The Lost Broadcasts (DVD)

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band

Gonzo Multimedia, 2012

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


It is always difficult to write about the music of Captain Beefheart, since it is virtually impossible to describe in any cogent manner. Then again, this may have been what The Beefer was aiming for in the first place.

He used Frank Zappa’s early material as a jumping off point, which enabled him to explore the outer edges of not only rock ‘n’ roll but of music itself. His ultimate goal was bringing art to life, which many times made for a tenuous relationship with established musical forms. His music always had a tension between the desire to entertain and the ability to shock, and this was a tension that many times veered out of control.

Don Van Viet (1941-2010) is now remembered as one of the more eclectic figures in rock ‘n’ roll history. I had a nighttime radio show for a couple of years while in college and his albums, Trout Mask Replica and my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Lick My Decals Off Baby, received a lot of time on the turntable in the wee hours of the morning when I was trying to stay awake.

During 1972, he and his Magic Band were touring England and Europe when they made a stop at The Beat Club Studios in Bremen, Germany to record some tracks for later broadcast on German television. His band at the time consisted of bassist Rockette Morton (Mark Boston), guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad), guitarist Orejon (Roy Estrada), drummer Ed Marinmba (Art Tripp), and guitarist Winged Eel Fingerling (Elliot Ingber).

They only recorded four tracks for broadcast, although there were multiple takes. Only one of these takes has been available on a regular basis, while the rest have been consigned to a dusty vault. But the session has now been resurrected as a DVD titled The Lost Broadcasts.

The album begins in typical Beefheart fashion. “Mascara Snake” is a bass solo piece and Mark Boston can play the bass as his fingers virtually fly over the strings. There are two takes of “Clich Clach,” and the longer of the two show what a tight sound The Magic Band had at the time. There is also a short track of band introductions.

There are three takes of “I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby.” The third is the most professional of the set and is the track that has been readily available. The Captain had one of the more powerful voices in rock and here he struts his stuff. One of the throwaway tracks is the most interesting as the performance was interrupted by a technician, which caused Beefheart to walk off the stage. While he is gone, the band really cooks until Beefheart reappears to finish the vocals.

The DVD is completed with two filler tracks. “Steal Softly Thru Snow” dated back to Trout Mask Replica while “Golden Birdies” looked ahead to Clear Spot.

The sound and picture quality are excellent considering the equipment of the day and the number of years that have passed.

Watching Captain Beefheart is a different experience than listening to him as there is less room for the mind to wander.  Still, The Lost Broadcasts is a nice introduction to the stage act of one of rock’s madmen. This is a must for any fan of The Captain or for anyone who wants to travel a musical journey rarely taken.

Rating: B

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© 2012 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Gonzo Multimedia, and is used for informational purposes only.