Monday, July 31, 2006

81. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967)

Track Listing

1. Sure Nuff 'n' Yes I Do
2. Zig Zag Wanderer
3. Call On Me
4. Dropout Boogie
5. I'm Glad
6. Electricity
7. Yellow Brick Road
8. Abba Zaba
9. Plastic Factory
10. Where There's A Woman
11. Grown So Ugly
12. Autumn's Child


This album might be many things but one it isn't is safe as milk. Well, it is much safer than other Beefheart adventures like Trout Mask Replica but what isn't? Safe as Milk has a very blues feel to it but in a very demented way. It starts with pure blues in the first track and soon develops into something else entirely. You could probably get something similar if you made Howlin' Wolf drop some acid but as no one did this comes across as a very original album indeed.

This is not to say that his is a "hard to listen" album, because it's not. Even the crazier songs like Electricity and Abba Zaba are really great and probably the best ones in the album, the ones which inject a brilliantly demented amount of freshness into it.

Beefheart's voice is truly impressive going from the almost falsetto to sounding like Animal from the Muppet Show. It is not weird in the least that he went on to do loads of collaborations with Frank Zappa. In fact there is something of the Freak Out! to this album, but it is much more accessible in terms of weirdness. On the downside I really would have liked Beefheart to have pushed the envelope a bit further in this album, some of the quieter songs get lost here and the weirdest ones are the ones which stand out as truly innovative.

Still, it is something that you really need to listen to. Buy it at Amazon UK or US

Track Highlights

1. Abba Zaba
2. Electricity
3. Autumn's Child
4. Dropout Boogie

Final Grade



He is the Captain of all our Beefheart's.

Beefheart's real name is Don Van Vliet.

From Wiki:

Van Vliet's music has been vastly influential. BBC disc jockey John Peel stated, "If there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it's Beefheart…I heard echoes of his music in some of the records I listened to last week and I'll hear more echoes in records that I listen to this week." Many artists have cited Beefheart as an influence, notably those emerging during the early punk movement such as the Clash and John Lydon of the Sex Pistols. Tom Waits's shift in artistic direction, starting with 1983's Swordfishtrombones, was, Waits claims, a result of his wife introducing him to Beefheart's music. The early albums of XTC sound very much like Beefheart's instrumental style crossed with classic post-Beatles pop-rock songwriting. More recently, Franz Ferdinand cited Beefheart's 1980 album Doc At The Radar Station as a strong influence on their second LP, You Could Have It So Much Better.

Punk rockers The Minutemen (1980-1985) were great fans of Beefheart's music, and were arguably among the few to effectively synthesize his music with their own, especially in their early output, which featured disjointed guitar and irregular, galloping rhythms--Mike Watt's baselines with the group were often very reminiscent of the bass guitar work in Beefheart's bands. Michael Azerrad describes early Minutemen as "highly caffeinated Captain Beefheart running down James Brown tunes", and notes that Beefheart was the group's "idol"

Many musicians who have worked with Captain Beefheart consider it to be the formative experience of their lives as musician (despite the rigours of Beefheart's unorthodox methods). Some of these alumni have subsequently found collaborators who also seem to have been touched with Beefheart's creative spirit. Since Beefheart left the music business, Eric Drew Feldman has played with Snakefinger, Pere Ubu, PJ Harvey and Frank Black. Gary Lucas has played guitar and collaborated with Jeff Buckley. Moris Tepper has also worked with PJ Harvey, and has collaborated with Tom Waits and Frank Black.

In 2000, The White Stripes released a limited (1300 copies) red-and-white 7" vinyl disc on Sub Pop records' Singles Club. The disc, Party of Special Things to Do contained covers of three Captain Beefheart songs: "Party of Special Things to Do", "China Pig", and "Ashtray Heart".

Mark Lanegan released "Here Comes That Weird Chill" in Dec, 2003 on the Beggars UK - Ada label. Track 3 is a cover of Captain Beefheart's "Clear Spot".

In 2005, "The Mama Kangaroos: Philly Women Sing Captain Beefheart" was released on the Genus Records label featuring twenty female artists from the Philadeplhia, PA region covering a wide range of the Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band song list.

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