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Captain Beefheart - Mirror Man CD (album) cover

MIRROR MAN

Captain Beefheart

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.59 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Actually if this album had been released after recording it, it would the second in the man's discography and should be stuck between Safe As Milk and Strictly Personal. These tracks were recorded in 67, but for some reason delayed until 71, maybe due to the abundance of his work in those years. The first lenghty tracks is rather tedious for a proghead as it is a repetitive blues loaded with a single Bo-Diddley riff and has much similarities with a crazy version of Canned Heat coupled with John Lee Hooker. While an infectious groove with some rather cool moments, Tarotplane has the major inconvenience of over-staying its welcome in your hi-fi. Kandy Korn is rather quieter and less bluesish but still largely improvised, and maybe the most interesting track on the album. 25th Century Quaker is more blues but with an odd-beat tempo and a twangy guitar to go along in its ever- incessant search for improvisation makes another highlight. The title track returns to an infectious Hooker-Diddley riff endlessly repeated and driven by a steady beat, and for the newcoming proghead, this again will have many lengths and unless being a fan of minimalism (for the repetition parts), you might be in for a bit of a bore. Little Scratch has a more Zappa-esque construction (but this is accidental since this dates from 67, and from what I know, they were not collaborating this soon even if they met in high school), but unfortunately is much too short, while the last track Hill #1 is back to a basic bayou blues, yet again once more. On this album, Van Vliet is only playing harmonica, which is a little limiting.

Funny thing is I understand that all Cd releases (the one I heard for this review is by Repertoire record) have different track sequences (but apparently the same tracks), but I wonder how those could have fitted on a vinyl (I never owned a CB&HMB vinyl) given the track timings. Even for a double vinyl, this might be hard to balance. Nevertheless Beefheart has certainly made better records than this one and has certainly been more progressive than here.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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