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January 20, 2014

Mondays and Moonbeams

An Incredible True Story From The Adventures of Captain Beefheart...

From Wikipedia...

Unconditionally Guaranteed and Bluejeans & Moonbeams
In 1974, immediately after the recording of Unconditionally Guaranteed, which markedly continued the trend towards a more commercial sound heard on some of the Clear Spot tracks, the Magic Band's original members departed. Disgruntled and past members worked together for a period, gigging at Blue Lake and putting together their own ideas and demos, with John French earmarked as the vocalist. These concepts eventually coalesced around the core of Art Tripp III, Harkleroad and Boston, with the formation of Mallard, helped by finance and UK recording facilities from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Some of French's compositions were used in the band's work, but the group's singer was Sam Galpin and the role of keyboardist was eventually taken by John Thomas, who had shared a house with French in Eureka at the time. At this time Vliet attempted to recruit both French and Harkleroad as producers for his next album, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Andy Di Martino produced both of these Virgin label albums.

Vliet was forced to quickly form a new Magic Band to complete support-tour dates, with musicians who had no experience with his music and in fact had never heard it. Having no knowledge of the previous Magic Band style, they simply improvised what they thought would go with each song, playing much slicker versions that have been described as "bar band" versions of Beefheart songs. A review described this incarnation of the Magic Band as the "Tragic Band," a term that has stuck over the years. Mike Barnes said that the description of the new band "grooving along pleasantly," was "...an appropriately banal description of the music of a man who only a few years ago composed with the expressed intent of shaking listeners out of their torpor." The one album they recorded, Bluejeans & Moonbeams (1974) has, like its predecessor, a completely different, almost soft rock sound from any other Beefheart record. Neither was well received; drummer Art Tripp recalled that when he and the original Magic Band listened to Unconditionally Guaranteed, they "...were horrified. As we listened, it was as though each song was worse than the one which preceded it." Beefheart later disowned both albums, calling them "horrible and vulgar," asking that they not be considered part of his musical output and urging fans who bought them to "take copies back for a refund.


And yet... there is something oddly poignant about the song "Bluejeans and Moonbeams," which I just heard for the first time today. The soft rock backing, paired with Beefheart's world weary vocal, is like a soothing washcloth on a fevered brow. Maybe there's a reason Van Vliet chose this as the title track...

 Bluejeans and Moonbeams
                by         
Don Van Vliet 

 I been hopin' on Mondays 
Some hows and Moondays 
Sundays and Some days
 Never seeing some days
 I'm tryin' in all ways 
And learnin' in between

Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Blue jeans and Moonbeams

I been working up in lovin'
Underneath the moonstone sky
I know there's many things I've never seen

Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Mondays and Moonbeams
Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Blue jeans and Moonbeams

I been hopin' on Mondays
Some hows and Moondays
Sundays and Some days
Never seeing some days
I'm tryin' in all ways
And learnin' in between

Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Blue jeans and Moonbeams

I been working up in lovin'
Underneath the moonstone sky
I know there's many things I've never seen

Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Mondays and Moonbeams
Blue jeans and Moonbeams
Mondays and Moonbeams



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