Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Dirty Blue Gene

• “Dirty Blue Gene” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to MrWzzzW.

9.6 “All-time classic Indie Rock / Alternative Rock from the USA”

From their album “Doc At The Radar Station” (Virgin VA-13148), released in 1980.

Polly Jean woz ‘ere…. who can possibly refrain from bursting into “Don’t you wish you, never, never met her, don’t you wish you, never, never met her”… it’s a proper fruit pastels job…

My album review:

Those mid-70s miss-steps seem like a distant memory now, as Captain Beefheart delivers another belter to follow 1978s brilliant “Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)”. That said, the album is far from a continuation of the relatively smooth accessibility of its predecessor, actually being a bit of a throwback to their ‘wonky blues’ period which predated “Trout Mask Replica”. The re-appearance of guitarist/drummer John French (who had played on the first six Beefheart albums) seems very natural in these circumstances. Thankfully, the world was more receptive to their craziness this time around; with punk having broken down barriers of convention, it really was a case of anything goes for a hungry, modern audience of musical adventurers. Said Beefheart at the time: “I’m doing a non-hypnotic music to break up the catatonic state… and I think there is one right now.” The new wave jangle may well be the flavour-of-the-month at the dawning of the decade, but the decidedly jagged blues-rock of “Hot Head” and the post-Diddley aggression of “Ashtray Heart” are here to drop bombs on the scene. It’s a one-band fight, but by the time they’ve finished side one with “Run Paint Run Run” and “Sue Egypt” you fancy they will remain standing tall in 1980, against the odds. The incredible “Dirty Blue Gene” on side two is up there with the greatest pieces ever recorded by the act: “If you’ve got ears you’ve got to listen.” Miss this one at your peril.

You can check more of my favoured album reviews from 1980 here.

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