Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Clear Spot - Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band

This is the album seven by Beefheart. This is the follow up from The Spotlight Kid released earlier in 1972. This was released in October and recorded in Autumn of that year. This is a part of his unloved period and I decided why not take a crack at it. I know that TSK wasn't all that bad, so why not do the album that it has since been paired up with on CD reissues of the album. And after this will probably be.... well a surprise. The album was, for commercial reasons, co-produced by Don Van Vliet and Ted Templeman. It was also released in October 1972 on Reprise Records.
  1. Low Yo Yo Stuff: This song is kind of cool. It's kind of slick. I think it has a groove to it. It's a good way to start out the album. It has a drive along the lines of Bat Chain Puller. 
  2. Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man: The drum beat in the beginning of this thing reminded me of Ballroom Blitz by Sweet. Then comes in that harmonica. This song isn't anything special that isn't kind of redundant after hearing The Spotlight Kid. The solos kinda cool in this song. 
  3. Too Much Time: This sounds like it could be Beefheart backed by Chicago. Then the female vocals in the background damn, I see how he "denounced" these albums. This is very radio friendly and I could see angering the Trout fans. This is a decent song though that I could play for my mom with few complaints though. 
  4. Circumstances: This guitar reminds me of that one commercial in the beginning. Then the harmonica takes over. Then during the normal verses I can honesty say it feels like it never quite lined up, but that drum roll. I think that's kinda cool they did that, and love the guitar distortion. The harmonica reminds me a little of Bat Chain Puller. I really like the drum roll part. 
  5. My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains: The best part of this song is definitely the vibes. Other than that little thing that reminds me of Ruth than there isn't really much positive I can say. In all 100% honesty based off this album, and this song, this is the type of artist I'd only listen to the album once and probably never regret never hearing it more than once. Forgot to mention that The Tubes covered this in 1977 on their album Now, which Don also plays on the track Cathy's Clone.
  6. Sun Zoom Spark: This is a little more colorful with the vocals, bass, and cowbell thing. The cowbells keeping the rhythm of the song, and this song is more in the vein of Circumstances. It's interesting, but probably because its on this album were there isn't much to keep one's interest. 
  7. Clear Spot: The title track, and well I  don't know what to say. After 7 tracks deep I can't say much good about this LP. The chorus is kind of cool when it sounds "bad" and out of sync. I like that, and that beeping in the background. I also like the guitar and bass. I like it, not love. 
  8. Crazy Little Thing: This song could be a cover of Funk #49, but with female backing vocals in the track. I'm literally not kidding on the sound, the solo is neat up against the James Gang idea, but yeah, it's charm might only last so long. To be honest, this is the only track I'm keeping thus far. 
  9. Long Neck Bottles: This song is pretty epic power chords in it that remind me of 21st Century Schizoid Man or some other where it has a powerful strum. Won't Get Fooled Again is another example, though I can't quite pick what song it reminds me of exactly. This album is starting to pick up its slack. 
  10. Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles: This is kind of pretty, it's got a neat acoustic arpeggios that kind of remind me of Spanish flamenco music. This is a decent track, definitely one of the best here. Part of it reminds me of Dear Prudence
  11. Big Eyed Beans from Venus: The guitar is pretty current sounding. The mix I'm listening to sounds like what a blues guitar sounds like today. I do think its neat this is kind of heavy, like conventionally heavy. This gives me hope for his other hated albums, there are hidden gems in the rough. I can tell I'll love this [track] with a few more listens. 
  12. Golden Birdies: This seems like an outtake from a more ambitious Captain. The guitar and marimba harmony is just great. It is also in that Zappa vein. Possibly he best song here on The Clear Spot.
Overall I have to give this a 6/10. Damn Capt why did you do this to me. There isn't much for me to say about this thing. I know it was headed in a more commercial direction, but you kind of have up your personality in the process. Don't worry, I actually am a fan, just not huge on these ones. Though it starts to pick up towards the end. PS figured get the bad ones off my iPod first. Oh yeah, it's only this high because of the second half. Oh yeah, Roy Estrada and Art Tripp from The Mothers played on this album.

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