Friday, August 13, 2010

Safe

The fat guy behind the counter of your local record store, you know the guy with the chili dog-stained NRBQ t-shirt stretched over a slave trader's physique, will wax righteously about the shambling genius of Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, flecks of cheeto dust will fly from his foamy maw as he vehemently lauds that particular album as a monument of avant-tard expression, an unparalleled work of unfathomable importance. Well, fuck that guy. Beefheart's real work of genius was actually his first album, Safe As Milk, and all the cowardly authorities on rock, so afraid to diverge from the popular opinion, will fail to recognize this in their vain attempts to seem erudite and possessing sophisticated taste. Safe As Milk, like Trout Mask Replica has Beefheart's distinct guitar skronk, dustbowl vocalizing, and Dadaist non sequitur lyrics but it also has something that Trout Mask Replica lacks: cohesive songs. Safe As Milk contains songs that swing, and breathe, and bounce, and lurch, with a gritty fumble that seems natural, and not as self aware as the Captain's later work. This is precisely why it should be the Beefheart album getting the attention and accolades of know-it-all music jerks the world over. See for yourself, and don't be surprised if this post gets pulled soon by some crack legal team.

41 comments:

sonofthesun said...

completely agree with you about the overrated-ness of Trout Mask Replica. It's good, but not THAT good. How do feel about Mirror Man? I feel like that's an under rated Beefheart album too, no one ever talks about that one, but I think it ranks right up there with "Safe"...

Milla said...

I just LOVE your reviews. They always start one way and then ta-daaaaa you get the twist. Love it!

Dennis Dread said...

This is the one! Ry Cooder on guitar too. ZIG ZAG WANDERER! Perfect for star gazing on the Oregon coast tonight.

Anonymous said...

I agree I do !

However TMR is an album right out on its own. It seems to me, to be a challenge to anyone who isnt on DMT or similar to listen to it from the start to finish in one go and then take a lie detector test about whether thay enjoyed the experience.

What I mean is there are alot of hipsters who say its brilliant and they have never even listened to the whole thing !

Gotta love this tho'

Don Van Vliet: Heh-heh-ha-ha . . . Fast ‘n bulbous.
The Mascara Snake: Fast ‘n bulbous!
Don Van Vliet: That’s . . . heh-heh.
FZ: OK, do it again, then you’ve won.
Don Van Vliet: I love that, I love those words.
The Mascara Snake: Fast ‘n bulbous!
Don Van Vliet: That’s right, The Mascara Snake, fast ‘n bulbous!
The Mascara Snake: Bulbous also tapered.
Don Van Vliet: Yeah, but you’ve gotta wait until I say, “Also, a tin teardrop.”
The Mascara Snake: Oh, Christ.
FZ: Alright, again, beginning.
The Mascara Snake: Fast ‘n bulbous!
Don Van Vliet: That’s right, The Mascara Snake, fast ‘n bulbous! Also, a tin teardrop.
The Mascara Snake: Bulbous also tapered.
Don Van Vliet: That’s right!

Anonymous said...

Wow - that was quick. Tried to dl at 7:30 central and it was already pulled!

john/milwaukee

kevin said...

great post. I agree about Trout Mask Replica (although it does have some great songs on it). Still, my personal favorite would have to be (no pun intended) Strictly Personal. I feel like that album is way more psychadelic, less pop, and has a lot of Beefheart's best tunes.

Shelby Cobras said...

In my late teens, my rural-redneck aunt invited me over to her house during some sort of "spring cleaning" session to see if I wanted any of her old vinyl. Between endless stacks of John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and The Oak Ridge Boys: BAM. Safe As Milk. Nice.

Tyler said...

You just described the aspergian guy who also happened to be an asshole who sold me "Trout Mask Replica" and told me it was his favorite album of all time and could only listen to it once a year because it blew his mind too much, maaaaaaan... to a T.

Downloading now.

erroneous said...

You know what, so far I have never heard anyone say Trout Mask Replica is their favourite. It's always Safe As Milk or Bat Chain Puller or whatever.

knoxvillage said...

yup, yup, yup. this is the beefheart album i listen to most often. electricity, in particular, i will never tire of hearing. the self-conscious wacky zappaisms get pretty tiring on trout mask. probably one of these albums namechecked by critics more often than actually listened to.

Anonymous said...

Excellent!

-benwest

THRIPS said...

Mainly due to a certain roommate, I've heard this album death over the years. That's why i posted Trout mask replica instead not too long ago... as for the cheet-o dust, i think it looks good on all over my shirt.

Aaroneous said...

This one is great, however "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" is one of the greatest weird psych records in existence.

Roger Camden said...

lines drawn in the sand...

TROUT MASK UP
SAFE MILK DOWN
SHINY BEAST INBETWEEN

Will Towles said...

It's fun to play this album and count all the riffs that other bands have jacked over the years. It's been about ten years scene I've heard this one, thanks.

Grk! said...

Why should only one Beefheart album be worshipped anyway? I'm glad there's jukes in Manchester & Salford that let you select "Electricity", & not MP3 jukes either.

Oh, & there's no such thing as overrated. I really do think 'Trout' is amazing. If I see one more rateyourmusic.com review dismiss 'Trout' as sounding like "mental patients", having "no tunes" or accusing everyone who rates it highly of "pretending", I'll throttle something.

And relax.

Jasoni Macaroni said...

Wholeheartedly agree. When i was finding my way about record collecting, and young, dumb and full of excess greenbacks, I bought TMR. Listening to it w/o drugs is complete shit--disjointed rhythms-made-by-untrained-monkeys, babbling vocals and I'm-off-my-lithium-again lyrics. Couple years later on, I'm hanging out at a friends house and this beautiful song with a beautiful zany chorus is just caressing my soul. It was "Abba Zaba". And I was like, "this sounds like Capn Beefheart." And my buddy smiled and said, yes, yes it is. And so we enjoyed the splendid afternoon and I've been enjoying other splendid afternoons ever since.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aesop.
There are so many mixes of this great album floating around that I can always use another one.
I think that what makes this album so different is the guitar work of Ry Cooder.
My favorite is still Lick My Decals Off, Baby- I am very much into the Captain's pretentious stuff as well.

-the anonymous jew

Aesop said...

Link is still good.

nickabe57 said...

holy shit. this is beyond amazing! thank you so much. any other twangy, authentic blues links would be appreciated. as well as the Earth inspired western style.

Elmo said...

I'd actually be with sonofthesun. I really love Mirror Man, but that is mostly because it's the first Beefheart I ever heard, when my father gave it to me.

Orvil Hodgson (trout smack replica) said...

Eye am download right away before mp3 nazis pull it! Tanks alot.

Chad Simmons said...

it's about time someone said it. the only good song on TMR is Dachau Blues. Zig Zag Wander! I stole this tape from Kmart in 1986!

Jabberwockysrage said...

Hey thanks Aesop have this on vinyl but its nice to travel with it. I worked with that guy at a record store for almost ten years and that is what was told to me, " Buy Trout Mask Replica," Well to be honest i think I like this release better but what i truly love are the collection of lower-fi demo releases on?, the label slips my mind. Great stuff though. Thanks again for what it is you do. Rock.

Grk! said...

I've never listened to The Magic Band on drugs. On drink, maybe. "Dachau Blues", one of the least comfortable songs on 'Trout', is the only good one? You're bonkers in the nut.

prunalogsusan said...

heck yeah, classic album.

Anonymous said...

ba diddy womp, their first single, kills it, too.

cosmicwyrm said...

In before the lockdown!
And yes, Trout Mask sucks

katastrophik said...

i could not agree more!!

i have had this argue with pretentious fucknuts (many of whom are close friends) over and over.

hog said...

You made my night with the 1st 2 sentences of this.
Thank You!

deuce loosely said...

probably my favorite HeefBeart album; however, I think his song "Tropical Hot Dog Night" should be used to measure the worth of any other song.... ever.

Anonymous said...

I had a "friend" that ruined my relationship with the Captain and the Zappa's "Bongo Fury" he was a hipster before there was such a term. To think I turned him onto "Voivod's "Nothing Face" , Flots "When the Storm comes Down" and fucking Cynic's "Focus" . damn that fucker. -jabladav

Captain Queefart and the Shrimpcunt Replicators said...

Albums that scare off poseur shitbag cunts that some people call "friends" are great! Darkthrone and Electric Wizard have been two that really turn off walking piles of human excrement. Morbid Angel demos once made some corporate logo whore get up and leave! Bwahaha I love that sort of misanthropy. Every halloween we put big speakers in the window and play Deicide, Celtic Frost, Winter no freeloading grifters even stop.

Anonymous said...

For my money, the Capn's best is Strictly Personal. No one ever lauds this one, and the above mentioned record store dudes shit on it constantly for the psychedelic sound effects added post-session by the producers. But it rocks all the harder for those trippy add-ons... the perfect blend of SAM's fried boogie and TMR's demented outness.

Alvicious said...

thanks i love beefhearts early bluesy stuff and was wondering if this album came before or after trout mask replica. wellnowiknow!

G. said...

Love Beefheart. Excellent post, as always Aesop.

e normous said...

Alright, I'm going on a car trip with some normal people, I'm going to play this then and see what it's like. Hopefully I'll be driving too.

Steve P. said...

ok, ok why has no one mentioned the absolutely destroying "Doc at the Radar Station?" Please find the song "Sheriff of Hong Kong" and listen immediatly...

Grk! said...

Yeah, 'Doc'! One of the first Vliet songs I heard was "Ashtray Heart".

Anonymous said...

Safe As Milk.
Strictly Personal.
Doc At Radar Station.

Those 3 are my favourites. Lick My Decals and Shiny Beast are both incredible too.

Korla said...

You're absolutly right. This is the bands best album. Just powerful.