captain beefheart electricity


fri 13 october 1972 usa CHICAGO il ARAGON BALLROOM

support act: sailcat / trapeze


aragon ballroom, chicago, illinois
hot scott fisher - usa 1 april 1973 PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE vol. 3 #9

friday the thirteenth, indeed it was. it was clearly a beefheartian crowd but for a few 'trapeze' fans. [follow reviews on the support acts 'sailcat' and 'trapeze'.]

as we all know, chicago is renowned for having its roots firmly planted in the blues. that, of course, makes it fertile territory for captain beefheart who unmistakingly got his start with the idiom (listen to his buddah elpee 'safe as milk' or an obscure a&m single from the mid-sixties 'frying pan' [b-side of 'moonchild' - t.t.]). no matter how far from its standards he journeyed in his avant garde jazz / verbal imagery period well expressed on 'trout mask replica' and 'lick my decals off, baby' he never really lost touch with it, he just used it as a launching pad for widely unexplored musical regions.

now, he's returned to his original foundation, albeit more freely and loosely structured than the norm, thanks to the wildly imaginative rhythms concocted by drumbo (john french. however, the writer seems to have mistaken art tripp for him - teejo). drumbo's incredible technique shatters the boundaries of predictability abetted by the highly individualistic polyrhythmic bass and steel appendage guitar, put together as one instrument, played by the invincible rockette morton (mark boston). the unique sounds that emanate from the glass finger slide guitar of virtuoso zoot horn rollo (bill harkleroad) along with the marvelous bass runs of newcomer ex-mother roy estrada (aka oréjon aka audi hon) rounded out the current roster of the always brilliant magic band.

the captain no longer blows a frenzied sax or clarinet, concentrating instead on harmonica and his grandmamyish singing voice. he and the magic men performed the title track from 'clear spot', as well as what's sure to become a new dance craze, 'low yo yo stuff'. also the surreal 'big eyed beans from venus' and several other new things never done before. unaccompanied save by harp, he impressed with john lee hooker's 'black snake blues'.

zoot was allowed to exhibit his melodic charm on the only cut still done live from 'lick my decals off, baby', the exquisite 'one red rose that i mean'. the band minus the captain demonstrated their commensurate ability on 'alice in blunderland'. unfortunately, the rare appearance of probably the most underrated band in the states was cut short by zoot seriously cutting his slide propelling finger. but don van vliet promised they would be back, so until next time there'll be plenty to remember.

facts provided by theo tieman ©1995-2006

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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo