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Captain Beefheart - The Dust Blows Forward: An Anthology CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart


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4 stars This compilation is a great introduction into the crazy world of Captain Beefheart. With good song selection, wonderful remastering, 2 discs worth of music, and extended liner notes and pictures, this is probably all the Captain Beefheart most folks need. Sure there are some important songs missing, but it's hard to complain with what all is included. There are songs from his first album through last album, in chronological order, plus an unreleased track and two tracks from the Frank Zappa / Mothers / Captain Beefheart grouping.

How do describe the music? Hmmm. It's a wonderful blend of odd (though great) singing mixed with snappy off-the-wall guitar, interesting bass parts, and complex drumming (often seeming to not be playing in any kind of time signature). Some of the songs are more straight-forward, but all have a bit of a humorous edge to them. Strange but wonderful poetry from the "other side of the fence".

Report this review (#39269)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This collection was my first encounter with so much praised Captain Beefheart, but if judging from my painful experience while listening to it, I won't become his convert. I assume that his original studio albums are worthy avant-garde rock, but through this hodge-podge "anthology" I can't see where is that "genius" Zappa's follower. On many occasions, especially on Disc 1 I had an urge to stop playing. There must be the other way around to get acquainted with Beefheart... this double CD don't do it for me.
Report this review (#77502)
Posted Monday, May 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This sure ain't symphonic prog, and I'm convinced that it will not much appeal to those who are convinced Greg Lake is the greatest singer (and lyricist!) in the universe, or Steve Hackett the greatest guitarist... On the other hand, those who enjoy Pere Ubu, post-1980 Tom Waits or even Dr John's wilder moments, may lap this up.

Captain Beefheart in his heyday was as avant-garde as they get, and this compilation makes for an excellent introduction to his oeuvre. If these tunes do not confuse you, cheer you up and whet your appetite for more, nothing ever will.

N.B. THE DUST... contains several moments that will be of special interest to mellotron lovers.

Report this review (#100684)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The music (if you want to call it that) of Don Van Vliet, alias Captain Beefheart, remains an acquired taste to even the most adventurous listeners, combining Zappa-esque free jazz, dime store surrealist poetry, avant-garage punk noise, and bayou blues from another planet (maybe Venus, home of the Captain's bug-eyed beans). But this 2-disc, 45-song anthology is about as painless an introduction to Beefheart's bizarre universe as any neophyte could wish for.

The song titles alone should be enough to give newcomers a clue to the music: "Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones"; "I Wanna Find a Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have to Go"; "Tropical Hot Dog Night"; "Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey On My Knee"; so on and so forth. The deliberately lo-fi production values and the Captain's unique voice (sounding like twenty packs of cheap cigarettes) would be enough to scare off any unprepared Proghead. Add a lot of scratchy electric guitar and some distorted harmonica, and the often astonishing result is a thick gumbo of uncompromising Outsider Music, guaranteed to empty a crowded room within two minutes (a high recommendation, to some of us misfits).

Here's a daring suggestion for Beefheart greenhorns: immerse yourself first in the Captain's controversial 1969 masterpiece "Trout Mask Replica", to a point where you feel yourself close to crawling up the nearest wall (it shouldn't take long). Only then approach this generous sampling of his larger musical career: believe me it'll sound almost normal by comparison.

And if, after a while, only the more conventional ballads ("Too Much Time"; "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains") begin to seem truly weird, you'll know you've been converted to the Captain Beefheart cult, for better or worse.

Now repeat after me: "Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop".

Report this review (#221844)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars I don't know if this is still in print or not, but this 2-CD set is a good introduction to Beefy and his Magic Band. It was my introduction, anyway. One great thing about this set is that you get 4 songs from the otherwise hard-to-find Lick My Decals Off, Baby. You get some early singles, a soundtrack song, an early alternate version of a later song and one B-side to a late single. Two tracks are included from Zappa's Bongo Fury album. None of those bonus songs are very special. It's the choice of album tracks that make this a good compilation for a newbie.

Unfortunately, there are only two songs from Safe As Milk, but seven(!) songs from Clear Spot. One song each from his two mid-70s albums, which were unsuccessful attempts at mainstream acceptance. They don't include the best song from those two albums, "Observatory Crest", however. Some of the choices of songs from Trout Mask Replica seem odd. The choices for songs from his last three albums are good, though. The booklet is thick and very informative. I like some of Van Vliet's quotes you find in the packaging, like: "There are only five great men in the world and three of them are hamburgers." Greater words have never been said.

So if you're curious about getting into Beefheart and find this for a reasonable price, pick it up. From these two CDs you can get an idea of which album you would want to start with. Some of the Captain's most interesting 'normal' songs are included here. A good introduction. 3 stars.

Report this review (#380993)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011 | Review Permalink

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