Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
April 3, 1974
Now I am interested to see how many of you will d/l this beast and if there will be a bootlegger again selling this gig at eBay.
Geoff Geddes: Another 'new' recording has turned up, I have a copy of a gig at The Whisky A Go-Go dated 3rd April 1974. I think this may be the first outing of the 'Tragic Band'. The recording is poor but interesting as you can here the audience getting increasingly frustrated with the music and calling for the old band members. A very valuable piece of history.
Lineage: AUD>?>CD-R>WAV (using Wavelab)>FLAC (using Trader's Little Helper, level 8)
01. Unconditionally Guaranteed (5:38) instrumental
02. Upon The My-O-My (13:50)
03. Crazy Little Thing (3:24)
04. Full Moon Hot Sun (4:40)
05. This Is The Day (6:30)
06. Sugar Bowl (3:10)
07. New Electric Ride (2:37)
08. It's Mighty Crazy (6:57) Lightnin' Slim
09. Sweet Georgia Brown (3:40) sort of Captain's Holiday
10. Peaches (7:02)
Unconditionally Guaranteed is the curious instrumental track which surfaced on several Zappa bootlegs like Metal Man Has Won His Wings or Confidential. Long time this track was attributed to Beefheart Hyde Park '74, which was defintely wrong. I was totally surprised to find it as intro to the first tragic gig.
Total length: 56:46
Issues: the CD-R wasn't mastered very well: lots of digital defects, 2 second gaps between the tracks, 1 second gaps probably from the original tape deleting the most interesting parts, more of the reaction of the crowd. Probably the guy who mastered this one didn't like the gig.
Finally I had to normalize this transfer at low level (-6 dB) to suppress a sometimes rattling sound. But altogether a still enjoyable sound!
Captain Beefheart/Don Van Vliet: vocals, harmonica, saxophone, clarinet
Fuzzy Fuscaldo: rhythm guitar
Ty Grimes: drums
Del Simmons: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute!
Dean Smith: lead guitar
Michael 'Bucky' Smotherman: keyboards
Paul Uhrig: bass
Alan Saul: Sorry, shorthand for the 1974 band that the evil producer Andy DiMartino brought in when the Magic Band quit precipitously. I won't attempt to write the whole sorry history, though it is amusing. Don was mad enough about the Magic Band quitting that he was willing to put up with these guys for awhile, I suspect.
I caught them closely at the beginning when they played the Roxy for a week, and I found it was easy to walk upstairs after each set and hang out with them. Don referred to everybody in the band as Motherbaugh after the actual funny name of the bass player, if I recall correctly. The real (only) star of the group was a middle-aged Italian horn player named Del Simmons. He couldn't play Don's music, but he could entertain pretty well and was a good guy at least. The others seemed pretty much like kids looking to get high all the time.
Henry Kaiser: In 1973 I went to a gig in LA (I had spoken to Bill a couple of weeks before and planned to see him at the show) but I was completely shattered when the Bluejeans And Moonbeams new and not-so-Magic-Band came out on the stage instead of my friends.
(Henry Kaiser: Foreword to Bill Harkleroad's Lunar Notes)
Connor McKnight: There had been stories from America that presaged the dreadful music he played at the Royal Theatre (London, June 1974): a picket at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles who warned customers not to go in, and a hectoring lecture to the audience in New York after a less than sensational gig there.
(Connor McKnight: Whatever Happened To The Magic Band? ZigZag #44, August 1974)
Harald Sundt: I later saw the Los Vegas type pick-up band back Beefheart at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go after the Unconditionally Guaranteed era Magic Band broke up ... he seemed so dispirited!
Drugs are no longer an experiment ... they are a way of coping with living in Long Beach California and seeing Peace and Love become party bunnies up so many days they are varnished with funky shine, ants crawling, legs hopping, scalded by their bulging eyes. Bezidrex inhaler felt stems stirred in strong black coffee, mean so mean everywhere its a kind of grim mirth. I drive out to the Whisky-A-Go-Go, (remember Grazarri's Dancers? Black Tee sHirts bouncing boobs banned by biddys from Channel 9 on Friday Nights?). Don is playing with a Los Vegas Quality Lounge Act pick up band with great sad eyes.
At the end I shake his hand, and he says, "This Band has some magic to it!". I smile like a Doctor shaking hands with a family member leaving a hospital room so the patient can be told he's dying.