Trout Mask Replica: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Produced by Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet’s masterwork was created as if it were an ethnic field recording—with the musicians living under cult-like conditions without food or regular sustenance. The great British deejay John Peel has said it best: "If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is that work."
This assemblage by Joe Boyd, John Head, and Gary Weis remains the finest rock-bio documentary ever made thanks to the legendary status of its subject, intuitive editing, unbelievable concert footage, and the streetwise comments of those who loved THE immortal rock guitarist.
Marquee Moon: Television
Somewhere between the Ramones street sensibilities and the politics of English punk rested Television in a kind of twilight-zone of angular and jabbing guitarwork inspired by the Beatles, the 13th Floor Elevators, and Bohannon. This masterpiece is best experienced as the 2003 Rhino CD reissue with bonus tracks and outtakes and incredibly perceptive notes by Alan Licht.
Psychedelic rock was a mind-expanding consciousness, the first vestige of free-form experimentation in rock ‘n’ roll history. Prior to the spirit of psychedelia, rock ‘n’ roll was restricted by a certain form and melodic structure–teenage or British bands hacked out hits and atonality was taboo. As rock began to establish consciousness and to perceive its tradition, the mental state became as important as the physical condition.
When you realize the full contribution established by this sonic movement songs, the psychedelic experience seem awesome!
Consider that this consciousness gave us the following:
rock as a revolutionary force (social, political, and sexual)
the concept album
LP covers as art
rock criticism and its sense of rock aesthetics
rock lyrics as poetry
the notion that rock was every bit as important as blues or jazz….
That’s quite a formidable contribution from a supposedly footloose and haphazard genre, and its major influences certainly negate its minor irritations such as body painting and the overabundance of hippies and incense.