You Picked It! – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – ‘Trout Mask Replica’ – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really, really close. Who am I kidding, this one wasn’t even fair. The winner blew away the competition. The album that one was Captain Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica which is one I’d never heard before and honestly, don’t think I ever want to hear again, but more on that later. The votes were as follows:

  1. Captain Beefheart – ‘Trout Mask Replica – 13 votes
  2. Iron Maiden – ‘Senjutsu’ – 3 votes
  3. Dr. John – ‘Gris-gris’ – 2 votes
  4. Neal Schon – ‘Late Nite’ – 2 votes
  5. U2 – ‘The Joshua Tree’ – 1 Vote

Thanks to all for participating. The October choices will be up on Saturday!


I’m really not sure where to begin with this album. To say I’ve never heard anything like Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’ wouldn’t be a lie…but it also wouldn’t be a good thing. The album came out back on June 16, 1969 only about 6 months after I was born. It combines elements of Experimental Rock, Avant Garde, Blues, Free Jazz, but did anyone ask if those things should be joined in to one. I think that would’ve been a great question to actually ask and be answered by someone that wasn’t doing a massive amount of psychedelic, mind-altering drugs. Frank Zappa produced it so I am sure he wouldn’t have been the right person to ask.

To say this was the most challenging album I’ve ever heard would also be an understatement. I know people think this is the most enlightning, inspiring album they’ve ever heard. An album so unconventional that it inspired countless musicians, but holy shit, did I listen to the same album as everyone else. I’m not sure I did. The only thing that it inspired me to do was cry, I mean totally loud, ugly cry, curled up in a fetal position in the corner kind of cry. I’m not saying the album is bad, but I know someone that literally had a seizure while listening to it… A SEIZURE!!! If that doesn’t it sum it up for you, I don’t know what will.

The album has 28 songs on it…songs…I am not sure that word is accurate. There are 28 tracks on it, that might simplify it. It is an album that is over 78 minutes long and that is time I will never get back and I listened to the album 3 times so do the math. I normally listen to an album 6 times before I review it, why 6, I have no idea. But I felt for my health and the health and safety of those around me, 3 times was more than enough because the album didn’t get better with each listen, instead I became more and more mentally unhinged and unstable so I had to stop.

I personally like my life to be somewhat structured and I like my music to have structure as well. Verses, bridges, choruses and such. I’m not asking for much. But what I got sounded like a bunch of guys stoned off their ass, never have a played a lick of music in their life and as they walked in to a room they saw some instruments lying around haphazardly on the floor. They picked them up and each one of them started to play a song, but nobody said which song to play so they all played a different song at the same time. The one totally shit-faced dude picked up the microphone and started singing. The problem was this guy couldn’t carry a tune if he had two buckets. He had that raspy, too many cigarettes and alcohol type of vocals that are from someone that has been through more in life than most people.

There were songs with music, there were spoken word songs and there were songs that I am not sure can legally be classified as songs or even music. The spoken word pieces sounded like Mr. Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) made up the lyrics as he went. He didn’t seem to have a clue what he was going to say and if he messed up, he would try the line again and they would keep going. No editing, no cleaning up, just leaving it as is for all the world to hear the mistakes. Hell, there is even a song called “Old Fart at Play” where they actually talk about farting. I mean seriously..WTF!!

The album had no direction, no two songs were alike (which is actually pretty damn impressive) and I found myself sitting there, jaw wide open wondering what I was listening to through my speakers. I kept thinking that this is a critical darling, they really like this stuff. I think critics rave about this album because they are too afraid to say they don’t get it as they might look stupid…but I’m not afraid. I don’t get it, I’m stupid, but what a pile of shit this album is. This ain’t music, it is a bunch of random noise pieced together and called art. Well, I can piece a bunch of my dog Bear’s shit together but that don’t mean it is art. I wish I had a lower score than 0, but I don’t. I give this a 0.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I am sorry, I don’t get it…AT ALL!!

Thanks to all of you who voted for this song and putting me through hell for several hours. I owe you one…so if you are walking down the street and someone punches you in the face, know that came from me!!! But with Love!!

74 thoughts on “You Picked It! – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – ‘Trout Mask Replica’ – Album Review

      1. Well your review was not in vain. I shall now not be listening to the album even more, not that I was inclined before.

        Given what you’ve said of Senjutsu, I don’t think we really need a review. Looking forward to Demolition though.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Confusion, anger, general discombobulation… the Captain would be doubtless delighted with your response, John!

    No complex music that takes the mould and bashes it with a T-Rex is going to be processed quickly nor understood easily. My review for Discrepancy Records gleaned one marvellous comment, along the lines of, “a fucking enema for the brain”!

    I recall when Geoff at 1001 Albums In 10 Years flagged this one I suggested he (a) try it in small portions; and (b) listen 4 – 5 times over a couple of years before attempting to write. So in a way, the votes (myself included) were a kind of set up. I assume all those who voted for it were at least passingly familiar with TMR or (less honourably) were keen for you to take one for the team.

    Having said all that, it’s a very significant (if challenging) album and I thoroughly recommend the 33 ⅓ title on Trout Mask Replica by Kevin Courrier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure I will ever like this one no matter how many listens or whatever I read. I just don’t enjoy this type of music at all. It was fun giving it a shot and coming up with something to say, but outside of that, I am pretty much done with it. Thanks for working hard on trying to sell it. I did like Zappa’s Hot Rats though when I had to review that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we know the same seizure person! She said the album sounds like what the world sounds like during a seizure and I guess that just triggered it!

    I’m sorry you didn’t love it like I do, but I’m glad you tried. You definitely need a good ear cleanse with some pop music after playing this.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bad reviews – or should I say reviews of bad music (or movies, TV shows, etc.) – are always easier and more fun to write. I’m with you on this one John, as I don’t get the appeal of Captain Beefheart either. I just think some people gravitate toward the unconventional or oddball stuff just to be contrarian or feel superior, like they ‘know’ something we don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Way back in 1988/89, Rolling Stone included this album in their top 100 albums list. The writeup they did made it an essential purchase and 32 years later I’m still trying to get it. The only thing I’ve taken from TMR is occasionally saying “That’s right, the Mascara Snake. Fast and bulbous!”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You do know those kinds of reviews sell records. Get the Doctor next time around.
        The Captain does have more accessible music but we wont go there. If you want some more of the same try ‘Doc at the Radar Station’ Id like to watch you listening to that one.
        Keep this stuff coming. I look forward to your takes

        Liked by 1 person

                    1. Well, I dunno about that. I am just on a mission to heal my knees (only one more physio appointment next month after four months of solid stretches and strengthening)! I am also on a mission to make less of me, so to speak. I don’t want to say ‘lose weight’ because saying it is lost implies it might be found again and I have zero interest in that! I’ve got a schedule (just like your blogging, lol) and I stick to it. Eat right, stretch, walk, strengthen. Every day. It’s all balanced out so I don’t overdo anything and there are no days off.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. No time like the present. Go for a walk today. Build slowly. That’s all I did, there wasn’t a day where I decided was The Day To Start, I just put on my shoes and went out. Everything else has come because once you start feeling better you start adding and soon you are really flying.

                      It’s a long game. Anyone telling you you can lose weight or get 6-pack abs in a short time is selling something you don’t need. Just keep it simple, put in the days, and don’t listen to anyone else (this is a big one. It’s amazing how other people’s schedules and laziness can tempt you into giving up). Carve out that time for you and do it every day. Make it sacrosanct. It’s a slow build, but it’s absolutely worth it.

                      Give ‘er!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I didn’t exercise yesterday, but I did enough yard work and chores that got me moving pretty good. But my wife and I are going to start walking as it is going to be getting cooler and will be a good time to get out. We hate the heat.


                    4. August is so hot and steamy around here all day and night, it is a horrible month. September has already been better with no 90 degree days so far (at least I think it hasn’t hit that temperature yet).


  4. Frank Zappa worked on this album? That says it all right there. He certainly went against the grain when it comes to musical tastes. Without him, we might not have heard Alice Cooper, so he did some stuff right.

    My apologies for the vote. Democracy can sure get ugly (on the ears anyway).

    Liked by 1 person

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