Monday, April 4, 2016

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART AND HIS MAGIC BAND – Strictly Personal (LP-1968)




Label: Liberty – LBS 83172, Liberty – LBS 83172E
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: Dec 1968
Style: Blues Rock, Avantgarde
Recorded April 25th - May 2nd, 1968 at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, California.
Art Direction – Tom Wilkes
Photography By – Guy Webster
Arranged By, Written-By – Don Van Vliet
Engineer – Bill Lazerus, Gene Shiveley
Producer – Bob Krasnow
Matrix / Runout (Side A stamped runout): LBS 83172 A//1 420
Matrix / Runout (Side B stamped runout): LBS 83172 B//1 420

LBS 83172 is the catalog number on the spine and labels while LBS 83172E is the catalog number on the back cover.

A1 - Ah Feel Like Ahcid ................................................................... 3:05
A2 - Safe As Milk ............................................................................. 5:20
A3 - Trust Us .................................................................................... 8:05
A4 - Son Of Mirror Man - Mere Man ................................................ 5:20
B1 - On Tomorrow ........................................................................... 3:25
B2 - Beatle Bones N' Smokin Stones ............................................... 3:15
B3 - Gimme Dat Harp Boy ............................................................... 5:00
B4 - Kandy Korn ............................................................................... 5:05

Don Van Vliet – lead vocals, blues harp [mouthharp]
Alex St. Claire – guitar
Jeff Cotton – guitar
Jerry Handley – bass
John French – drums, percussion

"Strictly Personal" is the follow-up to "Safe As Milk" and the band's 2nd official album, recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders between 25th April & 2nd May 1968 and released on the "Blue Thumb" label in October of that year.


After the production of "Safe As Milk" Ry Cooder departed, resulting from an incident at a warm-up 'Magic Mountain' gig at Mount Tamalpas prior to their booking at Monterey. The band thus failed to capitalize on airing the tracks at the all-important Monterey Festival in June '67. Problems further plagued Vliet's new-formed line up of Snouffer, Handley, French and Cotton when they began their European gigs in January '68. Their appearances at the UK's "Middle Earth" and "Speakeasy" clubs were jeopardized by problems at Immigration, where they were accompanied by event organizer (and "The Who" manager) Pete Meaden. This 'lack of UK work permit' fiasco soured UK deals between Meaden, Buddah management and Pye - perhaps beginning the rot that would lead Krasnow, and the band, to depart from Buddah. However, the band completed gigs in Hanover on the 16th, London's two club dates on the 20th & 21st, "The John Peel Sessions" on the 24th, the MIDEM performance on the beach at Cannes on the 27th and the Casino le Croisette with "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown" on the 28th. They then returned to the US in February, appearing at the Whisky-A-Go-Go from the 1st to the 4th.



By late April a number of compositions, rehearsals and tapes were begun by the band for a second album on Buddah - broadly conceptualized as a double vinyl entitled "It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper". The core of this work took on a new shape when Vliet teamed the band up to an agreement with producer Bob Krasnow. Vliet had considered renaming the band "Blue Thumb", but this became the name of the new label which Krasnow formed. The material was pared-down to a single album and, whilst The Magic Band were appearing and performing this material back in the UK in May '68, Krasnow assembled the album under his own initiative. Much of the work had been created under the Buddah aegis, which may have been one of the reasons the work was reduced to a single album. Phasing and effects were added by Krasnow to the mix and the "Strictly Personal" album emerged as the first release on "Blue Thumb" as BTS 1. The album has also been manufactured & distributed by Liberty, United Artists and EMI.

The band began and ended their European "Strictly Personal" tour at UK's "Middle Earth" on 3rd & 25th May 1968. In between they appeared in Rome, along with UK bands such as "The Trinity" with Auger & Driscoll, "Ten Years After", "Donovan" and "Fairport Convention", plus another "John Peel Session". Dates also encompassed UK colleges, pubs and clubs, including "Frank Freeman's" in Kidderminster on the 19th - some of which can be found on record.

In retrospect, there has been much controversy among Beefheart followers over the merits of Krasnow's additions to the "Strictly Personal" work. 'Un-phazed' material and sessions can be found on such releases as "I May Be Hungry But I Sure Ain't Weird" or "The Mirror Man Sessions", which provide an overview on the birth and existence of "Strictly Personal". The album "It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper", on the 'Sundazed' label, also plugs gaps in the band's "Strictly Personal" history- onwards to the release of the fifth official album "Mirror Man".



Considered by many to be a substandard effort due to the circumstances of its release (producer Bob Krasnow, the owner of Blue Thumb, the label which debuted with this album, remixed the album while Don Van Vliet and crew were off on a European tour, adding extraneous sound effects like heartbeats and excessive use of psychedelic-era clichés like out-of-phase stereo panning and flanging), 1968's Strictly Personal is actually a terrific album, every bit the equal of Safe As Milk and Trout Mask Replica. Opening with "Ah Feel Like Ahcid," an a cappella blues workout with its roots in Son House's "Death Letter," the brief (barely 35 minutes) album is at the same time simpler and weirder than Safe As Milk had been. Working without another songwriter or arranger for the first time, Captain Beefheart strips his idiosyncratic blues down to the bone, with several of the songs (especially "Son of Mirror Man/Mere Man") having little in the way of lyrics or chords beyond the most primeval stomp. Krasnow's unfortunate sound effects and phasing do detract from the album at points, but the strength of the performances, especially those of drummer John French, make his efforts little more than superfluous window dressing. Strictly Personal is a fascinating, underrated release.
(Review by Stewart Mason)



If you find it, buy this album!

15 comments:

  1. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART AND HIS MAGIC BAND – Strictly Personal (LP-1968)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Artwork

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?8z9zof8jsj

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is absolutely awesome!

    So we listened to the Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica few weeks ago in our regular chill house (the place we hang out, play or listen to the music, sipping beer...). And one of my friends throw a bone to us and asked: "Who's more significant for the music? Zappa or Beefheart?" They are booth very significant of course and it's probably nonsense to argue such question but I just shout out BEEFHEART of course! It was quite a debate after that (haha) but it and up all with conclusion that they are booth very important and had great influence on many young generations...
    One of my friends from debate is a huge Zappa fan and he dedicated this blog to him:

    http://frankzapppa.blogspot.si/


    Thank You again Vitko!!!

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    Replies
    1. Well... when beer flows pleasantly, who cares for shades :)
      Cheers.

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  3. @Dark Matter: OK. Regards.
    Enjoy!

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  4. This kind of a blast from the past. I spend many hour in my youth years listening to the Spotlight Kid and Trout Mask Rerplica, genuine classics stuff that stood the test of time.
    I don't have this particular Beefheart's album so it will be intriguing to listen it.
    Thank you Vitko.

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  5. I love Beefheart; I love all Beefheart. To the point where though I'm fine with "Trout Mask Replica" (everybody's canonical favorite album), I think some of his post-Trout recording is much better (e.g., "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)", "Lick My Decals Off, Baby", "Doc at the Radar Station", even "The Spotlight Kid").

    But, still: when Stewart Mason says "Strictly Personal" is "every bit the equal of [. . .] Trout Mask Replica", well.... no.

    But it's good.

    Cheers.

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  6. Uri, Scraps, Cheers!

    I think this album a madhouse. Maybe that's not what the Don Van Vliet wanted, but nevertheless this is a very good album. For me, one of the favorite Beefheart, perhaps because it is so different.

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  7. As long as we're talking from a point where Captain Beefheart is awesome, we mostly agree. ;-)

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  8. and I might add - THE MAGIC BAND is awesome! :)

    After I read John French's huge book "Beefheart - Through the Eyes of Magic", I never talk about Van Vliet or Cpt. Beefheart alone anymore - the bands contribution is WAY underrated, and this goes with Strictly Personal, too. I don't mind the irritating phasing gimmicks, there's enough quality in here to make me dance!

    Cheers,
    Lucky

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  9. I love Beefheart of course, and already have this, but still it;s nice to see it here, amybe bring it to some unbelievers! I think my favourute album (sometimes anyway) is one of the few Scraps didn't list above - Clear Spot. Webcore, webcore!

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  10. I could have listed Clear Spot, or Ice Cream for Crow, too. Lots of favorites.

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  11. good to see Beefheart and his outfit here...he´s been an inspiration...thank you kindly...

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  12. I've always enjoyed Strictly Personal the most of any of the Captains material, French has stated that it was the most involved he had ever seen the Captain on an album. Also there is disagreement on the Krasnow production with some saying that not only did Beefheart approve it before release but may have even known about it as it was happening. Also interviews from this era show the Captain to me a much more honest person as he admits to doing drugs (even stating that mind expanding drugs are one of the major reasons the youth are "more aware", and that he and the band went out to the desert and got high, even stating he got his name while stoned in a truck with Zappa and a friend) and gives way less cryptic/poetic answers. In 69 Don would start saying outlandish things such as that nobody in the band had ever done any drugs among some mother really weird claims haha. Though we know Bill had been in the infamous Leary Brotherhood, using and selling both LSD and hash, and also French states that whole sessions were dedicated to jamming stoned, describing Don as always high, also stating Don had his girlfriend spike his tea with LSD, and even saying that he and Victor had smoked DMT at the house. Also a college friend of of Don's wife Jan states that Don told stories of how he and his cousin had an ongoing "game" of spiking eachother with LSD, and that Don had been spiked at his parents house. This same friend later drove Don and his wife to their wedding later on and I recommend reading that story. Hell French tells the story of Don seeing a girls head turn into a fish and that inspiring the Trout Mask album cover haha. I think that the Captain was heavily influenced by Zappa's antidrug stance/claims in 69 and also wanted to make up his own crazy Beefheart mythology in which he even told press that he taught the members of the band how to play their instruments, despite being only able to play harmonica and claims by the band that he basically whistled the parts or tried to tried to convey them on a piano he acquired in 69, then leaving French and the band to arrange these parts themselves. Basically Don wanted to be considered an eccentric genius like Zappa, and didn't want people to think his creativity came from drugs instead (Which for the most part is probably true due to the fact that many people did/do as much or more drugs and weren't/aren't very creative at all).

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    Replies
    1. Wish it would let me edit this comment as it has some errors in spelling and grammar, sorry about that.

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    2. Oh, everything's fine, just relaxed :)

      Delete