“Veteran’s Day Poppy”
CD Reissue | 1990 | Reprise | at amazon ]
Original Vinyl | 1969 | Straight | at ebay ]
Vinyl Reissue | 2009 | Warner | at ebay ]
Best album to me!
This album makes my head hurt. Of all the four-letter words I could use to describe it, I think “suck” sums it up best…
Hey, dk, you gotta rise to the challenge. Thank heavens for screwballs like the Captain: imagine a musical world full of just Carpenters and Barry Manilows. Creating an album of music intended to sound totally and utterly improvised whilst actually being composed note by note, as this allegedly is, must have taken some doing. I don’t know what the musicians were taking at the time, but, boy, they must have been patient with the Cap.
Yes, true, this album is a masterpiece….what else sounds like it? It’s not everyone’s cuppa but you’d be hard pressed to think of another record as individual and thoughtful as this. It’s influenced generations of pop musicians….Beefheart has made many great classics too (Safe as Milk, Strictly Personal, Lick My Decals and so forth). It’s refreshing to hear someone step out of the standard pop format – that’s what the good Captain has done here.
I am a fan of the Cap’n in general – ‘Safe As Milk’, ‘Clear Spot’ and ‘The Spotlight Kid’ are all great albums, and I can appreciate the unique perspective that his music is coming from. That said, I’ve never been able to even come close to seeing the appeal of this record, in spite of repeated listens. Most of the songs here sound like out-of-tune, incomplete works that have no shape or sense.
Like Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’, this is one of those albums that I wish I could listen to a few times with other people’s ears, because the upside of it is completely lost on me. If that makes me square, then so be it…
Fast and Bulbous!!
It’s either a work of total genius or it’s a heap of dog dooh masquerading as an avant garde gemstone. I’m of the opinion that it’s a bit of both. I think you’ve got to look at the album as a happening, an experience rather than “a double album of late sixties music man”. You don’t sit down with the folks for dinner and put this lp on, and I say lp, as it just wouldn’t be right on cd. You need the break that turning the thing over affords you. I love a lot else about this album as much as the music itself and I think that’s the point; the story behind the making of it, the months of rehearsals locked in a cabin together, the time it took to record (a couple of sessions according to Jimmy Carl Black), the persons involved, the cover shot (my favourite LP cover of all time), the liner notes, the humour the photo’s…it’s all part of the experience. Highlight’s…Ella Guru, Dachau Blues, pachuco cadaver, Orange Claw Hammer. By the ticket take the ride, it’s up to you…bulbous but also tapered.
Along with, say, Sandinista!, Trout Mask Replica is one of those records that would absolutely be improved with some major trimming. However, just as with Sandinista!, the record would lose most of its charm if it were reduced to only its veteran’s-day-poppiest. Start to finish it’s like a baggy monster of a novel: full of unexpected detours, side trips, moments of insight, dull ugliness, beauty. For me, shaggy dog records like TMR are the most transportative.
“Sweet Sweet Bulbs,” “Ella Guru,” “Pachuco Cadaver,” and “Dali’s Car” hold their own against any guitar rock I can think of.
The review for “Trout Mask Replica” was merely a two word review which simply read “Shit Sandwich”.
This is an album for brave listeners, because it’s not fulfilling any expectations. My first reaction sounded like “What the hell is this?”. Then I gave it more and more tries and the album grew after every repetition. And though I have studied classical music I am still exploring more details after years. This is not a record you can consume in thirty minutes. But if you work on the experience of listening it will give you a longtimed relationship.
A great record, but not one that I listen to that often. If it was recorded better that wouldn’t be the case.