Sunday, 25 October 2009

In Praise of Captain Beefheart

Just browsing the web and came across Eddie Chilton's 'No Fighting In The War Room' blog and an entry from last year in praise of the good Captain - Don Van Vliet, and yes I'm inclined to agree that for those looking for an entry point to the work of Beefheart & The Magic Band then 'Safe As Milk' is a pretty good place to start.  

From the Muddy Waters/Howlin' Wolf inspired opener of "Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do" through "Dropout Boogie" and then to the brace of tracks that kick off Side Two "Yellow Brick Road" (check the performance of this on the beach at Cannes on You Tube), "Abba Zabba" - and pretty much the rest of the album.  Plus Ry Cooder plays slide on this set.
The UK version was originally released on Pye International in 1967 as NPL 2810 and about then reissued about 6 months later on Pye's Marble Arch imprint (the copy I have) as MAL 1117 - which I'm guessing was after their UK/European tour, which includes their appearance of the beach at Cannes during the film festival - and with the following track listing:
Side 1: Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do
Zig Zag Wanderer
Call On Me
Dropout Boogie
Side 2: Yellow Brick Road
Abba Zabba
Plastic Factory
Where's There's Woman
Autumn's Child
It was then reissued again in 1971 on Buddah as 'Dropout Boogie' 2349002, this time with 2 extra tracks the sublime "I'm Glad" on side 1 and "Grown So Ugly" on side 2.  And of course since then it's been released on CD with the alternate versions of tracks from 'Strictly Personal' LP that had previously been issued as a CD in their own right.

From here on it's onto the aforementioned 'Strictly Personal' and the Zappa produced wierd-feat that is 'Trout Mask Replica'.  Which is whole blog in it's own right!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Kraftwerk’s formative years between 1970 and 1973 is the formative period that Ralf and Florian would rather forget - and yet the kernels of the Kraftwerk that we’re familiar with from Autobahn, via The Model to Tour De France all stem from this point in time.  

From Organisation late 60’s free-form Pysche/Electonica/Jazz collective - Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider-Esleben plus engineer/producer Conny Plank moved onto their next stage, took what was to hand, tweaked it, added wah-wah pedals to flutes and harmoniums, hung out with Can and Neu (who were in Kraftwerk during ‘71 - when Ralf Hutter actually quit for about 6 months), and produced 3 LPs of esoteric experimentation which has echoed down the years. And gained resonance as does so - listen now and you can hear where the likes of Stereolab drew their inspiration.

And listen closely and the adage is true that on each Kraftwerk album there’s the one track (or element on a track) that points the way forward to the next stage of Kraftwerk’s evolution/progress - and in this particular instance I’m thinking in terms of Kling-Klang from the 1971 LP Kraftwerk 2.  Which as any Kraftwerk fan will know (and tell you) is the name of both studio and label.  Plus a host of other wonderful esoterica from this their early formative Krautrock phase - Strom, Spule, and not forgetting Ruckzuk- Experience and Enjoy!