ARTISTS * WHERE WE LIVE stand for what you stand on
a benefit cd for earthjustice - a campaign for the universal right to clean air & clean water
of course we all know that don van vliet always has been a fan of nature and he hated pollution, despite the fact he is a passionate smoker. there is practically no interview with him in which he doesn't complain about the killing of endangered species, the addition of strange chemicals to our environment or any other sort of human misbehaviour, including war.
he often even sang about it, like 'man has lived a million years / and still he kills' and 'clean up the air / and treat the animals fair'. in 1978 he even dedicated his 'shiny beast' album to 'all conservation and wildlife preservation organizations everywhere'. that does say enough, doesn't it?
thus there was no need to express his sympathy again, so he really sur-pri-sed us with the sung statement he suddenly came up with - especially as it is his first in twenty years! now, this exclamation mark i've put in is a bit overdone, actually. because captain's beefheart contribution to a benefit ceedee for 'earthjustice' is such a very short song....
it may only be thirty-five seconds long, but 'happy earthday' represents a major coup since it is the first new music recorded by captain beefheart (aka don van vliet) since 1982. he sung it over the phone to the album's compiler mike kappus, whose laugh (along with beefheart's) can be heard at the end. before van vliet retired from music two decades ago, mike had been his agent. 'i still talk to him very regularly and a couple of years ago he sang 'happy birthday' to me on the phone. then i had the idea of asking him to change the lyrics a bit and sing 'happy earthday' to mother earth.'
HAPPY EARTHDAY 0:35
from the ceedee information:
of course it's a bloody shame civilization needs laws to protect mankind against ruining its own environment. and a similar disgrace to god's golfball (beefheart's description of the planet earth) that the united states of america - which think of themselves as the leading nation of the world! - don't want to sign the international convention on reducing air pollution. so, the inevitable fact that there exist organizations fighting the bargaining of our necessities of life is rather depressing...
while the human habit of devaluating our living space urgently should change, you would expect this benefit ceedee to be a collection of flaming protest songs. unfortunately, you're very wrong. rather than to 'stand úp for what we stand on' the musicians stay seated in easy chairs. no thundering texts which wake you up, nor adventurous music: these tunes just pass by like a series of lullabies - yes, this compilation is perfect entertainment before you go to sleep!
our beloved don van vliet is affected by the general stuffiness, too. in stead of letting him contribute something old but still refreshing (suggestion: 'space-age couple'), he was lured into a quite childish play on words. maybe it was the only solution, for hearing the former captain sing 'happy earthday to you, mother earth' makes clear that because of the condition of his voice he can hardly say five words in a row....
but given his suffering from multiple sclerosis that's no surprise. ten years ago he already had trouble speaking (the poetry reading to the 'stand up to be discontinued' book), but this last proof of his illness will even shock the fans who could withstand his efforts from that time. actually, i think it would have been best to leave this short 'joke' out - just to protect don, in the first place.
CONCLUSION will destroy your image of captain beefheart
see full discography
the other acts:
norah jones - pops staples & ry cooder - los lobos - bob dylan - maria muldaur - rubén blades - dan zanes & lou reed - michael franti & spearhead - willie nelson - the neville bros - sweet honey in the rock - karen savca - mose allison - tina turner & robert cray - john hammond & tom waits
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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo