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


Captain Beefheart



3.11 | 6 ratings

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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".

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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