Sunday, March 15, 2015

Captain Beefheart - Sun, Zoom, Spark: 1970 to 1972 (Rhino/Warner Brothers, 2014)

Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) was a seminal figure in rock and roll from the late sixties to the early eighties. What he may have lacked in popular music sales was more than compensated for with a completely unique musical conception and a massive influence on generations of musicians. This boxed set collects the work immediately following his seminal masterwork Trout Mask Replica, containing the albums Lick My Decals Off Baby, The Spotlight Kid, Clear Spot and a disc of alternate takes and rarities. Lick My Decals Off Baby is closest in spirit to Trout Mask Replica, with the caustic spirit of tracks like “Doctor Dark” and the leadoff title track juxtaposed with Beefhearts Dadaist humor on “I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go”, “The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig)” and the concluding “Flash Gordon’s Ape.” The material on The Spotlight Kid has a little bit more conventional melodic content on “Blabber ‘n’ Smoke” but the Captain was a ferocious as ever on “I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby” and the wonderfully ominous “When It Blows Its Stacks.” Clear Spot continued this trend with the melancholic “My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains” and “Her Big Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles” balanced with the humorous “Nowadays A Woman's Gotta Hit A Man” and the ferocious “Big Eyed Beans from Venus.” The fourth disc is a grab bag of alternate takes and instrumental tracks of interest to diehard fans and collectors, but they do offer a peek behind the curtain at one of the most unusual, fascinating and enigmatic musicians in rock and roll history. Sun, Zoom, Spark:1970 to 1972 -

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