I've never been a big Beefheart fan, or much of one at all to be honest. But his death last Friday -- also my 42nd birthday, as it happens -- seems as good an occasion as any to post my first (and most likely last) Beef boot.
Like the below-mentioned Roky Erickson, the crazy ol' Cap'n might have been a bit too far out for my taste. But most agree that Bat Chain Puller, even in its rejiggered 1978 official version, is one of his finest later works. A few of the tunes ("Harry Irene," the instrumentals "Flavor Bud Living" and "A Carrot is as Close...") are even rather pretty, I daresay. Then there are the slide guitar-powered classics "Floppy Boot Stomp" and the Hold Steady-inspiring "Owed T'Alex," which represent Beefheart at his flat-out rocking best.
Word from the Zappa estate, which holds the rights to this original 1976 version of the LP, is that an official release will finally be forthcoming in the next year. Until then, I present by far the best-sounding version available.
So git on yer trout mask, or a replica thereof, and freak out!
"Bat Chain Puller" Original Version, 1976 (STU @320 kbps)
PS -- For some rare early Beefheart, please visit my all-'60s blog, Heavy Sugar Radio.