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CAPTAIN BEEFHEART

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Captain Beefheart biography
Don Glen Vliet - Born 1941-01-15 (Glendale, California, USA) - 2010-12-17

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART is a true genius and definitely one of the most original and innovative musicians of the twentieth century. With his blend of blues, rock 'n' roll, free-jazz, avantgarde and poetry, he invented his own genre of music, which even seems to go beyond music itself. Captain Beefheart's music at its best is a form of art, that is maybe best compared to an abstract painting.

Captain Beefheart was born January 15, 1941 in Glendale, California. He was born Don Vliet, but he changed his name into Don van Vliet in the early sixties. His genius was discovered very early through his paintings and sculptures, and at the age of thirteen, he was offered a scholarship to study in Europe. His parents didn't accept the offer, and decided to move to Lancaster instead. It was during his stay there, that Van Vliet met Frank Zappa (see also FRANK ZAPPA) in high school, and that he taught himself how to play harmonica and saxophone. Van Vliet derived the name Captain Beefheart from Zappa's and his film-project, called "Captain Beefheart Meets The Grunt People". The film was never completed.

In 1964 Captain Beefheart formed The Magic Band, and in 1965 the band signed to A&M, for which they recorded two singles. The first, "Diddy Wah Diddy" (The Bo Diddley-song), was actually quite successful, but A&M wasn't interested in Beefheart's ideas for an entire album. In 1967, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band finally got the opportunity to release their debut album, "Safe As Milk", on the label Buddah. At this time, the band consisted of guitarists Alex St. Clair, Ry Cooder and Antennae Jimmy Semens (born Jeff Cotton), bassist Jerry Handley and drummer Drumbo (John French).

After 1968's "Strictly Personal" was sabotaged by the producer Bob Krasnow (he radically remixed the album without Van Vliet's permission), Frank Zappa offered his old friend to make an album on his own label Straight Records, promising him complete creative freedom. Of course Van Vliet couldn't refuse this offer, and he recorded arguably the weirdest, most fascinating, original and avantgarde rock album ever made: "Trout Mask Replica". It was released in 1969 and it consisted of two discs, on which Beefheart and his colleagues "freaked out" in 28 raw, poetic tracks, seemingly ignoring all musical borders. A true masterpiece, graced by some fantastic cover artwork. By this time, Captain Bee...
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Legendary A&M SessionsLegendary A&M Sessions
Edsel Records Uk 1998
$5.00
$5.11 (used)
Trout Mask ReplicaTrout Mask Replica
Reprise / Ada 1990
$59.99
$14.98 (used)
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
Remastered
Virgin Int'L 2006
$5.10
$4.50 (used)
Clear Spot (Vinyl)Clear Spot (Vinyl)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$19.00
$22.44 (used)
Spotlight Kid & Clear SpotSpotlight Kid & Clear Spot
Reprise / Ada 1990
$5.72
$1.55 (used)
Doc At The Radar StationDoc At The Radar Station
Remastered
Astralwerks 2006
$5.09
$9.67 (used)
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4h 34m
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7h
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12h 28m
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16h 46m
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CAPTAIN BEEFHEART discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 172 ratings
Safe As Milk
1967
3.41 | 91 ratings
Strictly Personal
1968
3.74 | 337 ratings
Trout Mask Replica
1969
4.11 | 125 ratings
Lick My Decals Off, Baby
1970
3.59 | 84 ratings
Mirror Man
1971
3.35 | 71 ratings
The Spotlight Kid
1972
3.90 | 75 ratings
Clear Spot
1972
2.49 | 56 ratings
Bluejeans & Moonbeams
1974
1.90 | 48 ratings
Unconditionally Guaranteed
1974
4.20 | 111 ratings
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
1978
4.10 | 94 ratings
Doc At The Radar Station
1980
3.56 | 67 ratings
Ice Cream For Crow
1982
4.10 | 22 ratings
Bat Chain Puller
2012

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 11 ratings
London 1974
1994
4.22 | 14 ratings
I'm Going to Do What I Wanna Do: Live at My Father's Place 1978
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Merseytrout: Live in Liverpool 1980
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Magnetic Hands Live UK 72 -80
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Railroadism Live U.S.A 72- 81
2003
4.50 | 2 ratings
Amsterdam '80
2006

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 7 ratings
I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain't Weird
1992
3.33 | 3 ratings
A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond
1993
3.04 | 4 ratings
Electricity
1998
3.04 | 7 ratings
Grow Fins (Rarities 1965 - 1982)
1999
3.11 | 6 ratings
The Dust Blows Forward: An Anthology
1999
3.25 | 4 ratings
Dust Sucker
2002
3.00 | 2 ratings
Dichotomy
2003

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Diddy Wah Diddy
1965
5.00 | 2 ratings
Yellow Brick Road
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Moonchild
1968
5.00 | 1 ratings
Plastic Factory
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Click Clack
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Too Much Time
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sixpack - Six Track EP
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Light Reflected Off The Oceands Of The Moon
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ice Cream For Crow
1982
3.08 | 6 ratings
The Legendary A&M Sessions
1984

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Safe As Milk by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.91 | 172 ratings

BUY
Safe As Milk
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Having escaped the urban pressures of the Los Angeles scene at an early age, the parents of Dan Van Vliet who would become better known as CAPTAIN BEEFHEART found much of his creative inspiration in the Mojave desert highlands near the town of Lancaster, CA where he became obsessed with the blues sounds of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Son House and Robert Johnson but was also equally intrigued by the avant-garde nature of jazz artists such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor. After developing his own musical skills and began to play on his own he would also become one of Frank Zappa's greatest partners in crime on the eccentric R&B music scene in the mid-60s before eventually creating some of the wildest unclassifiable albums ever to hit the rock music world.

For anyone who has only exposed themselves to the mind bending freakery of albums like 'Trout Mask Replica' it may come as quite a shock when coming to this debut album that was at the time of release an official project of CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND. The BAND part of the equation remained a rotating cast of musicians who would come and go on the various albums throughout BEEFHEART's career. The good CAPTAIN spent his years leading up to this debut releasing some rather safe if not bland singles based entirely on blues rock for the A&M record label but it wouldn't take long for the CAPTAIN's eccentric irrepressible ways to come to the surface and cause tension which would lead to a complete meltdown. The dramatic event was triggered by what to put on the debut album affectionally titled SAFE AS MILK. While A&M wanted more cute and cuddly blues songs with a rock veneer, the good CAPTAIN simply insisted that some of his more experimental tracks find their way onto the album, specifically the amazingly electrified 'Electricity' which redefined the experimental possibilities of blues rock.

The label refused and BEEFHEART was forced to scope out a plan B which resulted in a 1967 release on the New York City based Buddha Records which favored a more diverse genre selection than many others as they included everything from the Bubblegum pop of Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Company to the folk rock of Melanie and the soul of Gladys Knight & The Pips. Having seen the tides changing they took a chance on BEEFHEART's mix of blues with slightly off-kilter elements but in reality SAFE AS MILK as the title suggests is perhaps the most accessible album by the good CAPTAIN at least before the pathetic attempts to go commercial in the mid-70s. In the process of finding a new home for his recordings, BEEFHEART recruited the musical cast of Alex St. Clair Snouffer (guitar, bass, percussion), Jerry Handley (bass), John French (drums) and a young 20 year old guitarist Ry Cooder who was just getting his feet wet in the music biz.

This was the period before the good CAPTAIN really found his true calling by creating twisted gnarled blues tracks that were part jazz, part progressive rock and just part unexplainably weird. SAFE AS MILK requires no conditioning to enjoy and displays the period where not only was BEEFHEART coming of age and feeling comfortable in his skin but also showcased the tension of being expected to perform according to a label's whims while sneaking in some poetic license to let loose once in a while. The album was grace with ballsy guitar riffs influenced by the Delta blues of Mississippi along with harmonic musical structures that include rhythmic guitar slides, harmonica and BEEFHEART's grizzled vocal deliveries. It also exudes an instant attraction albeit not too distant from the influences from whence the influences were derived. Perhaps the most derivative of any BEEFHEART album, SAFE AS MILK nonetheless encapsulates some distinct escapes from the status quo.

Firstly the wild and brilliantly electrified 'Electricity' sounds as explosive as Arthur Brown's 'Fire' with its overconfident delivery of unconventionalities that included a theremin and stylistic approach that resembles danceable electronic music of the future more than the classic blues styles. While A&M deemed the track too negative and weird, the track has remained one of BEEFHEART's most identifiable earlier songs. Another interesting fact about SAFE AS MILK was that the instruments were staking out their own territorial claims instead of being subordinate to the other. The drums were independent of the bass line and the guitar tracks were finding ways to exist within the confines of the songs yet taking liberties. All in all the tracks like 'Abba Zabba' were adding African drumming and ethnic flavors which altered the bluesy natural flow and thus aspects like these were finding SAFE AS MILK as a pivotal step for the strange new twists and turns that were just around the pike.

SAFE AS MILK seemed like it lived up to its title too much for my first few experiences with this album. There are points where it is nauseatingly bland with the throwaway track 'I'm Glad' topping the list, a song so gag inducing that would've even made Leslie Gore throw it in the trash. Not only is the overwrought winey ballad clearly demonstrative of why BEEFHEART's vocal abilities were designed for more adventurous and less melodic realities but the track ruins of the flow of an otherwise fairly good bluesy rock album. While the more experimental tracks like 'Electricity' clearly steal the thunder of the otherwise pleasant but fairly traditional sounding tracks, the album still is a decent grower even if the continuity seems a little stilted. In effect this is an album that is a collection of tracks that seem to have been created under different conditions than an album that flows neatly from beginning to end but after many listens the album kinda sinks its hooks into you once the ear worms burrow themselves in. Personally i prefer the unleashed madman BEEFHEART to come but i can't deny this is a really fun 'normal' album by master of experimental blues.

 Trout Mask Replica by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.74 | 337 ratings

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Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Well I assure you sir, this thing sucks (Don Van Vliet on selling a vacuum cleaner to Aldous Huxley)

Of the many albums that sit gathering dust, undisturbed in the rack yet are routinely adored by their house proud owners, it is perhaps Trout Mask Replica that best represents the disingenuous litmus test for hipster candidates of 'high' office everywhere. What's odd about its assimilation into the pantheon of 'maverick genius' constructions is that it's not even a rock album at all but rather, a free jazz inspired stream of consciousness 'f.u.c.k the lot of you' diatribe that has more in common with a Cecil Taylor arranged 'To Have Done with the Judgement of god' by Antonin Artaud than an unrequited love letter to any Howling Wolf. That's hardly a picnic with your childhood sweetheart and s.h.i.t.s.u puppy of course but it's still unnerving how far removed from the predictable lumpen plod of rawk (psychedelic, blues or otherwise) this album deviates at its furthest outreaches.

And therein maybe lies the key: Most rock fans including your reviewer get rather uncomfortable when their steady diet of cyclic rhythms and anticipated releases from harmonic tension are not resolved in a timely fashion. Listening to such music is tantamount to a delicately balanced guessing game. If I guess correctly what's coming next too often, I'll get bored and lose interest: If I cannot discern any anticipated patterns I'll dismiss the music as too chaotic or random as too few of my guesses turn out to be correct. That's probably why I heartily loathe Cecil Taylor, John Zorn, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, et al as such aesthetic considerations are completely irrelevant to their art. This says more about my limitations as a listener and failing to understand the stimulus to hand but all the same, I want to like this malarkey but erm....am unable. We're also habitually guilty of confusing texture with content e.g. there might be a sax on Brown Sugar but that doesn't make it any closer to Jazz than Rock. The textures at play on Trout Mask Replica have lured many an unwary critic into believing that the electric slide guitars, amped bass and drums menu is consistent with a delta blues themed psychadelicatessen and are invariably frustrated when the Captain and his troops steadfastly decline to serve up such a dish. The only place where texture and content are in accord is perhaps on Hair Pie Bake 1 where Beefheart's solitary soprano sax is redolent of the sort of uncharted musical landscapes of Anthony Braxton. It also explains why so few echoes of Beefheart are present in the music of his avowed wannabees, disciples and acolytes from within the republican realm of rawk like the Residents, Devo, Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, the Fall, PIL etc. The cynical among us would hazard that this is just egregious name-dropping which also lassos Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and anyone else who was considered a bit 'out there' but has crucially just died into the R'OK Corral.

The best Captain Beefheart impersonation I have ever heard is probably from Edgar Broughton circa Sing Brother Sing in 1970 but here's the rub, the unwitting approximation by a completly sh*t faced English actor Oliver Reed on Michael Aspel's chat show from 1984 comes a pretty close second. You are cordially invited to check out the 'You Tube' footage at your leisure. Tread very carefully when using 'derangement of the senses is the gateway to wisdom' as an educational paradigm kiddies. (The playgrounds of the US are littered with casualties on a daily basis)

Don Van Vliet's lyrics are at best, inscrutable surrealistic glossolalia and at worst, when they even approach bad beat poetry, crassly and glibly asinine:

Dachau blues, Dachau blues those poor Jews Still cryin' 'bout the burnin' back in World War Two's One mad man six million lose Down in Dachau blues, down in Dachau blues

We know that the good Captain enrolled as an art major in his youth but dropped out after less than 12 months. Draw your own conclusions if you will but thwarted artists with distinctive facial hair have never done the world many favours.

It seems that like Mark E. Smith of the Fall, the Captain ran his erstwhile Magic band circa 1969 similar to a dark satanic mill owner where dissent was treated with ridicule, physical violence and privation in no particular order. The published testimonies of band members appear to attest to the rather unpalatable conclusion that their Don was an uber controlling c.u.n.t of Mansonesque proportions. Revisionist apologists for this alleged behaviour start to sound like those clueless soccer pundits defending a leg breaking tackle who posit that 'without his underlying psychopathic and sadistic nature his talent would have been thwarted by mediocrities' Try telling that to the lads when they've been neither paid or fed for their unaccredited efforts and have to play a man down after their captain's red card for hacking down his own team. (Apologies for milking the footie metaphors there a tad)

I've also never understood why Zappa's mix is so heavily weighted in favour of Beefheart's vocal as most of these conspire to practically drown out the music and only serve to make prolonged listening a considerable chore. That's a shame as all told, there is much innovation and prescience buried in the bowels of this frankly appalling production to warrant a deeper appreciation of the creative input of the assembled Magic band.

There is some speculative evidence to suggest that the Captain refused to record his vocals using traditional headphones and therefore his delivery is commensurately out of sync with a backing he could only hear via the latency of speaker bleed. Being out of time deliberately would at least require some effort methinks? Anointed if you do, anointed if you don't. (He can't lose)

Long story short: This album doesn't belong on any Progressive Rock appreciation site. It is too far removed from such narrow evaluation criteria

 Trout Mask Replica by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.74 | 337 ratings

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Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by PlacesofLight405

5 stars After revisiting Trout Mask Replica, I've gained a new appreciation for this album and the role it played in my life.

This album helped me realize I was attracted to things that were dense, abstract, off-kilter, absurd, innovative, and from left field. Beef and his buddies gave me a chance to connect with my weirdness in a way no other outlet could.

In the movie The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart, Matt Groening is interviewed and he mentions in his youth he went to a Beefheart concert and 75 of the weirdest people in the weirdest costumes were there. Before performing, Ed Marimba came on stage with a toy light up gun softly chanting "ray gun, ray gun" over and over.

I love that stuff and would have fit right in. These guys turned the blues on its head and, for all their weirdness, really created art here.

You should really check out that hour long movie if you like Beef, as the back story and interviews with Drumbo and Frank about this album are priceless.

I think Frank was resentful this album caught traction with a segment of the population. In fact, one listen gives the discerning listener the seeds of punk, new wave, experimental, industrial, and alternative rock in all its forms. Beefs reach far exceeded Franks grasp in my estimation. And according to Frank, he had very little to do with making the music. He just got out of the Captains way.

A timeless masterpiece for me, I can see how "normal" people don't quite grasp it - one star, no way in holy hell. Pachuco Cadaver is worth three stars alone.

 Trout Mask Replica by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.74 | 337 ratings

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Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by AndyJ

2 stars Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' has to this date probably been the most difficult album I've ever listened to. Considered something of an infamous album I was keen to check it out. I had the chance to listen to it for the first time a few months ago while visiting a friend. I was browsing through his rather large CD collection and I spotted it, tucked away in the corner. The moment I pulled it out and held it up for him I swear I heard a slight groan from him, followed by a wry smile and a chuckle.

At first I was optimistic. Yes, the opening of the album is pretty wacky and a bit discordant, but then so is the opening first moments of Close To The Edge. At any moment some structure would kick, there would be a hook and I'd be drawn in. I waited, and waited some more. And then it dawned on me that this was really 'it'. Very little structure, at least in the classical sense, no hooks, few melodies, bizarre lyrics and vocal style from Mr Beefheart. It honestly sounded like some very young children had been set loose in an abandoned music shop and told to 'go nuts'. At this point I realized exactly why this album was regarded as an infamous recording of the 1960's. My friend joked to me as we sat and listened that this would probably all make much more sense if we were high on drugs. As it was we were both stone cold sober drinking coffee!

I turned the album off about 2/3rds of the way through and put some Led Zeppelin on just to un-fry our brains. But I was left feeling intrigued still, and also a little bit confused. Which record label had green lighted the recording of this album? So I spent a bit of time on the Internet reading about this album, and I looked at the Prog Archive reviews for this album and was surprised, to say the least, at the overwhelming high scores that this album has achieved. I felt angry - not at the other reviewers, but at myself. What was I missing - why did this album just sound like discordant noise to my ears but for other's it is a masterpiece of music?

Since that evening a few months ago I have tried to listen to this album again. I cannot listen to all 28 tracks in one sitting, which probably tells you something about my feelings towards this album. There are some moments on the album such as in the track 'Hair Pie: Bake 2' where there is some structure and I find myself tapping my feet, but the overriding sense I feel when listening to this album is "I'd rather be listening to something else".

It would be harsh to give this album 1 star, after all a lot of people swear by it as a classic album. I've come to the conclusion myself that this album most definitely is not for me, but it deserves at least 2 stars.

 Safe As Milk by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.91 | 172 ratings

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Safe As Milk
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars Beefheart's guns are loaded when he springs this recording to the world in 1967. The backstory is great - Doug Moon getting into fights with Don all the time, threatening each other with real weapons. 20 year old Ry Cooder is recruited to clean things up and add stinging slide licks. The finished product has an indelible effect on Rock, Blues, Free Jazz still felt today .

A great listen for fans of the fringes. Weirdness started with Beef - not Frank. "Autumn's Child" is a classic among classics. The Expanded addition adds great instrumental and vocal tracks, not to be missed.

 Trout Mask Replica by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.74 | 337 ratings

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Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by thebig_E

2 stars If you like blues cliches and forced vocals, this is the record for you. There are 3 types of songs on this record: complex rock songs with beat poetry, a cappella vocal tracks, and avant-garde jazz instrumentals. That's about it for variety. I like some experimental music, such as Can and Cluster, but this album doesn't offer much in the way of substance.

If this is a comedy album, than what's the joke? You could say the joke is that the band is out of sync, out of tune, and the vocalist is just saying random words into a microphone. That would be understandable, but that's one joke stretched thin for almost 80 minutes. Some moments are mildly amusing like "Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish" and "Pena", but they're few and far between. If the track list was cut down by half, it would be a more tolerable listen. As a double LP, it's too long.

For some reason, Trout Mask Replica will forever be more acclaimed than other albums in Captain Beefheart's discography. You can get the same music from Lick My Decals Off, Baby in half the time. This album has a presence on the internet, especially with the "fast n' bulbous" line. Is it just a music meme? There has to be more to it than that. If there is some hidden message, I'm not seeing it.

This is a polarizing album, to say the least; You either love it or loathe it. After reading about this album's "classic" status from music journalists and hearing it numerous times, I have come to the conclusion that this record is a load of nonsense. You might say "you just don't understand it", but what is there to get from 80 minutes of studio outtakes? The best thing about the album is the cover. I probably just pissed off a lot of music fans.

 Safe As Milk by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.91 | 172 ratings

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Safe As Milk
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Continuing my 1967 trip according to my Progshine post (progshine.net/2013/10/prog-rock- year-by-year-1967.html), we have Safe As Milk (1967) from Captain Beefheart And His Magical Band.

The high teor of Blues Rock and Psychedelia was here, of course, that's how pretty much Rock band was sounding in 1967. But it's quite fine, wild and kinda upbeat all around.

Besides not being released early in the year (but in September) the album is kinda impressive for being the first of the band. As most of the albums from the Psychedelic generation Safe As Milk (1967) has all kinds of songs fom ballads to free jams.

One of the nicest I've heard so far from this research of mine.

 Safe As Milk by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.91 | 172 ratings

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Safe As Milk
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by GKR

4 stars 1967 was INDEED an interesting year for progressive music. In fact, we may talk about a landmark. Interesting enough, we tend to forget, among other albums, to list the debut of Captain Beefheart, Safe as Milk.

From strong bluesy roots, he can de-construct a lot and add serious and good experimentalism, but, very different from "Trout Mask Repilca", this album go to be fully enjoyable. With some angry of the vocals, is the kind of joy you have while smash something. Can better feeling than this on a debut, especially now knowing all the path Van Villet has made? Such an effort is great for when you have to create something new, or listen to even further adventurous music.

This album is the begining of a lot of things.

 Trout Mask Replica by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.74 | 337 ratings

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Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by andrewrankine

3 stars Quite a strange album, unlike just about anything that I have heard before. Individually the songs sound to me like demos, but together they create a work dissimilar to any other (not necessarily a good thing). It was tough to finish this record the first time around, but enjoyable the second time. Still, I don't like it that much. It lacks any order, and the complete insanity can become slightly less humorous after a few beginnings to songs in the same vain. Loses the shock effect. Worth a listen when confined to a train/bus/airplane/automobile for an hour or so. Tough to rate... worth a listen to anyone (5 stars) but many would say it is terrible (1 stars). On the other hand, a completionist might enjoy this type of record if completing a Beefheart collection. Split the difference, give it 3.5 stars... round it down for my own personal findings to 3 stars.
 Doc At The Radar Station by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.10 | 94 ratings

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Doc At The Radar Station
Captain Beefheart RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Believe it or not, this album was released in 1980.

The thing is, Captain Beefheart was never really a man of his time other than his earliest career phase (and I really like his debut, SAFE AS MILK, despite the 60's overtones). If you haven't been initiated with Captain Beefheart, he has a music style that is rough, jagged, avant-garde and seemingly difficult to digest, yet there's always a fine line underneath the chaos that keeps the music together. Stomping beats, swinging tempos, bluesy rock guitars, the occasional delve into abstract poetry; it's all here for Beefheart fans to soak up and enjoy.

Some of what is familiar Beefheart territory is best described in ''Hot Head'', ''Sheriff of Hong Kong'', ''Best Batch Yet'' and ''Run Paint Run Run'' (my overall favourite cut). There are a few others can get a little dicey. ''Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee'' is as weird as the title suggests as it's nothing more than mellotron washes underneath unusual fantasies. ''A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond'' sounds a little out of place concerning the overall style of the album (in contrast, this song is a restrained piano/guitar interlude), but warranted given that it's slotted between two rough-and-tumble numbers. And the Beefheart voice of Mr. Hyde and Mr. Hyde is in full throttle going from constipated old man to ''out-of-breath-after- getting-punched-in-the-stomach'' vocals, and yet Beefheart still makes those sound plausible.

DOC AT THE RADAR STATION is one of the more digestible Captain Beefheart albums I have come across, and considering that his trademark style is splattered all over the album, I'd say this is a good starting point for the uninitiated. This album proves that you can base yourself in avant- garde overtones and still have hooks in your music.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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