Rock Music – Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart

A superb album that takes a bit of getting used to.

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Trout Mask Replica

Trout Mask Replica has the reputation of being the greatest Rock album ever released. The Marcel Proust/James Joyce of Rock music. I certainly thought so when it came out and I still do.

I was already a huge fan of Beefheart’s. I had been to concerts and lapped up all the previous albums. I adored Strictly Personal. As far as I was concerned Beefheart was the best.

I managed to pick up a copy of Trout Mask Replica before it was released in Britain. It had come out in America and this record shop had bought in a bunch that they were selling for a staggering ten pounds each. It was a double album but that was still absurd. But even so I was sorely tempted.

In the end I bought a damaged copy. One of the albums had been cracked in transit. The crack went through…

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15 thoughts on “Rock Music – Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart

  1. Every one? Noooo. It’s just basically slowed down Howling Wolf. Hubert Sumlin could have played both of these boys – and they were just boys – right off the stage.
    Wolf would have laughed.
    Trk 1. OK
    2. Nope, silly nonsense that drags the flow right down from the start.
    3. Better
    4. hated it
    5. an irritating noise, very badly played
    6. Better
    7. OK, lasts too long, too repetitive going nowhere
    8. when the band really doesn’t work too well
    9. exact same tempo as the previous, a bit wearing
    10. a mess
    11. easy blues, minimal effort, shocking recording quality
    12. Better
    13. very tiresome to listen to
    14. similar to previous only worse as it’s instrumental
    15. hysterical insanity, pass
    16. solo vocal blues, lyrics total rubbish
    17. Better, probably heard better live versions
    18. more very similar chords to several others played previously, bass players slow
    19. OK
    20. OK
    21. solo vocal done live, mistakes and all. daft lyrics. heard better later version
    22. four instruments all playing a different tune, aural hell
    23. OK
    24. sounds like the Monty Python sketch “where’s my brain?”
    25. at least the listener gets a laugh, a short one, but a laugh all the same
    26. we’ve all heard the jangly off-key guitars too many times by now
    27. sounds like the band are still wanting to play the last song, the Captain doesn’t
    28. Better -it needed to be as it’s been a while.

    28 ttacks/songs and 5 are keepers. Could maybe stretch it to 7 and make it a nice round quarter, which is about what most people think.
    So there you have it. 2.5/10.

    1. Well you are entitled to your opinion. I rate every single one. Great range of style and words – humour to philosophy.
      Not my favourite Beefheart album but close.

    2. Well obvious Wolf influences – and why not? The man’s a genius and few people get near to matching that voice.
      Sumlin was great – but having seen him close up live I can say he was not as good as Zoot.

      1. Humour I’ll grant you but it wears thin in short successive listens. I stopped laughing in 1969. Philosophy? Of a cockle-doodle-doo nature perhaps, but not exactly Nietzsche.
        I don’t think that about Rollo myself. He was good but not outstanding. I just know from playing that Sumlin was superb. I know Jimmy Page agrees and I’ve heard that he can play some himself too.
        Do I need to remind you that Rollo was essentially a slide player? Slide playing requires only about a quarter the ability of a pick player, and not necessarily using a pick either and using just finger nails. Or did you know that?

      2. I love slide playing. Did the first time I heard Elmore and then Willie Johnson and Son House. Howlin’ Wolf is one of my favourite Blues guys and I caught Sumlin live in Leeds many years ago. I do like that North Country Blues riff.
        IMO Slide may be easier in some ways but it is very difficult to get sounding right.

      3. Your comment tells me that you are nothing of any guitar player. I’m afraid that simply having an opinion does not alter the fact that slide playing takes a lot less ability.
        You have confused technical ability with technical conditions. For an electric slide guitar to be “sounding right”, three things need to happen. The guitar is in tune, the guitar has enough volume and the sustain setting on the amplifier set correctly.

        Son House’s guitar playing was a bit (a bit? it was terrible!) rudimentary, don’t you think? He used his guitar like a tambourine, it was merely something to rattle, make an accompanying noise. He kept a better meter with his foot stomp.

        What’s a North Country Blues riff?

      4. Peter – you assume that what sounds great for you sounds great to everyone else. What is technically right is not necessarily what is good. I go purely with what I enjoy. Many great guitarists who are technically brilliant sound boring to me. Many guitarists who have nowhere near the skill of others sound great.
        When I saw Son House play it was one of the most exciting and unexpectedly brilliant gigs I have ever seen. He had the whole place on their feet roaring for more. That’s all that matters.

      5. I’m not talking in generalist terms. I explained to you what it takes to get a slide guitar sounding right. It’s all about volume control and sustain.
        I think it was yourself who first assumed what sounds great for you etc.

        Yet you talk such utter drivel when you try to tell me Hubert Sumlin wasn’t as good as that Beefheart boy, with all his pedals and amps and guitar toggles. When in January 1956 it was Sumlin who recorded ‘Smokestack Lightning’.
        You are no guitar player to come out with that and any and every guitar player that I know would look at you with pity and astonishment. Get a grip of yourself.

        Never in my life have I ever heard any well known and respected guitar player applauding the guitar skills of Zoot Horn Rollo. What is an absolute certainty is that they all have done so towards Hubert Sumlin. Looks to me as if you are very much out in the cold on your own on that.
        Btw: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards paid Sumlin’s funeral expenses. Nuff said.

      6. Peter – I do not care one jot for all the crap details. What counts is what one enjoys. Zoot was a brilliant performer who created a great sound. Who are you trying to show off to?

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