Captain Beefheart, one of greatest bandleaders of all-time, has died at age 69 from complications from multiple sclerosis. Though the Captain smartly walked away from the music business in 1982 once he figured he could be more productive painting, he will be forever remembered for the fantastically powerful and weird music he produced.
Tom Waits, who was influenced by Beefheart, nailed it: "Once you've heard Beefheart, it's hard to wash him out of your clothes. It stains, like coffee or blood."
Rather than bore you with details you can surely find elsewhere, I submit ten great tracks from the Captain. He had a ton more. But you can't go wrong with anything listed below. Click and hear for yourself.
10) "Old Fart At Play": Beefheart could see into the future and he knew, before many of his generation, that he would one day be old. He also knew the importance of playing until the end.
8) "Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey On My Knee": Beefheart had a colorful way of hearing and seeing the world. He makes other people look like such amateurs.
I'm Gonna Booglarise You Baby": Isn't it funny how "conservatives" get found having sex in bathrooms, while someone as outlandish as the Captain was married to his wife Jan for over forty years?
6) "Kandy Korn (live)": I love the early Beefheart every bit as much as his later stuff. I mean, just listen to this!
Dachau Blues": There weren't many songs about the concentration camps. Maybe some people thought: "Dachau Blues/ Those poor Jews" was a sacrilegious joke. But, surely, it was not. Artists, by nature, stand with the underdogs, the trampled and the maligned. I'm personally glad the Captain never got around to singing, "Are You Ready For Some Football?" Otherwise, I would have had to slit my wrists.
4) "25th Century Quaker": Another fine piece of mutant blues that puts a smile on my face everytime I hear it being pulled apart. Is Mirror Man one of the more overlooked albums in the Beefheart catalog? Aren't they all?
Ashtray Heart": The Captain even knew how to do heartbreak. This one chokes me up. Like most of his songs, I wish I had thought of it. I can relate to this song and I don't even smoke!
2) "Ice Cream For Crow": Here I give you a video that shows you the man's charm. He wore that hat better than anyone. And is potentially the only guy to wear a mustache that doesn't look like he's being cheesy or ironic!
Orange Claw Hammer": My personal favorite from Trout Mask Replica. Here is a live version with the full band blowing it out. Seriously, pay your respects and make sure you have Safe As Milk, Mirror Man, Trout Mask Replica, Lick My Decals Off, Baby, Clear Spot, The Spotlight Kid, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), Doc At The Radar Station and Ice Cream For Crow in your personal library. It will help you quit your terrible job.