Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Safe As Milk - Review
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critics' view

1967 was a big year for the good Captain and his band – it saw the release of the debut LP “Safe As Milk” in September, the home for the phenomenal “Electricity”. His astonishing held and screamed vocals amidst the ghostly, sliding guitars and jagged rhythms were a new sensation that was simply not appreciated by unaccustomed ears of the time. The blues-rockers had signed to A&M Records, where the regional success of the single “Diddy Wah Diddy” had earned them the opportunity to record a full-length album. Despite the presence of classic Van Vliet compositions such as “Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do”, “Drop Out Boogie” and “Electricity”, label president Jerry Moss rejected the completed record as “too negative” and a crushed Beefheart was forced to take his first step down Outsider Avenue. After replacing guitarist Doug Moon with Jeff Cotton and drummer Paul Blakely with John French, the group (fleshed out by guitarist Ry Cooder) recut the songs in 1967 as “Safe as Milk”. It was down to the smaller indie, Buddah Records, to give the album its release. Despite the great improvement in the playing and the production the album was released to an indifferent world and failed to reach even the Top 100 in either the States or Britain. “No commercial potential” said the industry, and they were probably right. That’s public taste for you. Meanwhile, “More of The Monkees” was the best-selling LP of the year in the states. You have to laugh really…

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