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Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off, Baby CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart



4.09 | 133 ratings

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5 stars One of the best avant-prog albums of all time, truly the Captain's lost masterpiece. This is very similar to the Captain's album Trout Mask Replica, in that both feature the same noisy, strangely rhythmic band arrangements, to even stranger songs, with the Captain's highly irregular but beautiful vocals (he truly is one of the greatest singers in music history, as far as deliver is concerned). The differences are that this album is shorter and much MUCH more focused. That is to say that the compositions are less abstracted and more fully developed (especially the instrumental jams). While Trout Mask contained several sub-par tunes, I would rate every song on this album as 4.3 stars or higher.

Since it is impossible to describe the music on this album and do it justice and because others have and will describe the music adequately, I will focus on the lyrics. It seems on this album that while the Beat influence is still prevalent in his phrasing and delivery, he has started to incorporate Black Mountain poetics into his lyrics, which is wonderful in my opinion. Of the Black Mountain poets, to my ears, the most influential on the Captain in this album was Ed Dorn, though bits of Robert Duncan can be detected. Dorn shows his influence in the conversational tones the Captain utilizes while simultaneously rhyming forest and Dinosaurus. Duncan's influence is more subtle, but perhaps more profound. The themes and content of this album, as well as the thought development in his lyrics shows an interesting application of "field poetics" which were developed by Duncan for his "Structure of Rhyme" sequence.

Well, I won't get any more technical than that, but trust me when I tell you that the Captain has gained several ounces of sophistication and intelligence without losing the biting blues that was his passion. The lyrics and the composition and arrangement of these songs is so tight compared to Trout Mask that, while I give both 5 stars, must say that this album is truly on a different level, as the natural progression from Trout Mask (just as Trout Mask was the natural progression from his dirty delta blues roots). I can tell that a lot of hard work and high-quality weed went into crafting this superb album, but beware; it seems to rarely be in print, so steal one if you have to (ok I don't really advocate felonious activities, but if you see it for under 60 USD, then buy it if your an avant-garde, blues, or just a plain ol' Captain fan). Oh yeah, if you havn't been initiated into the music of the captain, then I don't recommend this album to start with, try Trout Mask if your feeling adventurous or Safe As Milk if your not as confident (though it is much, much tamer than Trout and Lick).

great stuff!

Atomic_Rooster | 5/5 |


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