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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Captain Beefheart

Harpo’s Detroit Dec 11th 1980

Review by Gary Hill

It is obvious right from the start that this was a bootleg recording. It really suffers from that aspect. Still, the performances are good. They just lack audio clarity. Additionally, this was one of Captain Beefheart’s last shows. Those things make this worth having. Just don’t expect a pristine live recording because you won’t get it here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review

It’s hard to make out what’s being said on the introduction here. As the music enters, it’s a bass solo at first. The chaos ensues a noisy, freeform jazz styled thing. This is purely instrumental.. After the music finishes there’s some stage banter and by the level of the audience versus the stage, it seems obvious this is an audience recording.

/Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man
Here we get more of a down home blues tune. This is classy.
Abba Zabba
More of a full on progressive rock treatment is heard on this tune. It’s high energy and quite cool.
Hot Head
Although overall this is a rather raw rocker, there is a lot going on here.
Ashtray Heart
This is more Captain Beefheart insanity. It’s got a real hard rocking sound with some serious energy. That said, it’s just left of center enough to fit as CB music.
Dirty Blue Gene

Psychedelia, progressive rock and more merge on this tune.

Best Batch Yet
I love the riff driving this thing. Somehow this piece almost makes me think of Alice Cooper a bit. It’s another killer rocker. I just wish the sound was better.
Safe As Milk
Jam band sounds combine with hard rock and more on this smoker. It’s high energy and quite a cool tune.
Dr. Dark
Crazed and very proggy, this is tastefully weird.
A Carrot is As Close As a Rabbit Gets To a Diamond
This little instrumental is quite proggy.
One Red Rose That I Mean
Another instrumental, this feels like something Steve Howe might have written. It’s very proggy.
Bat Chain Puller
Weird rock with some serious progressive in the mix, this is a cool tune.
My Human Gets Me Blues
Another powerhouse rocker, this is also another that’s proggy and weird.
Sugar & Spikes
A hard rocker, the sound really drowns this one, as far as I’m concerned.
Sheriff of Hong Kong
Percussion starts this one and they launch out from there. It’s a rather raw and powered up rocker. This works out into a very proggy jam later.
The Dust Blows Forward, The Dust Blows Back
This is an acapella piece for the first minute and a half to two minutes. Then it powers out to some smoking hot rock and roll. Eventually it evolves to more of a proggy jam from there.
Kandy Korn
This instrumental is noisy, energized and proggy. I love the saxophone wailing over the top of it. It’s one of the coolest tunes of the whole disc.
Suction Prints
High energy hard rock is the idea here. It gets proggier later in the tune.
Big Eyed Being From Venus
Noisy and hard rocking, this has some prog elements.
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