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Sunday, April 22, 2012


Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - "Electricity" (1967)

Ry Cooder is one of the guitar players here. We've mentioned him before as performer here and producer here.

It's electric blues played by people who don't care if you like them or not. That's the best explanation someone ever gave me for Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, a group that has a lot of chops, a number of very vocal fans, and no commercial appeal at all. Their third album Trout Mask Replica, released in 1969 is regularly placed on best of all time lists, but it was still not a hit. This track is off of their debut album, before they were ignored by the establishment, before they were dropped by multiple labels, before they toned down their sound to try to sell. The album is called Safe as Milk, as if the band knew that there would be problems.

As for the song itself,  I really like the bass a lot. The guitar and sitar work is a great jam and the drums kick along as well, but that bass beat is great. There is also a theramin on the track, weirding it up a little. Just about the only thing unlikeable about this song is the primary singer's voice. It sounds like a drunk bum they found on the street and let him say whatever he wanted and then based the song on it. Now by the end, the whole song kind of gets away from them , but as far as fade outs go I've heard worse. The song is a great late 60s groove that gets a little experimental but is over all great. The thing is, on other songs, the vocalist sounds fine, this was something that they did for this track alone, and it suffers for it.

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