captain beefheart electricity

cover versions


usa 2003 ceedee NEON MEATE DREAM OF A OCTAFISH a tribute to captain beefheart & his magic band animal world recordings awr 020

captain beefheart discograohy - cover versions - various artists  'neon meate dream of a octafish' album

mike watt DIRTY BLUE GENE 3:44 doc at the radar station 1980
weasel walter FLASH GORDON'S APE 4:13 lick my decals off, baby 1970
a warm palindrome ORANGE CLAW HAMMER 3:27 trout mask replica 1969
racebannon ELECTRICITY 5:31 safe as milk 1967 *
miss murgatroid NEON MEATE DREAM OF A OCTAFISH 1:59 trout mask replica 1969
monotract INK MATHEMATICS 2:30 ice cream for crow 1982
trumans water HAIR PIE: bake 2 2:21 trout mask replica 1969
jad fair & daisy cooper TOO MUCH TIME 3:15 clear spot 1972
nel aspinal SUGAR 'N' SPIKES 2:17 trout mask replica 1969
ortho APES MA 1:05 shiny beast (bat chain puller) 1978
brian mcmahon I GOT LOVE ON MY MIND 4:35 unconditionally guaranteed 1974
bright KORN RING FINGER 5:54 outtake 1967
moy YELLOW BRICK ROAD 2:43 safe as milk 1967
azalia snail ABBA ZABA 2:37 safe as milk 1967
25 suaves DACHAU BLUES 1:28 trout mask replica 1969
old time relijun WILD LIFE 2:35 trout mask replica 1969
dapper BEATLE BONES 'N' SMOKIN' STONES 8:10 strictly personal 1968
plus some curiosa:
song don fleming THREE MONTHS IN THE MIRROR 4:26 originally a poem book skeleton breath scorpion blush 1987
song vig esp WILLIE THE PIMP (frank zappa) 3:34 guest appearance 1969
instrumental dacaer pinga & black alaska BAD RONALD BAKED A WOODEN HAIRPIE, AND NO ONE WOULD EAT IT, NOT EVEN OLD WHALE WAIST SEYMOUR 3:49 tribute
total 71:13 minutes

* mind that * = previously released
* this collection of covers and additional stuff, brought out by animal world recordings (for 10 usd ppd if usa, and about 3 usd more if not), was compiled by carlos giffoni, daniel gill and reda rountree (whoever they are). the liner notes sometimes provide the line-up of a group but no further information on their origins and musical backgrounds / intentions. all the tunes date from summer 2002 or earlier, because the ceedee originally should have been released september last year.
* introductory notes by one of the participants, brian mcmahon - from 'the electric eels' as he adds:
for me, the captain was a barometer.
like the bottle of gin pulled from your coat at an acid party
or a passing reefer you bogarted as though it were just another gauloise,
any beefheart album slipped into turntable rotation
quickly took a reading of the room that was unmistakable;
it either said you'd be staying..., or told you with whom you'd be leaving.
* many thanks to eric leclair for his help with composing this information.

by eric alan leclair 210703

Opening with Mike Watt's version of Dirty Blue Gene this new tribute cd paying homage to the music of Don Van Vliet gets off to a great start. Watt's track and the next track, Weasel Walter's rendition of Flash Gordon's Ape, represent the cd's best assimilation of the captain himself. The rest of the cd, while very good, is more about the spirit of Don's music as opposed to making an exact 'replica' of the perspective tracks. The track following is what sounds like a home recording of a fan covering Orange Claw Hammer. It has an endearing homespun effect.

Next up is Racebannon with Electricity which is, dare I say, more affecting than the original. This is by far the most passionate performance on the disc. Aggressive wild abandon slowly dissolving into all out noise rock. Track five is a refreshing take on the title track Neon Meate Dream Of A Octafish. Here performed by the exotic sounding Miss Murgatroid using only accordion and voice. This is one of the best tracks on the cd.

The next track is sort of a letdown: Ink Mathematics by Monotract. It's bogged down by an inferior sonic quality, while the approach works for A Warm Palindrome on track three, here it just zaps the energy out of the song. The seventh track is a competent take of Hair Pie: Bake 2 by Trumans Water. Track eight is Dacaer Pinga and Black Alaska's sound collage of various Beefheartian moments. This sounds like it would be more at home on a Frank Zappa tribute album. It's somewhat interesting but only held my attention the first couple listens.

After that we are greeted warmly by Jad Fair's velvety voice. He and the band Daisy Cooper collaborate on Too Much Time. One of Van Vliet's more commercial offerings and they keep it right where it's supposed to be. When Jad sings on this, as with almost all of his own compositions, you really believe he believes the words he's singing. This is what they call authentic people. Nel Aspinal is up next with Sugar 'N' Spikes. The catch here is Mr. Aspinal turns this composition essentially into an instrumental with a short harmony vocal section, well done.

Ortho's take on Apes Ma is perfect. The only real difference being the addition of sound effects, to great affect. Brian McMahon mellows things out on track twelve with a breezy I Got Love On My Mind. Not much to say there. The buzzing radio static that ushers in the next track does not let up throughout the entire duration of the composition performed by Bright. It's the backing for what is basically a spoken word version of Korn Ring Finger. Not the best, not the worst.

Moy gets the same effect as Monotract with a reading of Yellow Brick Road. These songs would be much more palatable if they were recorded better. Azalia Snail offers us a Peter, Paul and Mary-ish Abba Zaba. It's very good. Then, it's Don Fleming with the droning Three Months in the Mirror. Like the previous mentioned sound collage this gets to be boring, in my humble opinion.

25 Suaves sound an awful lot like an early version of Jad Fair’s legendary band Half Japanese on their version of Dachau Blues, not bad. Vig Esp does basically what Bright did on their track, but the intensity here makes his take on Willie The Pimp a standout (though it actually is a one-off joint venture of two bands - t.t.). Old Time Relijun follows in A Warm Palindrome's footsteps, but with a hilarious angle, on Wild Life. Dapper closes the show with an avant garde take on Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones. Byron Coley's silly vocals and Thurston Moore's marimba make the track not a bad closer.

Overall, I'd say this compilation is worth whatever you might pay for it.


by teejo

different tastes mean different opinions, so i'd like to say that i don't fully agree with eric. basically, if you want to cover a (not necessarily beefheart) song, you have two options: try to play it again, or make an own version. in this latter case, i prefer originality and weirdness to electronic effects and musical dullness.

i agree with eric that all the 'play it again' versions pass the audition. however there are only five of those 'traditional approaches', the bulk of the covers are 'own views', and that's where the trouble starts. because i could only discover óne which is successful (the band sound added to 'orange claw hammer') and an other which gets halfway ('abba zaba'). the rest of the ceedee - also, the bigger part - scored negligible few points in my list, mainly because of vocals without the right feeling. it even was a luck for a lot of the musicians that negative scores couldn't be obtained. so, i would say of this tribute: for one third good, the rest is uninteresting or bullshit.

* it's quite a surprise to find out that racebannon's 'electricity' is one of the better songs, while on their album it's the weakest track!
* the core of mike watt's band appears to be two-third of the black gang project which once released an other beefheart cover version.



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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo