13 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Captain Beefheart closed out his recording career with Ice Cream for Crow, an album that reaffirms his utterly unique amalgam of Delta blues, wailing free jazz and rarified avant-garde motifs. This late-edition version of the Magic Band plays with jittery energy and razor-sharp precision, infusing the title track with down-home twang and executing astounding instrumental moves on “Cardboard Cut-Out Sundown.” Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) holds forth with sly desert-rat wisdom and crazed street-prophet fervor, adopting a spiritual tone for “The Host, the Ghost, the Most Holy O” and slipping some scathing political commentary into “The Thousandth and Tenth Day of the Human Totem Pole.” A number of these tracks were assembled out of pre-existing fragments — the lyrics to “Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat” had once appeared as a poem, for instance. But whatever the ingredients, the album collectively crackles with instrumental finesse and word-drunk genius. Ice Cream for Crow concludes the Captain’s journey on an exalted note.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Captain Beefheart closed out his recording career with Ice Cream for Crow, an album that reaffirms his utterly unique amalgam of Delta blues, wailing free jazz and rarified avant-garde motifs. This late-edition version of the Magic Band plays with jittery energy and razor-sharp precision, infusing the title track with down-home twang and executing astounding instrumental moves on “Cardboard Cut-Out Sundown.” Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) holds forth with sly desert-rat wisdom and crazed street-prophet fervor, adopting a spiritual tone for “The Host, the Ghost, the Most Holy O” and slipping some scathing political commentary into “The Thousandth and Tenth Day of the Human Totem Pole.” A number of these tracks were assembled out of pre-existing fragments — the lyrics to “Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat” had once appeared as a poem, for instance. But whatever the ingredients, the album collectively crackles with instrumental finesse and word-drunk genius. Ice Cream for Crow concludes the Captain’s journey on an exalted note.

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