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 positively 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?
From an album where everything else is lyrically (and musically) full-on Dada to the point of absolute confusion, Captain Beefheart leaves not even a trace of ambiguity as to what this one‘s about, those Final Solution Blues being the heaviest ever known.
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)