Saturday, December 21, 2013

The 5th Night of the Living Van Vliet - Captain Beefheart Festival 2013-2014

In the spirit of the Zappadan Festival, in which we celebrate each year the life and music of Frank Zappa from the date of his death to the date of his birth, I propose we do the same for Don Van Vliet.

January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010

Fans need no introduction, others can read the extensive Wikipedia entry. My own experience with his genius is this.

Although I was born in 1953, and experienced the music and culture of the 60s and 70s like everybody else of my generation, I somehow never got into Zappa or Beefheart. My friends and I were into other things, Jimi, Janice, The Doors and a little bit later, The Yes Group and Queen. 35 years passed in the blink of an eye and one day in 2009 I discovered the Zappadan Festival.  That prompted a full immersion in the many albums of FZ, which as everyone knows can keep one very busy for a very long time. Naturally this activity led me to Captain Beefheart.  I've never been the same since, music appreciation-wise.

Here's the first cut on the first album, Safe as Milk.


  1. still one of favorite might recognize a nattily dressed young Ry Cooder on the cover. I love Sad Baby...a song that could have been released in the early 60's on MoTown even with The Captains poignant vocals. I'm trying to tie a lot of loose ends together in a piece...Zappa and one of his influences, the almost unknown American avant garde classicist, Conlon Nancarrows who lived in Mexico until 1994. I recently have been corresponding with an extraordinary Mexican Bass player and composer who sent me a recording that Nancarrows did shortly before his death acknowledging his friendship and appreciation of Zappa...He did a version of Wliie The Pimp, with the Captains original vocals from Hot Rats, but reworked via Nancarrows vision and as his wife said..."It's a kind of folk music..." I hope to have it on line later tonight.

    1. I'll look for it.

      What I can't believe is that CB's music wasn't more widely appreciated. Several songs on this first album could have been chart-topping hits in my opinion.