Sunday, December 19, 2010

fast and bulbous

So it's RIP to the legendary Captain Beefheart, who died a couple of days ago. If you wanted to out-weird your friends when I was at university you needed to look no further than a copy of Beefheart's 1969 magnum opus Trout Mask Replica, one of the strangest rock albums ever recorded (it almost goes without saying that it was one of John Peel's favourite albums). I couldn't honestly say I've listened to the whole thing all the way through more than twice, but I do have a sneaky hankering to buy a copy now (my old tape copy has long since bitten the dust). I can say, however, that I listened many many times during my student years to the slightly more easily digestible 1972 album Clear Spot (available on Amazon in a single-CD double-issue with the inferior The Spotlight Kid, whose main redeeming feature is the growly I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby, which may or may not be a paean to the joys of anal sex), which seems to me a perfect distillation of the Captain's trademark barking weirdness with some proper tunes.

You don't often hear Beefheart played, nor indeed even mentioned, on the radio, but funnily enough I listened to an episode of Desert Island Discs only a month or so ago on which poet and professional Northerner Ian McMillan chose the scary clanking and shrieking of Moonlight On Vermont from Trout Mask Replica as one of his eight musical items.

Here's a couple more clips: Sure 'Nuff'N'Yes I Do from 1968 and Upon The My Oh My (complete with slightly wanky Rock Critic intro from erstwhile Whistle Test presenters David Hepworth and Paul McCartney look-alike Mark Ellen) from 1974. If I were you I'd start with the aforementioned Clear Spot and 1967's Safe As Milk and take it from there.


The Black Rabbit said...

Very nice mate.
Now a little piece on Roberto "Bobby" Alfonso Farrell
wouldn't go amiss! You were indeed, his greatest fan!

electrichalibut said...

Plus he dies in the same city (St. Petersburg) and on the same day (or possibly the day after) as Rasputin, Russia's greatest love machine, and lover of the Russian queen. Coincidence? OR IS IT??!!??