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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 ProgArchives tries to dissuade reviewers giving 5 STARS; citing too few albums merit such. LMDO,B unequivocally rates 11 STARS (+) as a true masterpiece of rock-n-roll and the genre-defying avant-garde to which Beefheart (more than his Magic Bands) aspired. What we have here (unreleased on CD, as yet: PLEASE SOMEONE reissue this icon of ROCK AS ART on CD!), is the esteemed Captain Beefheart (nee Don Van Vliet) elevating the then nascent and flowering juggernaut of rock music to the pantheon of ART. Mr. Van Vliet did likewise with TROUT MASK REPLICA yet with much less finesse and dynamic range. While TMR sounded like a caveman's paroxysm of rock-n-roll ejecta mimicking vaguely a pop band trying to play Coleman-style free-jazz, LMDO,B finds the dear Captain uttering and caterwauling his trademark grunts of apopletic free-verse in-n-around this version of The Magic Band's now more highly refined "music". Now, these or any musican's would never have arrived at this herky-jerky brand of marimba-laden quirk rock without the manic and insightful cauldron that is the brain of Captain Beefheart. Apocryphal tales tell of the "cult- like" conditions in which the Captain wrought his will upon the Magic Band in what amounts to mental badgering to play the sounds that quite likely haunted Van Vliet like the creatures that also sprung from his pens & brushes simultaneously (Van Vliet now enjoys a successful painting career as an avant-garde artist of the visual stripe). He admonished players to play percussive sounds that evoked "a cat rolling down the stairs in a cardboard box" and other non-academic exhortations. And DESPITE (or maybe BECAUSE OF) the tyrranical influence upon the Magic Band (s), LMDO,B rises to the apogee of Beefheart's masterpiece, not Trout Mask Replica. The sheer driving force of neo-blues romps like "Smithsonian Institute Blues" not only takes the listener through the paleontological recesses of Van Vliet's interests but actually has hip-thrustingly great rhythms: who knew you could dance to Captain Beefheart!?! Other toe-tappers like "Woe Is Uh Me Bop" or the title track not only are ripping rockers, but delineate a blue-print for RIO/Prog/Artrock that has yet to be equaled (but has been paralleled by Don's buddy Zappa or weird-rockers The Residents). Off-kilter time signatures relentlessly throb to twin guitars and some of the hardest bass and drums TO THIS DAY. Beefheart warns us in the title track that "this song AIN'T no sing-song"; and most people must have thought this meant NO MUSIC where actually the converse is true: here is the newest, most PROGRESSIVE form of this little American invention we call ROCK. All you symphonic/keyboard/synth-swell afficionados better run for your ABBA-esque carillons of key chimes bliss, for as Beefheart belts out traffic-jam volumes of sax in I LOVE YOU, YOU BIG DUMMY, the mountain comes tumbling down with the rolling rocks of drum crashes and a heartbeat bass that throbs in the temples to remind you that not only is prog rock cerebral: GREAT prog rock also gushes out from the loins like a crazy, horny giant. The music on this album is intelligent, beautiful, chaotic, complex, VERY AMERICAN and too much to understand by most humans. When it hits you, though, it's as if a musical Cupid has speared your heart with an arrow of mighty, miasmic sausage and twisted your appreciation around to the visceral mindfulness that Captain Beefheart has so graciously painted into our earholes. Wake up & listen!

signed Agnes Steck, bassist for MEATWOOD FLACK

| 5/5 |


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