Friday, July 1, 2011

Bat Chain Puller

A bat chain refers to the chain that hangs down from a signal post on a train line. The signal device that was pulled down was called a bat and different bats had different colours to signal the train driver as to the condition of the track ahead, or whether the train could proceed,etc.

The bat chain puller was the person who set the signals for the approaching train according to track status reports recieved by telegraph.

The song BCP probably metaphorically refers to the fact that this job is obsolete in the world of train spotters in this automated world.


  1. Did you listen to Shiny Beast back in the day? It made a lot more sense with some good LSD. My friends and I loved Tropical Hot Dog Night and You Know you're a Man We used to laugh our asses off. The good captain had a magic band! It's funny how you can never really get back to that same state of mind that seemed so easy to come by in 1979. Zappa was good too. Dynamo Hum comes to mind.

  2. Captain Beefheart is one of America's great originals...It's hard to define what he did with music, because on one hand he breaks the all the rules and allows some improvisation, but ont the other hand, the music is so highly organized and disciplined. It's rock, it's blues but fractured and faceted. One of the other musical touchstones that changed the way we listen would be Ornette Coleman, who did the same thing with jazz, but created a highly disciplined framework that allowed anything to happen. Beefheart was a true American surrealist, but as in his paintings, he was a real abstract expressionist. He used the south western california desert world of his childhood to create a truly original uniquely American alternate universe the way George Herriman transfigured the physical reality of Arizona to create the surreal universe of Cococino County for Krazy Kat.
    I still find his recording, Lick My Decals Off, to be one of the most original and still most satisfying bodies of work almost 40 years after it s release. It was like someone had taken all of your Van Morrison records and smashed them with a hammer and chemically reduced them to a substance you could put into a crack pipe.

  3. Flying Junior...the state of mind that existed in 1979? You can't go there? Stop thinking about the concept of Today and start thinking about's always now.

  4. Micro,

    Maybe, I'm not sure. I wouldn't want to go back all by myself. Maybe I could look up my Zappa-loving friend in Nashville!

  5. Flying Junior, I somehow missed Zappa and CB back in the 60s and 70s. I was into other things, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Yes, later it was David Bowie and Queen, and on and on.

    About two or three years ago I got into Zappa in a big way, Microdot had no small part in that. Soon after I discovered Captain Beefheart.

    I mark these additions to my music appreciation repertoire among the best in my whole life.

  6. Before my friend schooled me In Zappa, I was mostly into Hendrix, Dylan, Allman Bros, Cream...

    After hearing Black Sabbath's first album, I bought Paranoid before I ever even heard it on the radio. I had just heard Starman on BBC that spring. After Tony Iommi left, it was never the same for me.