Album Charlie, Beefheart: Frustrated & Awake
posted by January 22 at 18:07 PMon
Charlie is back. The Blacklight Kid. You may remember him from his Zappa / Electric Flag and Pink Floyd reviews. He’s in 8th grade now at a school in Shoreline and he has a gigantic crate of vinyl. Charlie is razor sharp smart. Imagine him by the time he’s a senior. Here is his latest review:
Captain Beefheart’s - Lick My Decals Off, Baby
The 1970 release, Lick My Decals Off, Baby is a long way from Safe as Milk, Beefheart’s 1967 release. Lick My Decals Off, Baby is dangerous.
It is a beautiful experiment that breaks all bounds and is a musical adventure of marimbas, saxophones, and song names like “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop”, and “The Buggy Boogie Woogie”, but what did you expect from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band?
In songs, like “Doctor Dark”, and “I Wanna Find a Woman that’ll Hold My Big Toe Till AI Have to Go” it seems like they have lost all sense of musical direction and are going to crash. The moment you try to feel the beat and get into the songs, it syncopates out of control and it’s hard to keep up. When I listened to the record for the first time I didn’t like it, but after listening to it again I discovered that the confusion is what makes it a good and unique record.
Songs like “I Love You Big Dummy”, “Bellerin’ Plain”, and “Smithsonian Institute Blues” help you find your way through the tangled labyrinth of sound on this record and reacquaint you with the music. The instrumental “Peon” is a refreshing relief from the cacophony of surrounding songs.
“I Love You Big Dummy” also features a screeching harmonica performed by Mr. Don Van Vliet himself and is the perfect accompaniment to his own rough villainous voice. Ed Marimba a.k.a. Art Tripp playing the marimba on “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop” is truly awesome.
The Captain along with his Magic Band delivers a revolutionary record that can frustrate and awaken the listener. It took me a while but finally I realized that Lick My Decals Off, Baby is, even in today’s standards, insanely eccentric and wonderful.
The kid is in 8th grade.
Here’s a commercial for the record that was banned from TV. When asked by the record company as to reasons for not accepting the spot, KTTV station manager Charles Young said, “I just don’t like it. I think it’s crude and don’t want it on my air. Let’s say I find the commercial unacceptable and let it go at that.” When asked for a specific reason, Young declared the album title was “obscene.”