Category: captain beefheart

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band “Trout Mask Replica” released 50 years ago today, June 16th, 1969. Limited edition reissue on “fruitcake fish-scale colored vinyl,” Third Man Records/Bizarre Records. Produced by Frank Zappa, Trout Mask Replica was Captain Beefheart’s (Don Van Vliet) third studio album and it’s a crazy psychedelic, experimental – really an undefinable collection of sounds influenced by garage rock, free jazz, blues and a dash (more than a dash) of insanity. Captain Beefheart is well out of my musical purview so to sum up this LP that is hailed by many as a masterpiece and one of the best records of all-time, I’ll quote today’s article in Rolling Stone by David Fricke. “[Trout Mask Replica] still sounds like a tomorrow that has not arrived, a music created at a crossroads of sound and language so far distant it continues to defy definitive summation and universal translation. Guitars jut out at improbably severe angles in ice-pick treble, like broken bones slicing through skin. The drumming comes in a rush of agendas, U-turn spasms of loose-limbed time and tempo under melodies which, in turn, feel like they are yet only partially born, still evolving in sense and structure. The singing is another primal logic altogether, an extreme in octaves and sustain that goes from hellhound bass to wracked falsetto, the pictorial cut-up frenzy of the lyrics run through archaic Delta-blues vernacular…On Trout Mask Replica, breaking through the limits of coherence and cohesion already reset in the wide-open liberty of rock in the late Sixties, Van Vliet and his greatest Magic Band — guitarists Bill Harkleroad and Jeff Cotton, bassist Mark Boston, clarinetist Victor Hayden and drummer John French — established new margins of personal, idiosyncratic expression, much as the Velvet Underground did for drone, minimalism and literary transgression….Everyone with a copy of Trout Mask Replica has a story of walking into it for the first time, typically in disbelief. ‘I thought it was the worst thing I’d ever heard,’ the cartoonist Matt Groening admitted in the 1997 BBC documentary, The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart. ‘It was just a sloppy cacophony,’ he went on, until the ‘sixth or seventh’ listen when ‘it clicked in, and I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard.’ In his original rave review of Trout Mask Replica in Rolling Stone, published in July, 1969, Lester Bangs initially admitted that “the rhythms and melodic textures jump all over the place … Given a superficial listening, they seem boring and repetitious.’ But as he reaffirmed a decade later, in a 1980 article in The Village Voice, Trout Mask Replica was ‘not even ‘ahead’ of its time in 1969. Then and now,” Bangs insisted, ‘it stands outside time, trends, fads, hypes … constituting a genre unto itself.’ That album ‘reinvented from the ground up rhythm, melody, harmonics, perhaps what our common narrow parameters have defined as music itself.’”

The Dude abides.

“I have spoken to a Captain Beefheart fan from back in the day .he told me that Beefheart never did anything he didn’t want to do..including releasing albums.he assured me Beefheart was not pushed into corners”

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I talked to this guy who liked him at the time so, yeah, that pretty much settles it.

Last week I loaded Trout Mask Replica on to my phone and listened to it everyday on my way to and from work.
Next week I’ll load 200 Motels and do the same thing.
I haven’t listened to either album much, but I found I now have a love of Trout Mask Replica that I didn’t have before. I’m hoping the same will happen with 200 Motels.