Beefheart- The magic lives on; Big Game At Glos: Pics.

My Friends at Google tell me this is my four hundredth post. That being the case I thought I would spend some time talking about one of my musical heroes  Captain ( Don Van Vliet) Beefheart and his Magic Band.

Like pebbles down a cliff face
thoughts confuse,
become abstracted and
refuse to focus.

Like a lost jig-saw piece
 thoughts wander and
search for a closure.

Like watching snooker in 
monochrome,
thoughts drift from
lack of detail.

Like an endless-roundabout
thoughts revolve constantly
interrupting the passage of
sleep.

Like a carpet without tacks,
thoughts need to be nailed,
stored and remembered.

Like Notes written on papers,
thoughts need to be collected 
and arranged in order

Here's a thought.
Am I allowed to think about 
thinking?
Or is it merely a thought for the 
Day.

At least it has got me  thinking
thoughts for this blog
entry.


Ck 16/01/2015 revised 06 /01/2016

I first wrote this a year ago near the birthday of the Captain on January 15th 1941. I revised it for this entry.






 The above vinyl LP  "Strictly Personal "  released in 1968 was my first encounter with Beefheart. I remember it costs me about £1.50 new or was it less?

Here are  some details about this record:

Recording details:

Date – 25 April to 2 May 1968
Studio – Sunset Sound, Hollywood
Producer – Bob Krasnow
Engineer – Gene Shiveley, Bill Lazerus

Musicians:

Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica, electric flour sifter
Alex St Clair Snouffer – guitar, backing vocals
Jeff Cotton – guitar, backing vocals
Jerry Handley – bass, backing vocals
John French – drums, backing vocals

Track list

  1. Ah Feel Like Ahcid
  2. Safe As Milk
  3. Trust Us
  4. Son of Mirror Man – Mere Man
  5. On Tomorrow
  6. Beatle Bones and Smokin’ Stones
  7. Gimme Dat Harp Boy
  8. Kandy Korn



This splendid information was taken from the wondrous website " Captain Beefheart Radar Station." 

Radar

This site curated lovingly by G. Johnson is a one-stop Beefheart drop-in. No need to venture anywhere else in cyber-space. This is the real deal.

More info from the site, regarding ' Personal :


According to legend the album was ruined by producer Bob Krasnow who tried to make it more “commercial” by adding psychedelic post-production phasing effects to the recordings. This was done supposedly without the band’s knowledge while they were away in England.
Don Van Vliet denounced the album’s production in numerous indignant interviews of the time:
So he hands me the album, and there’s the album cover I did with the stamps and manila envelope. Everything just as I did it. So I put the album on and, my God, it’s not the same album! He had put psychedelic Bromo-Seltzer all over the tapes we’d made – you know, phasing, whooooosh. The music – there are diamonds in the rough tinder there, but it sounds like some kid’s got a hold of a Mona Lisa. A mean little kid. All of a sudden I find this album a shambles with psychedelic Bromo-Seltzer all over it. I didn’t know what to do. "
Typically the Captain putting his own spin on the subject. However I actually love the phasing, it's what drew me to the record in the first place. Tracks like  ' Beatle Bones and Smokin' Stones '  ( a take on Strawberry Fields ) throw the sound from one speaker to the other,  sounding very outer-worldly  and ' psychedelic '. Real ear-music!

Today I have become increasingly bored with the modern mixing  of records, where everything is balanced and equalised, with little distinction between stereo channels.

I remember, round about  the time of this record release, my friend C. bought a record player, to which he plugged in an additional unit, comprising a mini amplifier and speaker. This he placed at some distance from the record deck, giving him a stereo capability. I used to visit him and listen to the amazing stereo. We pored over his record collection including the early Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Grateful Dead and The Who.





The above photo shows the cover of the Floyd's LP " Ummagumma "  (1969), which included  " Granchester Meadows. " by Roger Waters . This gentle, beguiling folk-type song, endorsing the pleasures of  this Cambridge place, includes recorded natural sounds, so  foxes bark and geese take off from the river and in doing  'move' across the speakers.

But the coup de grace comes at the end, when you can hear an insect buzz annoyingly. This is followed by a man walking down steps (right channel ) and then walking 'across' to the left swatting the fly and eventually killing it. Real ear-candy. More please.



I took little notice of the Captain, until the release of " Trout Mask Replica "  in 1969.






It was of course, the cover that initially grabbed me, with the good Captain wearing a fish mask  ( a carp I'm told .)  I analysed the personnel's dress and names (given , I discovered later by the Captain) and then placed  the disc back onto my record shelves. It was hardly ever played
That might well be the end of Beefheart for me. 


But fast forward  to the coming of the internet  and one day browsing the web learnt  that the  prestigious "Rolling Stone"  magazine had placed TMR in the top twenty five albums of all time.
It was time to reprise Beefheart.

Not long after this I discovered " Fire-Party ."  This was an online discussion group devoted to all matters Beefheart and his Magic Band(s). I was amazed by the quality of the debate, bearing in mind that the Captain gave up recording in 1981  concentrating  upon  painting until his death in 2010. I signed up, and to this day am still a member.




This was the book by fellow member " Mike Barnes .'  that finally confirmed that it was not the case of " The Emperor's New Clothes, "   There was real substance to the music and lyrics of Beefheart.
Mike  decoded TMR for me track by track and it made me listen in a new way to the atonal sounds. There was so much to discover and to this day the music constantly reveals itself to me.
So if you are still unsure about Beefheart, read this book and be converted.



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 On Saturday, 2nd January, fortified with a drop of ale and a tasty burger, d. and I made our way  amongst the gathering crowds dodging puddles and overhead drizzle  to Kingsholm, Gloucester's Rugby Stadium. We had a ticket in the far corner of the Mira Stand to watch Gloucester Rugby play London Irish.




Teams out in pre-practice. The Shed stand (standing) is the
far side of the pitch.





I had not attended at a rugby game for many years and was overwhelmed  at the sheer spectacle of it. The match was a sell-out before a crowd of 16,116 vociferous spectators. There was a real sense of occasion  and a great atmosphere prevailed. The teams came out like gladiators ready to do battle, with the shed's famous cry of GLOSTERR, making the RRRR's reverberate around the stadium.

The pitch was muddy and almost swampy in parts making the colours of the players'  shirts difficult to distinguish at times, especially as a large amount of the play in the first half was at the end furthest away from where we were siting.

I was impressed by the overall politeness of the crowd, making it a safe family affair. The fact that alcohol was allowed to be drunk by the spectators , spoke volumes for the accepted crowd behaviour.

The PA made us aware of the substitutions and the names of the kickers and try scorers. The large television screen helped to make sense of the play., although as luck would have it, most of the action for the entire game took place at the other end from our seats. But the good news was that at the close of play Gloucester Rugby ran out convincing winners by 27 to 14 points and thereby replaced Newcastle Falcons ( my next visit) at the bottom of the Premier league.

 d. and I boarded the waiting bus as the big crowd splashed happily home.


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The north wind doth blow, so keep warm as winter draws on.

Cheerio for now
Happy New Year,
Ck.

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