I really WANT to like Trout Mask Replica...

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...but fucking hell, what a racket. Now I love Beefheart's previous two albums and like most of his subsequent ones, but the whole "stuck between two radio stations" sound on TMR makes it just too damn hard for me to get into. Its benefits for me extend solely to the cover art, two dozen really great song titles, and a couple songs I like ("Sweet Sweet Bulbs", "My Human Gives Me Blues", "Veteran's Day Poppy"). Not trying to be an anti-iconoclast canon-smashing rebel dork or anything -- I've still got too many "I could be wrong" feelings about it for that. So... what am I missing?

Nate in ST.P (natedetritus), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 07:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Very little.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 07:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm assuming you're listening to a cd. I think this album benefited from being split into 4 sides, encouraging the listener to take it in gradually.

Yes, it is a racket, and you if you can't see the charm in that, you won't like the album... Garage Beefheart.

no opinion, Wednesday, 10 March 2004 07:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it's always been the beefheart album that's left me most uninterested. i can perfectly understand (and enjoy to some extent) the rigour of the playing but the idea seems better realized on Lick My Decals Off, Baby (the songs on that one are better too). but lyrics certainly don't get any more surreal... and that's a great thing.

phil turnbull (philT), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 07:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i never really considered it as racket, just fucked up garage blues. maybe because it's considered a classic, sth you HAVE to like/hear, puts some people off (and others drool all over it).

nathalie (nathalie), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 08:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm surprised you didn't add 'ella guru' to that list. when i first got it (and I didn't love it right away or anything, more like a wtf is this? kind of reaction) I did pretty much hang on to one or two songs. 'china pig' is the straightest thing on there, not a racket.

I guess the lyrics turned it round for me, loved the words and that got me to adjust to the music.

phil is right, get 'my decals' though I'll always love trout.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 09:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

As a TMR lover, I would suggest one thing:

One time, I taped it for the car, and only got the left channel. This made for an interesting listening experience.

Other than that, as harold melvin would say, "If you don't love it by now... try in five years or so."

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 09:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've heard a number of different suggestions of how to "crack" TMR:

- listening to one channel first as Mark suggests
- listening to all their other albums first (especially Decals)
- listening to one track repeatedly over and over
- putting it on in the background and absorbing it by osmosis rather than trying to tackle it head on
- putting it on to play while you're asleep

I think Matt "The Simpsons" Groening best expressed the reaction many people have when hearing TMR for the first time - as well explaining precisely why it's worth the effort to overcome them:

"It had Frank Zappa's name on it, so I bought it. Took it home, put it on ... it was the worst dreck I'd ever heard in my life - 'They're not even trying, they're playing randomly!' And so I thought: 'Frank Zappa produced it, I'd better give it another play,' and I played it again and I thought: 'It still sounds horrible, but maybe they meant it to sound that way.' By the third or fourth time, it started to grow on me, and by the fifth and sixth time I loved it, and after the seventh and eighth plays I thought it was the greatest album ever made and I still do."


Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 09:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

o man. frownland might be the single greatest opening of a rock record ever. i find it hard to believe people don't put it on and fall in love.

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 09:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i liked frownland on first listen and still do, but the rest is yet to gel for me..

the surface noise (electricsound), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I bonded with the album on first hearing.

But I was quite old by then.

But I reckon I would have if I'd had it when I was 20.

But it would have screwed up my guitar playing even worse (Marquee Moon was most responsible for that).

Life is good.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It had Frank Zappa's name on it, so I bought it.
If someone would tell me this as recommendation, then I'd just run run run.

Has anyone seen that Corbijn documentary on Beefheart?

nathalie (nathalie), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yes. arty dull bullshit.

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, nice pictures...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The 13 minute long DVD of that sells for 30 EUR..

Baaderoni (Fabfunk), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

theres a better doco, can't remember the name, with some great early footage. anyone?

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 10:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"I bonded with the album on first hearing.
But I was quite old by then.
But I reckon I would have if I'd had it when I was 20."

I somehow managed to attain the ripe old age of 31 without consciously properly hearing any Beefheart.

I'm not at all sure I'd have got it at 20.

The good documentary was The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I had a track "Dirty Blue Gene" on a virgin records sampler, when I was 20 or thereabouts. One of those "that's terrible" on first play, "Interesting" on second, and after that I was trying to do my own version.. So I'm fairly certain TMR would have been the next step but two, but I had no money for expensive vinyl etc...

Funnily enough, as a bunch of lads messing about with a tape recorder, one of us took to interjecting "urrrgh DACHAU BLOOZ" to much unfamiliarity (I wondered years later if he was doing Deacon Blues steely dan), and "Ooooh she's too much for my mirror -- she cracks it..." to much hilarity... (should have asked about it / taped it off him)

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i can't believe you put it off so long stewart! i mean, you were an nme reader in the late 70's?

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

So was I, but at that age

1) you can only afford singles en masse
2) Albums tend to be things you can play w/mates

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

2) Albums tend to be things you can play w/mates

yessssss!!!!!!!!

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i mean, ok i'm an aussie... but a few mates, a bong and TMR.

mullygrubber (gaz), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

too much r......?

the surface noise (electricsound), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"1) you can only afford singles en masse
2) Albums tend to be things you can play w/mates"

Yes, both those things, but more significantly: the main thing that made me want to investigate Beefheart at that time was Buzzcocks' / Magazine's amazing version of "I Love You, You Big Dummy"; however that song wasn't on any of the albums I found on the shelves on the occasions that I looked (even in those days Lick My Decals Off Baby seemed to be in short supply!) and to make matters worse, the Beefheart album everyone said was best was a double.

I was hardly going to fork out for a double album by some old sixties weirdo, just because I liked a cover version of one of his songs, when the singles racks were stuffed full of things with nice reassuring pictures of men with spiky hair, leather jackets and tartan bondage trousers that I could be pretty sure I'd like!

I do have to admit also that I actually did hear one Beefheart track, Dirty Blue Gene (on the Virgin "Cash Cows" sampler album) but for whatever reason it didn't particularly grab me at the time.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

so anyway, this reminds me to get some beefhart bootlegs off slsk: any suggestions?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Don's Birthday Party

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What Stewart said. Again. (excluding the buzzcocks stuff, I didn't get 'razor cuts' till recently)

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 11:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

TMR is the perfect arguement against a immutable rock canon. In 1970, Beefheart's influential opus sounded visionary. By 1980, in the wake of Pere ubu PiL et al he sounded prescient or even contemporary. By the late 90s, in the wake of Sonic Youth, TMR sounds like a collection of stoned out blues riffs and pun-ridden zen koans. Interesting, eccentric, maybe a little dated, but hardly the paradigm-shifting event it was in the past. How could it be?

lovebug starski, Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Re TMR, it's not really my thing either, but it must be good, judging by the popularity of Ron Johnson Records (in the '80s), a whole label based on the album.

Jez (Jez), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Because it never crossed into the mainstream (top thirty album chart placing notwithstanding), still not dated (apart from the 'squid eating dough' bits, funnily enough) so it will be forever rediscovered.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Bootlegs / live recordings (cont).:

After "Don's Birthday Party" I'd also recommend

"Live At My Fathers' Place" (which was widely bootlegged, often as "New York Hot Dog Night", before it was legitimately released as "I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do" by Rhino Handmade a couple of years back) is pretty good too and "Mersey Trout - Live In Liverpool 1980" and the live compilations "Railroadism" and "Magnetic Hands" (which you'll probably find in your local Virgin / HMV / Our Price, although they are actually bootlegs) aren't bad.

Avoid "London 1974" for reasons which should be obvious (it's the Tragic Band!) and "Dichotomy" (both of which again you'll probably find in your local record shop).

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

...but it's just so grand. So consuming, it seems impossible to take the piss out of it, it is just too vast to see round it's edges. Perhaps more than any other album, saying it's rubbish would be so utterly pointless. It rejects your opinions of it so completely.

Which is only part of the reason I like it so much.

Jim Robinson (Original Miscreant), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If you do really WANT to like it then keep on listening. Otherwise don't bother - it's not a record you need to hear or even know about (but then what is?). I heard it a couple of times, taped it, never listened again - I might come back to it sometime or I might not.

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

elements have been borrowed from beefheart but nothing sounds quite like him and the magic band on 'TMR' and 'lick my decals...'(not sure SY have anything to do with him!).

I'm not sure it was 'paradigm shifting event in '69 bcz I didn't buy it in '69.

I wasn't buying any recs in '69.

'stoned blues riffs': er, its far more focused than that!

thanks stewart.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Actually Julio, you should also look out for anything that calls itself "Brown Star Sessions" (actually outtakes from Clear Spot and Spotlight Kid, several of which were revisited and rewritten by the "new" Magic band on the last 3 albums) and there's a load of Decals outtakes (including an entire instrumental version of the album) out there somewhere too.

Look out also in particular for the track "Hoboism" (Don jamming with Denny Walley during the Bat Chain Puller seesions) and if you manage to find "Death March" by The Omens then you could make me and a lot of other Beefheart obsessives very happy.

Sorry, I'll shut up now.

Maybe.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

stew I really want those instrumentals of 'lick my decals...'.

are there any live albs from the late 60s/early 70s (in the beefheart doc on bbc there was this version of click clack (as i dimly recall) which sounded fantastic!). i want some of that.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Perhaps more than any other album, saying it's rubbish would be so utterly pointless. It rejects your opinions of it so completely.
OTM. Very Martin Amis, this. Brilliant!

lovebug starski, Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I downloaded "Lost in a Whirlpool" which was quite fasc.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Click Clack" is on the Grow Fins box (I have it with me, here)

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

which disc? I'm d/l disc 1 as I post this.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Track 14 on Disc 5.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Captain Beefheart is so much fun

Mr Mime (Andrew Thames), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Julio, the version of "Click Clack" on the documentary - was it live footage of the band with Art Tripp on drums, Roy Estrada on bass, Elliott "Winged Eel Fingerling" on guitar and Mark "Rockette Morton" dancing like a dervish?

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

mark- thanks.

yeah one guy was dancing and digging the rhythm, so was I, but the version on spotlight kid was just horrible in comparison.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's funny. I took to it immediately. I mean, at first I couldn't listen to more than one disc at a time because it just exhausted me, but I liked the bewilderment it caused me. I think I was also really eager to hear what rock at the outer limits sounded like -- but then I was also eager to hear everything and anything at the time. Plus what I read about it prior at least reassured me that it wasn't a joke and that it was a completely deliberate album (though these don't seem to be Nate's stumbling points).

Mind you, apart from Mirror Man, I haven't bought another Beefheart album since. And that was nearly twenty years ago.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

How is a squid eating dough dated?

Baaderoni (Fabfunk), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I bought that CD years ago. Couldn't get into it. I traded it in. Then I kept reading about how great it was. I bought it again. Still can't get into it.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Julio, that footage was from a German TV show called Beat Club. I think it's on the Grow Fins box as a video track rather than an audio one.

There's a stunning version of "I'm Going To Booglarize You Baby" from the same show that you can download here.

I'm afraid actual live boots from the 60's and 70's seem to be few and far between - I suspect because there are so many later recordings with so much better sound quality.

There are plenty of tapes about 'though....

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hey, stew..

Was there a video of "Diddy wah diddy" set on a beach?

Or am I vibing again?

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 10 March 2004 12:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If you do really WANT to like it then keep on listening. Otherwise don't bother - it's not a record you need to hear or even know about (but then what is?). I heard it a couple of times, taped it, never listened again - I might come back to it sometime or I might not.

My story with this album, right there, though I did buy the CD used rather than taping it.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 11 March 2004 06:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Myonga 100% OTM.

I'll join the line of folks who can't understand 'not connecting' with TMR - it certainly blew my mind when I first heard it. And I still listen to it regularly (that, and The Mirror Man Sessions.

I suspect I'd play more Beefheart if I owned more on CD - vinyl is often such a chore. But yeah, fuck it - classicclassicclassic

roger adultery (roger adultery), Thursday, 11 March 2004 07:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

dude i dunno i think this album kicks ass all over the place.

Pablo Cruise (chaki), Thursday, 11 March 2004 07:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Though Zoot Horn Rollo's licks are certainly nothin to sneeze at either.

Fantastic gtrs, absolutely. It's always slightly annoyed me that I don't know which guitarist plays which part. I know Rollo played a Telecaster; so if I only knew what brand of guitar Jeff Cotton played...I STILL wouldn't be sure! (Can't differentiate between "glass finger" and "steel appendage" guitar...)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 11 March 2004 07:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

TMR is the perfect arguement against a immutable rock canon. In 1970, Beefheart's influential opus sounded visionary. By 1980, in the wake of Pere ubu PiL et al he sounded prescient or even contemporary. By the late 90s, in the wake of Sonic Youth, TMR sounds like a collection of stoned out blues riffs and pun-ridden zen koans. Interesting, eccentric, maybe a little dated, but hardly the paradigm-shifting event it was in the past. How could it be?

Thats a nice story, but I don't find it dated (whatever that means). I guess I loose you when Sonic Youth comes in, while I enjoy them I never understood the idea that they just blew guitar music apart or redefined it or whatever they were supposed to do.

I liked this right away, the only album I've heard from the Cap'n so I have nothing to compare it to. Eventually I'll get the others once I am not poor. The guitars are so scraggily, the spoken word/field recordings so absurd, the imagery is fantastic, TMR is it's own universe, an end to itself, while somehow fitting into the blues-based garage-rock what-ever tradition, albeit as somekind of mutant or abberation. It sounds old-timey and new-futurey at the same time. It doesn't sound dated, still, to me, it sounds other-worldly (or alternate-dimension-ly). So, so classic and I am going to listen to it after Futurama is over. (and if you have any drugs do those before listening to it obv.)

christhamrin (christhamrin), Thursday, 11 March 2004 07:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

new-futurey should be future-timey cause that sounds better.

Other methods I've used to try getting into music I find difficult: randomizing the song order, listening to it in a different environment and/or eating delicious beef jerky while listening to the music on headphones.

christhamrin (christhamrin), Thursday, 11 March 2004 08:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Also pretend I said something new and thought provoking about the guitaring instead of just saying it was 'scraggily'.

christhamrin (christhamrin), Thursday, 11 March 2004 08:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Before I listened to Trout Mask Replica I figured I wouldn't like it, from what I had heard about it. But...I actually loved it as soon as I heard it. Then again, I like trippy-ass music anyway.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 11 March 2004 10:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Listen to it while drinking a bottle of ice cold vodka on a warm afternoon."

Has the album yet been recorded that doesn't sound at very least tolerable while drinking a bottle of ice cold vodka on a warm afternoon?

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 10:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think the album has really dated or lost its impact at all (though admittedly I wasn't around in 1969 when it was released). But spend 8 hours washing dishes with your co-worker's radio blasting Puddle of Mudd, Hoobastank, and Evanescance, then go home and listen to a song like "Dachau Blues" and tell me that Trout Mask Replica still doesn't sound fucking incredible.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 11 March 2004 11:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yes stewart. Dark side of the moon. Amsterdam. various 'drinks'. "It's still shit!" said I.

mark grout (mark grout), Thursday, 11 March 2004 11:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hey, all I meant was this album exists on its own plane and it's so original/radical that whenever I go back to it my reaction (and perspective) changes. But it does hold up to repeated listening. So probably not the best example to use for knee-jerk rock canonizing. My bad. Guess I still do think SY re-configured the whole idea of rock guitaring, however, rendering the Cap's blues-based approach somewhat dated though still revelatory and enjoyable. Personally I prefer Decals and the later albums, but in no way is TMR not epic.

lovebug starski, Thursday, 11 March 2004 11:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I still do think SY re-configured the whole idea of rock guitaring

They did? News to me.

Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 11 March 2004 11:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The great thing about TMR is that it sounds like a completely improvised made-up-on-the-spot kinda thing, but actually it's the exact opposite. Didn't they take a whole year trying to get the music to sound exactly the way they (or, more likely, HE) wanted?

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Thursday, 11 March 2004 13:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah as i recall he locked the band and got them playing together for abt 8 months.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 11 March 2004 14:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yup, 8 months to write and rehearse and 2 hours to record.

If you hear the "outtakes" on the Grow Fins box (actually the fruits of an abortive first attempt at recording the album at the house where they were rehearsing), it's often hard to believe they aren't the recorded versions with the vocal track turned off, the playing is that precise.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 14:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Umm, they are the recorded versions with the vocal track turned off.

The ones that aren't there on Grow Fins, are the ones recorded in Zappa's proper studio.

Plus "The Blimp" (which I always wondered about, as it sounds completely different musically to the rest of the album) was the Mothers not the Magic Band anyhow.

But you knew that...

mark grout (mark grout), Thursday, 11 March 2004 15:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's always slightly annoyed me that I don't know which guitarist plays which part

That's a good point. I guess I'm being unfair to Cotton by assuming that the best licks are Rollo's. If you read his book Lunar Notes, he gives a song-by-song account of the records he played on, which should help in sorting out who played which parts.

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 11 March 2004 15:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Umm, they are the recorded versions with the vocal track turned off"

Urban myth I'm afraid - they did try to record it in the house but gave up and went into the studio - very few bits of what was recorded in the house (mainly speaking bits etc. and one of the Hair Pie's IIRC) were actually used on the album.

Also 3 tracks that were used on the album (Moonlight On Vermont is definitely one of them, can't remember what the others were) were actually from an earlier demo session before they moved into the house at and have either Jerry Handley or Gary "Magic" Marker on bass rather than Mark Boston!

"Plus "The Blimp" (which I always wondered about, as it sounds completely different musically to the rest of the album) was the Mothers not the Magic Band anyhow."

That's right - although bizarrely it was actually Art Tripp and Roy Estrada who were playing, both of whom subsequently ended up in The Magic Band. I've got a couple of tapes with them playing it live!

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 17:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry: "before they moved into the house at Woodland Hills....

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 17:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Sometimes I wonder whether perhaps I should try to get out more and take up a nice hobby that involves occasional exercise and fresh air, rather than sitting at a computer obsessively filling my head with all sorts of trivial detritus about Captain Beefheart....

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 11 March 2004 17:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
So I only just got this a few days ago (£2.99 in the used cd bin), never having heard it - only heard of it, - and man, it's great! Instantly lovable, weird and gangly and so much fun. Way, way, waaaay less "difficult" than I expected - as someone says up-thread, it doesn't sound out-there at all compared to contemporary weirdoes. And it's so full of exuberance and fun. I can just put it on and listen and enjoy myself.

Where should I go from here? Decals? (For what it's worth, I'm more of a Tom Waits fan than a Zappa fan [these are the best comaprisons i can think of].) I think I confused Beefheart and King Crimson back when I was in uni and so my abstract catalogue know-how is all mixed up.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 08:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

It's one of the most "suddenly you're in there" albums ever made. "Frownland" is almost over before you've got your bearings.

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 08:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

For Troutmaskness: "Decals" then "Doc at the Radar Station"

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 08:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Decals sounds the most like TMR. Get Doc At the Radar Station if you want to see what that kind of style eventually evolved into.
Safe as Milk and Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot are more straight ahead but worth checking out, for sure. I haven't heard the others...

AaronHz (AaronHz), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 08:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

... there's hundreds of Beefheart threads on ILM if you really feel like reading me and Stewart Osborne et al drone on and on an on

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 09:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"The Dust Blows Forward" is being reissued for £15.99, according to HMV website, in May.

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 09:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Dadaismus - I know, I read 'em. Or several of 'em. But I'm not really at the point (yet?) where debating the merits of particular Beefheart bootlegs holds much interest.

Can you think of any meaty posts - or good 500-1000wd reviews - I could read online about this here thing? I'm curious about what's been said on the record, but don't really feel like reading a Beefheart book at this point.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 09:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Doc at the Radar Station, definitely. His finest hour.

Le Baaderonixx de Benedict Canyon (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 09:13 (eleven years ago) Permalink

http://www.beefheart.com/datharp/reviews/index.html

reviews archive. lester bangs etc.

AaronHz (AaronHz), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 09:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

'gangly' is the perfect description for this album.

haitch (haitch), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 10:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I don't think I've ever given Trout Mask Replica the CoM treatment - hmmm...

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 11:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A bit immodest to be sure; but I still think that my "Getting Into Trout Mask Replica, E-Z" remarks upthread are fairly useful.

Of course, TMR will sound positively lush and pleasant to anybody whose daily listening includes the Boredoms or Merzbow or whatever other racket is coming out of Japan these days (this being 2006 and all.)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 13:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

On "Hair Pie Bake One," for instance, the whole group gets into a raucous wrangling horn dialog that reveals a strong Albert Ayler influence. The music truly meshes, flows, and excites in a way that almost none of the self-conscious, carefully crafted jazz-rock bullshit of the past year has done.

Ah, the expressive fallacy. This is pretty much why I don't like Lester Bangs, even though I like some of his writing.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 13:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

oh marcello please do!

sean gramophone (Sean M), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 13:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

He just has:

http://cookham.blogspot.com/

The Shyster, Wednesday, 12 April 2006 15:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A brilliant read.

Painless Parker, Friday, 14 April 2006 18:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

It certainly makes me want to investigate Laura Nyro.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Saturday, 15 April 2006 09:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

my interest in "trout mask replica" is mostly in the way it was made.

captain beefheart wrote most of the songs on the piano and gave the recordings to zoot horn rollo. beefheart's songs were mostly singing and banging, and rollo had to flesh them out into band arrangements.

this might have been natural for the band, but in the context of pop music up until that point, it's a pretty mind-blowing thing. messaien had been doing the same thing for the last ten years with birds, now rollo was doing it with beefheart himself.

as far as i know, it's the first "pop" record that rigourously exercised a conceptual performance practise during its recording.

Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Saturday, 15 April 2006 14:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's essentialy correct, although you're either getting Zoot Horn Rollo confused with Drumbo or getting Trout Mask Replica confused with Lick My Decals Off Baby.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Saturday, 15 April 2006 17:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the blog linked above, that's nice. I'd like to think about what Don could've done with Lauro Nyro, you know. but that kind of analysis, it goes on too long for my tastes.

anyway, I have been listening to Trout Mask so long, I don't perceive it as all that difficult, or hard to figure out. I mean it's a skein of drumming and there's some stuff hung on it--when I first listened to this record, it sounded dirty to me, not obscene, but vaguely musty, or like something just recently dead. I'm amazed he made as much of it work as it he did--it all works, for me, except some of the comedy shit which is better than Zappa's comedy music. the best is "Pachuco Cadaver" which kinda sums up what's great about this record, nobody has ever done anything that swings quite like that. as I always say, every time I talk about Beefheart, the essence of it is swinging/not-swinging at the same time, with those locked-in sections of...whatever, they're almost not even "riffs"--being the point, and the moss or whatever Beefheartian nacheral-world signifier you want to use, hanging over it. whether this was all DVV, all John French, both, who knows?

so, a record I don't listen to much any more--I still like to hear "Decals," "Clear Spot" and "Doc at the Radar." doesn't beat Howlin' Wolf but he comes close in his way, and of course beats Wolf and everybody, still to this day (TMR is hardly a buncha tired ol' beatnik/hippie shit, altho that's part of it, since that shit was tired in '69), in sheer egocentric bravado--right up there with James Brown or the Meters in my book-o-rhythm...

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Saturday, 15 April 2006 17:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"whether this was all DVV, all John French, both, who knows?"

As far as I'm aware John French has always been pretty clear that "all" that he contributed to the process was basically to recognise the validity and significance of what Don was trying to achieve and to give himself over pretty much entirely to making it happen in whatever way he could. That's not to say that I believe that it would or could have happened without him - and I'm certain that it wouldn't / couldn't have happened in quite the same way without him.

All the guys involved in making that album went through some pretty severe privations during the 8-or-so months that they were basically locked up in that house in Laurel Canyon on starvation rations rehearsing that album over and over and over again and generally having their heads fucked.

Antennae Jimmy Semens actually tried to escape a couple of times and the rest of the band had to go after him and bring him back!

In his autoboiography, Zoot Horn Rollo otoh does seem to want to claim some credit for his part in the creative process - and whilst I wouldn't want to deny him that, it must be said his 2001 solo album doesn't seem to have much in common with The Magic Band.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Saturday, 15 April 2006 18:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the thing about Don Van Vliet that people never seem to grasp is how fucking stiff a human being he really is, despite his apparent charm and his hipness. it's really fucking stiff and dry music, which is what he intended, I guess. I always figured he was juicing up some stuff he wanted to act like he didn't believe in , just like Zappa.

I really think "TMR" and that music is as much French as anyone--he's what makes it all happen. he saw how stiff Don was, really, and being a good Christian he decided to give him his head...

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Saturday, 15 April 2006 20:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hmmm, Don doesn't sound still to me on the early singles and Safe as Milk.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 15 April 2006 21:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

or "stiff," rather

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 15 April 2006 21:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In fact, I'm not sure when he does sound stiff. Maybe when he was yelling. Then, his body got rigid? Or that staccato singing on "When Big Joan Sets Up" ("Uh turquoise scarf 'n uh sleeve Rolled up over uh Merc Montclair") - that's kind of herky jerky.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 15 April 2006 21:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

There was certainly a sort of rigidity of purpose about the way Don drilled the TMR band, although he never seems to have applied that level of discipline to himself (and it's certainly not evident in his painting!). To me one of the most extraordinary things about the music is the way it still manages to swing despite the extreme precision involved in the structure - and a great deal of the credit for that must go to Drumbo. Compare Drumbo's style with later Magic Band drummer Robert Williams, who's a great drummer but plays like a robot compared with Drumbo.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Sunday, 16 April 2006 08:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eleven years pass...

Meh

Anne Git Yorgun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 10 December 2017 20:29 (five days ago) Permalink

nobody "really wants to like" metal machine music

bob lefse (rushomancy), Monday, 11 December 2017 02:01 (four days ago) Permalink


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