Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Captain Beefheart RIP

Sad news of the death of Captain Beefheart - perhaps the most polarising artist that rock music has ever seen. I was surprised to see that he was only 69. I remember the release of his last album in the early 1980s and his subsequent abandonment of music for art - so he was only 40 then. Amazing.

I first came across him via John Peel of course. Tracks like Moonlight in Vermont and Big Eyed Beans from Venus were often played. Indeed I remember Peel playing the whole of Trout Mask Replica one track at a time over several weeks - I don't thing he ever did that with any other record.

Looking at Amazon.com and the reviews of Trout Mask Replica, there are currently 423 reviews and it is this that shows the deeply polarising aspect of his work. 236 are 5*, 34 are 4*, 24 are 3*, 5 are 2 * and 124 are 1*. So people either really love it or really hate it. I doubt any other artist has such a distribution of reviews. In our household, 1 person rates it 5*, the other two 1*

It is a few years now since I saw The Magic Band play the Zodiac in Oxford and what a treat that was. The world is a lesser place for the absence of people such as Captain Beefheart

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