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


Captain Beefheart



4.09 | 132 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Some albums just defy categorization. Some square pegs won't fit into round holes no mattter how hard you push them. Lick My Decals Off Baby is one of those albums that is nearly impossible to quantify. But what the heck, I'm going to write a short review anyway.

To put it in one sentence, this is a raw, aggressive, awkward and eccentric combination of blues and prog. Melding blues and prog seems a nearly impossible task, yet the good Captain and company have worked hard to produce something that somehow approximates that. The rawness and the awkwardness are intentional. Like all good artists, Captain Beefheart uses that to yank out of us of our expectations to confront his work in a totally different light. The frankly weird lyrics serve the same function.

There is some really good stuff on this album. I'm quite fond of the title track, I Love You Big Dummy, Woe-is-uh-me-Bop, One Red Rose That I Mean, Space Age Couple, and most especially the sublime The Smithsonian Institution Blues. Smithsonian is an unforgettable track. If you haven't heard that, you are missing something. If you've heard it and don't like it (quite possible with any of the Captain's work) you need to listen to it again. Come on down to the big dig!

This will not be everybody's cup of tea. The album is challenging, but not challenging in the way that us traditional proggers expect. And that's the point. The album takes us out of our expectations (whether you are a prog fan or not, you are unlikely to expect this if you are unfamiliar with Captain Beefheart.) It dares us to embrace it. It assaults our eardrums. But if we can accept music beyond what we will expect, we will find it rewarding.

And isn't that what prog is all about?

I'm giving this three stars. It's a very good album, but I find it hard to claim that every real progger should have it. This fails to meet what we expect from prog as a genre, although it is infused with a progressive spirit. 3 stars.

ghost_of_morphy | 3/5 |


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