Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
1972 rehearsal tape
Shelter of Don Van Vliet's Living Room, Santa Cruz, California

Langdon Winner's Rehearsal Tape

This thing is somewhat mysterious. Track 1-6 are on a tape called '1972 rehearsal tape'. This version here is transferred from the Lick My Decals Off Baby Outtakes tape. Henry Kaiser identified the tape as a rehearsal tape coming from sessions in Santa cruz early 1970 before Lick My Decals Off Baby was recorded. But they moved to Santa Cruz not before March or April 1971 after coming back from their two months Northern America tour.
I am confused. However, Langdon Winner met the band early in 1970 (see below) and was with the band on their 1971 tour.
Any ideas about the date?

01-Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian (2 Takes) (4:43) "Bill, what's the name of that? It's very nice".
02-I Love You, You Big Dummy (3:09)
03-Best Batch Yet (5:19)
04-Alice In Blunderland (7:12) including false start
05-I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go (2:06) including false start
06-Untitled Instrumental #1 (3:59)
07-Untitled Instrumental #2 (2:12)
08-Untitled Instrumental #3 (2:48) cut

Total length: 31:28

Source: Lick My Decals Off, Baby Outtakes Tape

rehearsal>tape (Langdon Winner)>tape (Henry Kaiser)>tape (2 gens)>Wavelab 4.0/Timeworks Mastering EQ>wav>CD-R>EAC>wav>Wavelab 5.0 (revision)>flac frontend (level 8)>flac

Quality: 7 of 10.
Track 6 and 7 had some heavy droning (probably the reason why the 1972 rehearsal tape doesn't include track 6-9). Did some work on the sound to remove/suppress the fault.

Henry Kaiser: THIS is a rehearsal before recording DECALS at the house they lived in the SANTA CRUZ mountains. Just Artie on drums. Elliot quits after this and Drumbo comes back and then they make the record.... This came from a tape that Langdon Winner made of them rehearsing and then he gave it to me to copy back in the mid-70's and I suppose that all the other copies came from that... They also do Big Toe and an unnamed Country Blues type tune on this tape.
Alice In Blunderland was originally intended to be part of af a Rock Opera that Don said he would write. (Don told Langdon Winner this). It would be a concerto for Elliot to solo in. He never got around to writing the opera. After Elliot quit the Decals tour it was a time killing part of the show for Don and Bill to solo on. Then it got reconstructed for Elliot when he came back for Spotlight Kid. As you know it canibalizes Big Black Baby Shoes which was later retitled Ice Rose. The Alice on Spotlight Kid is edited down from a 12 minute version. They made the cuts on the 16 track master - so the long version does not exist anymore. This irritated me to no end when I went thru the Warner vault to review all the material..... It''s my personal Hoy Grail to find Elliot playing long versions - because hearing him do that at the Tufts show is what made me go out and buy my first guitar......
(Henry Kaiser by email)

Langdon Winner: His new Magic Band is probably the best he's ever had and may be one of the best in the country. He has recently added drummer Art Tripp - formerly of the Mothers Of Invention - who provides exactly the right blend of rhythmic novelty and imagination to the groups' sound. Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) and Rockette Morton (Mark Boston), musicians that Beefheart taught from scratch, have reached musical maturity and are eager to get out before the public.
Both of them are remarkably talented and love the music they play with an unwavering passion. The Captain himself is clearly at the peak of his creativity in terms of both composition and performance. His new songs in rehearsal - Woe Is A Me Bop, Alice In Blunderland and others - are even better than the tunes on Trout Mask Replica. I have heard the new Magic Band play this music in the shelter of Beefheart's living room and, believe me, it's simply incredible.
(Langdon Winner: I'm Not Even Here I Just Stick Around For My Friends. Rolling Stone #58. May 14, 1970)

nowave: i think by the sound of this, it's absolutely impossible for this tape to be from '70 ... it's the band in proto-"clear spot" boogie mode and definitely seems like '71 or '72 stuff for sure.
the magic band just wasn't playing this way in '70. for them to have had a weird momentary diversion into slickness and then back out for the utter rawness and angularity of "decals" seems incredibly unlikely.
furthermore, there's actually a count off before track 8 ... no screamed "and!" ... no way is this from '70.
henry kaiser definitely knows his stuff, but i think there was a mix up some place along the line.
regardless, this tape is fantastic to hear, so thanks!