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Friday, 16 June 2017

Rewind: Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
Produced by Frank Zappa
Released 16th June 1969
UK Chart #21

Side 1

Side 2

Side 3
Side 4
        Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) – lead and backing vocals, spoken word, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, musette, simran horn, hunting horn, jingle bells, producer (uncredited), engineer (uncredited)

    The Magic Band
        Drumbo (John French) – drums, percussion, engineer (uncredited on the original release)
        Antennae Jimmy Semens (Jeff Cotton) – guitar, "steel appendage guitar" (slide guitar using a metal slide), lead vocals on "Pena" and "The Blimp", "flesh horn" (vocal with hand cupped over mouth) on "Ella Guru", speaking voice on "Old Fart at Play"
        Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) – guitar, "glass finger guitar" (slide guitar using a glass slide), flute on "Hobo Chang Ba"
        Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) – bass guitar, narration on "Dachau Blues" and "Fallin' Ditch"
        The Mascara Snake (Victor Hayden) – bass clarinet, backing vocals on "Ella Guru", speaking voice on "Pena"

    Additional personnel
        Doug Moon – acoustic guitar on "China Pig"
        Gary "Magic" Marker – bass guitar on "Moonlight on Vermont" and "Veteran's Day Poppy" (uncredited)
        Roy Estrada – bass guitar on "The Blimp" (uncredited)
        Arthur Tripp III – drums and percussion on "The Blimp" (uncredited)
        Don Preston – piano on "The Blimp" (uncredited)
        Ian Underwood and Bunk Gardner – alto and tenor saxophones on "The Blimp" (uncredited/inaudible)
        Buzz Gardner – trumpet on "The Blimp" (uncredited/inaudible)
        Frank Zappa – speaking voice on "Pena" and "The Blimp" (uncredited); engineer (uncredited); producer
        Richard "Dick" Kunc – speaking voice on "She's Too Much for My Mirror" (uncredited); engineer
        Cal Schenkel – album design
        Ed Caraeff and Cal Schenkel – photography

Single on Trout Mask Replica


Released in France 1970
Did Not Chart!

One of my friends many years ago said that if you were having a party at your house and you wanted people to leave there were two things that you could do. Firstly, you could ask politely and physically shuffle people towards the front door. This he said was way too time consuming and people often didn't listen and wanted to continue partying into the wee hours of the morning. 
Option #2 he regarded as probably the best way of clearing house at great speed and that was to put on Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band's Trout Mask Replica and within the first couple of tracks everyone and their dog would have left the party and you could then go to bed! 😀
He also said that if you have this album then it is NOT conducive to a romantic night with the girlfriend or partner! (That is totally understandable! 😉)
John Peel said of the album: "If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is probably that work." It was actually on John Peel's Radio One show that I first heard the music of Captain Beefheart and for a kid like me it was quite troubling music because at times it seemed quite "anti-music!" Steve Huey of AllMusic writes that the album's influence "was felt more in spirit than in direct copycatting, as a catalyst rather than a literal musical starting point. However, its inspiring reimagining of what was possible in a rock context laid the groundwork for countless experiments in rock surrealism to follow, especially during the punk/new wave era."
 (Safe As Milk - Buddah Records September 1967)
Trout Mask Replica was the third Studio release from Captain Beefheart and it's very, very different from his first two. Safe As Milk (1967) was basically a Blues orientated album that featured a young Ry Cooder on guitar.
 (Strictly Personal - Blue Thumb Records (US)/Liberty (UK) October 1968)
 Strictly Personal (1968) was more of a Psychedelic Blues Rock album.

Trout Mask Replica was, as they say, adifferent kettle of fish altogether! Given a free reign to create the album by the owner of their new label - Frank Zappa, the horror stories I have read regarding the recording of the album are almost unbelievable. The band all living in a two bedroomed house for almost eight months, barely eating (they were once arrested for shoplifting food and Zappa bailed them out!) and working crazy hours (up to 14 hours a day!), suffering "beatings" at the hand of Beefheart! It's a wonder that any of them survived and an album was created among such chaos - maybe the shocking nature of the music that made it to the album was a reflection of the sheer madness of those 8 months!

The album is very experimental combining Blues, Jazz, Psychedelia and a whole lot more.

It's not an album that you could play often as it can be quite grating upon the psyche! Filmmaker David Lynch has called Trout Mask Replica his favorite album of all time, but he's a strange dude anyway! 😉
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