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Bought 'Troutmask Replica' by Captain Beefheart

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by yawnsie, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Okay... that was... interesting. :eek:

    After hearing how amazing this album is meant to be, I went out, picked it up, and sat through all 28 tracks. And, well, I don't think I should pass judgement until I have some of what those who raved about it have had. It seems to be more of a spoken world album to me than anything else... poetry recited over an, erm, chaotic backing.

    I suppose what I want to know is all of Beefheart's stuff like this?
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbuous. Got me?:D

    Seriously, I only have TMR. I think it's considered their best effort.
  3. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I played with a drummer in college who had this as his answering machine message. All he ever got was hangups. I wonder why?

    TMR is certainly not for everyone, that is for sure. Try and give it a couple more listens before you truly pass judgement. It's fairly thick, to say the least.

    If you still don't care for it, PM me, and I'll buy it from ya. :D
  4. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Yeah, it's certainly not the easiest album to listen to. I'll have to hear it a few more times to really made my mind up.

    But I've taped it, so I'm willing to listen to offers... :D
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I saw Captain Beefheart and his Magic band live at the Brighton Dome and it was an amazing gig - hugely better live - but they were completely out of their heads. The "captain" was constantly staring at a clock on the wall and seemed to be irritated with it and somehow fixated!

    After the gig my friends all wanted to go backstage and I tagged along - I wouldn't have believed that anybody could be more "out of it" than the band but the "Hangers -on" were even weirder - I can't describe it adequately!

    To answer your questions - all the albums are not like that - a friend of mine was a huge fan and I have heard them all! :eek: Some are more conventional rock - so if you get the Old Grey Whistle Test DVD (as I have) there is a performance of a track called "On the My Oh My" which is completely conventional in a rock sense and a pretty good song.

    But having heard them all, I do like Trout Mask Replica best and it is the only one that I actually own on CD.

    I think that you have to place it in its time and its value is in being completely original and eschewing all cliches and conventions that normally apply to rock music - so no conventional rhythms, no conventional chords or chord sequences, no conventional song structures.

    Van Vliet and the band created something completely original from what appears to be a conventional "rock" band - they show you how far it could go and as such were a great influence on others for "re-thinking" what was avant-garde or "dangerous" music - most rock music is very "safe" and full of musical cliches derived from the Blues. So some songs sound like the Blues, but are closer to the roots of the music rather than just taking the cliches and structures.

    My favourite track is "The Blimp" ! ;)
  6. I like "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" more than TMR.
    Rockette Morton's bass playing could sound like Les Claypool back when Les was a small child.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...I bought this a few months back & I'm still working my way through it.

    Good review, Bruce.
  8. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Yeah. You're certainly right about it not sticking to conventional rock practises... ;)
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well it certainly shows how you can use guitar, bass, drums and sound different - the friend who is a big fan, was also obsessed with James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake at the time when he played me all the albums - I think this explains a lot!
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Twenty years & counting-
    ...and I'm STILL working on Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man and Ulysses!

    Joyce- Very Avant writer.
    Faulkner, too! ;)
  11. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    If you really want to hear it all, there is a beefheart anthology.. great album. My favourite tracks are "floppy boot stomp" and "tropical hotdog night" ....if you want to hear what his windshield wipers sounded like one day, check out "bat chain puller (there's like 3 versions)". I read that their main writing technique was food and sleep deprivation. :) Keep listening .. it definately grows on you.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    For comments about lack of sleep/food try this site :


    January - February 1969
    Ensenada Drive, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
    Trout Mask Replica House Rehearsals
    John French: We rarely saw any outsiders during most of this period. We rarely left the house, and up until a month or two before recording, we were not eating very well. During this time, Jeff, Mark and I all tried to escape. Jeff ran out the door one night with me chasing him down the street and wanting to go with him. Mark had his clothes hidden in a field across the street once, trying to escape after dark. I quit the band once and was forced to stay and write down all my drum parts. Don then took me outside privately and, in an emotional appeal, talked me back into staying. I left another time with Jeff. These were not happy campers, folks.
    [Grow Fins booklet]
    Robert Harkleroad: This was taken on the wooden bridge from the Woodland Hills house when my mom and I went to visit the band. Probably about 1970. It looks like we got Don out of bed. I'm sure the trip was a financially motivated one, otherwise he probably would have stayed in bed.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Searching the web I found some interesting reviews/features/sites - a whole sub-culture!

    Here's a good one :

    Trout Mask Replica Review

    This piece, written by Lester Bangs, was taken from the 26th July 1969 edition of Rolling Stone.

    Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band (Straight Sm 1053)

    Captain Beefheart, the only true dadaist in rock, has been victimized repeatedly by public incomprehension and critical authoritarianism. The tendency has been to chide C.B. and his Band as a potentially acceptable blues band who were misled onto the paths of greedy trendy commercialism. What the critics failed to see was that this was a band with a vision, that their music, difficult raucous and rough as it is, proceeded from a unique and original consciousness.

    This became dramatically apparent with their last album. Since their music derived as much from the new free jazz and African chant rhythms as from Delta blues, the songs tended to he rattly and wayward. clattering along on weirdly jabbering high-pitched guitars and sprung rhythms. But the total conception and its execution was more in the nature of a tribal Pharaoh Sanders Archie Shepp fire-exorcism than the ranting noise of the Blue Cheer strain of groups.

    Thus it's very gratifying to say that Captain Beefheart's new album is a total success; a brilliant, stunning enlargeme and clarification of his art. Which is not to say that it's in any sense slick, "artistic" or easy. This is one of the few bands whose sound has actually gotten rawer as they've matured - a brilliant and refreshing strategy. Again the rhythms and melodic textures jump all over the place (in the same way that Cecil Taylor's do). Beefheart singing like a lonesome werewolf screaming and growling in the night. The songs clatter about - given a superficial listening they seem boring and repetitious. It's perhaps the addition of saxophones (all played by the five men in the band) that first suggests what's really happening here and always has been happening in this group's music.

    On "Hair Pie Bake One," for instance, the whole group gets into a raucous wrangling horn dialog that reveals a strong Albert Ayler influence. The music truly meshes, flows, and excites in a way that almost none of the self-conscious, carefully crafted jazz-rock bull**** of the past year has done. And the reason for this is that while many other groups have picked up on the trappings of the new jazz, Cap and the Magic Band are into its essence, the white-hot stream of un-"cultured" energy, getting there with a minimum of strain to boot. This is the key to their whole instrumental approach, from the drummer's whirling poly- and even a- rhythmic patterns (compare them to Sonny Murray's on Ayler's Spiritual Unity or Ed Blackwell's on Don Cherry's Symphony For Improvisers), to the explosive, diffuse guitar lines, which (like Lou Reed's for the Velvet Underground or Gary Peacock's bass playing on Spiritual Unity) stretch, tear, and distend the electric guitar's usual vocabulary with the aim of extending that vocabulary past its present strictly patterned limitations - limitations that are as tyrannically stultifying for the rock musician today as Charlie Parker's influence was for the jazzmen of the late Fifties.

    l mustn't forget the lyrics. You certainly won't; the album on a purely verbal level is an explosion of maniacal free-association incantations, eschewing (with the authentic taste that assassinates standards of Taste) solemn 'poetic’ pretensions and mundane, obvious mono-syllabic mindlessness. Where, for in stance, have you heard lyrics like these; "boobies boobies the blimp the blimp / The mother ship the mother ship / The brothers hid under the hood / From the blimp the blimp…. all the people stir / ‘n the girls' knees tremble / 'n run 'n wave their hands / 'n run their hands over the blimp the blimp…".

    The double record set costs as much as two regular albums, hut unlike most of these superlong superexpensive items it's really sustained, and worth the money, which is perhaps not so much to pay for 27 songs and what may well be the most unusual and challenging musical experience you'll have this year.
  14. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Well, I listened to the whole album again today. I can see how it grows in time on you; about half an hour into the record, it all began to strangely make sense...
  15. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    Don't get me wrong, some of it IS hard to listen to. which is why I recommend the anthology.. all the good stuff is on it... kind of expensive though if you're unsure.
  16. Get "safe as milk" and have a listen to that - its just simple IN TUNE, IN TIME blues-rock with the odd strange bit thrown in
  17. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Ahhhh beat me to it! Safe as Milk is sane beefheart.

    My favorite TMR track is "Big Joan sets up"... that is honestly one of the greatest poems ever!
  18. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Beat you to it?!?! It took addy 3+ years to find the thread to respond. What's your excuse for 3+ years and give or take 4 hours? :D
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    WOW!.. jeez... I didn't see that.

    Sorry, the past few years I've been heavily involved in my solo project....



  20. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I only want to hear it if it's in time with your avatar....

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