“In which the good Captain (Beefheart, that is) sublimely demonstrates what white men ought to be doing with the ole Mississippi Delta Blues – not just imitating them but working them, taking them somewhere deep, strange, more complicated, and yeah, probably inappropriate, because I don’t think booglarize just means to compel someone to get out on the dance floor. Though I did have the exquisite experience of watching a couple dance to it once, all wild hair and hippie beads. I was still just a kid really, maybe fourteen, hanging out at my friend Carl’s place during one his big brother’s parties. One of those legendary wild and wasted mid-70s affairs, before disco hit and confused everything in terms of what constituted suitable dance music. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s first time I ever heard the Captain’s music. Paid attention to it anyway. But how could I not have noticed something like I’m Gonna Booglarize You, working at least three separate yet finely intertwined grooves with such finesse that a man couldn’t help but get to growling. Or a boy. Anybody really.” (Philip Random)
These 12 Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Randophonic’s other 12 Mixtapes of Christmas from two years ago, or even with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you). And they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).
There’s no particular genre, no particular theme or agenda being pursued, beyond all selections coming from Randophonic’s ever expanding collection of used vinyl, which continues to simultaneously draw us back and propel us forward (sonically speaking) — music and noise and whatever else the world famous Randophonic Jukebox deems (or perhaps dreams) necessary toward our long term goal of solving all the world’s problems.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from Roy Orbison to Curtis Mayfield to Can, Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Kraftwerk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and beyond (and that’s just from the first mix) — anything and everything, as long as it’s good.
An almost normal song from the good Captain which proves beyond doubt that there was serious method in his oft savage strangeness, because as Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles makes clear, he had it in him to nail a whole other career of chart topping, unit shifting odes to blue eyes and their imponderable depths. In fact, you get the idea, Beefheart could’ve done it all his sleep. But nah, that was somebody else’s dream.
“A big dumb love song c/o the Captain (Beefheart, that is) who had no tolerance for fools, or straights, or normals, or anybody anywhere that couldn’t grasp The Strange. But he clearly had a heart. A friend of mine used to insist that if he ever got married, I Love You, You Big Dummy would be the first dance. He did eventually get married but no, it didn’t get played first, last or anywhere in between. The divorce papers got filed less than a year later.” (Philip Random)
In which the good captain (Beefheart, that is) kicks out more of those blues so authentic it can only feel surreal to hear them coming from a white man. But then you actually listen to what’s going on and you realize, this isn’t authentic at all. It’s mutant, working curves and angles that feel positively alien. Of course, he did go to high school with Frank Zappa. Which raises the question, who the hell else went to Antelope Valley High back in the day? And what was in the water?
Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart in full-on freak mode from 1969’s Hot Rats. Dare a freak ask for more? Yeah, actually, or more to the point, less of the noodly jamming that eats up so much of the nine plus minutes running time, and more of the Captain being the Captain. But really, who’s complaining?
“Captain Beefheart in general and Trout Mask Replica in particular remain my go-tos when I no longer really want to listen to music, but I still must. The 1960s were winding down. The revolution wasn’t coming any time soon. The war was still raging in Vietnam. Somebody had to try something entirely different, else the whole culture would crumble. Enter the Captain and his producer, one Frank Zappa. Sugar n’ Spikes is as close as any of it got to what one might have called a single.” (Philip Random)