March 10, 2008

Song heard late last night.

Last night I finally entered the code that got XM radio paying on line — I've had this feeling that I only want to listen to music in my car — and I got back to Bob Dylan's radio show — "Theme Time" — the theme was "birds," and he played the craziest song:

Captain Beefheart singing "Ice Cream for Crows."

ADDED: Ben Ratliff wrote this in 2002:
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, with its clashing meters, crisscrossing melody lines vaulting over wide intervals, and precision timing, was always several steps closer to jazz. ... [T]he great intuitive artist of rock, Captain Beefheart (born Don Van Vliet) ... is said to be in poor health, at home in Northern California after 20 years of forswearing music for a successful second career in oil painting....

[MTV turned down the] video for the song ''Ice Cream for Crow''... Apparently, the video was too arty for the channel. But Mr. Van Vliet himself made great television. By the time of [his 1982] Letterman appearance he could no longer be understood as a hippie: he was unique, a wearily abstract, imperiously folksy 41-year-old. Mr. Van Vliet strolled on the set with a water bottle in a paper bag. Mr. Letterman: ''Do you need a glass?'' Mr. Van Vliet: ''No, but the war is a pimple on the pope's pet dragon.'' A pause. ''What did I mean?''
What do the paintings look like? This.

AND: Why am I always forgetting the possibilities of the internet? Here:

AND: At the end of that Letterman clip, Van Vliet talks about living in the Arizona desert and how hot it is — 114° — and he doesn't sound as though he likes it. Letterman asks him why he lives there. Answer: "I love the tension, the discipline."


George said...

He's an Old Fart at Play

Whatever happened to Antenna Jimmy, Zoot Horn, and Mascara?

Ron said...

Great choice for a bird song! Can we have a "CooCoo" theme to the thread?

Trooper York said...


America, have U heard?
I got a brand new dance and it's called "The Bird"
U don't need no finesse or no personality
U just need 2 arms and an attitude and everybody sing with me
Come on now!

Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa! {x2}

Brothers, don't be cool
Women like it sometimes when U act a fool
Sisters, don't be shy
Let your body get loose, U ain't 2 fat 2 fly
Come on now!

Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa!
Y'all sing it with me, goes like this
Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa!

Hold on now, this dance ain't 4 everybody, just the sexy people
White folks, U're much 2 tight
U gotta shake your head like the black folks
U might get some 2night
Look out!

America, have U heard?
I got a sexy new dance called "The Bird"
U don't need no finesse or no personality
U just need 2 arms and an attitude and everybody sing with me
Come on now!

Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa!
Well, come on!
Wawk! Hallelujah! Whoa!

(Song by Prince, performed by Morris Dey in Purple Rain)

Kirby Olson said...

Beefheart is worth exploring in great detail. There are books out about him and his magic band -- sort of an LSD blues band. The lyrics are hysterical, but underneath that is the driving rhythm of Howling Wolf.

I loved this band.

I never quite loved his paintings.

One of his albums sold 90,000 copies. And it's so weird how it was made. He forced the players to hole up with him in a house for a month and they couldn't leave until it was done. Trout Mask Replica.

The most accessible album is Clear Spot. Quite charming. He was trying to make a chart topper. It works, I think.

George said...


I think the Trout story was to generate media interest because of the dissonance of the music.

It was also said that his sidemen had no experience! And that Beef. taught them how to play! And that all the songs were recorded in one take or something.

Those other players, I've read, were all pros, and their names were gags.

Anyway, nice paintings...Franz Kline meets Jimmy Lee Sudduth meets Munch.

Kirby Olson said...

One of the guitar players has a music shop in Portland, Oregon. You can take guitar lessons from him. I can't remember his name!!

Kirby Olson said...

On the web is an amazing video version of Booglarize You Baby. My favorite online rock video.

Just google Booglarize Beefheart and up it will pop. It's phenomenally good.

Anonymous said...

Comic book artist John Allison wrote a fun mini-biography of Captain Beefheart last fall. It starts here:

"Ice Cream for Crows" shows up on the last page:

Kirby Olson said...

I enjoyed the comic.