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Source material is always a coveted treasure for researchers and collectors. Captain Beefheart is frequently cited by the avant guarde musician in both rock and jazz as the inspiration for recordings and even careers. HisTrout Mask Replica,the holy grail of vinyl, is listed as many a critic’s top recordings of all time. Captain Beefheart AKA Don Van Vliet, born 1941, acted as artist then musician, the motivation repeated most recently by David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Beck. The Rhino Records Anthology of 30 songs on two discs spans the recording years of 1966-1982 with plenty of music previously unreleased on CD. The cult-like devotion to Beefheart actually should be treated as a like cult. Van Vliet often held twelve-hour practice sessions, depriving his band members of food and sleep. A contemporary and friend of Frank Zappa, Van Vliet traded with and borrowed from Zappa utilizing him as producer and musician on early recordings. Also heard are guitarists Ry Cooder and Gary Lucas. Captain Beefheart’s music, often a mix of blues and surrealism was the Ying to The Beatles Yang. The sweetness of Paul McCartney’s voice was countered by the gruffness of Van Vliet. He can best be described as a mix between Tom Waits, Dr. John, and Wolfman Jack. So strange (for his time) and unusual, his music attracted the likes of Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman. Beefheart’s pop music experimentations paralleled the work of jazz’s new and free experimenters. Mingus included protest into his compositions, Albert Ayler psychodelia, and Ornette Coleman developed his prime time concepts. During the sixties when rock was destroying the market for jazz, Beefheart was destroying the barriers between the genres.
Track List:Diddy Wah Diddy; Frying Pan; Electricity; Abba Zaba; Beatle Bones ‘N Smokin’ Stones; Safe As Milk; Moonlight On Vermont; Ella Guru; Old Fart At Play; Sugar ‘N Spikes; Orange Claw Hammer; My Human Gets Me Blues; China Pig; Lick My Decals Off Baby; Click Clack; Grow Fins; When It Blows Its Stacks; Little Scratch; Big Eyed Beans From Venus; Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man; Low Yo Yo Stuff; Too Much Time; My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains; Clear Spot; Upon The My-Oh-My; Party Of Special Things To Do; Sam With The Showing Scalp Flap Top; Debra Kadabra; Hard Workin’ Man; Ba Chain Puller; The Floppy Boot Stomp; Tropical Hot Dog Night; Owed T’Alex; Hot Head; Ashtray Heart; Sue Egypt; Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee; Ice Cream For Crow; The Past Sue Is Tense; Light Reflected Off The Oceans Of The Moon.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.