I remember it was the late 90’s when I was looking through one particular issue of Rolling Stone magazine. There was a list of the best albums (at least according to the staff of the magazine). I stumbled upon a review of this person named Captain Beefheart. It seemed like a strange name. Yet I wanted to know more about this unusual record, “Trout Mask Replica.” This was an interesting cover and title for sure. I listened to samples on an mp3 website and thought, “boy this is total rubbish.” So I moved on and focused my attention elsewhere.
Then a few years later, I think around 2002-2003, I came across it again at a Tower Records. It was playing over the intercom and suddenly I found myself liking what I was hearing. Not sure why this happens to many of us. We hate spinach as a kid but then later in life we somehow LOVE IT. We cherish a certain movie as a little boy but then HATE IT when we get older. This happened to me with Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band TROUT MASK REPLICA.
This stuff is unique. It is a fusion of delta blues, country, free form jazz, and boogie. This record influenced numerous albums for years to come. These 28 tracks do test patience and tolerance for their unusual arrangements. A casual listener, like I once was, could get easily bewildered by this barrage of vocals and chaotic music. Frank Zappa was the producer and he helped formulate an abstract painting of pure enjoyment of the avant-garde. This was really a 60’s masterpiece.
I finally caved in and bought it on cd. I listened to it numerous times. I love the improvised lack of structure, yet amazing guitar thrashings and tight drumming it possesses. Its really silly and basically makes no sense. Random saxophones and clarinets and seemingly lack of structures. It has this way of transforming my mood to another place.
John Peel (British DJ) once said, “If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is probably that work.”
The captain (real name, Don Glen Vliet) and his boys exploded violently away from the norm and decided to explore new territories altogether.If I could find this beauty in vinyl format, I would buy it.