Shelved Captain Beefheart album finally sees release

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A previously shelved album by wow-man rock artist Captain Beefheart is set for release on Jan. 15, 2012 by Zappa Records. Frank Zappa, the project’s original producer, pulled Bat Chain Puller in the mid-1970s while in the midst of a financial dispute with Beefheart manager Herb Cohen.

Beefheart (real name: Don Van Vliet) would have been 71 on Jan. 15. He died after a bout with multiple sclerosis on Dec. 17, 2010.

Bat Chain Puller was to be the follow up to 1974’s Bluejeans and Moonbeams, an overtly commercial offering that nevertheless failed to chart — leading some fans to dub this edition of Beefheart’s group the “Tragic Band.” Several of the songs intended for Bat Chain Puller later saw release after being re-recorded for 1978’s Shiny Beast, 1980’s Radar Station and 1982’s Ice Cream for Crow.

Denny Walley and John French, two alumni of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, worked as mixers on the 2012 edition of Bat Chain Puller, which will include all 12 original songs along with three bonus tracks.

Here’s a look back at previous thoughts on Captain Beefheart from Something Else! Reviews. Click through the link for expanded reports …

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART: AN APPRECIATION: The man was definitely an enigma. Some called him a mad genius. I’m not sure about the mad part. I heard a long series of interviews with him once and it struck me that he was the kind of person with perhaps too many ideas stuffed into that head. The music is at once tough and off-kilter. It’s also nothing like the watered-down blues that had found its way into the rock music of the times. — Mark Saleski

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART – TROUT MASK REPLICA: A free-thinking concerto which many somehow say helped set the stage for post-punk, new wave surrealism and alternative rock. Really, this album’s producer, Frank Zappa, deserves more credit/blame for jump starting those rock subgenres. Meanwhile, Beefheart more often dissolved into overly concocted-sounding crackpot noddling. He just couldn’t find a way to come off as demented as he, by many accounts, was. — Nick DeRiso

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART – “THE DUST BLOWS FORWARD …”: This song, from Trout Mask Replica, wouldn’t feel out of place on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. Part field holler, part rambling genius. Sometimes weird things just resonate with me. And if forced to make a desert island records list, Trout Mask Replica would have to be on it. You can listen to this thing once a day for a year and still not “get” it all. — Mark Saleski

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