CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND Live from Harpos 1980 (CD on Gonzo Multimedia)
This CD from 2014 features 78 minutes of classic rock music recorded live at Harpo's in Detroit on December 11, 1980 (during the "Doc at the Radar Station" tour.
The Magic Band line-up was: Don van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) (on vocals, saxophones, and Chinese gongs), Eric Drew Feldman (on bass, synthesizer, mandolin, and mellotron), Robert Williams (on drums and percussion), Richard Snyder (on guitar), Jeff Tapir-White (on guitar), and Jeff Morris Tepper (on guitar).
The performance is lively and chocked full of twisted energy. Foot-tapping and hip swaying, the music combines boogie sentiments with progressive delivery.
Beefheart's vocals are coarse and hoarse, but still clear and articulate, as he belts out lyrics of a twisted nature, viewpoints from left-of-center of life. There's a smirking mirth imparted in the singing that is highly infectious.
The guitars are crisp and bouncy, delivering enticing riffs that boost the tuneage. With three guitars in action, you can expect the string-action to be extra busy.
The saxophones are anti-mournful, bristling with hyperactive animation.
The bass provides a rumbling undercurrent that elevates the rest of the instruments. On a few occasions, the bass delivers chugging flurries of dazzling gutsy cadence.
The percussion is steadfast and durable. Generally nothing flashy going on here, just determined rhythms that add solid propulsion to the melodies. There are instances, though, in which the beats dive into tasty tempos of a sparkling character.
The keys are often immersed in the mix. acting like a sneaky coating of honey.
These songs represent a widespread sampling of Beefheart's classic tuneage. This type of music is compelling in its fusion of raw fervor and slick delivery. If one can imagine southern-fried rock filtered through a progressive filter, then spewed out with a pre-punk degree of puissant passion.
The only down-side of this release is that it features an audience recording of the concert. At least it's decent for audience recordings.
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