Sunday, 19 December 2010

Captain Beefheart is no more

Captain Beeheart, also known as Don van Vliet (neither are his real name), has left us.
I first discovered his music in the late sixties when I realised that this was something out of the ordinary.
Beefheart was a talented painter that turned his mind to music. The genre may have been pop or rock, but Beefheart's musical efforts could have fallen within the avant garde of serious music or jazz just as easily.
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were frequently acclaimed by the critics, the intelligentsia and by other musicians. Critics from the more intellectual side of the river wrote lyrical streams about the way his music was constructed and the way they played together.
I only got to see Captain Beefheart once - at the 1972 Bickershaw festival.
Beefheart's most highly acclaimed album was Trout Mask Replica. This is the yardstick by which all subsequent avant garde music is measured. But Beefheart's debut album - Safe as Milk - contains some very special magic for me.
Beefheart left the music industry in 1982 to concentrate on his work as a visual artist. Commercial success in the music business proved to be elusive. Although many musicians claim to be influenced, the record buying public never really cottoned on. Most are really after something simpler and more accessible. Safe As Milk
I still listen to bits and pieces of my Beefheart collection almost every day. The music hasn't gone stale and still sounds light years ahead of most of what hits the sound waves of the world.

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