Crackle and Pop: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band – Safe As Milk

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I bought a lot of albums cheaply in the 60s when they were reissued on budget labels. Usually MFP (Music for Pleasure) or Marble Arch. This though has always been a favourite and therefore of the many differing versions of this album that exist, it’s my favourite version.   It was released in 1967 and I bought this Marble Arch version in 1969, from the local Boots in Cwmbran Town Centre.

It’s the original collision of pop, swamp blues and surrealism that make the album so compelling. I’d heard most of it via John Peels show so it wasn’t a surprise as the Captains vocals blasted out of my puny mono record player. My favourite track always was, and still is, “Electricity” which scared me silly when I heard it first, the Captain starting off the song with an all out vocal attack on the title.

Tracklist

  • A1 Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
  • A2 Zig Zag Wanderer
  • A3 Call On Me
  • A4 Dropout Boogie
  • A5 Electricity
  • B1 Yellow Brick Road
  • B2 Abba Zaba
  • B3 Plastic Factory
  • B4 Where There’s Woman
  • B5 Autumn’s Child

From the Discogs review of the USA release

“The band members were: Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, publishing in his real name and performing by his alias. (Vocals, Harmonica & Bass Marimba). Alex Snouffer, aka Alex St. Clair, also known as Alexis St. Clare Snouffer. (Guitar). Jerry Handley (Bass Guitar). John French, aka John ‘Drumbo’ French or simply Drumbo. (Drums & Percussion). Ry Cooder (Guitar, Slide Guitar & Bass Guitar) [A subsequently disaffected member & not appearing in photos].Session or Guest Musicians [that are known. Others were present]: Taj Mahal (Percussion), Russ Titelman (Guitar), Milt Holland (Log Drums & Percussion), Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman aka Sam Hoffman (Theremin).”

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