Captain Beefheart's masterpiece work and one of the great musical triumphs of the 20th century. Be forewarned that it's difficult stuff, and takes several listening to begin to appreciate it's depths and wonders ( it's also quite humorous in places ).
Easily the masterpiece among all of Beefheart's output, with originality and genuine artistic value beyond most of what you can find in the Rock bins, Trout Mask Replica has cemented its place in music history. Combining his core discipline of the Blues with influences from jazz to nursery rhymes, and a huge splash of Dada ( and Don was the only genuine representative of this concept in Rock), Beefheart takes full and rich advantage of the allowance of complete creative control that producer Frank Zappa gave him on this recording. The Captain, who was a completely self-taught ragamuffin, arrives at harmonies and polyrhythms that suggest a much more sophisticated musical background. And the words, whether lyric, poem or story, are a tour-de-force of vibrant imagery. The story of how this album came to be, encapsulated by Mike Barnes in his book, Captain Beefheart- a Biography, brings an added depth to the appreciation of this outstanding achievement of the human spirit.
I know that I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this album but I have a hard time listening to this. If you like your music to be straight forward this is not for you. If you are open to a whole new world of sound then this might be for you. I still listen to it once in a while to try and figure out what I am missing but it still eludes me.
Not Beefheart's best (that honor belongs to "Doc at the Radar Station"), but one of the most unique, rewarding music-listening experiences you'll ever have. Definitely not for the light-hearted.
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