captain beefheart electricity

discography - official releases


use the overview to find the other ones !


the curious universe of outsider music

ceedee usa 2000 which? records whi 2367 counterpart to:
book usa 2000 IRWIN CHUSID * SONGS IN THE KEY OF Z a capella isbn 1 55652 372 6

vampire suite from grow fins


a press announcement said:

Jan 5, 2000, 10:35 am Pacific Time
Captain Beefheart, Syd Barrett Included On 'Outsider Music' CD

New York indie label Which? Records will release a compilation to coincide with an upcoming book on obscure artists known as "outsider musicians", Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music (A Capella Books / Chicago Review Press), in May. Artists lined up for the album include Captain Beefheart, the Shaggs, Tiny Tim, Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Arcesia, Joe Meek, and Daniel Johnston, among others. All artists featured on the CD will be profiled in the book, written by music historian and WFMU radio personality Irwin Chusid. The album is also being executive produced by him.

comment by bob jennings who forwarded the message to a broader audience:

Isn't this exactly what Captain Beefheart would hate, being on a disc / book with "weirdos"? I'm thinking of his objection to being on the Bizarre label with Wild Man Fisher and the GTOs. But if it puts a dollar in Beefheart's pocket, I'm all for it.


hey man, that's nice: a special internet site for this book! it's called songs in the key of z and contains all sorts of necessary and promotional information about the book and the ceedee - so i won't repeat that the article on don van vliet is titled INSCRUTABLE DREAMER and the ceedee track by captain beefheart and the magic band is the VAMPIRE SUITE which first appeared on last years' 'grow fins' ceedee #5.

captain beefheart - discography - various artists compilation - songs in the key of z (the curious universe of outsider music) - book by irwin chusid
the book

however, a small problem for people who want to buy these items is that they're hardly sold together (!). the site fails to have an all-in-one ordering possibility, and somewhere else on the web the company which released the ceedee part, which? records * p.o. box 659 * village station * new york ny 10014 * e-mail, has provided an order form which must be e-mailed then, and wants the money to be send by snail mail (very impractical for foreigners). nevertheless, it's worth doing so because the price of ten usa dollars [including shipping for buyers in the usa!] is much lower than that - for instance - at the only internet shop so far that offers both items: at 'amazon' it costs 16!

so best get the record at the address above, and eventually order the book - which has an official selling price of nearly seventeen usa dollars - at the cheapest address you can find, including 'before-cyber' book shops. for don't forget, as it has an isbn number you can even order it in tzummarum!


by teejo

in the long introduction to defend his hobby project irwin admits that: 'when i began the captain beefheart chapter, i was not a fan but decided that he fit the rough subject profile and had great marquee value. while researching this notorious blues alchemist, i immersed myself in his elpees and ceedees, got deep in Beef [original capital preserved - teejo], and became enamored of the captain's topsy-turvy take on fragmented pop'.

well, i wish he never had done that! or, better, not wrítten about it so soon. for the twelve pages of incoherent description of what was / is beefheart music show that for unclear reasons (maybe commercial ones? the book doesn't have thát many teasers) he quickly threw some water at his face in stead of his alleged 'deep immersing'. as his sources acknowledgement reveals, the new convert simply limited himself to reading bill harkleroad's 'lunar notes' and some books on zappa, a few interviews, taking some glances at don's art books, and a short sight-seeing visit to the web.

no real background research - just shallow, generally known information (that is, at the spots where it's not totally wrong!); no hint to beefheart's vision on music as fine art - but the creamy portrait of an 'impossible' bandleader who makes a nice addition to the freak show the book wants to present us with [indeed, bob!]. yes, for most of the outsiders parading in this book are wéird rather than óriginal musicians. strange habits seem to outscore musically-renewing qualities, and 'ethnic recordings' are the most favourite items, just like songs that literally are out of tune. while don van vliet was doing something serious: introducing a new phenomenon to pop music - the expressionism!

captain beefheart - discography - various artists compilation - songs in the key of z (the curious universe of outsider music) - counterpart to book by irwin chusid - front ceedee
the ceedee

but to his luck he's not alone: the outsiders also include such people as harry partch and the amazing 'blues madam' malinda jackson parker (to mention two extremes) - who aren't musically abominable or mentally unstable at all. to deal with them in a context that also houses larry 'wild man' fischer - according to don the perfect freak he didn't want to be connected with - syd barrett and a funny swedish elvis presley impersonator (to give some other extremes), smells like a merely personal collection of 'far out' artists and recordings.

although, it's quite overthrowing to finally find out all about that musical monstrosity 'the shaggs' (their track on the ceedee is worth the whole buy!) - and to meet folks even stranger than beefheart, like jandek. it must be said that the other information in the book looks better documented but unfortunately (also) mainly is focusing on sensational stories and tearjerking happenings....

the accompanying ceedee illustrates the random choice of the artists, who mostly seem to be chosen for their tics. usually they just produce (their) 'natural sounds' or quite normal or even bad music - some tracks are great póp songs, others even terribly bombastic. it's a pity the poor captain has ended up between these miserables - couldn't the writer have paid attention to another real out-of-tuner or deranged savage? significantly, the twenty main chapters are followed by a list of a detailed 51 runners-up and names of about 130 obscure persons who are 'candidates for immortality' too...

now, captain beefheart didn't play ethnic, out of tune or bombastic. so, the appearance of captain beefheart in this 'curious universe' is kind of a mistake. i think that if you are interested in 'outsider music' (whatever that is, i still don't know) you - like any beefheart virgin - are not helped with this swollen article.... and as the track on the ceedee is a repeat of a known recording, there is no need to get these items for reasons of a superb beefheart content...

my CONCLUSION: captain beefheart doesn't deserve this
my ADVICE: no, thanks...

the other acts:
the shaggs - daniel johnston - lucia pamela - peter grudzien - jack mudurian - shooby taylor - b.j. snowden - eilert pilarm - [a song-poem] - wesley willis - joe meek - sri darwin gross - malinda jackson parker - luie luie - the legendary stardust cowboy - arcesia - jandek - 'dusty roads' rowe - tiny tim & miss sue


© theo tieman [010600]

the curious universe of outsider music

ceedee usa 2002 gammon records gr 2102

captain beefheart - discography - various artists compilation - songs in the key of z (the curious universe of outsider music) vol. 1 - detail front re-issue ceedee
the change to the front...

not so many years after the publication of the original book, the accompanying ceedee got re-issued in a two volume series. the only changes are a vol. 1 addition to the front and a different print on the plate. the liner notes are still the same, which means that erwin chusid says:

captain beefheart (don van vliet), a california desert-baked trailer galoot renowned for his martian post-blues alchemy, stunned critics and fans with 1968's (or '69's? - teejo) frank zappa produced 'trout mask replica' double lp. beefheart's grating vocals, jerky pulses, and surreal lyrics deconstructed rock, blues and jazz into dali-esque subterfuge. the captain deeply influenced subsequent generations of dadaist art-rockers and musical freethinkers. lacking formal musical training, he taught parts to his sidemen by whistling, sketching diagrams, and spewing raw ideas onto cassette. VAMPIRE SUITE begins with a work tape of the captain whistling a melody, which john frenh (drumbo) adapts for guitar. the magic band then churns the riff into making love to a vampire with a monkey on my knee.

the other acts:
the same as before

[updated 040509]

the curious universe of outsider music

ceedee england 2003 cherry red records cdmred 175 'dazed listener' front counterpart to:
book england 2003 IRWIN CHUSID * SONGS IN THE KEY OF Z cherry red records isbn 1 90144 711 1

later, the book also was published in england - in stead of being imported - by a record company, cherry red. the reprint was accompanied by the musical counterpart too. that is: the original single ceedee - for some month later the company tried to totally confuse us by releasing:
SONGS IN THE KEY OF Z vols. 1 & 2
the curious universe of outsider music

2ceedee england 2004 cherry red records cdmred 261 'walking cat' front (second) counterpart to:
book england 2003 IRWIN CHUSID * SONGS IN THE KEY OF Z cherry red records isbn 1 90144 711 1

captain beefheart - discography - various artists compilation - songs in the key of z (the curious universe of outsider music) vols. 1 and 2 - front 2cd england 2004

the first disc paired with the later released vol. 2, using an adapted version of the second volume as the front of the set.

the other acts:
the same as before
shooby taylor [again] - bingo gazingo and my robot friend - b.j. snowden [again] - alvin dahn - malinda jackson parker [again] - the space lady - luie luie - unknown artist - eddie murray - dick kent - gary mullis - wayne - bob vido - thoth - tangela tricoli - buddy max - mark kenneth

[updated 091011]


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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo