Saturday, December 11, 2010

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band-UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED cassette (Virgin England)

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Saturday, December 11, 2010
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band-UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED cassette (Virgin England)
Y'know, I don't get it. For years I've been hearing about just how much the Good Captain hated this album as well as predecessor BLUEJEANS AND MOONBEAMS to the point where he was tellin' fans to take 'em back to the record store to be returned as defective 'r somethin' like that. Heck I even heard one apocryphal tale about how years later some fan who's a big kahuna on this thing we call the underground scene actually told Beefheart that he had a plan to kidnap him during this period in his career and force him to record as his old atonal self, with Beefheart actually responding that he sure wish something like that did happen!

But then, in Fred Kirby's review of a '74 vintage Captain Beefheart show at Max's Kansas City he mentioned how Beefheart himself was saying from the stage that the critics don't like his new material and all but he didn't care 'bout that one whit! So who can we believe, whose story shall we go by in this case and while I'm at it whose bright idea was it to get Three Dog Night producer Dave DiMartino to work on this 'un in the first place?!?

Naturally I had trepidations knowing whatta dog this 'un is and not having played it since 1979 because it made me cringe like nothing since Dave Lang. But hey, here in 2010 UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED sounds mighty good, perhaps because no matter how you slice it rock & roll in general (as a long-buried music form that was destroyed by the same business and fans who professed to love it) sounds generally pallid next to these admittedly commercial rompers. Sure little if none of the old Beefheart spark is here but the songs move nicely enough amidst the laid back atmosphere and cornball sax solos and I really can't fault Beefheart for making this 'un like I can fault Lou Reed for a good portion of his solo career. Of course by the time side two was clocking out I was glad that it was gonna be at least another thirty years before I'd give it another spin but hey, 500 years from now this is gonna sound marvy next to the rock music they'll be making at that time!
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