Friday, May 25, 2018

FRIDAY MUSIC: Captain Beefheart, by JD

Pic source

Don van Vliet (1941 - 2010) was an American painter and sculptor and his paintings are becoming collector's pieces. I am not a fan of abstract expressionism but others like it so judge for yourselves-

"As a child, Vliet was considered to be a child-prodigy sculptor and at age four caught the attention of Augustinio Rodriguez, a Portuguese sculptor and host of a weekly television show. For eight years Rodriguez featured clay animals on his shows which had been sculpted by Vliet. At age thirteen, Vliet received a scholarship to study art in Europe, an offer his parents declined."

Many people were doubtful of that story and thought it might have been invented by Vliet himself. I was aware that he was a sculptor as well as a painter but I had never seen any sculptures by him. However there is further information on that story here:

Vliet, if he is known at all, is better known as Captain Beefheart; singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist with his ever changing line up of musicians known as the Magic Band (which included Ry Cooder in an early incarnation.)

His music blended elements of blues, free jazz, and rock with avant-garde composition, idiosyncratic rhythms, and his surrealist wordplay and wide vocal range.

He achieved little commercial success but has become a cult figure and has been a major influence on subsequent generations of musicians. The wonderful facility known as YouTube allows us to marvel at and enjoy the music of this mad genius in all its glorious eccentricity. What has happened to the music business that we are now served up bland lifeless pap from identikit pop 'stars'?

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