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Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band "Merseytrout - Live in Liverpool 1980" 18/7/01

From: Justin Crozier
Category: Other stuff
Date: 19 July 2001


Punk was all very well as a concept. But while the Clash and their ilk could hammer out plenty of spiky guitar bits, they couldn’t do much more than whine when it came to the vocals. Here, the absentee father of punk shows his bastards how to make a really angry noise.

The Captain described listening to Punk as examining his own vomit. On this 1980 live set, he spews out his distinctive roars, howls and whoops with relish, while the Magic Band jab angular guitar lines in every direction. The power of the music is unimpaired by its intricacy, and the Skipper’s rumblings keep things suitably primal.

Perhaps in acknowledgement of the be-safety-pinned audience, the warped blues of Beefheart’s late-sixties incarnation are kept in check although stabs of Delta harp turn up in unexpected places. Instead, the set showcases the more abstract clankings of Trout Mask Replica, Lick My Decals off, Baby and Doc at the Radar Station. But early weirdness is present too, in the demented incantation of Abba Zabba and Safe as Milk’s bearded-cheese psychedelia.

And there’s a lashing of salty humour, too. “We’d like to do one from Trout Mask Replica”, lies the Captain, before launching into Doc’s “Dirty Blue Gene”; “If you got ears, you gotta listen – old women sweat, young girls glisten!” Get this and lose your neighbours.

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