WHO?: Captain Beefheart
WHEN?: 1966 to 1983
WHAT?: Experimental rock, blues, avant garde
WHY?: Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, is one of the most iconic musicians of his time. Much like his friend Frank Zappa, his music attracts a varied crowd. His bluesy voice helped him form his Magic Band in 1966 and release their debut album Safe as Milk a year later. The highlight of Vliet’s career might me his double third album Trout Mask Replica, which was released in 1969 and produced by Frank Zappa. In the 1970’s, Vliet decided to return to straight-forward blues music. He had a comeback around 1978 but it was in 1983 when Vliet decided he should retire. Today, Vliet is a retired recluse who enjoys painting. He’s been terminally ill for years now but his music hasn’t left us.
Safe as Milk (1967)- Captain Beefheart is truly an overlooked genius. Safe As Milk has to be one of the most interesting debut albums I've ever heard. The album's sound is raw and fills your speakers up. The Captain's Magic Band back him up on these twelve songs. "Sure Nuff n Yes I Do" is a great little blues song while "Zig Zag Wanderer" might be the better album opener. "Electricity" is easily one of Beefheart's best. How can you not love the way he just snarls "ELEC-TRIC-ATEE!". "Abba Zaba" is neat while "Autumn's Child" showcases Beefhearts raspy vocals. Overall, you got a great debut album (taken from my RateYourMusic review, January 2010).
Trout Mask Replica (1969)- It's one of those albums you either love or hate. If you hated it at first, it may have grown on you. After a first listen, I thought Trout Mask Replica was a great album. There are some parts of me that likes it more than Safe As Milk when it comes to artistic freedom. Captain Beefhart had plenty of that with songs like "Frownland", "Hair Pie", "Neon Meat Dream of a Octofish", and "Old Fart at Play". The album is musically great like Safe As Milk. Songs such as "Ella Guru", "Moonlight on Vermont", "Pachuco Cadaver", and "Hobo Chang Ba" are a few examples. Also, you got Frank Zappa himself producing this. However, the album is 78 minutes (which can luckily fit onto one CD). The listener could grow tired of it as to Safe As Milk, it was a good half-hour deal. Still when you look at it all together, Trout Mask Replica is a fantastic album. There'll probably never be another album like it again (taken from my RateYourMusic review, January 2010).
LINKS-1997 BBC Documentary URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M5YE_a4B1U