Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Clear Spot (1972) (1 Viewer)

Bernie Lomax

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This is the week I found out how hard it can be to listen to an album if you don't have it readily available on one of your devices. Listening via youtube didn't really work. It feeds you the songs out of order, and whatever way it calculates what to listen to next, you find the playlist switching between songs on different album. It got a bit trying at times.

I tried again this morning while keeping the tracklisting open beside me, hoping to actually listen to the album in the proper order.

It didn't work.

At this stage I don't even fully know if I've heard every song on the album, but I reckon I've heard most, at least a few times.

So basically, I've heard a bunch of songs from the album, rather than having heard the album itself. Maybe I'll come back to this thread after I get a copy of it, listen to it how it was meant to be listened to, and form a fair and proper opinion.

My thoughts on what I have managed to listen to are this. The wiki page said that this was an attempt by Beefheart to get himself more commercial success (and I presume, money). I can hear that here. The songs are very catchy. There wasn't a single song that I'd have classified as a 'difficult' listen. I'd contrast that with the other 2 albums I've heard, 'Safe as Milk', and 'Trout Mask Replica'.

'Safe as Milk' has one or two songs that are better than anything on here, but overall, as an album, this seems far more accessible.

And I'm surprised I'd never heard any of the songs from it before. 'Long Neck Bottles' and 'Her Eyes are a Blue Million Miles' are amazing. Why these never garnered 'classic rock' status is a mystery. I was curious to read that the album had been out of print for a long time which, I presume, is an indication that it didn't do so well commercially (the wiki page says it didn't chart in the UK, and scraped a 191 in the Billboard 200). Very odd. Maybe I'm being wide of the mark by saying this, but might that because the sound is more typical of mid to late 60s, than of early 70s? Or maybe thats completely wrong, and it just wasn't publicised enough.

And, other than as part of a box-set, it didn't get a reprint until 2015? Thats a bit mad. Probably why its not on spotify either.

Anyway, I'll buy it and give it a proper listen. I'm loathe to give it a mark out of 5 because I don't feel fully informed at this point. But, its album club and I feel the need to grade it based on whatever amount of listens within the week. So, I'll agree with what allmusic say, and give it 4/5. Seems excellent and I look forward to more listens.
here you go dude
 

Anthony

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listening on youtube is such a pain. I just closed the window twice by mistake. I have too much going on on my desktop for this messing.
Anyway, it reminded me of walking onto Freakout Records or that record shop on George's Sreet (gone now too), Smile I think it was called.
 

dudley

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This was available for years on cd in a twofer, actually two albums squeezed onto the one cd. Spotlight kid was the first lp which is very similar in style and intent and is perfectly fine, but has none of the magic of clear spot. I imagine you'd find a second hand copy of that version pretty easily on discogs or similar.

I wonder did the sun zoom spark reissue have anything to do with those albums not being on Spotify. Unless jayz demanded them for tidal....
 

travispickle

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@scutter this youtube playlist here has the album in the correct order and just plays it straight -
I bought a copy of this last night only, as it was difficult to get to listen to it otherwise, as Scutter said earlier.
I gave it a few listens on Youtube via the PC yesterday afternoon just to get a feel for it.
This is my first time ever listening to Captain Beefheart (excluding Ice cream for crow which I saw on Mtv or something similar when it came out) I'm not sure why I haven't delved in before now, despite plenty of friends recommending Trout Mask Replica or Safe as Milk over the years. And I might now try to give those a listen.

I like this album overall, kind of, but I think I'd need to give it an awful lot more listens. Pretty much all the first side is good, but that trio of Too Much Time/Circumstances/My head is my only house unless it rains is fantastic. The sound and groove on Circumstances sounds so contemporary (as does the title track) it must have sounded pretty far out in '72 (although it leans heavily toward Krautrock I think). The guitar part on My Head is my only House is insanely catchy; how that hasn't been sampled (or has it?) or covered by someone is beyond me; I can't stop playing it; it's so groovy. And Too Much Time is a smash it waiting to happen.

Van Vliet's voice has been a real surprise; I didn't realise he could actually sing! I thought he just growled and grumbled over the music. The way he uses his voice on this record is fantastic; just listen to Sun Zoom Spark. He flits easily between blue eyed soul, rock, avant weirdness and everything in between. This album may have been his attempt to go after a more "commercial" sound, but like any genuinely original artist it sounds like he lands on something else entirely but still very much his own.

The 2nd side hasn't grabbed me as much but maybe it requires further listens; it seems a real grower of an album.
It's a solid 4/5 for me.
 

portrid

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This one (Clear Spot) is the default Mojo-friendly capt. Bf choice according to marky Smith as he says at some point in this video linked below. He's up for Strictly Personal himself.
I picked Shiny Beast which is the "Vic Reeves" choice but might change that to Doc at the Radar Station because reasons
 

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