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Captain Beefheart/Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Doc at the Radar Station [Limited Edition]

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (Nov. '89) - Ranked #61 in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey.

Spin (p.58) - Ranked #3 in Spin's "The 10 Best Reissues of 2006" -- "[A] hell-ride spree of sprawling anti-blues guitar sawing, ADD beats, and grizzled Dada spew..."

Q (p.119) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he voice is always majestic and the conviction total."

Uncut (p.78) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here was a bracingly eccentric precision to some of the instrumental cameos..."

Musician (8/92, p.94) - "...a masterpiece...Digital remastering only serves to reiterate what an odd-sounding record DOC is--completely dry, with no reverb or any effects of any kind, all the better to hear every jagged-edge guitar line..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Don "Captain Beefheart" Van Vliet (vocals, bass clarinet, harmonica, soprano saxophone, Chinese gongs); John "Drumbo" French (guitar, slide guitar, marimba, bass, drums); Jeff Morris Tepper (slide guitar, guitar); Gary Lucas (guitar, French horn); Bruce Lambourne Fowler (trombone); Eric Drew Feldman (piano, electric piano, Mellotron, synthesizer, bass); Robert Arthur Williams (drums).

Recorded at Sound Castle Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California.

Recorded and released relatively late in his career, DOC AT THE RADAR STATION finds Beefheart in characteristically fine, freakish and musically-accelerated form. Echoing the freneticism and jump-cut aesthetic of some of his earlier work, the album is propelled by wiry guitar work, explosive, syncopated drumming and warped, raunchy blues riffs all calibrated by highly skilled musicians to sound as close to chaos as possible.

Beefheart's loveable gravely vocals (which sound like they belong to a deranged, boozed-up lecher), strain into ecstasy on "Sue Egypt," tumble pell-mell through "Run Paint Run Run," and rollick over the humps of Sheriff of Hong Kong." His lyrics veer from poetry to psycho-babble, as in "Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee") featuring the good Captain's poignant lyrical facility ("Her neck broke open and glistened in the dew"). As always, the music is an amalgam of neck-breaking changes, comic and high-brow sensibilities and melodies which have been broken, spliced and reconstituted but manage to remain, somehow, accessible.


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