1972 Case File #91.

Captain Beefheart, The Spotlight Kid

File Between: Howlin’ Wolf and Tom Waits

Comments: Of Beefheat’s two 1972 records, this is the more (relatively) conventional and even commercial, almost a standard boogie album. Lots of groove riding and blues riffs, with little of the formal and structural play that characterized his 1969 peak; the only instrument that would sound out of place in a standard choogle-rock outfit is the marimba. Unless, of course, you count Beefheart’s voice, an amazing instrument that has more texture available to it in the slightest choke, growl, mutter, or whimper than most singers get out of a lifetime’s use. Again, though, his lyrics stay relatively coherent, if certainly spacey, and the overall effect is to suggest that maybe latter-day Tom Waits was never all that groundbreaking to begin with.

A Keeper? I mean, it’s still Beefheart.

Vinyl Rip: Click Clack

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