Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band created a double LP of pure Magic with their 1969 release Trout Mask Replica. By my estimation, it is one of my favorite records. But don’t just take my word for it.
“If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is probably that work.”
“Like almost all of Beefheart’s recorded work, [Trout Mask Replica] was not even “ahead” of its time in 1969. Then and now, it stands outside time, trends, fads, hypes, the rise and fall of whole genres eclectic as walking Christmas trees, constituting a genre unto itself: truly, a musical Monolith if ever there was one.”
“I thought it was the worst thing I’d ever heard. I said to myself, they’re not even trying! It was just a sloppy cacophony. Then I listened to it a couple more times, because I couldn’t believe Frank Zappa could do this to me – and because a double album cost a lot of money. About the third time, I realised they were doing it on purpose; they meant it to sound exactly this way. About the sixth or seventh time, it clicked in, and I thought it was the greatest album I’d ever heard.”
David Lynch has called Trout Mask Replica his favorite album of all time.
“It was anti-music in the most interesting and insane way … all the bum notes I was being told off for by the teachers were finally being released by well-known artists. That was my confirmation. From then on, there was room for everything.”
“the most important inspiration is undoubtedly Zoot Horn Rollo’s playing on Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. If I listen to it first thing in the morning, I’m assured of a day of unbridled creativity.
“He [Van Vliet] was a comet; somebody said that Trout Mask is the only pop rock recording that can be considered a work of art by the standards imposed by other disciplines, like painting. He was not like anything else.”
Third Man Records is responsible for this reissue, which was originally only available to Third Man Club Members (I wasn’t happy about that), and it was done with the loving care Trout Mask deserves:
Out of print on vinyl for nearly ten years, this remaster was helmed by industry legend Bob Ludwig and cut by the estimable Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Utilizing crystalline-quality safety masters kept in the Zappa family vault for decades by the trustworthy Joe Travers, the audio here is positively glorious. Every last skronk breathes full life into the room. Every twisted guitar figure uncurls onto paths previously unpaved. Every last bark and howl shines resolute through the vast emptiness of your mind.
Every last bark, skronk, and howl. Perfect.
Previous countless Trout Mask Replica repressings used scans of scans of scans of the cover image, but the original Cal Schenkel cover photo has been tracked down and reproduced here at its clearest – its resolution from the original release in 1969. If you’ve only ever seen a jpg online or fuzzy, smeared-looking CD issues from the 90’s, be prepared to be wowed by the fully engaging spectrum this iconic image casts.
I already ordered mine from Stranded Records and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll add some Magic to your life.