Sunday, May 19, 2013

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Safe as Milk

After submerging myself in The Mirror Man Recordings last night, I realized that this CD's bonus tracks were cuts from those sessions that would not fit on the single CD. I did a short review of this record a while back, but wanted to take another listen to these extra tunes since I enjoyed Mirror Man so much.

This debut album had almost as much anarchy as the MM sessions, but remains somewhat more commercial (as much as Beefheart's music ever is). Some of the songs have heavy blues roots, some are just great r'n'r (again, I have to highlight "Zig Zag Wanderer" and think I have to find a band to cover this) and there are plenty of hints of weirdness yet to come. Despite the unpleasantness that was involved leading up to the album (again, you can read all about it in the copious liner notes), this is a superb record and a good introduction to the Captain.

The bonus tracks are mostly instrumental, leading most people to think that they are unfinished, but there are so many changes and so much instrumental interplay that you almost forget that there are no vocals (the exceptions are "Trust Us (take 9)" and "Korn Ring Finger"). These are as powerful and interesting as the rest of Mirror Man and show just how much the Magic Band had evolved since the first record.

You can understand where Vliet was getting many of his ideas, but the way this is put together is so original and just damn groovy that you just feel like you are being immersed in his wonderful madness.