Category: Captain Beefheart

Captian Beefheart – Strictly Personal

ARTIST: Captain Beefheart 220px-Strictly_Personal
TITLE: Strictly Personal
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Beefheart fans probably know Trust Us and Safe as Milk
LINEUP: Don Van Vliet, Alex St. Clair, Jeff Cotton, Jerry Handley, John French
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Because psychedelia was all in vogue, Beefheart’s record company rejects a potential double album and the producer then drenches one half in echo, phasing and other psychedelic tricks to no one’s benefit and releases it on his label.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Mind you, getting the actual straight story isn’t possible now, since Beefheart was always contradictory and vague and the producer, Bob Krasnow, defends his work. At any rate – there was to be a double album but instead Krasnow took half of it, made it all psychedelic and released it.

What the end result was a mess. There were some good songs here (and some I don’t like) that are available in pure form on the bonus tracks from his previous album. This, though, has a lot of goofy phasing, repeated phrasing, effects and shenanigans. What happens is that it ruins the flow. The first side would be a killer side if taken straight – especially “Safe as Milk” and “Trust Us”

Side two of the record is also kind of a bummer for me, though “Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones” is rather humorous.

At any rate, it’s worth hearing, and the strength of the material somewhat overcomes the production. But not enough for novices.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The other double album, featuring long blues workouts, was released in the early 70’s. Oh, and this isn’t streaming, due to rights foibles I am sure.


GRADE: C+: The effects really kind of ruin it for me – I prefer the unadorned versions – and those are streaming.


Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk

ARTIST: Captain BeefheartSafe_as_Milk
TITLE: Safe As Milk
SINGLES: Yellow Brick Road
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Electricity, Zig Zag Wanderer, Dropout Boogie (All of these are maybe if you listened to college radio or something)
LINEUP: Captain Beefheart, Ry Cooder, Alex Snouffer, John French, Jerry Handley.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The beginning and end of music? Well, maybe not the end, but certainly the beginning of Beefheart’s strange musical odyssey. This is more blues based than the rest of his work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Yes, Electricity is weird (and wonderful – love that theremin) and some cuts like Abba Zaba are a bit off, but most of this is some form of the blues – weird complicated complex blues.

It’s also heavy – the bass sounds by Handley – especially on Zig Zag Wanderer are deep and powerful. The bass break in that song in the bridge can rattle some speakers.

Beefheart also shows his love for doo-wop and 50’s music here as well as the blues. All in all it’s just fantastic. Play this record loud and often.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Yes, that is THE Ry Cooder. He quit the band after a disaster of a gig where Beefheart fell off the stage during a bad trip. They had to cancel their appearance at Monterey because of that.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. When they released this on CD they added some of the sessions for the next album. Some I could do without – some are downright righteous.

GRADE: A : It’s a great building block of any collection.