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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Captain Beefheart

Somewhere Over Paris

Review by Gary Hill

This double disc set has some great live performances from Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. The sound quality here is better than on some of the more recent releases. It still sounds a bit bootleg-like, but it’s better in terms of sound than that might convey. It has some smoking hot music, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Disc One
Bake III - Hair Pie
This instrumental jam is bass heavy, noisy and almost metal.
Suction Prints
Another instrumental, this is proggy, jazz like and a lot more. It works through several shifts and changes in a fast paced and dynamic arrangement.
Low Yo Yo Stuff
This noisy rocker is a bit raw, but has a lot of cool built into it, too. I love the almost funky vibe to this. It’s a lot of fun.
Bat Chain Puller

There is a lot of blues on the table here. Harmonica adds to that. This is a quirky little beast. That’s for sure.  Some things here even make me think of Hawkwind a bit. The weird jam at the end is quite cool. It’s part prog and part blues and all bizarre yet effective.

I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go
Crazed stuff that’s one part Frank Zappa and one part King Crimson opens this. It works to more of a straightforward song from there. Still, this is Captain Beefheart, so it’s only going to be so straightforward.
Abba Zaba

Jazz, progressive rock and more merge on this powerhouse rocker. It’s one of the coolest pieces of the set and has a killer instrumental section mid-track.

Dali's Car
A crazed guitar solo piece, this has a real free-form prog vibe. There are definitely nods to King Crimson and Robert Fripp. It’s a noisy one.
One Nest Rolls after Another
This is just a short poetry bit.
The Dust Blows Forward and the Dust Blows Back
Part acapella song, part poetry reading, this is art rock for sure. Well, the rock part could be in question.
Nowadays a Woman's Got To Hit a Man
A bit of a soulful rock and roll vibe permeates this bouncy rocker. It’s still got enough weirdness to get into prog territory.
Click Clack
This high energy hard rocker is quite a cool tune. It’s one of my favorites of the set for sure.
Grow Fins
Here we’ve got more of a bluesy number. This is good stuff. I like the bass and the harmonica on this one.
Golden Birdies
Spoken bits punctuated by sections of seemingly freeform music is the concept here. This is art rock, for sure. It’s also oddly effective.
Disc Two
This song is really electrified. It’s a screaming hot tune with a lot of classy prog elements and more built into it.
A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets To a Diamond
This jam is definitely progressive rock. There is a lot of old world melody built into it. It’s a fairly short instrumental.
China Pig
A standard blues grind brings this thing into being. That mode holds the cut all the way through.
Sun Zoom Spark

This is a cool hard rocker. It’s pretty typical Beefheart – assuming there is such a thing.

My Human Gets Me Blues
Weaving this way and that, this is crazed and quite free form. It’s part jazz, part prog and all cool. 
Floppy Boot Stomp
Another dynamic cut, this has a lot in common with Zappa.
Moonlight on Vermont
This feels somewhat similar to the previous cut. It’s a screaming hot number that lands among the highlights here, though. It has quite a few shifts and turns. The closing section is particularly strong.
Carson City

This hard rocker is more mainstream. It’s an effective piece, too. It has some great bits of guitar throughout.

Old Black Snake
Just an acapella blues tune, this is short.
Pachuco Cadaver
There is a lot of blues in this. It has a lot of jazz in the mix, too. The drums really get to show off on this.
Band Intro - Veteran's Day Poppy
The band introductions happen during the jamming on this thing. It’s aa bit off kilter and quite a great combo between rock, jazz and more.
The Blimp

This jam is a fun one. It’s not a big surprise, but it’s good stuff.

Big Eyed Beans from Venus
This little rocker is not something unexpected, but it’s effective.
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