Monday, April 16, 2012

Beefheart: Bat Chain Puller

I finally got my "new" Captain Beefheart album! "Bat Chain Puller" (VAULTernative Records 2012) may be bought from, and only there I presume?

"Bat Chain Puller" should have been released in 1976, after a couple of albums not counted among Beefheart´s best (to put it mildly) (especially "Bluejeans & Moonbeams" in 1974), but a quarrel between Frank Zappa (who made the recordings possible) and Herb Cohen (both Zappa´s and Beefheart´s manager), and Don Van Vliet (AKA Captain Beefheart) signing too many papers, stopped it. Since then, the tapes have been stored in the Zappa family vaults. Or so the story goes!

The musicians who joined Beefheart in the studio were: John French (drums), John Thomas (keyboards), Moris Tepper (guitar) and Denny Walley (guitar, accordion), but they are not called "The Magic Band" on this release.

Several of the tracks were recorded again later, and may be found on both "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)" (1978) and "Doc at the Radar Station" (1980), and I guess you will not be shocked by the fact that the originals have been available on bootlegs too.

But finally the time was more than ripe for a release, and my guess is that most die hard Beefheart fans already got it on heavy rotation. Strange beats, fantastic musicians, raw vocal, far out poetry and great sound quality. You even get a fine booklet with words by John French and Denny Walley. Buy!

Read a more detailed description over at The Captain Beefheart Radar Station, and it might be about time to get John French´s book "Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic" too?

According to a bat chain puller is:

"A bat chain refers to the chain that hangs down from a signal post on a train line. The signal device that was pulled down was called a bat and different bats had different colours to signal the train driver as to the condition of the track ahead, or whether the train could proceed,etc.
The bat chain puller was the person who set the signals for the approaching train according to track status reports received by telegraph.
The song BCP probably metaphorically refers to the fact that this job is obsolete in the world of train spotters in this automated world".

1 comment:

Elliot Knapp said...

Thanks Svenn! Didn't know this was finally released!