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Safe As Milk

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

1967

Safe As Milk

Album Summary

Safe as Milk is the debut studio album by American music group Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, released in June 1967 by Buddah Records. A heavily blues-influenced work, the album features a 20-year-old Ry Cooder, who played guitar and wrote some of the arrangements. Before recording Safe as Milk, the band had released a couple of singles through A&M Records, and it was to this company that the group first proposed their début album in 1966. They presented the label with a set of R&B-influenced demos, which the label felt were too unconventional and decided to drop the band. Beefheart later said the label dropped them after hearing the song "Electricity" and declaring it "too negative". A&M's Jerry Moss thought the content too risqué for his daughter's ears. This, plus Leonard Grant's severance as manager, added to the discontent. The band instead turned to Bob Krasnow, who was then working for Kama Sutra Records; he recruited them to record for the company's new subsidiary label, Buddah. Meanwhile, Beefheart had been secretly planning changes to the Magic Band's line-up—a practice common throughout the group's existence. The group that recorded the two A&M singles had consisted of Doug Moon and Richard Hepner on guitars, Jerry Handley on bass, and Alex St. Clair on drums. Hepner had already left, and Beefheart was keen to replace Moon with Ry Cooder, who was then playing with Gary Marker and Taj Mahal in the Rising Sons. These and other changes resulted in a Magic Band with Handley on bass, St. Clair on guitar, and John French on drums, with Cooder providing additional guitar parts. Cooder's arrival had been swayed by Marker, who had spent time with Beefheart and had been given to believe he would produce the album; in fact, Marker was only engaged in demo recording. Don Van Vliet has said that the title "Safe as Milk" is a sarcastic reference either to the contamination in women's breast milk, either with the pesticide DDT or radioactive strontium-90 in different published interviews.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.02

Votes

4454

Genres

  • Rock
  • Blues
Reviews
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View Author
Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Ok, this is pretty damn brilliant and wild fun. Absurd, but rooted in the familiarity of blues and r&b, so much of the sound is a real romp. I’ll need to give it another listen or two in order to process more of the lyrics. After a second listen, I’m really blown away. Favorite tracks are Sure ‘Nuff Yes I Do, Electricity, Yellow Brick Road, Abba Zaba, and Plastic Factory. Beefheart has an intense, rumbling voice with great charisma. The music is played brilliantly, whether it is a rootsy blues, or a lurching and leaping number with changes in time, tempo, and attitude. Gonna need to spend more time with this band.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
4

Delightfully weird.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
4

The only Beefheart album I knew before this was Trout Mask Replica, so I wasn't expecting something so... accessible? But still, some pretty experimentally fun stuff here!

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Tue Aug 23 2022
3

good album, I can understand its importance

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Mon Jan 16 2023
1

I hate Captain Beefheart.

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Tue Sep 27 2022
5

excellent!

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

Didn’t know what to expect, loved this.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

First album of Captain Beefheart might be his best. Combination of blues and psychedelic rock: very accessible but still far from being straightforward. Favourite track: Electricity.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

So eclectic, at some points made me feel like I was in one of those dreams where you can't tell if it's a nightmare or not. Like any minute something will go wrong but it never quite does.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

Absolutely fantastic album. Five stars. Gets a pretty regular rotation from me.

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

Oh Captain my Captain! The thing that really annoys me about Trout Mask is that is completely overshadows the rest of his his exceptional output. Lennon loved this record and for two good reasons: great song writing and a great performance by the band. He sets the template for so much pop music to come, he's got a fine ear for melody does Don, but he also know how to create the right feel through the performance. We often think about the context in which these 60's records appear, and this must have sounded amazing to 1967 ears. So much of what he's doing with each and every genre on this record has now become part of the modern soundscape, but back then, oy vey! Ry Cooder is Al Kooper's music doppelganger, whenever he pops up, he does to great effect. I don't think he's ever been on a bad record, what a player. And who has been listening to this record in their sheds eh? I'd count young Tommy Waits and those two kids from Akron Ohio known as the Black Keys as dedicated fans of this album amongst many others. And I wonder if Georgie Harrison started thinking about doing his thing on the slide after listening to this (might be why he asked Delaney to show him how to do it). Each song is splendid, a truly great record.

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Thu Jan 19 2023
5

About as good as it gets. First track 'Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do' has one of the greatest opening lines in rock music. The run of 'Electricity', 'Yellow Brick Road', Abba Zabba' and 'Plastic Factory' is remarkable, packing in more than many bands do in their careers. 'Abba Zabba' is one of my favourite songs of all time - there's one point where Ry Cooder's guitar simply glides. Beefheart sounds utterly demented, utterly in control. There was no need for any blues rock after 'Plastic Factory', it's all there, right there.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

A "comfortable listening" example of it's genre

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Good album, good tracks that keep the interest. I feel is loses it's way a little near the end but the first half is solid R&B

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Mon Sep 05 2022
4

I think that this is the truest acid music. The fact that he and Zappa would compete shows through already in this album. Good stuff, maybe a hair too disjointed for a 5.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

Good album - mix of traditional and innovative.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
4

A perfectly okay blues rock album. Not particularly crazy. "Electricity" stood out for whatever reason. Riding very close to the line between 3 and 4

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

This was nothing like their other album on this list, and that's a great thing. Best track: Safe As Milk - Take 5

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

If John Lennon thinks your milk is safe enough to be placed on his fridge doors, then it's good enough for the rest of us. Safe as Milk provides a plentiful introduction into the madness that occupied the brain of one Don Van Vliet; a madness that would coagulate into creating one of the most infamous albums ever recorded. But that had yet to be seen as this album fits into neat pockets of R&B musings and fledgling psychedelic rock, showcasing that the Magic Band can remain in the game while being simultaneously out of it. This milk is safe enough for me. Favorites: Sure 'Nuff 'n' Yes, I Do, Zig Zag Wanderer, Call on Me, I'm Glad, Abba Zaba, Where There's Woman, Grown So Ugly, Autumn Child, Safe as Milk - Take 5, On Tomorrow, Trust Us - Take 9.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

4.25

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

I realize it’s not ground breaking now. But imagine being on a ton of acid at some club and this band comes on and just blows your top off. That’s be fun…..

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

This was dope! Solid bluesy classic rock with some wacky elements and a wicked howl on vox. Other beefheart stuff is a lil too chaotic jazz rock for me to have enjoyed it. Side bar, there was a bit on the Mark Maron show (I think that was a thing?) where he was like I needed a project so thought I'd try to get into Captain Beefheart, but I was so nervous buying it at the record store cuz I'm not cool enough and everyones laughing at me. But he buys this album (I'd guess it was this one, don't remember) and then hes at a taqueria afterwards and the cashier is like "Oh I love Captain Beefheart, Safe As Milk is a great starter album". Haha kind of how I feel.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

4.5/5. I love this album. It comes from my favorite era of music, and is in my favorite style. While it is kind of out there, I still find it great.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Some very cool stuff in here. Not something I would listen to regularly, but some very important ideas.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

A lot less weird than Trout Mask Replica which I still kind of struggle with, but still an absolute freakshow of a record. Delightful stuff

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

Great album. Not one I play often, but always enjoy it when I do.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

i liked this a lot! have been recced beefheart before, i’m gonna listen to more now

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

Really solid album. Not the kind of album I seek out for a relisten but glad I heard it. A fun blend of blues jazz and that 60s instrumental avant garde

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

I like the rhythm tracks to every song, especially the bluesy guitar - I thought maybe I would have enjoyed it more if the Captain's vocal delivery was dialed back a bit, but without that weirdness it would have been just another 60s psychedelic blues album. As it is, It's a brave and eclectic for 1967.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
4

nooniin vihdoinkin 60 luvun albumia joka nappaa... vähän originaalimpaa soittamista kun viimeset viisi vittu 60 luvun amerikka liibalaaba max 2min biisit hey everybody beatles kopio paskaa. vaihtelee laatu kyllä tässäkin aika paljon albumin pyöriessä konsanaan mutta paskimmatkin on parempia kun nEV ITU alkaa vituttaa.... maito se turvaa on on on.. juokaa että luut kasvaa hoh hoh hoh.... parap biisi autumn's child

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

"This is the first album of Captain Beefheart, one he did before getting signed on Bizzare records of Zappa and being given complete creative control." Mislim da je sve rečeno s tim. Ovaj bend da ne pišem cijeli naziv je jako poznat po "Trout Mask Replica", pogotovo u glazbenoj grupi u kojoj sam, već sigurno 5-6 godina se zna spominjati taj album, ma i više, u posljednje vrijeme ne, ajde. Ali odatle znam za njih. Ovaj album sam ove godine dao poslušati, i svidio mi se. Normalniji je album, to je sigurno, blues je jako prisutan i taj stari, analogni zvuk, ne znam kako bi opisao - mi se jako sviđa. Abba Zaba mi je favoritna sa albuma, ima još ponekih, ali se uvijek ove sjetim pa ću ju napisati evo sada upravo. '67 godina is fucking stacked with classics!

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Wed Nov 30 2022
4

Really good rockabilly album Love the voice in certain song

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Only knew the weird, brilliant Trout Mask Replica of Beefheart, was surprised by this more traditional debut album. Was pleasant surprise. The last bonus track Korn Ring Finger is addictive, had to play it over and over

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Fri Dec 30 2022
4

A lot of the Captain’s work is difficult to deal with. However this, their debut album, is user-friendly. Musically, it takes no prisoners. Lyrically, it’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s far easier than what was to come on future lp’s. Ry Cooder has a lot to do with the quality of this recording. Both his playing & arranging. The album kicks arse from the opening tracks, Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do & Zig Zag Wanderer, which is one of Beefheart’s most covered songs. It’s very blues-influenced but, like most Beefheart, manages to maintain it’s very own flavour.

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Mon Jan 09 2023
4

captain beefheart vs lieutenant lambchop and the battle for manx throne. this is the kind of beefheart that we can actually listen to and in fact enjoy.

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Mon Jan 09 2023
4

I really enjoyed this, until the instrumentals. Those really dragged on personally. Saved tracks: Zig Zag Wanderer, Abba Zaba, Autumn's Child

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

Bra skiva! Svår att få lust att sätta på p.g.a. 70 min längd men så fort man börjar lyssna går tiden snabbt

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

Love this album. Great bluesy, soulful and out-there songs that too often get overshadowed by their outrageously out-there subsequent works. I’d like to give this a 5, but I feel that as a whole it doesn’t quite reach that level. It is quite close, however

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

I'll be honest, I couldn't always tell what they were signing, but somehow liked it anyway.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
4

Pretty good, but I sure they'll never make a dime. 4 stars.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
3

Kicked off with some really filthy delta blues. I was thinking this was a sure 4, maybe 5. But for all the songs that totally killed it there were others that just devolved into BS late 60s psychedelia and more avant garde stuff. Not that there isn't a place for that. But it make me love the album as much as I thought I would.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
3

Well . . . I'm glad that's over. I'm gonna wash out my ears with some Howlin' Wolf. There were some moments of pure brilliance though. The horns on I'm Glad were fantastic.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
3

In it's core the album is a (country) blues rock album with somethimes some songs with soul influences. But what's up with the troatsinging!? Some song are pretty... experimental to say the least. It has some ups and downs in de amount of experimental sound. Also worth noting that the album has some nice instrumental songs at the end of the album. Overall opinion: It's a decent album, nice to have listened a few times but I won't look it up again any time soon.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
3

I was expecting some noisy, annoying shit from Captain Beefheart. My college roommate was into him and I hated that shit. Fortunately, CBH hadn’t yet hit his disdainful stride for this debut album and it’s very listenable. I actually like it and I would gladly listen to this album again. CBH shows his eccentricities in his varied song styles: delta blues, soul, and psychedelic rock. The weirdness is there just not fully formed yet…thankfully.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
3

I got to learn where the Black Keys heard some of their initial cover songs from. The music was interesting with lots of range and good to have in the background.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
3

It is a decent album with some interesting aspects to it and good bass. But overall I don't think it is all too special. "I'm Glad" is probably the track that I like the most, but the one that feels like it belongs on the album the least.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
3

More accessible than I thought it was gonna be, especially in terms of the instrumentals (which I really enjoyed!), but gets a little weird around half way through. Some of the vocals became a bit grating after a while.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
3

Echt te oude poprock. Klinkt als beatles/kinks maar dan wat minder poppy en bij vlagen beetje raar/experimenteel. 3*

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Thu Sep 08 2022
3

Eclectic, inventive and quite interesting

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Wed Sep 14 2022
3

3.5/5

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Sun Sep 18 2022
3

6/2 be fart

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Fri Sep 23 2022
3

Liked it more than I thought I would. Some pretty interesting stuff in this album

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Fri Sep 23 2022
3

This was good... just show me the next band though.

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Sun Sep 25 2022
3

After trout mask replica this one had me scared, but it was surprisingly good!

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Mon Sep 26 2022
3

Normally I like late 60's experimental/psychedelic/garage music, but this didn't do much for me. It was probably pretty cool when it first came out but it hasn't aged well. Didn't hate it, but didn't enjoy it much either. 3 stars.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
3

It's fine. Vanilla Zappa, but it's a relatively decent listen.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
3

Weird but accessible? I liked it I think?

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Mon Oct 10 2022
3

Not my favorite

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Wed Oct 12 2022
3

Great debut record. Mixes genres (psychedelic rock, garage rock, doo-wop, r&b, etc.). Pretty accessible for a Captain Beefheart record, but is just enough “out there” to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
3

This was interesting, kind of a bluesey experimental album. I'm guessing that Captain Beefheart enjoyed his share of drugs during the making of this. The (7!) bonus tracks made the album way too long.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
3

art-blues? zappa like sounds on some songs but very bluesy

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Tue Oct 18 2022
3

Quel retour fracassant de Victor MacBernik. Après des années de disette, la faute à l'arrêt du programme "La Famille Pirate", Victor s'est vu redonner une chance de démontrer l'étendu de son talent. Le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est qu'il a su saisir l'opportunité qui s'offrait à lui. Sur le titre Electricity, il viendra absolument tout donner, nous offrant un "EEEEEEEEEEEElectriciTYYYYYYYY" des plus merveilleux, qui ne manquera pas d'être repris par petits et grands. Je n'ai qu'un mot: bravo.

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Sun Oct 30 2022
3

I'm Glad, Zig Zag Wanderer and Sure 'Nuff 'n' Yes, I do are standouts on this album

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Thu Nov 10 2022
3

Good

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Thu Nov 10 2022
3

Not into this

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Thu Nov 24 2022
3

This album was pretty decent. Had a bunch of different styles played throughout. Overall I felt it to have strong blues vibes while still having a classic prick sound. Overall not really any song in particular stood out but for this album coming out in the 60s it felt ahead of its time. 6.3/10

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Wed Nov 30 2022
3

Delightfully weird. I love the blues but its probably not this i would be putting on if i want to listen to blues, still good tho

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Thu Dec 01 2022
3

Call on Me is a fun time. So is Yellow Brick Road - very much enjoying the rhyming in that one. Whatever they're doing to their guitars in Dirty Blue Gene is pretty funky and fairly interesting. Love the band name.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
3

Its pretty experimental, though not too wild - I guess thats his charm. However, some misses on here too.

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Wed Dec 21 2022
3

Buen album

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Thu Dec 22 2022
3

Reminds me a lot of Love, or Mothers Of Invention, but I like both of those bands' sound more. "Where There's Woman" was the only song I ended up saving.

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Thu Dec 22 2022
3

Pretty good

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Fri Dec 30 2022
3

Captain Beefheart is an artist that has been on my list for trying to get into. I've tried to listen to Troutmask Replica a few times, with little success. It is the musical equivalent of Joyce's Ulysses; lauded by some, but impenetrable and difficult. Maybe starting with Troutmask is jumping into the deep end too soon, so I was glad to see this come up on the list. I wanted to give the Captain a real chance with a more approachable record. So, sitting down to really listen (and I listened through three times), this album I really liked. It sounds like some of the edgier rock of 1967 (Zappa, Velvets), but more firmly rooted in the blues. The Captain's vocals are surreal and gruff (obviously influence on later Tom Waits), but not so far out into left field as to be incomprehensible. MVP is Ry Cooder, whose playing is superb, and you can tell the songs that he did the arrangements for. Standout tracks: Sure Nuff 'n Yes I Do, Dropout Boogie, Electricity, Plastic Factory and the cover of Grown So Ugly. Enjoyed, would listen again, and feeling better prepared for Troutmask when it turns up on the list.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
3

More listenable than I was expecting based upon prior Cpt Beefheart experience.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
3

I hadn't listened to this before. It sounds like Beefheart, but with the rough edges filed off. It gives you an idea that without the madness, he'd be a good bluesman. But the weirdness is so much more fun.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
3

Interesting

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Mon Jan 09 2023
3

Largely cathartic for me. As you know I dated Shelley Beefheart for 4 years and she made me cum a lot. Captain Beefheart was always a bit of a prick to me because I was fisting his sister.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
3

Precies gek genoeg dat het leuk blijft!

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Wed Jan 11 2023
3

Very weird album but judging by the artist's name and album title this comes as no surprise. Despite its oddities, I am enjoying this album so far. While it's a very interesting and unique sound and I'm happy having experienced it once, I don't think this is something I'd listen to again.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
3

Safe to say.. trea borde lyssna åter i guess

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Sun Jan 22 2023
3

Album is interesting. Not something i'd listen to normally but i don't hate it.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
3

Random in places, but enjoyable nonetheless. It's a 3.5 for me, if half marks were allowed!

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Fri Jan 27 2023
3

Very strange and very 60s. At times it sounded Like a psychedelic Howlin Wolf but also sounds like early Dead on the blues songs.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
3

Some good psychedelic blues mixed with some strange stuff. Not bad but I don’t think I’ll listen again.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
2

Mostly insanity, but shure 'nuffand I'm glad were good.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
2

When someone said "let your freak flag fly", Captain Beefheart understood the assignment. This is what The Kinks would have sounded like if they made a conscious decision to avoid commercial success. It's also kind of what your "creepy but not in a good way" uncle sounds like in your nightmares. That said, the guitars are fuzzy in just the right places and jangley in just the right way. 4/10.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
2

Not my kinda style. But it’s definitely funky

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Wed Aug 31 2022
2

Captain Beefheart as a stage name is certainly a bold choice. And it's bold music. It's just not good music. The bluesy bits were decent, but the rest was mostly off-putting. Milk is not always safe. It can spoil. Make sure you check the date, and give it the ol' sniff test. Beefy failed the test.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
2

I have actually listened to a couple CB albums in the past. I liked that opening track which was a classic. Despite the funky name, this band is pretty conventional with a whiff of the 60's psychedelic style into Zig Zag Wanderer. That whiff turns into a full odor by the time you get to Dropout Boogie. I'm Glad makes a complete shift to RNB and that's kind of weird. By electricity, we are back to the gimmicky psychedelic soul replete with therimin. Is that what I'm hearing?? Anyhow, the last ten songs seem to blur together into an ooze and others overheard this and said, that must be the worst music I've ever heard!

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Wed Aug 31 2022
2

Listened to on 8/30/22 2.5/5 Favorite song: I’m Glad This album gave me whiplash with every some being a very different vibe - not my favorite but a few hidden gems

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Thu Sep 01 2022
2

Inte jätteimponerad. Det är inte dåligt, men samtidigt inte särskilt bra heller.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
2

bad

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Wed Oct 05 2022
2

Ackward, not my thing.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
2

The album isn't that good. It is eccentric and doesn't really have a purpose or a way. It is not really a 2 but I will round up.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
2

After listening to Trout Mask Replica this seems almost quaint and accessible. But that being said, psychedelic delta blues isn't my jam so it didn't move me much. I find the album cover pic showing them all clean cut and in suits to be a pretty interesting contrast to their latter day hippie counter-culture personas.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
2

I like the first song as the LP starts off with some well played Mississippi blues. The album soon starts to drag. I didn't know Ry Cooder's history so this aspect was interesting. Overall it's so-so 60s stuff. I know my point of reference for 1967 comparisons is releases like the White Album which isn't fair but, hey, who said life was fair? --

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Tue Oct 18 2022
2

Un album qui mérite une réécoute rien que pour l'entrée en matière du capitaine Victor Mc Bernik. Ce dernier va en effet lâcher son célèbre "Eeeeeleeectricityyyyy" et totalement relancer le projet qui commençait à battre de l'aile. Les interventions tardives du docteur Spratt et de la Sardine seront tout aussi délicieuses.

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Wed Oct 26 2022
2

I'm sure I've listened before and quite liked but today with the kids in the car, I was less interested.

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Wed Oct 26 2022
2

Wasn’t terrible, wasn’t great either so 2*

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Mon Nov 07 2022
2

This was okay. It kind of sounded like a blend of other stuff to me; nothing really stood out as unique about it. Whoever decided on the album title has clearly never gotten food poisoning from dairy.

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