captain beefheart electricity

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KEN BROOKS

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART
tin teardrop
england 2000 agenda isbn 1899882 11 1
paperback - 128 pages - 15 x 21 cm
in english

captain beefheart / don van vliet - books - ken brooks 'captain beefheart (tin teardrop)' - england 2000

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REVIEW
by steve froy

A new book about Beefheart is something to be welcomed, but nowadays my expectations are higher than they used to be. It wasn't until Colin Webb's book in 1987 (captain beefheart. the man and his music - teejo) that anyone had attempted to draw together the life and music of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band into one narrative. As it was the first attempt some of the book's faults could be forgiven. However, since then we have had Bill Harkleroad's Lunar Notes book, the Grow Fins notes plus all manner of information via the web which has helped clear away some of the myths and legends that have grown up around the band. Bill Bamberger's recent book (riding some kind of unusual skull sleigh - teejo) took writing about Don and the Magic Band to a new level with his excellent analysis and critique of Don's music and painting.

So with all this new material to draw on I was expecting something much better than this. "Tin Teardrop" is a step backwards, adding very little to what we know already and, what's worse, is guilty of repeating a lot of the myths as well as being full of an alarming number of factual errors. Apart from getting facts wrong - there are so many it would take a book of similar size to rectify them all - for example: Ry Cooder can be seen playing guitar on the Cannes Beach video, he confuses "The Legendary A&M Sessions" with "Mirror Man"! - he repeats and contradicts himself.

There is next to no analysis of the music or paintings, it's just a restating of the basic facts of each album track by track. Things are not helped by the writing style. It is written in short sentences. One fact presented after another. It begins to get tedious. You want to read a longer sentence. It is very irritating. A written version of Chinese water torture. It could send you madů.

If you're a sad completist like me you'll want one for your collection or you may want one to play spot the incorrect fact (a very easy game!). Otherwise borrow one, read it and weep. Better still treat yourself to Bill Bamberger's book or just hang on for Mike Barnes' (forthcoming - teejo) magnum opus.

Agenda Books were the publisher that also brought us the similarly factually-challenged Fast and Bulbous book by Ben Cruikshank. So why did they feel it necessary to inflict another upon us?

You have been warned!!!

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[120200 thanks for sounding the alarm, steve]

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