HOT rock CD of the week (1/11/2013) (Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Ice Cream For Crow)
This Beefheart character is one STRANGE rocker… I first really noted that on the CD featured here, & from that point on made sure I got EVERY ONE of his new releases.
Here are a few (more than a few, actually) words from WIKIPEDIA about this kra-zee CD:
While Ice Cream for Crow was being produced, Herb Cohen had settled his lawsuit with Frank Zappa over the latter withholding the master tapes to Captain Beefheart‘s unreleased Bat Chain Puller album. Don Van Vliet proposed that half of the tracks from Bat Chain Puller be included on Ice Cream for Crow, but Zappa refused Vliet’s request, leading Vliet to compose new material for the album.
“Skeleton Makes Good” was written in one evening. According to Vliet’s biographer Mike Barnes, “the most original and vital tracks [on the album] are the newer ones.” Thus, Ice Cream for Crow, while rooted in past musical ideas, points toward a new musical direction for Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. Indeed, Barnes writes that the album “feels like an hors-d’oeuvre for a main course that never came.”
Release and promotion
The album cover features a painting by Van Vliet himself, as well as a portrait photo of him by Anton Corbijn. A music video was made to promote the title track, directed by Van Vliet and Ken Schreiber, with cinematography by Daniel Pearl, which was rejected by MTV for being “too weird”. However, the video was included in the Letterman broadcast on NBC-TV, and was accepted into the Museum of Modern Art, where it has been used in several of their programs related to music. Van Vliet explained in a 1982 interview on Late Night with David Letterman that the album’s title represented the contrast between the black of a crow and the white of vanilla ice cream.
Ned Raggett of Allmusic would positively call the album “a last entertaining blast of wigginess from one of the few truly independent artists in late 20th century pop music, with humor, skill, and style all still intact”, with The Magic Band “turning out more choppy rhythms, unexpected guitar lines, and outré arrangements, Captain Beefheart lets everything run wild as always, with successful results”. Raggett says that Beefheart’s “entertainingly outrageous” spoken word performances, are successfully cohered with The Magic Band’s “insanely great arrangement”. Robert Christgau would give the album an A–, saying that “Ornette or no Ornette, the Captain’s sprung delta atonality still provides surprising and irreducible satisfactions, but his poetry repeats itself more than his ideas warrant. Any surrealist ecologist who preaches the same sermon every time out is sure to provoke hostile questions from us concrete-jungle types”.