Sunday, April 10, 2016

Captain Beefheart - 1970 - Lick My Decals Off, Baby

Captain Beefheart 
Lick My Decals Off, Baby

01. Lick My Decals Off, Baby (2:38)
02. Doctor Dark (2:45)
03. I Love You, You Big Dummy (2:53)
04. Peon (2:23)
05. Bellerin' Plain (3:35)
06. Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop (2:04)
07. Japan In a Dishpan (3:00)
08. I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go (1:54)
09. Petrified Forest (1:41)
10. One Red Rose That I Mean (1:54)
11. The Buggy Boogie Woogie (2:18)
12. The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig) (2:10)
13. Space-Age Couple (2:33)
14. The Clouds Are Full of Wine (Not Whiskey or Rye) (2:47)
15. Flash Gordon's Ape (4:15)

Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) - vocals, harmonica, saxophone
Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) - guitar, slide guitar
Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) - bass guitar
Drumbo (John French) - drums, percussion
Ed Marimba (Art Tripp) - drums, percussion, marimba

After his career summit Trout Mask Replica, Beefheart set the bar a little higher and came close to succeeding. Overall this album is a little more raw and aggressive (but by some strange way also more refined), but is this not what Beefheart is all about?
Miles away from the classic progressive records of the era, Beefheart was standing in a class of its own with only high school classmate Zappa standing close to him (can you imagine being in that classroom as a teacher or even as a student?;-). In some ways, when listening to Japan In A Dishpan or the Flash Gordon Ape finale, Van Vliet is closer to Coltrane in his free-jazz period than rock, but he does not have the same discipline. One of the things I find with Beefheart albums is that the role of HMB musos is frequently under-estimated (even if it clear that Van Vliet IS CB&HMB), but they are really all excellent at their role and the album would not be the same without those precise musos, especially Art Tripp.

Although Agnes's review is rather a little too enthusiastic (I think she forgot we were on a prog site), her review remains excellent, and she describes the feeling better than I could ever do it, so please do read her review (but skip the first five lines). The 15 short tracks (outside the 5 min finale, the next longest track is 3:35) are following each other at such a frenetic pace, that is does make you dizzy to keep track of them, so it is better to let the full mass of the album shock, hit, maim, wound, butcher, cut, kill and bury you and not fight it. "Uncanny meisterwerk" would have said Mr. Citystart.

BTW, I believe a few of the other reviewers are badly informed about the state of release of this album in CD format, since the copy I used to review this album dates from 1989 and was released through Rhino records. And it seems to me never had problems finding classic Beefheart albums in record bins.

Anyway, LMDO,B is surely an eccentric, unsettling, dumbfounding, stupendous album and if blues was ever progressive, it would start with Beefheart records such as this one and its predecessor.

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