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Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Merseytrout (Live in Liverpool 1980)

Recorded at the Rotters Club, Liverpool, England on 29th October 1980 Merseytrout is a cracking show shoddily packaged and presented with uninformative and uninteresting liner notes. Sound quality is very good and the show is, typically of the period, a corker. The Captain is in fine voice, and the Magic Band sound alarmingly agitated, ablaze in a precisely controlled frenzy, particularly on the behemothic blitz that is Safe As Milk. Don appears a little confused on occasions; he introduces one song with the words 'I'd like to do one from Trout Mask Replica' - perhaps he would but they launch into a particularly taut Dirty Blue Gene instead. As live recordings go, this is way up there with Don's Birthday Party. (source)

Here you would have a famous version of the Magic Band live 1980, 21 tracks, songs from 7 albums + 2 otherwise unreleased gems. I have to disagree w/ Theo below, being familiar w/ his site & writings, he's just being a bitchy trainspotter, forgetting that we don't all have a tonne of Beefheart bootlegs & are actually quite glad to see something like this come out. The sound quality is quite clear & good, & the way Don isn't always in time w/ the band is the way he almost always was live, although when he gets it right, like near the end of this gig, it's superb. It bugged me a bit too the way it was chopped up not giving it any continuity, but that doesn't warrant 1 star, Theo's shooting himself in the foot & something you need to stop analysing, sit back & listen, as I decided to do leaving room for a sense of surprise. Okay, the songs: Dr Dark is not done quite as intricately as on Lick My Decals Off Baby & seems a little bit sloppy but still good, Hot Head & Dropout Boogie rock indeed, Her Eyes shows the softer side of Beefheart but w/o getting too sappy. I was glad to see Bat Chain Puller here, its odd grooves very satisfying. Gary Lucas appears solo on guitar for Flavour Bud Living & recites One Man Sentence, but doesn't appear to play in the band though. Jeff Morris Tepper does a similar job for The One Red Rose That I Mean. Eric Drew Feldman opens up the show w/ Toaster before the whole band shows up for Nowadays & Don quips "you'd nearly think we were commercial" over snazzy drumming, though from who we can't be sure, as maybe in tribute to the sleeve of Trout Mask where Drumbo didn't mentioned, the same happens on Merseytrout. Other classics presented are My Human Gets Me Blues, Kandy Korn, Best Batch Yet, & the closer Big Eyed Bean From Venus which manages to rise above gimmicky status w/ the real driving force of the music. Historic this recording maybe isn't but damn fine it is indeed. --- Funkmeister G


Almost 20 years after the Captain's final world voyage a "legitimate" live album appears. This concert is an excellent measuring stick for the entire tour. A number of these shows, European and American, have turned up in both vinyl and on CD. However, all were of the bootleg variety; only accessable to the die hard, hard core fanatics out there. (Of which there are still a few). The Liverpool show comes out at a time when availability of the "boots" have all but vanished. And the desire for an unheard show have reached it's peak.

The entire bands' performance was stellar, to say the least! The Captain's vocals were raw and intense and the occasional forgotten line and the fact that he forgot "Dirty Blue Jean" was off "Doc at the Radar Station" and not "Trout Mask Replica" only added to the feeling of an honest live show!

The opening bass solo, which in the past was the Spitball../Hair Pie Intro lost me. This piece, titled "Toaster", was the only lost attempt in the show. "One Man's Sentence", a recited poem that was also performed at the Beacon Theatre, NYC 11/80, is present for the first time in any recorded form. 5 of the cuts are from the newly released (at that time) "Doc at the Radar Station".

Although missing oddly enough is "Ashtray Heart", usually played right after "Hot Head". The remander of the show is filled with the standards, Abba Zabba, Kandy Korn, Veterans' Day Poppy and Big Eyed Beans. All in all a good listen. But do be advised, each track is seperated(I'm sure it's for radio play! ) and because of this, applause is not heard after a number of the tracks. In fact, "Big Eyed Beans..." ends the show, and not a peep is audible after the last note. The silence is deafening! Thanks Captain & Band! --- Steven Viola


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Is there any way this can be re-upped? Thanks so much for all you do.

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