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Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart



3.91 | 169 ratings

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4 stars During my one month vacation from reviewing I had a chance to revisit some of the albums in my collection that I still haven't established an opinion of. One of those albums was Elton John's Blue Moves, an album that I played like crazy (water) for the last few weeks and now consider among his top three finest releases. I also gave Captain Beefheart's debut album a few spins but this new rediscovery was a bittersweet one since the news of Don Van Vliet's passing began to slowly spread around the Internet and came as a complete shock to me. Granted that Van Vliet hasn't been working in the music industry since the early 80's, it still felt like the end of an era was finally upon us! Who was going to lead the U.S. Avant-garde now that both Zappa and Van Vliet vacated their seats?

Captain Beefheart is undoubtedly an influential figure in the development of creative rock music that began in the middle of the '60s. As if 1967 wasn't already the most significant year in rock music history, it also happened to be the year Van Vliet's band (and I don't take this term lightly) released their debut album Safe As Milk. But was it really as safe as its title would lead us to believe? The general answer would be a definite yes! Let's just say that a Trout Mask Replica it is not, but what might seem simplistic and accessible at first can turn out to be anything but once it's taken apart into its basic elements.

Most of the tracks rely heavily on the blues and rock & roll sound that has dominated the U.S. music scene for decades. Still the major difference here is that Captain Beefheart actually does something new and exciting with this otherwise very stale genre. Even the fact that bandmembers like the relatively well-established Ry Cooder would never again manage to think outside the box like they did on this release speaks volumes of Safe As Milk!

Even if this release is not a complete masterpiece of any sort, it's definitely an important piece of music history that deserves its place among such classics like Zappa's Freak Out! and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! Not to mention the obvious similarities to the style that would later inspire a few mysterious lads called the Residents. Just listen to Autumn's Child and you'll hopefully see what I mean!

***** star songs: Zig Zag Wanderer (2:39) I'm Glad (3:30) Electricity (3:06) Yellow Brick Road (2:27) Abba Zaba (2:44)

**** star songs: Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do (2:15) Call On Me (2:36) Dropout Boogie (2:31) Plastic Factory (3:07) Where There's Woman (2:09) Grown So Ugly (2:27) Autumn's Child (4:02)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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