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Captain Beefheart - I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain't Weird  CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart


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4 stars Remarkable that this album has not been rated and reviewed earlier. It's special in a couple of ways. At first because it's partially the unmolested version of Strictly Personal. This album, with the typical early Beefheart - phase 3 I would say - kind of music, was more or less ruined because of the addition of "phasing", allegedly added to the original material without the Captain's consent by producer Bob Krasnow, to make it more time fit, i.e. letting it sound more psychedelically. Rumours though at present are that the Captain did approve of it, but only later accused Krasnow of ruining it, because the album failed to attract more than a handful of listeners. Well, tastes differ, since somehow here at Progarchives Strictly managed to get a straight 4.0 rating at the time I'm writing this. Personally however I prefer the original "raw" tracks on "Hungry" over those on Strictly Personal, which, if you've heard the original tracks, could be described as trying to drink your coffee with salt instead of sugar. Perhaps ok if this is what you got used to when you started to drink coffee, but once you know the taste of sugar you understand what you missed.

The second reason why it's special is because it contains the song "Moody Liz", a song that hadn't been released before. It must have been part of the Strictly Personal material, but it did not appear on that album. It's a track that is typically and undeniably Beefheart, in the range of tracks like Odd Jobs, Alice in Blunderland and Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian. Although some "singing" is performed at the beginning of the track in fact it is the music itself that tells a story and when the song is at around a third, the music indeed takes over from the voices. It then starts being heavy, disharmonic and slow, as if it can't find its way. Then approximately halfway the track it seems some hope is showing up, a little faster, more harmonic, although still hesitatingly. Then at the end it's clear it found its way, it's faster and now fully harmonic. Good music for when you're in a dip; at first it shows empathy, then hope, then it says that no matter how bad you feel at a moment, it will be ok. Being it music, powerful too, you also believe it. Of course it could also describe getting high :). Anyway, it's a particular nice piece of music. Still, don't think the rest is bad, it's not, it's quite a good album overall if you like the more psychedelic line of Beefheart music.

I would rate it an overall 4.5, not 100% essential in general, but one of the Captain's finer pieces of work, essential for his earlier work. Ah, and btw, remastered, so the sound is a lot better than on the earlier versions of the original albums.

Report this review (#125335)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
3 stars Strictly Naked

I actually got this CD before I was ever able to locate a copy of its official-release counterpart, Strictly Personal. While I do enjoy the heavy handed psychedelic production of that album, the unfettered versions still feel like the definitive versions to me. This particular release has since been made obsolete by the readily available reissues of Safe as Milk and Mirror Man (while Strictly Personal still languishes in relative obscurity), as bonus tracks on those CDs, so don't go out of your way to find this CD unless you're a collector.

The essay inside talks about the whole scandal involving the release of the aforementioned Personal album, how it was released on a small label (Blue Thumb) by producer Bob Krasnow and lots of psychedelic effects were pasted on to the songs after the fact, a move (supposedly, though I have doubts) that was not sanctioned by Beefheart nor the band. This release was the first attempt to set the record straight, even though I doubt Beefheart himself had any involvement in the release of this CD. It presents the majority of the album's tracks in their unfettered form, presenting them as tough blues-based psychedelic rock numbers, with strong hints of the jagged rhythms that would come to full fruition on Trout Mask Replica the following year.

"Trust Us" is my favorite of these, and it's presented here in two versions, though it takes a real close listen to tell them apart. It's probably the tune that comes closest to the Trout Mask sound. My other favorite is a song that never ended up on an official album, the mesmerizing "Moody Liz", a woozy song with brief group vocals at the beginning followed by a long instrumental coda - very similar in approach to the final album's song "Kandy Korn".

What's here is good stuff, certainly very handy for my collection, at least until the reissues came out, which has made this CD somewhat superfluous. Also, several of these tracks are incomplete or otherwise uncompelling ("On Tomorrow" is done as an instrumental, for example, and it doesn't make an especially interesting instrumental). But otherwise it's quite strong.

Report this review (#964632)
Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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