My love for obscure music has to include Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart. He was friends with songwriter, recording engineer and record producer Frank Zappa, sharing his love for Chicago Blues and R&B. Don Van Vliet always claimed the name Beefheart came from him having a beef in his heart towards the human race. Not the easiest guy to know, but give him chance, and his music grows on you. He had a rotating ensemble of musicians known as the Magic Band. He himself played the sax, harmonica and other wind instruments, playing rock, blues and psychedelia. Some claim Trout Mask Replica is his best release, with Beefheart being at his weirdest. I’d beg to differ though.
TMR doesn’t feature any of Beefhearts best music or lyrics but it is pretty memorable for the marimba playing of Art Tripp. Speaking of lyrics; Beefhearts lyrics don’t mean much and are most times witty and hilarious. A promotional music video was made of its title song, as well as a bizarre television commercial being filmed with silent footage of masked Magic Band members using kitchen utensils as musical instruments.
If you’re not an exclusive-in-taste dude and you’re looking for some weird, freaky music, go with Shiny Beast rather, a more balanced album than TMR. Lick My Decals Off, Baby by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band is the follow-up to TMR and is Van Vliet’s favourite.