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Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Songs Dept. - Capt. Beefheart's "Human Totem Pole"


From last, freshly brewed "Bat Chain Puller" disk... do you remember on first, epic, mythical, seminal "Star Wars", when Han Solo is looking for Chewbacca and others for his spaceship crew?

Harrison Ford's character enters a pub where people... "people", i.e. octopus-like, dwarfs, aliens and freaks of every kind from everywhere in the galaxy is grooving on a weird musical combo playing a weird kind of music...

Strange, haunting...

Well, the above very scene accompanied most of my (musical) life... and sometimes, a disc, a music reminds me that human expression and inventiveness is, REALLY is, limitless and with no boundaries...

Musicians and artists of a special breed are needed...

The new old stock, recently issued for the VERY first time in its unfiltered, naked beauty after it was recorded by the late, still DEEEEPLY missed Don Van Vliet in 1974 is a masterpiece and a goldmine... it's the corner-stone of the building the Captain began with "Trout Mask Replica" and, most of all, "Lick my decals off, baby"... a true beauty, the highest peak, a companion to "Doc at the Radar Station".

A track, a piece like the "Human Totem Pole" is a weird, apparently crowdy and obscenely dissonant dialogue between two electric guitars, a growling voice and a bass guitar... the Captain was famous for whistling musical parts to his musicians, no music in written form from him... same as Gurdijeff and De Hartmann... whistle and piano, in this case.

The guitars are interwoving with a laid back, bluesy feeling, but the blues is nearer to above mentioned "Star Wars" pub than the Delta... the text, well, folks... it's... Wow...see here below.

The five or so minutes are longer, MUCH longer than the clock suggests... a low, very deep and modulating bass coming from that bass guitar is the zero-locator, and after some time tapping in the studio, the guitars begins and begins... and orgiastic, alien beauty...

David Grubbs, Tortoise, Gastr del Sol and many others... all owe to Capt. Beefheart a lot.

I love this record... it's beauty and weirdness and intriguing...

I love it.

Human Totem Pole

"The thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
The morning was distemper grey,
Of the thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
The man at the bottom was smiling.
He had just finished his breakfast smiling.
It hadn't rained or manured for over two hours.
The man at the top was starving.
The pole was a horrible looking thing
With all of those eyes and ears
And waving hands for balance.
There was no way to get a copter in close
So everybody was starving together.
The man at the top had long ago given up
But didn't have nerve enough to climb down.
At night the pole would talk to itself and the chatter wasn't too good.
Obviously the pole didn't like itself, it wanted to walk!
It was the summer and it was hot
And balance wouldn't permit skinning to undergarments.
It was an integrated pole, it was taking on an reddish brown cast.
Exercise on the pole was isometric,
Kind of a flex and then balance
Then the highest would roll together,
The ears wiggle, hands balance.
There was a gurgling and googling heard
A tenth of the way up the pole.
Approaching was a small child
With statue of liberty doll."

...

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