Thursday, March 20, 2014


Back in the eighties, I was gallivanting around Europe and one stop was in Oostende, Belgium, a small coastal town that was basically just a place to stop for a night before making the de rigueur trek to Amsterdam (weed and the Melkveg, yes, and on this trip, Nico and Gregory Corso at the Paradiso). After dumping my backpack in the room, I went to the hostel lounge to have some coffee. The TV in the lounge was showing some entertainment show and it was the first time I saw the Julio Inglesias and Willie Nelson duet, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before". Inglesias was wearing a tux, Nelson was in blue jeans, a Texas T-shirt, and his trademark braids and headband. There were two hostelers sitting near me and one of them muttered "and Americans wonder why the rest of the world thinks they're weird". That got me ten kinds of worked up, but I kept my trap shut. I didn't want my Willie defense to be mistaken for some sort of blanket patriotism. It was one of those "fuckin' idiots (mumble)" moments.

That was the flashback I had when I saw this clip of  Captain Beefheart from a German TV show. Set the wayback machine to 1972, you're in Germany, and you see this clip. Holy hell, what would you make of it? It's nuts. Imagine seeing it without being desensitized by the whole NY no wave thing, still several years away, or in the case of the latter half of the performance, the jerky blues dismantlers like Jon Spencer and his ilk. This is the missing link between Howlin' Wolf and the Contortions. Dude's channeling something.

Don't bother trying to counter with some Can video, or early Krafwerk. We know Germany had it's own oddballs. Oh god, do we know it. But Beefheart is closer to something, somehow more organic. He sounds like the inside of your body. At least he does in the Melkveg.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Who Do You Think You're Fooling mp3 (via DivShare) at On the Flip-Side
Note: Once you get to DivShare, click on the green Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds. When the button reappears, you're good to go.


doxo said...

1. That video is amazing
2. I had the most perfect coffee presentation ever in Oostende.

missjulied said...

Ack, that wasn't supposed to be my work address. :-)