he wrote them! The stuff can be very dark, and it can also be very funny and biting. The most important thing is that he seems to understand the power of his words. I can think
I didn't hear this record, but here's my desert island list (no particular order):

  Sonic Youth - Sister
Pixies - Surfer Rosa
Minor Threat - Complete discography
Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
Meat Puppets - Up in the sun
Minutemen - Double nickels on the dime
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Hüsker Dü - Land Speed Record
Lawnmower Deth - Ooh Crikey, it's…/Kids in America
Glenn Branca - Symphony N° 6 (Devil choirs at the gates of heaven)

  BTW, I'm from Argentina so I'm able to say that Charly García is shit.
Hey, Mark. Here´s another list for you.

1. Joy Division - Closer
2. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
3. The Beatles - Revolver
4. The Beatles - Sgt Rutter´s Only Darts Club Band
5. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
6. Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
7. The Fall - Hex Enduction Hour
8. The Beatles - Abbey Road
9. The Jam - Setting Sons
10. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited


-I said muffin!
This "desert-island disc" thing is very appropriate for me, because I'm one of those freaks that thinks "TROUT MASK REPLICA" IS THE BEST ALBUM EVER!!!!! However, like most people that share this sentiment, as well as those who simply enjoy and appriciate the album, I HATED it when I first heard it. Even sold the damn thing. But I gave it another chance after getting "SAFE AS MILK", because that album is so damn good. Anyway, I'm so glad that I re-bought "TROUT MASK", because it means much more to me than any other album ever could. Just be patient and keep listening. If it doesn't start to grab you, it's your loss. This album has the BEST LYRICS EVER and some of the best drumming and bass playing on a rock record as well. Them guitarists ain't too shabby neither. Beefheart shouts his poetry more than he actually sings, but it's the kind of delivery that's needed for this kind of music. It's a shame that Frank Zappa did such a lousy production job, because it makes this already inaccessible music even more inaccessible. However, Zappa's one of the best producers ever when it comes to his own stuff, so maybe it wasn't his fault. Anyway, if you haven't heard this, stop babbling about your "desert-island discs", and give it a try.

Here's MY desert island discs:
(what you know bout this shit, son?)

1. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band- TROUT MASK REPLICA
3. Frank Zappa/The Mothers Of Invention- WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY
5. Soft Machine- VOLUMES 1 & 2
6. The Residents- MEET THE RESIDENTS
7. Moondog- MOONDOG 1 & 2

I would have put some Beatles, Hendrix, Zombies and The Bonzo Dog Band on my list, but I can't pick just one album for any of them.
I can't disagree more with Trout Mask Replica getting the 10. I'd give it an 8 if I'm being generous; I think the previous album was even better than this. There are some absolute classics -- "Pachuco Cadaver", "Veteran's Day Poppy", and "Ella Guru", but man, there are some stinkers too. I think "Frownland" is one of the worst Beefheart songs ever, not to mention "The Blimp" which is a waste of tape. Some of my favorite tracks on the album are the acapella ones, though, so what do I know? I'll give it credit for doing something COMPLETELY different, and that's probably why it's regarded as such a great album -- and don't get me wrong, it is great. Just not Beefheart's finest hour. And dammit I just hate the production on this album. Everything sounds trebly and dry, nothing has any life to it, and Don's vocals are always mixed waaaay too high in a distracting way. Frank Zappa had no idea what the hell he was doing. Would probably be the Captain's best album if they'd cut off a few songs. Am I the only person who wants to hear the original versions of all these songs (you know, all the riffs played on Don's piano)?
The first time I heard this record, I laughed out loud. It sounded like a bunch of guys took mescaline and decided to record an album. I like watching drugged out people do things like walk the dog, take the kids to the mall, drive, socialize, cook dinner, or in this case, make music.

I was immediately compelled to listen to it again. The second time through, I actually heard the structure of the music. It was nothing short of pure genius. This is a VERY musical recording, for those who listen closely enough to recognize it. The songs taunt you with moments of musical clarity, only to collapse back into beautiful discordance and chaos. But it is very much structured chaos. Beefheart's lyrics are simply the best - sometimes completely absurd, other time penetratingly insightful. I often found myself reciting "hoy, hoy," and "fast and bulbous" much to my own amusement.

Don't expect to share the joy of this record. I played it for another punk-lovin' friend and he thought it was the worst thing he ever heard, and never wants to be subjected to it again. This album is like an odd food that only a scattering of people would enjoy, like anchovies. It's special to me, and a complete nuisance to others. Which is why you want to play it full blast in your car with the windows down at a crowded intersection. Fuck convention.

OK, you're seriously asking me the ten albums I would listen to while you're fucking my wife? First, I cheerfully do not have a wife. You can have sex with any of the women I associate with, but I gave them all the clap as a secret revenge toward you:

1) Different Kind of Tension - Buzzcocks
2) Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart
3) Generic - Flipper
4) Love - Love
5) Ace of Spades - Motorhead
6) Odessey and Oracle - The Zombies
7) Surfer Rosa - Pixies
8) Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts - The Adverts
9) OK Computer - Radiohead
10) 13 Songs - Fugazi
I have owned this album on CD for about 10 years. I bought it on the weight of positive reviews it has recieved from almost every quarter - including the Prindle site. I consider myself a pretty fair-minded audiophile and can suffer through some pretty rough albums. I even can even listen to In the Wake of Poseidon by King Crimson with no ill effect as long as I get a 10 minute break between tracks. As for Trout Mask Replica, I still cannot get past the second or third track without wishing I had never bought it. But I won't give up and some day in the distant future I might get through the damn thing. I just cannot put up with the lack of immediately apparent structure to the... for lack of a better word - music. What gets me is that I am clearly in the minority when it comes to this album and I start to wonder if I have lost the capability to escape my comfortable straight-jacket of what I consider as music. In other words, I can't seem to just go with it.

This is the only album I cannot listen to without feeling like a weirdo and that's even just skimming through the first ten seconds of each track. How can someone listen to this whole thing and at the end of it all, leap to their feet and shout Bravo? How?

I am told you gotta let yourself 'absorb' the album and its greatness will become apparent; be patient and you'll see wonderful things; a trip without drugs, etc., etc.

No thanks. I'd rather just read about it.
I've seen this in the record store in the city, but I think I decided to buy Danzig's 7:77 album instead (obviously I hadn't read the reviews on either album). I should've known how hammy it was by the cover...

And it's a shame I don't have a wife - when I get one, you'll be the first person I contact.

Ministry - The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste
Anthrax - Spreading the Disease or Persistence of Time or Anthrology: No Hit Wonders
Ice T - O.G. Original Gangster
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Manic Street Preachers - This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Mr Bungle - Mr Bungle
NoFX - Pump Up The Valuum
Slayer - Reign In Blood or World Painted Blood or South of Heaven
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

And for the last album? Well I'd have to make a Ministry compilation with the following tracks:

1. Waiting [Live]
2. Supermanic Soul
3. Reload
4. Dead Guy
5. Unsung
6. Scare Crow
7. The Fall [Live]
8. Over The Shoulder
9. 10/10
10. Land of Rape and Honey
11. Bad Blood
12. Worm
13. N.W.O. [Album Edit]
14. Under My Thumb [Cover]
15. Rio Grande Blood
16. Life Is Good
17. The Dick Song
18. Khyber Pass [Live] ... ... ...

There's too fockin many!!!

And I realise there are no 'old' albums in that lot... there should definately be a Doors album there somewhere, but hey, I've not even been born in terms of musical knowledge, so maybe in 20 years time I'll come back (with my wife) and update it.

And I might buy some Beefheart for Christmas!

L. Wall
Mrs Pringle - (sic) - I'm happy to see that, despite the fact that you're a left wing arse, that you give kudos to my hero Greggy Gutbomb and Red Eye (For the confused guy). Been a right wing liberal all my adult life and Greggo's and your musical tastes are nearly exactly the same as mine. Decided to look at your site after watching you on Red Eye last night - and I couldn't stop reading. For that you are a bastard - a rat bastard - I have to get up in the morning.

Mr wife will probably fuck you if you wipe off that silly grin.

But, otherwise clouded explaination for 10 best, a desert island. Well, like the bard said

desert island quite
no electircality no punk
vaccinated with
phograph needle
typewriter froze
forgot to bring
punctuation keys

ee cumming

Also happy to see review of the Wipers - Used to see them all the time back in the early 80's with Napalm Beach, Special K, Les Clams and other fine Porkland Oregon bands. Never got to see them at Satyricon , should have spent more time hanging out there - but you have to understand it's small and smells bad. I probably could have banged Courtney Love.

So my top ten right here on our stage!

1) Sparks - Any of the first four, oh all right, Woofer
2) Oingo Boingo - Only A Lad
3) Blue Oyster Cult - On your Feet or On Your Knees (I was there when they recorded it)
4) T Rex - The Slider
5) Devo - ANYTHING - No, you know that'a a lie. Hows aboot Are We Snot Men?
6) Slade - Play It Loud (The greatest live band I have ever seen)
7) The Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters or Fresh Fruit (Great, brilliant punk, with a dumb ass political point of view)
8) The Ramones - Rocket to Russia
9) The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives (much better live than in the studio, but what the hey)
10) System of a Down (What? Too soon? Can't help it - when it came out it was brilliant AND original)
11) Captain Beeftink - Trout Masque Replica - Yup, once you eat one

I know that's 11 but get beyond your buszh-wah-zee interpretation of reality.

I would also have to find a way to bring my beyond extensive collection of Gilbert and Sullivan)

Ipso Facto!!
re: Trout Mask

Saying Capt Beefheart sounds like Tom Waits is like trying to tell me that the Doors remind you of Danzig. Or Herman and the Hermits reminds you of Blink 182. I t's retarded.How have you grown up without ever hearing Howlin' Wolf? Do you live in a "Whites Only" bathroom?

Gareth Mooney
A great, great, great album that I really had to perservere with before ‘getting’ it. I’d probably owned it for five years before it really took hold, that first year I was maybe only able to stomach a complete playthrough once, maybe twice, going months at a time before giving it another failed attempt. Over the years I started enjoying a little melody here, a little drum part there until I could appreciate the whole album’s genius. By no means an easy album to get into but once it’s got you on it’s hook, it’s got you for good.

My desert island discs
Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
Sleep – Dopesmoker
Prince – Purple Rain
Neil Young – On The Beach
Bonnie Prince Billy – The Letting Go
John Martyn – Solid Air
The Beatles – The White Album
Pharoah Sanders – Jewels of Thought
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
A compilation cdr of all the Sonic Youth songs with Lee Ranaldo on vocals

Nice to see radfox giving Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance a spot, criminally under-rated album

Just adding my thoughts to the trout mask replica review.

My desert island discs would be
1) Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
2) At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command
3) Talking Heads - Fear of Music
4) Slint - Spiderland
5) Captain Beefheart - Ice Cream for Crow
6) Nas - Illmatic
7) King Crimson - Red
8) Fine Young Cannibals - The Raw and the Cooked
9) Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
10) Tiny Tim - God Bless Tiny Tim

Adam Naworal
This album is the gateway drug to offbeat music. Absolutely essential.

Add your thoughts?

Lick My Decals Off, Baby - Bizarre 1970.
Rating = 9

Stylistically similar to the last one with the important differences of being only a single album and having (or at least appearing to have) only one guitar. As such, the guitar and bass are in separate speakers and the instrumental interplay and overall sound is much thicker and bassier. This is excellent for all those folks who loved the challenging nature of Trout Mask but were turned off by the noodly wiry high-twangin' guitars. Actually, I don't even know if such people exist. But if they do, they dance around in the little Dandelion Park of Happy Dreams and peacefully cohabit with all the other villagers of NiceLand. That is, until the evil scientist Ickzogaru and his venomous but bumbling cat Sark cast a spell that turns all the dandelions into Bayer Aspirin and all the happy villagers fall prey to Reyes' Syndrome.

So yes, it's bassier and fuller, but just as rhythmically and melodically confusing and complicated, with the added element of "vibes" or "xylophone" or whatever it is that Ruth Underwood used to play in Frank Zappa's band way back in the 1970s America. And the ol' Cap is up to his usual tricks, shouting in no rhythm at all and casting song titles like "I Love You, You Big Dummy," "I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go" and "The Buggy Boogie Woogie." Can you believe this crazy kook?

Would you like to enjoy another fun survey question? Everybody keeps sending me nice telegrams telling me how much they are enjoying the survey questions that accompany these Captain Beefheart reviews so here is another one. This is a relationship question, so maybe you should have your wife or girlfriend answer with you - it'll make for a fun conversation piece and maybe even bring you closer together. Okay, here we go: Do you like food?

Reader Comments (Bernardo Pacheco)
Yes (James)
I like food. And my hand does too. I haven't had a real girlfriend in two years. Shut up.
I like food. And to RebelJukebox up there- I havent had a Girlfriend in 4 years- take it!- oh wait- thats not cool. . . damn it.
Why the fuck hasn't this been re-issued? "Trout Mask Replica" is indeed a classic and "Decals" is on par with said masterpiece. Needlessly overlooked, Don & his Magicians (Drumbo's back even, and they gave him album credits this time!) come up with a single disc that sticks to his warped vision and avoids some of the studio banter that Zappa included on "Replica." Enigma re-released this essential album on cd in the late 80's, folded, and now finding the thing is like trying to find the Holy Grail. Leave it to my lovely wife to save the day: she found a copy in Phoenix and batted her eyes enough to get the record store owner to sell her his own copy. I was forced to lick her decals off. As far as the food thing: she did mention eating at Alice Cooper's restaurant during her Arizona business trip. Alice started on Straight records too, the same home of Zappa + Beefheart. Coincidence? I'm still trying to figure out the connection between Alice Cooper and buffalo wings.
Yes. I like food. Food tastes good. Bad Descendents reference. I'm sorry. Fragments ahoy! (Ryan Maffei)


Kind of.



Maybe. In special situations.

notomich@Grinnell.EDU (Michael F. Noto)
This is, in my opinion, possibly the great man's finest moment. It's his favorite, and I'd say that I might have to agree with it. This is probably the best album of 1970 (also including Led Zeppelin III and the Velvets' Loaded) and it's just a head trip. This is almost impossible to find - I still haven't heard the entire album yet - but the news is that a big reissue is coming up sometime. I really want it reissued. "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" is a great polyrhythmic song (gotta dig those two drumsets) and Ed Marimba (that's Arthur Tripp III from "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" for all you Zappa fans) is in marvelous form, playing some wacked-out xylophone runs on other tracks. Much easier to listen to at first than "Trout Mask Replica" - there is indeed only one abrasive guitar instead of two, and Rockette Morton's rubber-tone bass is much more prominent in the mix, which just makes it sound great. Zappa's underproduction and treble emphasis for the "Trout Mask Replica" mix is still a little harsh, and this mix is really mellower, thicker, and bassier. Not to say that this isn't hard to listen to for the unexperienced - "Japan In A Dishpan" is one of the more abrasive instrumental jams the Magic Band ever cut - which is really saying something - and the incredibly contorted rhythms of "I Wanna Find Me A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go" will surely raise some eyebrows on first listen. This is utterly, absolutely brilliant. Does anyone have this album on mp3's? Would you do a Beefheart fan a favor?
Ah...Decals... I am SO glad I was paying attention when this was available on CD for about 20 minutes back in the late 80s. I was lucky enough to get the Enigma issue before it went to that big release party in the sky (along with all of the Effigies albums, apparently, damn it all), and I have no reservations about proclaiming this album to be every bit as wonderful as Trout Mask Replica. The execution is much tighter, and with the addition of Artie Tripp (Ed Marimba) on mallet percussion, the chord voicings sound quite unique, with Tripp essentially playing the 2nd guitar parts on percussion - something Zappa was wont to do as well.

Worry not, and hear me this: this album will see the light of day again. Remember 200 Motels? That one took a while, but it's here now.
Lick My Decals Off, Baby is amazing, about a thousands times better than Trout Mask. Everyone I know in real life thinks this is the Captain's best album -- I can kinda see that. This was also the Captain's favorite album of his own. I personally love it, though I think it needs remastered... it's a completely cohesive album... definitely his most interesting. There is only one guitar on this album, though some of the tracks obviously have 2 guitars recorded. Also worth noting is how there is a separate percussionist now to compliment John French's always-reliable production. The band members said that this was the most difficult album ever to write and record the songs for, which makes it that much more striking when you actually listen to it... seriously, it's one of the easiest albums ever to keep listening to. Love that "Doctor Dark".

Add your thoughts?

The Spotlight Kid - Reprise 1972.
Rating = 8

Mellow and quirkily soulful, this LP seems to be more influenced by the Stax/Volt R'n'B sound (Booker T and the MGs, Eddie Floyd, etc) than old-fashioned blues. But slowed way down, like the whole band has drunk too much magical sleeping potion. The guitarist gots some great vibrato goin', the bassist is bendin' strings and laying low like a funky monkey, The Beefman is doin' his thing and rippin' out the ol' butt harmonica, and Ed Marimba is playing a mean marimba like only a member of the Marimba clan might atempt. There are a few moments of strangeness ("Glider" in particular seems to jump from time-signature to time-signature like so many Mexican Jumping Beans), along with the odd shift in mood ("White Jam" begins as a really lovely, majestic ballad until the clock strikes twelve and it turns back into jive turkey), but this is certainly not the Department Of Diversity that was Clear Spot. Think groovy, sunglass-wearin' slowish boogie jams ("I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby," "Blabber `n Smoke," "When It Blows Its Stacks") and you've got a pretty good indication of how I described this album about three sentences ago. (Don't Fear) The Reaper though - this isn't generic soul poop. With Crazy Beefheart at the helm of the Sex Ship, no fan of original-style soundscapes need go unsatisfied. Having said that, holy patootie does "Alice In Blunderland" sound exactly like a Frank Zappa jam.

I'm getting kind of sick of the whole survey thing, so this time let's try a hilarious Mad Lib: A (verb) is the part of a sentence that tells what the (noun) is doing, and an (adjective) describes the (noun).

Reader Comments (James)
"Fuck," "Fuck," "Fucking," "Fuck." I'm totally fourth grade, dude. (Adrian Denning)
'Click Clack' is the finest thing since fine things were invented. What a fantastic song! For that one song alone this album deserves to bought by EVERYBODY! Go on, everybody. Buy this thing! (Ryan Maffei)
A cheap is the part of a sentence that tells what the rrraaaak is doing, and an squeeak describes the glaaab.

My parakeet is not a particularly good Mad Lib player. (Andrew Dean)
I've just "Got" this album, after listening to it for about the sixth time. I've had it a while, rarely bothered with it..then it just clicked and oooo, it's good. There's a cool spastic groove through most the songs, and "White Jam" and "There Aint No Santa Claus On The Evening Stage" both morph into these creepy, creeping little dark-hearted jams. Santa has this fantastic, barely audible guitar hum backing up the Captain's howlin' near the end, and it just completes the song so pefectly. I can tell I'm going to be listening to this more and more and more, now. (Walter Levy)
This album wails from start to finito - You forgot to mention "Click-Clack" in your review, which the wise and worldly mdenster (above) correctly identified as .......well you can read his shit yourself. This track is a stand-out for me and, in addition to the best syncopation anywhere, this just may be the finest song ever recorded about trains and longing. period. And you don't have to use too much imagination to realize that "There Aint No Santa Claus On The Evening Stage" is a twist on a really authentic slavery era blues. This guy is really getting back to his (or somebody's anyway) roots here, without dropping the veneer of ingenious poetry and twisted vision that he brings to all his earlier work. So there. (The Adam)
"Ho ho ho ho ho ho-o-o-o"
A CRY is the part of the sentence that tells what the INFANT is doing, and a SHIT-FILLED describes the DIAPER. That's where my mind's been at lately. Got a 3-week old by my side here, and she doesn't quite see the urgency of commenting on Beefheart right now. But comment I shall.

The Spotlight Kid has always been an odd album to me - in that it sounds so normal. But it's certainly subversive - the ever-present marimbas certainly aren't usually heard in predominantly blues-related material, and the off-kilter rhythms are pretty unique to Beefheart too, though they're played so slow and dirty you could almost mistake them for Howlin' Wolf or Buddy Guy or whoever. It's a tough album to get into though, not as bright as inviting as its companion, Clear Spot (produced by Ted Templeman who produced a buttload of Van Halen and Little Feat albums!), and overwhelmingly dark and depressing, though if you like your blues that way, you'll like this just fine. I listen mostly to "Blabber and Smoke", "Click Clack" and "Grow Fins" - all with great lyrics and spirited (if subdued) band performances.

Listening to this again, it makes me glad my digestive system is fully developed, if a bit challenged by the state of the union these days as well as those Wendy's french fries I ate earlier today... my daughter's digestive system is still developing. Judging my my 3-week old daughter's face right now, digestion is a tough gig when you're a newborn. There ain't no Santa Claus in the lower intestine.
I really, really enjoy most of The Spotlight Kid though I don't think it has too many classic songs on it. As it stands, "When It Blows It Stacks" is definitely one of my favorite Beefheart songs... but this whole album has a real drab and boring feel to it that would just get worse on the next 3 albums.

Add your thoughts?

Clear Spot - Reprise 1972.
Rating = 8

Well, now that that's out of the way, let's go back to making NNNNNOOOOOORRRRMMMMAAAALLLLL music! GranTed (Nugent), normal Beefheart is wildass Canned Heat, but I'm talking comparisons here. Apples and oranges. Ever heard that Pink Floyd song? Catchy. "Pass the butter please! Too doo doo doo doo!" But now I'm all confused, see. Because the guitar interplay on this album is incredible - astonishing. Sometimes it sounds like three or four guitars at once! So WERE there actually two guitarists on the last album and I couldn't tell? That would be intriguing. Either way, Clear Spot is sort of like a more assured, more impressive follow-up to Safe As Milk, featurin' a wide variety of different song types, from shufflin' blues boogie to mean driving 4/4 loudguitar rock to Motown soul to very pretty (and unusual!) pop balladry to swampy bottleneck jerkin' shazmataz to a little bit of that Zappa-inspired kookiness. All played with normal rhythms (guitars, bass and drums ALL playing in the same time signature! And tightly loose!) and produced with the gorgeous, impressive guitarwork (the tones - oh! To die for!) totally dominating the mix. Please dig me here - although this is not really a "challenging" record like the last couple, there are a heck of a lot of smart, strangely performed, catchy and creative melodies on here - and they're even accessible! The only reason I gave it an 8 instead of a 9 is because it's got a few more weakish tracks than the last couple records did (in fact, I actively DESPISE "Crazy Little Thing"! It's an annoying macho bullshit song with stupid lyrics!).

Now for my favorite part of the review! Another survey question! Are you jotting all of these down? I'd love to take a tally of everybody's answers. Okay, here we go: If you had just murdered an old man with an aluminum bat and he was hanging from a pipe in your basement, what would be the easiest way to dispose of the body and avoid detection?

Please get back to me as quickly as you can on this one.

Reader Comments (Bernardo Pacheco)
Eat the body, then try shitting as much as possible. You might have to alternate actions. Make sure your plumbing is good. (James)
Didn't you see that movie "Snatch?" Bring the corpse to a pig farm.
The corpse of an old man would blend in perfectly on stage at an Eagles concert. Just sprinkle some white powder underneath his nose before placing him there. (DBW)
Survey answer: think of a famous, famously private, sick man who has completely disappeared from public view and is unlikely to ever be seen again.

Get a tombstone & coffin & hearse. Insert unwanted corpse in coffin.

Inscribe tombstone with name of the MIA celeb. Hie on out to nearest cemetery and have a funeral (broad daylight preferred). Optional: charge admission to view grave in order to recoup the cost of the stone & box & wagon. (Ryan Maffei)
Use Bleach, cut up the body (appendages first), dispose of it in different locations outside of a thirteen (approximately) mile radius.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to, um, run. (Andrew Dean)
All you need to know about this album is that "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" is one of the greatest Beefheart songs ever, and is almost worth buying the album for! Except, since every CD version I have ever seen of this is a double-set of this and the excellent (superior) 'The Spotlight Kid', you're actually getting a great album for free, too! Almost free. Steal it.

The rest of this one isn't great...songs like "Too Much Time" will either annoy and bore the pants of you if you've come to the Cap'n via way of his weirder output, or pleasantly relax you if you put it on a special "driving home from work" tape. Most of it's okay, but he's treading water here. This is probably his best "commercial" album, though. (Wyatt Coleman)
Why would you ever get rid of the body?

I like the suggestion about planting the old man at the Eagles concert. Trouble is, the Eagles play so seldom nowadays. C'mon Donn and Glenn and Joee and Donn II and Timm....bring back that soft rock magic that provided a soundtrack to our sweaty jockstrap lives! If I don't hear "Hotel California" again soon, I'm gonna go crash my Volvo!

Instead, I'd suggest taking the body to a public school near you, and back the van into the cafeteria entrance. They'll be glad to see you. Hey! did you know that french fries are recognized by the FDA as a "fresh vegetable" now? Good nutrition is getting easier and easier! I love America!

I love Clear Spot. Been listening to it since I was a teenager. "Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man" and "Big Eyed Beans from Venus" are both instant classics. "Long Neck Bottles" is also cool... though it just hit me recently what the title REALLY refers to.... gotta love those bluesmen's euphemisms!
I thought you might be interested in knowing that Ted (yeah, the producer from Van Halen) Templeman produced Clear Spot. It seems that back in 72 (what is it with this year and great albums!?) the execs felt that Beefheart needed a little guidance in the studio, something that plagues nearly everything in the Beefheart catalogue, so they brought in Templemen who had worked with the Doobie Bros who were something at the time.

The sound on Clear Spot is excellent and the story goes that Beefheart agreed to give Templemen control in an effort to get some sales. End result: great record, little sales, one bitter little blues man. The next few releases are pretty low.

Here is one little game for ya. Name one major musician who just up and quit. No drug flameouts/mental health stuff but someone who quit by choice. The guy from Jethro Tull raising worm bait in Wales was pretty good for a while but he went back on the whole REUNION grind which tosses him out of the mix. I would say Beefheart because he at the very least would have had a good paying career for the rest of his days had he continued. Other than that I can't think of any others. Maybe the bassist from Husker Du, Moustache Guy, but I really mean someone who was the focus of the band. The list is pretty short which is a shame. How great would it be for someone to be a "made" musician and then decide, "ya know, fuck this. I'm done. What's next?".
big eyed beans from venus and blue million miles are both crazily great. venus starts off as annoying blues and warps into a weird awesome groove that sounds way ahead of it's time it. Blue million miles is like early talking heads, but slicker/cooler and not as pretentious.
I never understood the big deal with Clear Spot except for "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" which is amazing. The very last song on this album has a part lifted directly from a song on Decals. There was a part on the last album that also sounded pretty close to a song off of Decals. I'm drawing blanks on the titles here, because I don't listen to this album very much. Really good production but just kind of... nothing.

Add your thoughts?

Unconditionally Guaranteed - Mercury 1974.
Rating = 5

A very low 5. Holy christ, is this a stinky. This was the Captain making "normal music" in an attempt at finally making some money. It mostly sounds like really bland (and occasionally truly awful) Southern rock, with Beefheart actually "singing" in his disgusting phlegmy Bob Seger voice. Just from looking at the cover, you can tell that he's not being genuine with this one - in his photo, he's squeezing fistfuls of money, and one of the lines in the ridiculous cover text is "All songs have been hand-made and custom-finished especially with You, the Individual, in mind." He doesn't care about making groundbreaking -- or even GOOD -- music anymore. He cares about appealing to FM radio listeners and making money. Luckily, it failed! The only interesting thing about the release is that it features long-time Magic Band members Zoot Horn Rollo and Rockette Morton, who honestly DO try to at least play their parts in interesting manners; unfortunately, the melodies are so stupid and generic, there's not much they can do about it. There are a couple of slower, pretty songs that I like a lot ("This Is The Day" and "Lazy Music"), but the wretched wrednecky "Peaches," "Happy Love Song" and "Full Moon, Hot Sun" are, without exception, the worst songs ever written since the dawn of creation.

I thought up a great new survey question for you! You know how Time Magazine picks a "Man of the Year" every year, and People Magazine picks a "Sexiest Man Alive"? Those issues always sell a lot of copies, so I thought I should do something similar so that my review of Unconditionally Guaranteed will sell a lot of issues on the newsstand. So here's my question: Who, in your opinion, is, if not, you know, the best person alive, than at least an okay person as far as you can tell, though you'll admit that you don't really know that much about him?

Reader Comments (Frances Burger)
The guy who does my job when I get the night off... he does a shitty job, but he seems like an OK person.
If you forget that it's Captain Beefheart, it's really not so terrible - it beats listening to Chicago or Jethro Tull. Then you remember that this was the guy who recorded Trout Mask Replica and proceed to call in a tactical nuclear strike to destroy the nasty turd. The songs here are just blatantly stupid, nothing redemptive (even lousy, sell-out weirdness would have been acceptable) exists here. Give it 2 points for the cover photo. You've got to love the irony of one of the most uncommercial artists ever to exist grabbing fistfuls of money. Regardless, 2/10.

In response to the survey question - the homeless man who occasionally stops into the record store where I work and leaves me dollar tips for a $3 tape, he seems okay. If he didn't reek of paint and booze and wasn't loud, obnoxious, and apparently mentally ill, he'd be okay.
wow, i am really surprised that this record is reviewed so badly. i listened to it a few days ago for the first time and it really got me from the first moments on! "upon the my o my" is a really impressive groovy danceable, rocking, growling bluesy tune that i would not want to miss. and then it goes on and on being bluesy, laid back and cute. it is a nice little record, put it on and enjoy your beer.

sure inside the discography of captain beefheart it seems a little out of place, no experiments, nothing disturbing, all normal and simple. but hey it is really a good record. maybe by reviewing the whole catalogue it seems a little dull and disappointing. give it a chance and dance the My O My, thats fun!
Unconditionally Guaranteed has maybe 2 okay songs on it.

Add your thoughts?

Bluejeans And Moonbeams - Mercury 1974.
Rating = 5

Yipes! More generic FM radio "potential hit material," all full of bland blues/rock riffs, sappy (though actually quite lovely) balladry, endless Clapton-style by-the-numbers guitar solos and the Captain going so far as to actually SING a few of these songs - in a normal, non-gruff voice! It wasn't what his audience wanted, and radio programmers weren't too keen on it either - probably because, even by lameass coked-up 1974 standards, there are only three truly "strong" tracks on here ("Observatory Crest," "Pompadour Swamp" and the title track would have sounded just dandy on any classic rock playlist). The rest have their moments - a nice bass line here, a catchy guitar riff there - but there's nothing unique going on. It all sounds like less jazzy Steely Dan or less countryish Eagles, along with some abysmal Stevie Wonder-wannabe funky organ numbers thrown in for the disco kids. Tepid! That's a fine fine word for use at any meal of soup.

This is pretty funny - earlier this week I came home drunker than our president (ooo! biting!) and quickly threw my clothes on the floor so as to wash my body. About 15 minutes later, word came from the bedroom that my puppy had dashed under the couch with one of the socks I'd thrown on the floor and EATEN a large portion of it! I was too smashed to take notice, of course, but the next night it all became quite clear to me. A little TOO clear... It was pouring outside so I had my dog take a poop in the tub. As I was cleaning it up, suddenly one of the logs looked a bit odd to me. I held it up for closer inspection and realized that the log was comprised as follows: poop-sock-poop. I was mesmerized by the sight of my sock residing right there between two pieces of stinky brown - serving as a kind of fabric glue that held the two fragments together! And I don't know exactly which cruel God was controlling my actions at that particular moment (for all of our actions are driven by a deity of some sort), but before I tossed the sockpoop into the toilet, I, uh... Well, I sniffed it.


Reader Comments
This album always gets a lot of flack. Beefheart wasn't being Beefheart-ish enough for his audience and he wasn't "normal" enough to actually fit in with the other stuff in 1974.

That being said, this album is kind of amazing...I'll go through it track by track since no one else seems to wanna talk about it:

Track 1: "Party of Special Things To Do" This one starts off with El Capitan growling,"The Camel Wore A Nighty! the party of speeecciiaalll thaaaangs to dooo".
What the hell is he talking about? Who knows? Then a cascade of layered slide guitars come at ya like a waterfall. The production is amazing and the band is killer. Sounds like a cool Dr. John kind of voodoo swamp jam. The hi-hat alone is incredible. It also has the signature Beefheart breakdown before it kicks back in. A killer cut.

Track 2 : "Same Old Blues" A really sweet sounding J.J. Cale tune. Beefheart's voice sounds great in this cut. There's definitely nothing crazy about this song, hence the title. It's got a great sound though and I like the piano breaks.

Track 3 : "Observatory Crest" This song is nothing short of genius.There are very few words, but they paint a picture, and Don Van Vliet is a painter after all. The tripped out sounds in this song rule, there's this sound that just keeps throbbing like when you're on whippits. I just like to space out to this song. I gotta say, this Dean Smith guy on guitar is such an expressive player, like stuff Jerry Garcia could never quite do in the studio.

Track 4 : "Pompadour Swamp" A cool groove. This album appears simplistic upon first listen, but the changes are subtle and repeated listening will reveal all the twists and turns.

Track 5 : "Captain's Holiday" Everyone needs a day off, and who deserves one more than the Cap'n ? I used to not like this one because Don wasn't singin', but he is...with the harmonica. He is a great harp player and takes this opportunity to show his chops. It's a funny concept..."Ooh captain captain...sing your melody...". Once again, props to Dean Smith, whoever he is.

Track 6: "Rock and Roll's Evil Doll" Psychotic Beefheart tinged disco madness! One of the best cuts. It shows a glimpse into Don's concept of rock and roll, and why he soesn't wanna play the game. I think he just wanted to get a killer band together and play some funky shit...Also his voice sounds all shredded and awseome on this one.

Track 7 : "Further Than We've Gone" This is a really challenging melody. It's kind of like this album's answer to "Her Eye's Are A Blue Million Miles". There are some really weird changes in this song, like when it morphs out of the strange minor key thing into the really triumphant guitar solo section.But when you got a guy like Dean Smith rockin' all those cool major scale solo's you just gotta throw one in the middle of the tune. Right when you think that the fade out is coming, it goes back in to the minor key again and the Captain is back singing his lament. Totally non-traditional song structure.

Track 8 : "Twist Ah Luck" My least favorite tune on the album, kind of does to this album what Bob Weir's "Money, Money" does to Grateful Dead at the Mars Hotel, but with a condom. Average cut

Track 9 : "Bluejeans And Moonbeams" The title track is otherwordly, like some bizarre children's tune. It has those crazy keyboards that I love so much from the 70's, like that tune "oooh, what a lucky man...he was.". It's got one of my favorite chord progressions ever. It almost makes me cry it's so great...It may be the best song ever to go to sleep to.One night I put this album on repeat and went to sleep, I had happy dreams and this tune kept reoccuring and I was like....flyin' man...flyin' over the moonbeams...
This was my first Beefheart album plucked from a second hand shop window when i was a kid out of curiosity.. what a heap of steamy dog doo it is too... Some good stuff came before and after this platter but what a crap introduction... Captain Beef-Fart then... ho ho ho.... (sorry)
Bluejeans And Moonbeams has maybe 1 okay song on it.

Add your thoughts?

Bat Chain Puller - Unreleased 1976
Rating = 7

According to those in the know, Bat Chain Puller was recorded in 1976, but not released because it was funded by Frank Zappa's management, and FZ split with his management right after it was recorded. However, Beefheart apparently shopped the tapes around himself because a copy fell into my hands through a fellow who hangs out with Capitol Records employees, some of whom hoard such items. Apparently nobody said "Howdy-do!" because the record became an unreleased classic like Smile or the legendary seventh Bloodrock LP (both of which are now available at stores near you) and Don Van Halen opted to re-record the material from scratch and spread it across the next 3 LPs. Most fans apparently like the original Bat Chain Puller versions better because Drumbo, Beefheart's right hand man, is on drums. This is all hearsay, you understand. I'm quoting directly from an email.

As for the producer of Bat Chain Puller, Zappa was always credited as producer over the years. However, in the past few years, many Beefheart associates and scholars have come forward to say that Frank merely funded the sessions, and that the production was actually done by Beefheart and engineer Kerry McNabb. So I guess FZ was involved, but he didn't do any of the actual production.

So the copy I'm reviewing went from master tape>beefheart's promo copy>cassette my contact transferred. That seems about right. There might be another step in there. There is a lot of hiss but the fidelity is nice. Which brings me to something else you should know...

And then he says some other stuff. But let's get to my opinion of the CD now. Too much background can kill a man - just ask Vic Morrow! I don't know; it almost made sense. The musicians appearing on this unreleased album include Denny Walley, Jeff Morris Tepper, John Thomas and Drumbo. Five of the songs were later re-recorded for Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), 3 for Doc At The Gaydar Station, and 2 for Ice Cream For Crow - plus one found its way onto the Grow Fins rarities box set (which I guess I should purchase and review one of these days). This leaves only one entirely unreleased track: a very interesting guitar/bass-interplay piece with poem entitled "Seam Crooked Sam."

The sound of the album is four thousand times more unique and interesting than Beefheart's previous two releases, built upon two tangled trebly guitars, rhythm section and occasional loud-as-hell saxophone or harmonica racket. One sour note for me personally is that I don't find Beefheart's surreal poetry to be all that interesting, and there's a TON of it on here. "Poop Hatch" and "Apes-Ma" don't even bother with music at all! The music stays pretty darned interesting and clicky-clacky springle-sprangle the whole time through though. In other words, it's a return of the "How in the Hell did they WRITE those guitar lines?" feel of Trout Mask Replica.

From this point on, I will assume that you are familiar with the officially released versions of the songs, so that I can compare and contrast the known knowns and the known unknowns. I must warn you, however, that I will not be interjecting any discussion of the unknown unknowns into the conversation. So if your town gets destroyed by a giant bumblebee, that's legally not my fault.

Three songs were clearly better in their original renditions than they become upon re-recorded release, but two were greatly improved by being reworked. Here, let's discuss them loudly in a record store while wearing glasses and full beards.


"Bat Chain Puller": The weird harmonica/bass thing in the intro is much more rigidly timed and tied-together than in the released version, and the ever-increasing number of downward-swooping noises is hilariously warped. Plus they throw an entirely different and unrelated guitar line on top of the entire mess near the end.

"Flavor Bud Living" is presented with a much cooler, darker, lower, jazzier guitar tone. If you use cocaine, think of this sweet version as three snorts of uncut Bolivian to the released version's half-snort of white dust scraped off an old turd.

"The 1010th Day Of The Human Totem Pole" is much, MUCH better in this original version, because it's clearly two different guitars - one in each speaker - playing this impossible guitar line with the five hundred million unpredictable changes. In the released version, it sounds like only one guitar, and thus sounds like the guy might just be making up all of the changes as he goes.


The officially released version of "Brickbats" is far preferable to this version, in that the intentionally irritating saxophone noise isn't mixed 800 billion times louder than the rest of the music in not just the song, but the entire WORLD.

The officaciously released version of "Floppy Boot Stomp" has a much better mix than this one, which finds Captain's voice completely drowning out the interesting sicko-blues instrumentation.

If you want a copy of this much-coveted disc, don't look at me. I listened to it once and swallowed it like the note said. Your only hope now is to catch it coming out the other side!

Say -- I just had a fantastic idea for a new Aerosmith song.

Reader Comments
Bat Chain Puller is great; why didn't they ever re-record "Odd Jobs"? Also, I prefer this version of 1010th Day of the Human Totem Pole. Other than that, I think they improved all the songs for the later releases...

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Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) - Warner Bros. 1978.
Rating = 8

I don't demand that the Captain (or anybody, for that matter) go back to creating the most insane, extraordinary style of music possible. But I do tend to appreciate when artists go out of their way to create songs that don't sound exactly like other songs that have already been written by other people. The problem with the Cap'n's Mercury records was that he was trying so hard to be commercial, he was purposely filling all the songs with musical cliches in hopes of becoming a pop star. Having failed at it twice and lost a lot of his old fans in the process, he finally sat his ass down and came up with some NEW creations. And that's what you'll find on Shiny Beast.

Once again, he offers up a ton of slightly odd, wonderful melodies representing a good variety of styles, from the off-kilter macho blues rock he knows so well to ugly atonal weirdness (perhaps simply for the sake of weirdness) to a kind of Mexican/Caribbean hybrid to (and here's where you're supposed to go "what the hell?") Kinks-style British music hall. All with lots of trumpet, marimba and great cymbal-loving drumwork. The interplay of the musicians is exceptional, with amazing, unforgettable tunes like "Tropical Hot Dog Night" and "Suction Prints" coming to life and blowing you away ONLY when all of the instruments are playing against each other in brilliant harmony. I can't help but feel like I'm sitting around a pool by the ocean late at night with singles drinking and mingling around as I stare in amazement at the greatest late night beach pool band ever (check out "Candle Mambo" and aforementioned "Tropical Hot Dog Night" if you don't get why I would say that).

My only gripe is that, as I hinted earlier in the review, the "weirder" tracks ("When I See Mommy I Feel Like A Mummy," the title track and a couple others) don't seem anywhere near as smart as the ones that follow more traditional-style song patterns. They remind me of most of Pere Ubu's output in that the new ideas being put forth aren't all that memorable or worthwhile - they're just aimlessly unpleasant. More than anything, these tracks seem like specifically calculated weirdness designed to convince old fans that the old Captain Beefheart is back. And he WAS, of course, but we don't need faux easternisms and ugly guitar noise to prove it.

But enough about music. Let's talk about me some more! I was born in a Log Cabin syrup bottle in Seventy-Jillion-Three and grew up wearing a pair of suspenders. Occasionally I would snap the suspenders against my chest to prove to the world that I ain't no Pixie Stick. You can rotate the tires of your dream one too many times without fear of Mexican repercussion, but in Arizona where the fish are warmer, the best thing you can do for me is pass me over for a drunker, sillier whore. Because I don't take credit cards and I SURE as hell don't take American Express. Why does that Paperclip Guy always look at me so accusingly? It's like he's judging me. Oh god, he just turned his little head and looked at what I'm writing. He knows I'm drunk. Oh shit, he's totally reading everything I'm writing now. STOP IT! This is scary. AAAAH!!!! He's scratching his head! HE KNOWS THAT I FUCKED MY FIANCEE TONIGHT! He was probably watching it, just like my dog was. This is too much. Somebody make him go away. He's always been so nice, trying to help me write a letter when it looks like I'm trying to write a letter. But now he's just looking at me with so much shame, probably wondering why I haven't ended this paragraph yet.

He's so cute though. I really love him. He's blinking at me with his little paperclip eyes. I hope he knows how much I love him. I love you, PaperClip Guy!!!!!!

Reader Comments
Those last couple of paragraphs about the Office paperclip beast are my favourite sections of this 'ere site. Big congratulations.
to understand this record you should read the book on beefheart by mike barnes. there is a story here and it involves zappa and his extreme, complete power trip control freak personality that has turned me off since i grew up in about 1981. the album also features a future player in pj harvey's band(eric drew feldman) and two excellent guitarists.

sure there are a few filler cuts but side one more than makes up for that, especially tracks 4, 5 and 6. harry irene, you know you're a man and bat chain puller are a triumvirate of weirdness and oddball musicality. this album seems to affect people strangely and i don't understand why. in fact i prefer this one to trout mask because the songs are just that, SONGS, not mixed bits of strangeness that the band rehearsed over and over and over forever whilst stuck in a prison of a house in woodland hills. ca.(i.e. trout mask).

i should also say that my first exposure to captain beefheart came in 1978 when this album was released. i had an underground newspaper and got lots and lots of records in the mail to review. this album actually came in a sealed, promo copy of the first dire straits by mistake. imagine my surprise (happy surprise it turns out) that dire straits sounded like a gorilla playing a harmonica while lighting farts from zappa's ass. this record doesn't deserve a ten but maybe a possible nine. in my view it was just what america needed in 1978 and it certainly affected my 18 year old brain FOREVER. the title track alone still makes me laugh. need i say more?
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) is about when Beefheart would reach his peak. I think this and the next 2 albums are the best he ever did. This one of course being the weakest, but it's still loaded with lots of gems. The production is fantastic, the playing is unbelievable, though the whole thing sounds very fatigued. One of the best album openers of all time. This is one of those albums I don't think about much but when I put it on, I'm blown away. "When I See Mommy I Feel like a Mummy" is unbelievable.

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I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do: Live At My Father's Place 1978 - Rhino 2000
Rating = 7

I'm going to see "Michael Moore Doesn't Like George Bush" in a few minutes, so I have to write this review really really quickly. Otherwise I'll be worrying about it all through the movie and won't be able to learn why Michael Moore hates George W. Bush (or "E" as he is often called) so much. I suspect it has to do with "E" ruling so much, because that guy rules. This CD was recorded live on the Shiny Beast tour in a little tiny venue in front of four or five people. The recording is pristinely incredible to a Tee - it sounds like a BBC Session! You can hear every single smidgen of guitar interplay (stereo, even!), bass/horn foolingaroundness and Mr. Beef Heart's yangtze river chunk vomitry. FUCK! IT TOOK SO LONG TO COME UP WITH THAT METAPHOR, I GOTTA GO SEE THAT MOVIE NOW!

(*three and a half hours later*)

WAIT A MINUTE! GEORGE "E" BUSH DOESN'T RULE AT ALL! Luckily, now that all the poor people are gone, I have all the time in the world to review this live Captain "Sensible" Beat Farmers CD. It has 19 songs if you count the word saddle poetry. And how varied this Mr. Beefheart is! Many of these songs might pass for math rock in today's post-punk society of college radio DJs with horn-rimmed glasses, but then there's also the deconstructed blues-rock, the askew love balladry, the cute up-and-down roundtowns, the spoken word SHIT, the rhythm-heavy clanging tones that would be later be gutted by Tom Waits. But here's a question for fans larger than I: Is the guitar interplay on here incredibly complicated and perfectionistly performed? Or is it just a loose approximation of the studio versions? I suppose it doesn't really matter, because the disc rules either way. LIKE GEORGE BUSH USED TO BEFORE I SAW THE BEARDED FATSO'S NEW MOTION PICTURE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HIM.

"Angular" is a critics' term, but it fits this guy's music. The drumbeats are just really choppy - everything jerks around spastically like a robot that needs oil, or a scarecrow without a heart. The title of the album, since you keep wondering, is Captain's response to all the shit-for-brainses in the crowd who keep shouting out song titles as if a five-thousand piece band like this is suddenly going to go, "Hey! He's RIGHT! Even though we haven't practiced that song at all, let's DO IT!" So Captain impatiently responds, "I'm going to do what I wanna do." And then he goes on to explain that what he wants to do is "live at my father's place" and that the current year is "1978" and that his favorite animal is a "rhino" and he can't wait until the year "2000." Then he gives his act "7 little dots out of 10."

If you like the Beefman - especially the Bat Chain Pullover album - the odds of you disliking an album this padiddly, rhythm-heavy, odd, hornful and blues-rock-ripped-aparty are so slim that if they were a person, they'd have anorexia. Lots of interesting guitar and bass interplay, swooping (and occasionally way too loud and annoying) conflicting horns, trumpets, tubas and saxophones and my GOODNESS -- did Don Van Vliet actually WRITE all of this music? Is he that intelligent? Because this music is absolutely idiosyncratic, my man! My MAAAAIN man!

Collectors will chortle at the way the album includes live versions of 10/12ths of Bat Chain Puller, along with NOTHING from his previous three records, two Clear Spots, four Trout Masks, one Strictly Personal and two Safe As Milks. That's nineteen songs if you add them up with a calculator. Otherwise it's just a really long cover of the theme from "Barney Miller."

There are two reasons I only consider it good and not great. The first is that some of his earlier "deconstructed blues-rock songs" are more theoretically interesting than melodically memorable ("Nowadays A Woman's Gotta Hit A Man," "Dropout Boogie," "Abba Zaba"). The second is that his poetry doesn't make any sense at all to anybody, especially people who insist that they understand it (they're both lying and pedophiles, especially if they send me reader comments), yet he includes three spoken-word tracks on here. As Homer Simpson might say if he were real, "BOOOOOO-RIIIIING!"

Assuming he still says "boring" like that, of course. I haven't actually seen the show in over five years. Is it any good anymore? How about "Saturday Night Live"? Is it still as wicked funnyass as it was back when I used to watch it? And can I assume that Terry Sweeney and Andrew Michael Hall are still cast members? Those guys are HILARIOUS!

Reader Comments
I just bought a used copy of that DVD (never got around to seeing it in the theater) of Fahrenheit 911, and finally got to watch it - well done! Like a Jello Biafra album but with proof.

This Beefheart Rhino-Handmade concert is a great grab if you can get it (is it still in print?). It heavily features the Shiny Beast material, which amounted to Don's second wind, if you will.. I never really loved the Shiny Beast album as a whole - the next two albums are really where it's at. But these new tunes are still exemplary Beefheart, and the remakes of prior Trout Mask tracks are admirably done. I even love the a capella songs like "Well" - one of the greatest moments is when Don's singing this song unaccompanied and a few members of the audience starting clapping along with the "rhythm" - when all of a sudden Don stops and chastises the clappers because they incorrectly assumed the song was in 4/4 time.

The sound is great too. Splunge.
I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do: Live At My Father's Place 1978 is really, really good. I wonder if there's any other quality Beefheart live recordings floating around? I downloaded a few off of Soulseek before but, as you'd expect, they didn't sound very good.

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Doc At The Radar Station - Virgin 1980.
Rating = 7

I can't believe that I would possibly complain about an album being too guitar-centric, but after the pleasing horny marimbatude of the last album, it's a total drag to go back to listening to the Captain shouting his sordid tales over a couple of annoyingly toned guitarists who seldom manage to pull together anything more than "two guys playing `CrAzEe!' things at the same time!" Way too much of this is just a couple of guitars jacking and clanging without any melodic or structural sense at all - almost like they're trying to prove that they can redo Trout Mask a decade later. But it doesn't work because unlike that record (which, by the way, STILL sounds groundbreaking and unlike anything in the musical worldland), these "avant-garde" guitar parts ("Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee," "Best Batch Yet" and the `kooky' middle parts of a bunch of tunes) SUCK. End of discussion. No! Don't start!

AH! What did I - AH?!!

Luckily, there are a l - AH!

Why do I have so many nightmares about not being able to find a clean toilet?

Luckily, there are those songs on here where actual melodies are created, and even a few that the listener can sing along with! "Run Paint! Run Run! Run Paint! Run Run!" Good shit. Supercatchy. God, I just can't shake the feeling that this sounds JUST LIKE a mid-period Pere Ubu album. Maybe that's why the guitar tones bother me so much. I'm really not very fond of mid-period Pere Ubu -- The Tenement Year, that kinda shit. They're just very thin, empty guitar tones. With nothing backing them up to make them sound like a small part of a whole. They ARE the whole, goddammit. And when the melodies aren't there, the tones just irk. "Sheriff Of Hong Kong" is pretty awesome though. "Brickbats" is neat too, until the stupid noise middle part where they try to show

I keep saying the same thing over and over, don't I. One final word: Beefheart's voice is changing as he ages, and it sounds really good! Gruffer and hoarser, but quite frankly, all it does is make him sound like a white man for the first time in his career!

Oooh! Can we go back to the survey questions thing? I've got a good one I want to ask all of you. But I have to warn you! It's kind of a dirty one! Wipe that grin off your face, you dirty dog. Horny toad! Okay, so here's my sexxxy survey question for you (and please forgive me if it makes you guys a little hard and you gals a little moist): What is the most erotic Denny's you've ever eaten at?

Reader Comments (Bernardo Pacheco)
This is a great album and it gets a 9. Your grade has now been changed. (James)
Denny's isn't really all that erotic. But I took two girls to Shari's and ended up making out with both of them. Not at the same time. A month apart. I'm not really into the whole two girls at once thing.
Simply the mention of a Denny's implies "erotic." And "roaches in the salad."

Adam Hammack
Re:Most Erotic Denny's ever = Ocean Springs, MS where I ate the last meal I ever ate before becoming engaged. (I had the Moon Over MiHami because it's so freakin' HOT! It makes me want HOT sex it does! Then I went back and actually had HOT sex in my shitty hotel room. Know what else was HOT? The crack-headed, not to mention balding, female friend of our Denny's waitress who was following her around talking to her while she served us; between them they had maybe ten teeth. I'm not ashamed to say it was because of the way they got me so HOT that I got engaged in the first place. No matter what my fiancee told you, it's not because she's got a HOT cooch.)

If I may say so once more,

No, no, no, this is an 8 for sure, maybe even a 9 (well, I'm not exactly a fan of some of the songs here, like "Making Love To A Vampire"). Listen to "Ashtray Heart" and tell me that's not punk to the core. From the man who provided so much inspiration to punk rock (the Clash and PiL at least). Oh yeah - Drumbo is the drummer on "Ashtray Heart." Too perfect. "Case of the punks!!!!!!!!!"
Doc At The Radar Station is AMAZING, Mark, you've seriously underrated this. I've listened to this a million times and have yet to hear any songs with weak and irritating guitar noises. What I do hear is my favorite Beefheart song of all time, "Sheriff of Hong Kong", as well as the classic and underrated "Dirty Blue Gene" and countless others -- such a perfect album. Well, I've never been a big fan of "Making Love to A Vampire..." but ... man... "HOT HEAD", "Run Paint Run", "Ashtray Heart" -- this album's PHENOMENAL. Would almost get the 10 from me. A complex, agressive, creative, energetic record. You can't go wrong.

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Ice Cream For Crow - Virgin 1982.
Rating = 9

Darn fine way to end a career.

Still completely guitar-centric, but this particular bunch of guys realizes that the best way to create unique material is NOT to dick around hoping that something interesting will come out, but to work to develop great guitar lines, then alter them just enough so that they sound like nuttin, honey, that you've ever heard before. Plus they do a wonderful job of locking right into both each other and the crazy, flop-and-bash drum style that runs throughout the album. Some of the songs are simply catchy and cool, but others ("Skeleton Makes Good" and "Ink Mathematics" come to mind) are so off-the-wall yet PERFECT that the words "musical genius" are impossible to avoid if you're any fan of smart interplay at all. Plus. the Captain sounds hilariously like a loony old seaboat pirate as he rambles on about tweed coats and cardboard cutouts, letting his inflection do the talking. Most importantly, the album is consistent. And most importantly of all, it has songs. And more importantly than ever, the songs have music and words (except one that only has words and one that only has music, but if you put those two together, you would have nothing but songs with music and words, but there would be one less song so one of the songs would have neither music nor words which is the most boring song of all but don't tell that to Mr. "Genius" John Cage, the only man responsible for more unforgivably boring albums than Rod "Jandek" Stewart.).

My name is David. That's a fine name. It may not be your name but it's mine just the same. I stand up tall and I say it PROUDLY! David is my name! Well it's MY name and I'm not gonna change it! It's MY name and I like it just fine! It's my name and I won't rearrange it! `Cuz David's my name and I'm proud that it's mine!

I wrote that song. Unless you happen to own the Sesame Street Live! LP, in which case it was a cover of a song on that album. But otherwise, it was a Mark Prindle original composition, Copyright 2001 EnormousPhallus Recordings. Don't even think about singing it in public or I'll have Peter Grant chase you down the street with a bat.

Darn fine way to end a review.

Reader Comments
This has slowly become my favorite of the Capt's albums. The title track, "The Host, the Ghost, the Most Holy-O," "The Thousand and Tenth Day of the Human Totem Pole" and "Skeleton Makes Good" are as good as anything he'd ever done, despite his being ready to quit the music business. It shows that he could have done at least a couple more solid albums if he'd wanted to, but like Prindle, I agree that this was one fine way to end a career.
While I haven't heard this album, I'd like to take a moment to address your insinuation that all Jandek albums are boring. Most of them are. But once he got electric and weird instead of acoustic and sad, he also got really entertaining. I'd pick up Telegraph Melts or Interstellar Discussion--they're not half bad.
I'd definitely give Ice Cream For Crow the 10. To me, it has all the things that ever made Beefheart great all in one place. I seriously love every song on this thing... and I love the cowbell. The first 3 tracks alone are reason enough to own the album, though the star has to be "1010th Day of the Human Totem Pole", which is amongst the most complex songs I will ever hear. Just a masterpiece of an album in every way. I wonder why more people don't think so.

Finally, there's Grow Fins, which you haven't reviewed. No matter -- it sucks. Bad live recordings, bad demos of Safe As Milk songs, and awful quicktime footage with awful audio of the Magic Band playing live. About the only thing of worth is the instrumental Trout Mask demos and the book that comes with the thing. What a wasted release. Strangely, "Odd Jobs" exists somewhere on this album, and it sounds way worse than it did on the Bat Chain Puller bootleg.

There's also a DVD called Captain Beefheart: Under Review which is really interesting stuff, and there's the BBC documentary The Artist Formely Known as Captain Beefheart which is pretty nice... One day, I hope for a live concert DVD from the Doc at the Radar Station-era (there's some great clips of this era on youtube).

Worth looking into also is John French's "O Solo Drummo" (which is a bunch of Beefheart songs stripped down to drums -- yes, it's JUST drums for an hour), Zoot Horn Rollo's "We Found a Bozo Under the Sea" (which is some weird avant-jazz stuff), and the Magic Band's two albums. There's also some nice Beefheart tribute albums floating around with artists like Dog Faced Hermans, Racebannon, XTC, Sonic Youth, Mike Watt, and more contributing excellent covers. And.. well, that's it.

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Say! I hear you can BUY these fancy CD things now! Click here for the thing I saw about it! Also, click on the actual album covers and you'll find CHEAPER USED COPIES.

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