CAPTAIN BEEFHEART

Jazz Related Rock • United States
Jazz music community with review and forums
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART picture
Don Van Vliet ( /væn ˈvliːt/, born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter and artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with free jazz, avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. Beefheart was also known for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians, and for often constructing myths about his life. During his teen years in Lancaster, California, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated. read more...
Thanks to snobb for the addition

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Online Videos

No CAPTAIN BEEFHEART online videos available. Search and add one now.

Buy CAPTAIN BEEFHEART music

Amazon (logo)
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
Remastered
Virgin Int'L 2006
$5.85
$4.02 (used)
Lick My Decals Off Baby (Vinyl)Lick My Decals Off Baby (Vinyl)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$17.48
$22.06 (used)
Legendary A&M SessionsLegendary A&M Sessions
Edsel Records Uk 1998
$5.60
$5.28 (used)
Ice Cream For CrowIce Cream For Crow
Remastered
Astralwerks 2006
$5.92
$16.06 (used)
Doc At The Radar StationDoc At The Radar Station
Remastered
Astralwerks 2006
$5.85
$9.60 (used)
Strictly Personal (eng)Strictly Personal (eng)
Emi Europe Generic 1995
$5.85
$6.54 (used)
Clear Spot (Vinyl)Clear Spot (Vinyl)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$21.34
$26.31 (used)
Showing 7 items | Cache expiring in 53h | Keyword-based search | Best seller rank | More results on Amazon.com

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Discography

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART albums / top albums

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Safe As Milk album cover 3.26 | 8 ratings
Safe As Milk
Jazz Related Rock 1967
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Strictly Personal album cover 2.18 | 2 ratings
Strictly Personal
Jazz Related Rock 1968
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Trout Mask Replica album cover 3.95 | 11 ratings
Trout Mask Replica
Jazz Related Rock 1969
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Lick My Decals Off, Baby album cover 4.69 | 4 ratings
Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Jazz Related Rock 1970
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Mirror Man album cover 2.71 | 3 ratings
Mirror Man
Jazz Related Rock 1971
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Clear Spot album cover 3.55 | 3 ratings
Clear Spot
Jazz Related Rock 1972
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART The Spotlight Kid album cover 3.59 | 2 ratings
The Spotlight Kid
Jazz Related Rock 1972
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Bluejeans & Moonbeams album cover 1.00 | 2 ratings
Bluejeans & Moonbeams
Jazz Related Rock 1974
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Unconditionally Guaranteed album cover 0.50 | 1 ratings
Unconditionally Guaranteed
Jazz Related Rock 1974
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) album cover 4.77 | 6 ratings
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
Jazz Related Rock 1978
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Doc At The Radar Station album cover 4.23 | 4 ratings
Doc At The Radar Station
Jazz Related Rock 1980
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Ice Cream For Crow album cover 3.75 | 4 ratings
Ice Cream For Crow
Jazz Related Rock 1982
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Dust Sucker album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dust Sucker
Jazz Related Rock 2002
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper
Jazz Related Rock 2008
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Bat Chain Puller album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bat Chain Puller
Jazz Related Rock 2012

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART EPs & splits

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART live albums

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Grow Fins: Rarities (1965-1982) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Grow Fins: Rarities (1965-1982)
Jazz Related Rock 1999
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do (Live At My Father's Place 1978) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do (Live At My Father's Place 1978)
Jazz Related Rock 2000
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Magnetic Hands - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands - Live In The UK 72-80 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Magnetic Hands - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands - Live In The UK 72-80
Jazz Related Rock 2002
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Back To The Front album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Back To The Front
Jazz Related Rock 2003
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Railroadism: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands Live In The USA 72-81 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Railroadism: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands Live In The USA 72-81
Jazz Related Rock 2003
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Magneticism: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands Live In The UK/USA 72-81 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Magneticism: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands Live In The UK/USA 72-81
Jazz Related Rock 2004
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Live London '74 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live London '74
Jazz Related Rock 2006
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Amsterdam '80 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Amsterdam '80
Jazz Related Rock 2006
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART An Ashtray Heart: Toronto Broadcast 1981 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Ashtray Heart: Toronto Broadcast 1981
Jazz Related Rock 2011
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Rough Raw and Amazing album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rough Raw and Amazing
Jazz Related Rock 2015

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART re-issues & compilations

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Double Dynamite: The Spotlight Kid / Clear Spot album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Double Dynamite: The Spotlight Kid / Clear Spot
Jazz Related Rock 1972
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART The Legendary A&M Sessions album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
The Legendary A&M Sessions
Jazz Related Rock 1984
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART The Mirror Man Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Mirror Man Sessions
Jazz Related Rock 1999
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART The Best Of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
Jazz Related Rock 2002
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Diddy Wah Diddy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Diddy Wah Diddy
Jazz Related Rock 2012
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972 album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972
Jazz Related Rock 2014

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART singles (0)

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Concert & Crow's Milk Documentary
Jazz Related Rock 2004

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Reviews

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Trout Mask Replica

Album · 1969 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
EntertheLemming
Well I assure you sir, this thing sucks (Don Van Vliet on selling a vacuum cleaner to Aldous Huxley)

Of the many albums that sit gathering dust, undisturbed in the rack yet are routinely adored by their house proud owners, it is perhaps Trout Mask Replica that best represents the disingenuous litmus test for hipster candidates of 'high' office everywhere. What's odd about its assimilation into the pantheon of 'maverick genius' constructions is that it's not even a rock album at all but rather, a free jazz inspired stream of consciousness 'f.u.c.k the lot of you' diatribe that has more in common with a Cecil Taylor arranged 'To Have Done with the Judgement of god' by Antonin Artaud than an unrequited love letter to any Howling Wolf. That's hardly a picnic with your childhood sweetheart and s.h.i.t.s.u puppy of course but it's still unnerving how far removed from the predictable lumpen plod of rawk (psychedelic, blues or otherwise) this album deviates at its furthest outreaches.

And therein maybe lies the key: Most rock fans including your reviewer get rather uncomfortable when their steady diet of cyclic rhythms and anticipated releases from harmonic tension are not resolved in a timely fashion. Listening to such music is tantamount to a delicately balanced guessing game. If I guess correctly what's coming next too often, I'll get bored and lose interest: If I cannot discern any anticipated patterns I'll dismiss the music as too chaotic or random as too few of my guesses are correct. That's probably why I heartily loathe Cecil Taylor, John Zorn, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, et al as such aesthetic considerations are completely irrelevant to their art. This says more about my limitations as a listener and failing to understand the stimulus to hand but all the same, I want to like this malarkey but erm....am unable. We're also habitually guilty of confusing texture with content e.g. there might be a sax on Brown Sugar but that doesn't make it any closer to Jazz than Rock. The textures at play on Trout Mask Replica have lured many an unwary critic into believing that the electric slide guitars, amped bass and drums menu is consistent with a delta blues themed psychadelicatessen and are invariably frustrated when the Captain and his troops steadfastly decline to serve up such a dish. The only place where texture and content are in accord is perhaps on Hair Pie Bake 1 where Beefheart's solitary soprano sax is redolent of the sort of uncharted musical landscapes of Anthony Braxton. It also explains why so few echoes of Beefheart are present in the music of his avowed wannabees, disciples and acolytes from within the republican realm of rawk like the Residents, Devo, Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, the Fall, PIL etc. The cynical among us would hazard that this is just egregious name-dropping which also lassos Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and anyone else who was considered a bit 'out there' but has crucially just died into the R'OK Corral.

The best Captain Beefheart impersonation I have ever heard is probably from Edgar Broughton circa Sing Brother Sing in 1970 but here's the rub, the unwitting approximation by a completly sh*t faced English actor Oliver Reed on Michael Aspel's chat show from 1984 comes a pretty close second. You are cordially invited to check out the 'You Tube' footage at your leisure. Tread very carefully when using 'derangement of the senses is the gateway to wisdom' as an educational paradigm kiddies. (The playgrounds of the US are littered with casualties on a daily basis)

Don Van Vliet's lyrics are at best, inscrutable surrealistic glossolalia and at worst, when they even approach bad beat poetry, crassly and glibly asinine:

Dachau blues, Dachau blues those poor Jews Still cryin' 'bout the burnin' back in World War Two's One mad man six million lose Down in Dachau blues, down in Dachau blues

We know that the good Captain enrolled as an art major in his youth but dropped out after less than 12 months. Draw your own conclusions if you will but thwarted artists with distinctive facial hair have never done the world many favours.

It seems that like Mark E. Smith of the Fall, the Captain ran his erstwhile Magic band circa 1969 similar to a dark satanic mill owner where dissent was treated with ridicule, physical violence and privation in no particular order. The published testimonies of band members appear to attest to the rather unpalatable conclusion that their Don was an uber controlling c.u.n.t of Mansonesque proportions. Revisionist apologists for this alleged behaviour start to sound like those clueless soccer pundits defending a leg breaking tackle who posit that 'without his underlying psychopathic and sadistic nature his talent would have been thwarted by mediocrities' Try telling that to the lads when they've been neither paid or fed for their unaccredited efforts and have to play a man down after their captain's red card for hacking down his own team. (Apologies for milking the footie metaphors there a tad)

I've also never understood why Zappa's mix is so heavily weighted in favour of Beefheart's vocal as most of these conspire to practically drown out the music and only serve to make prolonged listening a considerable chore. That's a shame as all told, there is much innovation and prescience buried in the bowels of this frankly appalling production to warrant a deeper appreciation of the creative input of the assembled Magic band.

There is some speculative evidence to suggest that the Captain refused to record his vocals using traditional headphones and therefore his delivery is commensurately out of sync with a backing he could only hear via the latency of speaker bleed. Being out of time deliberately would at least require some effort methinks? Anointed if you do, anointed if you don't. (He can't lose)

Long story short: This album isn't really a 'best fit' for any particular genre oriented appreciation site. It is too far removed from the prevailing evaluation criteria and is one of the few purported 'rock' albums deserving of being placed firmly in the 'other' basket.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Safe As Milk

Album · 1967 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
progshine
Continuing my 1967 trip according to my Progshine post (progshine.net/2013/10/prog-rock- year-by-year-1967.html), we have Safe As Milk (1967) from Captain Beefheart And His Magical Band. The high teor of Blues Rock and Psychedelia was here, of course, that's how pretty much Rock band was sounding in 1967. But it's quite fine, wild and kinda upbeat all around.

Besides not being released early in the year (but in September) the album is kinda impressive for being the first of the band. As most of the albums from the Psychedelic generation Safe As Milk (1967) has all kinds of songs fom ballads to free jams.

One of the nicest I've heard so far from this research of mine.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Safe As Milk

Album · 1967 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
As Beefheart's plaintive moan emerges over a wavering guitar line at the start of Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do you can instantly tell you're in for something different; when the full band kicks in, it's confirmed. The Captain's debut album is a collection of wild, fuzzy, psych-driven blues and blues-drenched psychedelia.

So much could be written about this album, but I'll refrain from doing a track by track review to just cover a few standout tracks. The driving Zig Zag Wanderer is ridiculously energetic (and actually kind of danceable). Dropout Boogie combines some of the fuzziest, heaviest rock music to date with some bizarrely out of place (in terms of how tranquil they are) musical breaks. The standard is similarly high for most of the other songs; the only blot on the track list, for me, is I'm Glad - a sappy ballad that doesn't quite suit Beefheart's vocal delivery or the context of the album, but at least it's followed by the unparalleled classic Electricity, which sums up all the foreboding, ominous, and incredibly strange qualities of the album and delivers it in one menacing but catchy package.

At this point in their career Beefheart and the Magic Van still had perceptible links to contemporary trends in music, rather than existing in the Captain's own weird dimension as on Trout Mask Replica, so this is one of the best ways to dabble in Beefheart's work before taking the plunge into less approachable work. And even for Beefheart veterans who've heard everything else, it's more than worth a listen. Autumn's Child, the album closer, never fails to make my hair stand on end when I hear it; like the rest of the songs (I'm Glad excepted), it's as fresh today as it ever was. This milk doesn't go sour.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART The Spotlight Kid

Album · 1972 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
A return to the twisted blues of pre-Trout Mask albums, The Spotlight Kid is an album of consolidation and taking stock for Beefheart rather than one in which he ploughs forward into new territory - though we're still leaning well towards the avant-garde side of the Mirror Man/Safe as Milk sound. The musical backing from the Magic Band seems a bit tired (and by all accounts, they were thoroughly fed up by this point), but Beefheart's vocal delivery and eccentric compositions remain diverting. It's not a vital part of the Beefheart discography, but it's certainly worth a listen if you're already a Beefheart devotee.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Clear Spot

Album · 1972 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Clear Spot takes the approach of the Spotlight Kid (incorporating the fruit of the Trout Mask/Decals experiments into somewhat more conventional song forms as might have been found on Safe As Milk), and gives a slightly more commercial twist. Although the Captain's pursuit of commercial success would eventually run aground on the critically reviled Unconditionally Guaranteed and Bluejeans and Moonbeams, here the compromise between avant-blues and more straight-ahead songs is finely judged, and results in a fascinating blend which proves to be an interesting experiment in itself. Songs like Big Eyed Beans From Venus retain the surreal approach of previous albums, whilst even the most commercial song on the album - Too Much TIme - juxtapose a conventional song structure and backing singers with the Captain's characteristic Howling Wolf roar and occasional instrumental flourish from the Magic Band in a combination which actually enhances the song rather than compromising it. Had the Magic Band kept to the compromise arrived at with this album, they might not have experienced the drastic mid-70s slump they did. Four stars.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Movies Reviews

No CAPTAIN BEEFHEART movie reviews posted yet.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Shouts

Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Kintsugi Nu Jazz
POKAZ TRIO
Buy this album from MMA partners
Bestiario Progressive Big Band
ENSAMBLE MUSICANTES
Buy this album from MMA partners
Projecte Astrolabi Jazz Related Rock
GUILLEM PLANA
Buy this album from MMA partners
Silence, Then Birds Jazz Related Improv/Composition
HYMN (DOWDING / HALLETT / ROSS)
Buy this album from MMA partners
Rough Line Fusion
ANGELO MASTRONARDI
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

La Espera y el Despertar
IGNACIO DIAZ LAHSEN
js· 17 hours ago
Away from the Scene
ANGELO MASTRONARDI
js· 17 hours ago
Walking on the Moon
JUNE TYSON
js· 22 hours ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us