captain beefheart electricity

don van vliet SINGING INK
poetry and fine arts


 

'BLORP ESETTE'

two untitled drawings 1975 and 1977 & two occasional label designs 1977
1978 usa elpee L.A.F.M.S. * BLORP ESETTE volume one lafms 5 only 500 copies made
1980 usa elpee L.A.F.M.S. * BLORP ESETTE volume two (for guitar players) lafms 10
1980 usa elpee L.A.F.M.S. * BLORP ESETTE volume two (greatest hits) lafms 11
1993 usa 4cdbox L.A.F.M.S. * BLORP ESETTE collector's edition transparency tran 0022
2002 usa 10cdbox L.A.F.M.S. * the LOWEST FORM OF MUSIC rrr records rrr cd 17 limited edition

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in 1975, while his alter ego captain beefheart struggled to come back after his disastrous 'country & western' adventure, don van vliet produced two drawings which who knows why were used for record sleeves of other artists. both pieces of art work were brought out some years later, with the drawing inside the gatefold of the notably french release znr * barricade 3 from 1977 as the strangest item.

more logic was involved in his contribution to an elpee released by l.a.f..m.s. or in full: (the) LOS ANGELES FREE MUSIC SOCIETY under the title BLORP ESETTE, and its follow-ups: because as captain beefheart he always lived quite close to that metropole. i don't possess any of the elpees with all sorts of alternate music without clear direction, so i'll let alan saul explain:

Actually, there were three LPs in the blorp-esette series, but only two volumes.

Volume one was LAFMS 5, released in 1978, and features Don's well-known 1975 drawing the title of which is escaping me at the moment - it's the woman holding a chicken with another chicken on her head and another seemingly making up her dress. The label on side two is a piece of Don's art [with 'l.a.f.m.s.' text, dated '77 - teejo].

LAFMS 10 was the first elpee of a separately packaged double album blorp-esette volume two. This is from 1980, having '1979' crossed out. The label has Don's other 1977 art label on side one - this one says 'Los Angeles' - and 'for guitar players' on side two.

LAFMS 11 was the other half of also blorp-esette volume two, has Don's 'l.a.f.m.s.' label on side four and 'Blorp Esette's Greatest Hits' on side three. Released in 1980.

Both of the volume twos come from the same time (1980) and both have Don's red and black drawing of a person in a hat. I always associate this with Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top [from the 1975 zappa / beefheart / mothers * 'bongo fury' tour - t.t.] with the sky looking down.

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these obscure releases were seldom seen items (the first volume consisted of only 500 copies, for instance) until the whole project - including previously unused material - was collected on a re-mastered 4cd edition in 1999. the set is accompanied by an extensive notes booklet which also reveals: 'blorp esette volume one is dedicated to lisa and helene, don and jan van vliet and all those dead guys who aren't around to appreciate it, then or now'.

the four pieces of van vliet art work coming with the ceedee re-issue are:

volume two - front covers 'PERSON IN A HAT' drawing: front of box
volume one - side two and volume two - side four 'L.A.F.M.S.' LABEL occasional drawing: printed on ceedee one
volume two - side one 'LOS ANGELES' LABEL occasional drawing: printed on ceedee four
volume one - front cover 'BLORP ESETTE' drawing: booklet cover

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okay, over to the drawings. right! first, let's look at the most used front cover of the series, the 'PERSON IN A HAT' - although i do it with great reluctance because it's so ugly! usually don van vliet could make brilliant drawings, but this one sure is a failure!... maybe he was nervous as the following day he would have his birthday - the signature date says: 1 14 77 - or because he used an uneasy drawing pen, but the result actually is unworthy to the quality of this website (it also is a mystery why it was used as the front of the 4cd box instead of the other drawing)! so, just for the record:

captain beefheart / don van vliet - drawing - 'blorp esette' vol. 2 - front cover lps 1980
don van vliet 140177

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next, i'm sorry i can't bring you good reproductions of the occasional label layouts he designed: the reflection of the scanner on the plates makes them unreal... all i can offer is a picture taken from the original vinyl, once made by somebody who had both copies of volume two for sale:

captain beefheart / don van vliet - drawing - 'l.a.f.m.s.' - label 'blorp esette' albums
l.a.f.m.s. label 1977

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last but not least is the untitled drawing which adorned the cover of the first elpee. that 'BLORP ESETTE' woman with chickens really has the touch of brilliance failing in the later cover, as you can see for yourself:

captain beefheart / don van vliet - untitled drawing 1975 - 'blorp esette' (vol. 1) - front cover lp 1978
don van vliet 1975

yeah, a very, very nice drawing i can look at for hours - but oops, uh, that's not the cómplete sleeve... which is here because it is an essential addition to that interview there with the following dialogue:

you did a cover for the album 'blorp esette'.

oh, ace and duce. i like those guys. they seem to be among those people who have a hold. which is why i did that. i was quite annoyed by the fact that he put 'blorp esette' right in the middle of my drawing. i think he could have found some other way to do that. he's a nice guy.

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some more information you'd like to have:

* an edited version of the 'blorp essette' drawing appeared on the handbill for the early december 1976 concerts at keystone korner, san francisco, usa.
* a smaller, green reproduction of it can be found on the front cover of the bootleg best batch yet.

[updated 101016]

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go to the DISCOGRAPHY of this guest art work....

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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo

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