CAPTAIN BEEFHEART – Rare 1980 Detroit Concert Released

May 9, 2014, 3 years ago

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Much to the excitement of Captain Beefheart fans worldwide, on April 28th Gonzo Multimedia will be released on CD a rare live recording of the Captain in concert at Harpo's in Detroit, Michigan on December 11th, 1980. Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band (1965–1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelic with avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. Beefheart was also known for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians, and for often constructing myths about his life.

During his teen years in Lancaster, California, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste and formed friendship with Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically collaborated. He began performing with his Captain Beefheart persona in 1964 and joined the original Magic Band line-up, initiated by Alexis Snouffer, in 1965. The group drew attention with their cover of Bo Diddley's “Diddy Wah Diddy”, which became a regional hit. It was followed by their acclaimed debut album Safe As Milk, released in 1967 on Buddah Records. After being dropped by two consecutive record labels, they signed to Zappa's Straight Records. As producer, Zappa granted Beefheart unrestrained artistic freedom in making 1969's Trout Mask Replica. In 1974, frustrated by lack of commercial success, he released two albums of more conventional rock music that were critically panned; this move, combined with not having been paid for a European tour, and years of enduring Beefheart's strict discipline, led the entire band to quit. Beefheart eventually formed a new Magic Band with a group of younger musicians and regained contemporary approval through three final albums: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (1978), Doc At The Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream For Crow (1982).

Known for his enigmatic personality and relationship with the public, Van Vliet made few public appearances after his retirement from music (and from his Beefheart persona) in 1982. He pursued a career in art, an interest that originated in his childhood talent for sculpture, and a venture that proved to be his most financially secure. His expressionist paintings and drawings command high prices, and have been exhibited in art galleries and museums across the world. Van Vliet died in 2010, having suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years.

This new CD catches the Captain live on stage in 1980 during Doc At The Radar Station tour.


“Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man”
“Abba Zabba”
“Hot Head”
“Ashtray Heart”
“Dirty Blue Gene”
“Best Batch Yet”
“Safe As Milk”
“Doctor Dark”
“A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond”
“One Red Rose That I Mean”
“Bat Chain Puller”
“My Human Gets Me Blues”
“Sugar And Spikes”
“Sheriff Of Hong Kong”
“The Dust Blows Forward, The Dust Blows Back-Kandy Korn”
“Suction Prints”
“Big Eyed Beans From Venus”

Purchasing information for the CD can be seen at this location.

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