Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Love You, Big Dummy

Due to my Holiday haitus, I missed commenting on the passing of Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart. Don was a painter and an enormously influential musician who, along with his group The Magic Band, released a series of albums- the most notable being Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby. Wildly experimental, The Captain's Howlin' Wolf-inspired vocals delivered his abstract expressionist poetry over angular beats and disjointed melody lines. Not easy listening but, if one is able to cross the threshold into the Captain's house, very rewarding.

I saw the Captain perform with his band in 1971 in the intimate confines of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. I had heard the Decals album, but was unprepared for what was a total assault on my musical sensibilities. The band was unbelievably precise, playing with inspiration and intensity. The Captain was a man possessed. It was certainly the most memorable concert I have ever attended.

I'll leave you with some of Don's finest poetry in the form of the lyric to his song Doctor Dark, from Lick My Decals Off, Baby:

Mama, mama, here come Doctor Dark
Horse clippin', clappin' 'n his ol' hooves makin' sparks
Black leather lady Lord carried her bags
The hell horn, hell horn, hell horn
Horn rim crimped
Glasses look out on the pale hell bent
Moon milk run
O' lady go home
Lord they done cookin' done
Black lady
Black leather lady
Done had a white, white, white poor son
Mama, mama, here come Doctor Dark
Horse clippin', clappin' 'n his ol' hooves makin' sparks
Gotta git me who I want to
God, Lord knows I've got to oh see that Doctor Dark
Mama, mama, here come Doctor Dark
Horse clippin', clappin' 'n his ol' hooves makin' sparks
Shed a tear on the meadow lark 'n like
Tear t' drink
T' brush away
'n tear apart 'n black 'n white 'n like
Tear t' drink t' brush away
'n tear apart 'n black 'n white 'n like
The moon a pail of milk spilled down black in the night
Little girl lost a tear
'n her kite
T' the night 'n like 'n light
God, Lord knows I've got to oh see that
Doctor Dark

By Professor Batty



1 Comments:

Anonymous Jon said...

Never got to see him in concert, but just about wore out Trout Mask Replica. He definitely pushed the boundaries.

Post a Comment