January 14, 2011 Playlist

Don (Van) Vliet born Jan 15, 1941
The Captain's 70th Birthday
Don Van Vliet
Jan 15, 1941 - Dec 17, 2010

"Mirror Man" by Captain Beefheart & His Magic  Band (rec. 1968, rel. 1971)
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band  "Mirror Man"  rec. 1968, rel. 1971 (USA)
The artist and musician Don Van Vliet would have turned 70 this week, except he passed away last month after years of suffering from multiple sclerosis.  He was best known as "Captain Beefheart", though he retired his musical alter ego back in 1982 to concentrate on painting.  With the revolving group of musicians he dubbed The Magic Band, Van Vliet created some of the most iconoclastic and influential music of the 20th century.  On one level, his muse is "simply" a fusion of free jazz, delta blues, acid rock and beat poetry mixed in a polyrhythmic dadaistic blender.  But on another level, it's a purely individual vision -- when asked what his biggest musical inflences were, Van Vliet never refered to other people, preferring to give credit to natural forces like birds, rocks and the wind.  His abstract expressionist painting style also shows a large (but surrealist) "nature" influence, and he was notoriously not able to get along with musicians, managers, promoters, and most members of human society.  In short, "Captain Beefheart" was a brother from another planet.  We're lucky to have one-of-a-kind weirdos like him walking among us!
The most legendary Beefheart footage is probably this clip of The Magic Band live on the beach at Cannes, featuring the original lineup just as they were transitioning from bluesy to freaky.  "I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby" was performed on the German TV program Beat Club (this lineup also features three ex-Zappa bandmembers:  Roy Estrada on bass, guitarist Elliot Ingber and drummer Arthur Tripp -- though Beefheart renamed them "Orejon", "Winged Eel Fingerling" and "Ed Marimba" when they joined the Magic Band.)  Some lesser known video appearances include this Detroit gig from 1971 and a French TV appearance in 1980 (if you're getting the impression that Beefheart was taken more seriously in Europe than his homeland, you are correct!)  His biggest exposure in America came in the early 1980's when he was interviewed by David Letterman a couple of times, and did a guest spot on Saturday Night Live -- but in typically quixotic style, he quit the music business entirely just as he began to finally get some recognition.  (Though allegedly, he made a lot more money as a painter in his "retirement" years than he ever did from 20 years in the rock 'n' roll racket.)
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
Howlin' Wolf Spoonful Howlin' Wolf (aka The Rockin' Chair Album) 1962 USA
Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart Lost In A Whirlpool The Lost Episodes rec. 1959, rel. 1996 USA
Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart The Torture Never Stops (live) You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4 rec. 1975, rel. 1991 USA
Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart Debra Cadabra (live) Bongo Fury 1975 USA
Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart Willie The Pimp Hot Rats 1969 USA
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band 25th Century Quaker Mirror Man
rec. 1968, rel. 1971 USA
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Gimme Dat Harp Boy Strictly Personal 1968 USA
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Kandy Korn Mirror Man
rec. 1968, rel. 1971 USA
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band Bat Chain Puller Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) 1978 USA
Y Pants Luego Fuego Y Pants 7" EP 1980 USA
Minutemen Colors What Makes A Man Start Fires? 1983 USA
The Shaggs Why Do I Feel? Philosophy Of The World 1969 USA
Ornette Coleman Forgotten Songs Friends And Neighbors 1970 USA
Fast 'n' Bulbous Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop (Captain Beefheart) Waxed Oop 2009 USA
The Contortions I Don't Want To Be Happy Buy 1979 USA
The Magic Band (without Captain Beefheart) Click Clack (Captain Beefheart) Back To The Front 2003 USA
XTC Ella Guru (Captain Beefheart) B-side / Mayor Of Simpleton 12" single 1988 UK
Sonic Youth Electricity (Captain Beefheart) Fast 'N' Bulbous: A Tribute To Captain Beefheart (various artists) 1988 USA
The Soft Boys Leppo & The Jooves A Can Of Bees 1979 UK
Butthole Surfers Lady Sniff Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac 1984 USA
Canned Heat One Kind Favor Living The Blues 1968 USA
The Edgar Broughton Band Psychopath
  A. The Psychopath
  B. Is For Butterflies
Sing Brother Sing 1971 UK
Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) Apples & Oranges (2010 stereo remaster) An Introduction To Syd Barrett (N) 2010 (Capitol) UK
Syd Barrett Octopus (2010 mix) An Introduction To Syd Barrett (N - compilation) 2010 (Capitol) UK
Anton Barbeau Reasonable Freq. Psychedelic Mynde Of Moses (N) 2010 (Idiot Records) USA/UK
Brian Eno Paleosonic Small Craft On A Milk Sea (N) 2010 (Warp / Opal) UK
Konono No. 1 (EY3 remix) Konon Wa Wa Wa Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers (N - various artists) 2010 (Crammed Discs) D. R. Congo / Japan
Gerry Gibbs & The Electric Thrasher Orchestra
Nem Um Talvez (M. Davis)
   / Calypso Frelimo (M. Davis)
Play The Music Of Miles Davis 1967-1975 (N) 2010 (Whaling City Sound) USA
Espers Meridian III (N) 2009 (Drag City) USA
BeBop Deluxe Music In Dreamland Futurama 1975 UK
BeBop Deluxe Jean Cocteau Futurama 1975 UK
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