Everybody’s got some favourite albums. Music that accompanied yourself through difficult times, records that acted like a friend when there was real one around. Whether it was the sound around the times of your first kiss or the starting point of your own attempts to take a deeper look into new musical territories. We all have this record somewhere in our hearts and private collections. In this ongoing series NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION lets the artist’s do the writing as they share their personal stories and feelings on their most loved record with us.
It’s been four years since THE HEAVY‘s last record The Glorious Dead’. On April 1st, the soul poppers from Bath will release their fourth and highly enjoyable long player Hurt & The Merciless. For us, drummer Chris Ellul revealed his favorite record, an album by the American singer-songwriter legend Don Glen Van Vliet aka CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. And experiencing this record might definitely explain why the sound of Ellul’s band is so diversified.
Captain Beefheart – ‘Safe As Milk’ (1967)
This record came to me in a divine moment of luck. It got left in my CD collection after a huge party I’d had, where it remains!
There were CAPTAIN BEEFHEART records kicking around the house when I grew up. But this wasn’t among them. So when I got around to hearing Safe As Milk I was hooked straight away, it wasn’t the more off the wall stuff I’d heard growing up. You step straight in to their world when you put it on. Which is something any good band wants to achieve when they’re making an album.
As I looked in to who was involved in making the record I was amazed that a young Ry Cooder had played a large part in putting the music together. And the more I discovered, the more it made sense to me how this record came to be. You can hear Don Van Vliet’s madness being reined in, and bought in to more distilled arrangements. By the time Beefheart made his next record most of the bands members had left, because they were halfway driven mad by the Captain!
It’s Psychedelic. It’s Delta Blues. It’s wild and out of control. And then it’s also completely controlled and harnessed. With no hint of pretentiousness.
And that’s where most of my favourite music sits. It’s very pure music. No ambitious playing, and full of brilliant ideas and sounds when you consider the limitations. This record made me love the Blues, and got me interested in the Delta scene. They were the best of all their contemporaries when it came to mixing the Blues and LSD.
In the midst of all this is a doo-wop/girl band style song about heartbreak. The counterbalance of the album and my favourite song, I’m Glad. Like a moment of clarity within Don Van Vliet’s madness. Which, from what I read, was pretty much how he was. Moments of clarity, in the midst of a hurricane. A true Genius.
This is an often overlooked classic, that you can’t ignore! Experience it right here via Spotify.