My pal Justin (occasionally mentioned here as "Gonzo Rev") recently discovered a very unusual song from Captain Beefheart called "Observatory Crest" (FB login required, methinks). In the course of our discussion of it, I was reminded of MY introduction to the Captain. I don't think I've posted it here. But first, some background.
Captain Beefheart's first record company was A&M Records. He and his Magic Band managed to get out two singles before departing. Those 4 sides and a rejected B-side make up the sum total of his output for the label, and were later collected on an EP immodestly dubbed The Legendary A&M Sessions.
It just so happens that "Diddy Wah Diddy", the Captain's first and more successful single, mysteriously turned up on the music at my job a few years ago. I was literally the only person in the place who had even heard of Captain Beefheart, though it was from word of mouth rather than experience. I was absolutely enthralled by the growling white blues of this song (a Bo Diddley cover, I later learned), and resolved to find out more about Beefheart and his music.
It took a little while, but I did just that. Of course, "Diddy Wah Diddy" is in no way typical of what the guy did. But man, it's a hell of an intro to the man's music.
As a bonus, here's a rarity that is hard to comprehend, given what we know lies in the future. It's a clip from American Bandstand where 17 year old Cathy Fletcher (sp.?) talks to Captain Beefheart for a telephone Q&A and then the dancers get down to "Diddy Wah Diddy." Apparently, the Captain had a lot to say, as Cathy is still on the phone with him while the music is playing. Wonder what he was telling her?
Can you imagine Dick Clark letting Captain Beefheart anywhere near his show just a few years later? Or letting a 17 year old girl chat with a fella responsible for an album titled Lick My Decals Off, Baby?