captain beefheart electricity

samples and surprises

since august 1996 - updated 080301:

morgan ÅGREN | frank BLACK | DEUS | FAST & BULBOUS | john FRENCH | gary LUCAS | joan OSBORNE | PALINCKX | robert WILLIAMS
see below for artists in green


when you will have read my covers booklet you understand what i consider to be genuine cover versions: songs that reproduce the complete lyrics and (in case of instrumentals: or) the music, although certain variations are allowed like foreign languages, 'replacement instruments' and overhauls. in my beefheart-catalog universe anything else is a CURIOSITY, whatever sub-group it may belong to:
EXTRA = 'half covers' and extra-ordinaries; ODE = praises, honours; TRIBUTE = references and 'imitations'; SAMPLE = sample; NAMED AFTER = stolen expressions

to get a better picture, here are some accepted candidates in the mentioned categories:
extra: ret marut = doedah, g.t.o.'s = the captain's fat theresa shoes;
ode: david thomas & the pedestrians = new broom;
tribute: jack geek = lsd spider, zauberfinger = captain beefheart meets james brown;
sample: beck = (two songs at his end 1994 gigs - on home-tapes only), urban dance squad = the devil.

anyhow, the best way to the right idea is to go on reading this irregular, so you can help me with this because it isn't full-grown yet...: send in as many entries as you can! for i dream about adding this ingredient to the second bake of 'captain's covers' (after the first one will be sold out, of course - which most likely seems to never happen). or - if the chapter gets too thick - the possibility of another booklet nobody is looking for....


1997 sweden video LIVE IN MAGIC uae records uae video 001

for the people who hadn't noticed: this guy is the drummer of (amongst other) the one-off beefheart cover band discontinued stand. as the handful of concerts they gave in spring 1995 were filmed, he used an outtake of it for the video he released two years later. it is a part of LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY, with him and his drumming on the foreground of course.

much later addition: the sold-out first version has been followed by an extended version of 90 minutes. it is available at morgan ågren's online shop


1999 usa ceedee PISTORELO play it again sam bias 390 cd

one of beefheart's talents was to fool the press media with difficult to check stories like his vocal range. he also turned a restless period of personal stress into 'one and a half year without any sleep', and due to the success of that fantasy he also told it to the members of the magic band like eric drew feldman (1976-1981; also gets mentioned in the 'deus' item below). later on, when he played in the pixies and in their frontman FRANK BLACK's first solo years (1992-1994), eric repeated the impossible tale in such an impressive way that it took frank five years to start doubting it...

the only campfire song - as it is played in an acoustic setting - on the album with quite heavy electronic rock is wrongly titled 85 WEEKS (in stead of 78) and actually musically not the most outstanding track. but still the content makes it an extra-ordinary beefheart curiosity, of course. nice is that the complete text about the un-somnambulist is printed in the notes which also have another link to the captain's work: a tiny pic with a paper heading about one or other 'veterans day'. or don't you believe me?

this record can be expected to be available at or through your favourite local shop.


DEUS belgium
1996 england elpee IN A BAR, UNDER THE SEA island ilps 8056
1996 france ceedee IN A BAR, UNDER THE SEA island cid 8052/524 296-2
1996 ? single ROSES island [cat. no. unknown]
1996 ? cds4 ROSES bang / island [cat. no. unknown]
a couple of other curiosities recently was delivered by the 'renewing' musicians of deus, who have proven to be quite beefheart-minded before: you probably didn't forget they sampled 'the (complete) blimp' into the title track of their 1993 debut disc "zea"? when it was time for their second full record they showed their beeflove again. first of all they laid hands on former magic band player eric drew feldman for the production and co-mixing of the project.

in a dutch interview front-man tom barman remarked about their collaboration: 'i knew eric had produced an album of frank black, which honestly i didn't like. but i noticed he was a very kind man and actually that's the most important quality for a producer. at first he keenly started to interfere with our music, but we soon corrected him: he just should be around all the time and stay friendly - and leave the rest to us...' so finally eric drew feldman's instrumental contributions consist of some keyboard & piano & organ & percussion work on half of the tracks (including a performance on... egg?!).

but of course that's not the reason why this fine production belongs to the collection of the van vliet curiosa. no, for that you have to listen to a song called (FOR THE) ROSES, which is a subtile thank-you by a left lover to his former girl rose who used to... 'paint on my back' [those roses perhaps?]; and as references like 'flowerpot' and 'she treats me, she beats me' might be far-sought for you, there can be no doubt about one of the paintings. for it is 'a green tom; the beefheart one*'. really strange, don't you think so? * big dummies! green tom is the cover of 'shiny beast'!

LATER NOTE: 05.10.99 by chance i found out that this song can be heard while you read the lyrics - on the deus website, although you need a 56.6kb modem.


1996 uk single LITTLE ARITHMETICS / MY WIFE JAN island / bang is 643 854 718 picture disc
1996 france cdsingle LITTLE ARITHMETICS cardboard sleeve
cds4 island cid 643 854 719-2 [be sure! same title also with other tracks]
cds2 island cidt 643 854 718-2

however, the greatest beefheart curiosity is hiding in the album outtakes which were dumped onto their hit-single. yes, eric is hanging around friendly again; but the main attraction is the captain himself with a sample from his wild life. which really isn't so exclusive - if the 'sound flash' wasn't part of a song titled... MY WIFE JAN.

stop! ho! panic! hey, what's this........!?

yo, that's right: an astonishing extra-ordinary! you could have expected some-one someday would honour don by making a perfect matching song; now it has happened. in fact the connection is most evident to beefheart-spotters as the lyrics are clear: i'm singing about the big eyed beans... and: i just threw my harp away....

all i can do, is to insure you that don van vliet surely would like this serious joke - if he comes to hear it....

SMALL ADVICE: try to score this last item.

[for the eric drew feldman fans: he also has some things to do with material from the period before the album: 'theme from turnpike' (single, eepee, ceedeesingle, even one or other video clip; title track also on the album.) but most important is his mention in the 'supermarketsong': 'spastic sam and eric drew make supermarkets superflue [...]'.]

[updated 230806]

1997 italy ceedee MEMORIAL BARBECUE (a tribute to the music of frank zappa) debra kadabra arf n.1 phmadk 01

don't let this band mislead you: except for the name and two short 'fast and bulbous' chats (recorded from september 1995 through october 1996) there is no connection at all with our captain beefheart. even worse: this album is a fz tribute of mainly instrumental covers which was released by the italian fzine 'debra kadabra'. so - unless you're a wrong fan - you don't need the following address: p.o. box 3244, 30171 mestre centro (ve), italy.


1996 germany ceedee EVANGELINE zensor zs 152 (photo cover)
1997 usa ceedee EVANGELINE paradigm records pme 0012-2 (whirlpool cover)

as you might know: the guitarist of the last magic band played some live cover versions of beefheart instrumentals, but he didn't release them. in fact, on his albums he never linked to his former boss. that's to say: until now. for on his latest album he lets us know I FEEL LIKE AH SYD, to which he adds the liner notes 'an experiment in modern living. kids, don't try this at home! (i did.... trust me.)'

did he take drugs and confuse captain beefheart for syd barrett? unfortunately, like the main part of this album with a lot of beautiful guitar strings and a lack of text, he gives no further explanation for his interstellar feeling in this instrumental. but anyhow, it surely is the most energetic performance of the pack. and on weird slide guitar of course.

in case you have a wrong record shop, you can always inform at zensor musikproduktion gmbh * manteuffelstrasse 40 * 10997 berlin * germany * tel ++ 30 6116050 * fax ++ 30 6184656 or indigo * jaffestrasse 12 * 21109 hamburg * germany if you want to have the first release of this ceedee from october 1996 with a photo-collage with a picture of him on the front cover.
the second version was released in june 1997 and has a whirlpool on the front and other lettering. unfortunately the internet link to 'paradigm records' turned out to be dead - so if you visit gary lucas' homepage you can find more details about the album, but no address...


1995 usa ceedee RELISH blue gorilla/mercury 314 526 699 2
1995 usa cassette RELISH blue gorilla/mercury 314 526 699 4
1996 usa cds4 RIGHT HAND MAN blue gorilla / mercury 578 371 2; with two versions
1995 usa karaoka RELISH pocket songs [cat. no. unknown]
1996 usa clip RIGHT HAND MAN [censored] internet page
1996 usa clip RIGHT HAND MAN [uncensored] internet page
1995 usa ceedee VARIOUS ARTISTS * H.O.R.D.E. FESTIVAL 1995 what are records? al 8344-83; promo

after her flaming 1993 cover version of 'his eyes are a blue million miles' this singer with soul and a nose-ring still was a beefheart fan when she made her breakthrough in late 1995. not only because former magic band guitarist gary lucas appears in one of the songs as co-writer/player and guests in another, but mainly for her entry in one of my other 'captain's categories': the curiosities.

for the disc contains a composition by the whole band and... don van vliet! however, the captain doesn't sing or play on 'right hand man' and the words sure aren't his. but you too immediately would recognize the intro and the melody right away as a 'familiar beefheart tune' - but which one, if the liner notes say nothing and your mind can't trace the track? in case of such a dilemma you need sheer luck or some help by experts, and i happened to meet he one who knows best: joan osborne.

in an internet-page she explains: 'i brought in this captain beefheart song, clear spot, which has a really skronky beginning we all loved. we started playing around with it, and put it in 7/8 so the beat would turn around and give your body a little push. RIGHT HAND MAN just popped out of my mouth, and we looked at each other and said wow.'

to keep us collectors busy there are some other versions of this borrowed tune available, with the release in karaoka form as unbeatable summit of strangeness. but the other two aren't easy to spot too, because they only can be found in cyberspace - at least if you're not as unlucky as me: for my computer (or my patience) wasn't able to receive them yet...; not even the censored pictures! help, give me advice.

there also exists another quite unavailable release of the meant song, because it is not for sale: a promotional 'various artists' album of the bands that were gonna play the travelling h.o.r.d.e. festival in 1995.

by the way: did you check her beefheart cover version?


 PALINCKX holland
1996 austria ceedee THE PSYCHEDELIC YEARS vonk records vonk 6

autumn 1995 this popgroup with experimental tendencies [but decals should be licked off, baby] toured holland and surroundings with a program of mixed-up oldies. to the puzzle-cd of the concerts they added an IMPORTANT MESSAGE: WE FREELY ADMIT THAT SEVERAL MELODIES WERE SHAMELESSLY LIFTED FROM THE MEMORY OF THE MUSIC OF THE LATE SIXTIES.

no surprise a beefheart work crept into their show. it happens in PHASE NINE, when they remember the 'fabulous furry freak brothers' comic in which the brothers try to score money by selling their cat as a... dog. they close off that story about FAT FREDDY'S CAT by playing music we are supposed to recognize as the blimp! (i got to confess i know this because i was told so - to me the tune more sounds as the "when big joan sets up" madness; and anyway: i don't like puzzles.)

the nostalgic mystery trip isn't available all over, so you might need to contact the firm that's doing the distribution of this 'half cover' curiosity: lowlands, jaak blockx straat 15, b-2640 mortsel, belgium; tel. ++ 3 440 5520, fax ++ 3 449 7357.


1998 usa ceedee DATE WITH THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER tone casualties xocd 9828

you can find all about this former magic band drummer's lives and times with captain beefheart in a 1997 interview, in which he already talks about making this album - although its release was delayed for a whole year. the ceedee shows that in the meantime he has learned to play some other instruments like (bass) guitar, marimba, synthesizer and computer - and he likes to potter with electronics to sometimes create a kind of modern sound. but in some cases a few guests and former colleagues helped him out on this disc mainly dealing with inter-human relations. for instance: JEFF MORIS TEPPER brought along his nerve guitar for an instrumental which must have something to do with robert's past with van vliet as the title is FRANK AND DON AND ME (who's that frank?)....

you can easily order his latest release via his fresh home page - which also includes some details about his relationship with the captain.



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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo