By Seth Colter Walls
By Brett Koshkin
By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
By Calum Marsh
By J. Pablo
By Phillip Mlynar
By Jenna Sauers
The Dust Blows Forward Rhino
Except for its historical footage (e.g., the Milk band flailing wildly on the Cannes seashore), disc four is something of a dud, consisting other wise of 12 minutes of Beefheart, Zappa, and a lady from down the street shooting the breeze. Disc five is an intermittently dazzling hodgepodge that touches down only briefly on the postTrout Mask years. The highlight is a remarkably Dylanesque radio rendition of "Orange Claw Hammer," with Zappa providing his on-again-off-again friend with straightforward chordal accompaniment. Sellouts.
Rhino's imminent double-disc hits anthology, The Dust Blows Forward, extends a more democratic overview than the Trout-centric Finsthe sexy, swampy goodness of 1972's The Spot light Kid and Clear Spot should have made CB&HMB the rock stars they coulda-woulda been, but Finswhittles those albums down to just one live track. The Magic Band quit in a huff in 1973, following the strained sugar-binge pop of Unconditionally Guaranteed. Maybe they couldn't have pulled off the sly warmth of "Tropical Hot Dog Night," but several other later songs, including "Sue Egypt" and "Ice Cream for Crow," are fairly obvious knockoffs of early-'70s material. The Trout Mask lineup provided the dynamic template from which such otherwise worthwhile albums as Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) and Doc at the Radar Station sandpapered and developed. Beefheart's post-'73 combos included such able musicians as Eric Drew Feldman, Gary Lucas, and Jeff Tepper, whose youth and fandom undoubtedly tempered Beefheart's temper. If the music they made retained the spirit but not the shock of the Captain's classic crew, no big whoop. By 1977, weirdness had virtually been institutionalized.
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