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Trout Mask Replica

3.6 out of 5 stars 461 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Given total creative control by producer and friend Frank Zappa, Beefheart and his Magic Band rehearsed the material for this 1969 album for over a year, wedding minimalistic R&B, blues, and garage rock to free jazz and avant-garde experimentalism. Warner


A colleague of Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) and his Magic Band produced some of the most eccentric music of the late 1960s--or, for that matter, ever. The high water mark of Beefheart's bizarre career, this double album of freeform "Dada rock" features such daunting tracks as "Pachuco Cadaver," "Hair Pie (Bakes 1 and 2)," and "Neon Meat Dream of an Octafish," all of which actually sound as unusual as their titles. Between Beefheart's mind-bending lyrics and cavernous voice, as well as the twisted playing of guitarists Zoot Horn Rollo and Antennae Jimmy Semens, bassist Rockette Morton and drummer The Mascara Snake, this album fully explains the expression "far out." --Billy Altman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Frownland
  2. The Dust Blows Forward 'N The Dust Blows Back
  3. Dachau Blues
  4. Ella Guru
  5. Hair Pie: Bake 1
  6. Moonlight On Vermont
  7. Pachuco Cadaver
  8. Bills Corpse
  9. Sweet Sweet Bulbs
  10. Neon Meate Dream Of A Octafish
  11. China Pig
  12. My Human Gets Me Blues
  13. Dali's Car
  14. Hair Pie: Bake 2
  15. Pena
  16. Well
  17. When Big Joan Sets Up
  18. Fallin' Ditch
  19. Sugar 'N Spikes
  20. Ant Man Bee
  21. Orange Claw Hammer
  22. Wild Life
  23. She's Too Much For My Mirror
  24. Hobo Chang Ba
  25. The Blimp (Mousetrapreplica)
  26. Steal Softly Thru Snow
  27. Old Fart At Play
  28. Veteran's Day Poppy

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Ada
  • ASIN: B000005JA8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,992 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Yes yes yes. It's cacophonous, it's gritty, it's unpleasant. Put it on at a party and watch people make a mad dash for the door. Just try and dance to some of the arhythmic beats that fill the album like a car being thrown down a large flight of stairs. It's not popular music was never meant to be and will never apologize for not being so. It is as about an acquired taste as you can get.
Nonetheless, I truly think this will be one of the albums that survives the twentieth century. I think people will still be listening to this in a few hundred years when the concept of music changes and dissonance and staggering rhythms are as harmonious as the choir in the fifth plane of heaven. Rock has produced nothing like this up to this point. Nothing with this sense of exploration and personal vision. Nothing as playful, nothing as fun. Nothing that stretches the boundaries of what people think of as 'rock music.'
I don't think 21st century music listeners in America are ready for this. To truly appreciate this album for what it is you need to have a different definition of music and rhythm from the norm. No words will prepare you for how jarring it is. Your friends will hate you, people will think you're insane or on drugs (Beefheart, by the way, was not a drug user even in the early 1970s). My girlfriend still won't allow me to play it when she's home. People plain wonder what's wrong with me. Why would I listen to such tripe? Such ridiculous trash?
The answer is that if you're one of those like myself that discover what's in this music, you simply can't stop listening. It's not for arty reasons, or reasons of influence (I could care less who Beefheart influenced, to be honest), or showing off my tolerance. There really is something here for those who can find it. I get more and more from every listen.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought Trout Mask Replica as a very young man when I saw the cover. Anything this strange, I thought, deserves a chance.
I forced myself to listen to it, once, all four sides -- hell, I'd paid good money for it. Caveat emptor, I thought to myself, and put it away for several years.
Then, when I was listening to Bongo Fury by Frank Zappa, which rapidly became one of my favourites, I recognized that voice, reciting the wierd poetry. I listened to Trout Mask Replica again.
I don't know how I missed it the first time -- not musically sophisticated enough, I guess -- but they were one of the tightest bands I'd ever heard.
You will not tap your foot to Trout Mask Replica, nor will you dance to it. But, if you can get your head around the oblique, sometimes obnoxious changes and time signatures (in some songs there are a number of simultaneous time signatures), you will never be the same.
The bass, at times, sounds like a drunk falling downstairs, but in tight rhythmic harmony with the drums. They just never miss.
This is extremely challenging music. This is not music for people who want to think about or do something else while they're listening to it. But it is for people who enjoy the unusual, and appreciate the whole notion of anti-pop.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow, this album is one of the most divisive I've ever heard. Nobody thinks that Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica is simply "okay." Most of the reviews on this page either dismiss it as contrived, deliberately atonal, pretentious trash, or think it's a work of genius, and naturally both crowds are antagonistic towards each other.

So let me clear this up: You are not necessarily an MTV-watching mainstream drone for hating this album. By the same token, enjoying Trout Mask Replica hardly makes you a Mensa member (that said, you probably are more interested in "out-there," non-conformist music if you are in the latter camp). This album is strictly an acquired taste, and that's how the Captain intended, I think. I enjoy plenty of weird stuff--Zappa, The Boredoms, some RIO prog, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Zorn, etc. along with quite a bit of abstract jazz and fusionized metal; and after multiple listens I still find this album to be pretty exhausting, especially in one sitting where 2 LPs of this material tends to become obnoxious after a while. It probably would've been better as a single record.

I don't hate the Captain for making this album. For better or worse, it's interesting, and both a product of its era (in that it seems to be psychedelic in a rather odd sort of way) and yet exploits musical idioms that were unheard of in rock during its time. The free-jazz-meets-Delta-blues-at-a-postmodern-poetry-slam sound of Trout Mask Replica is rather unique. There's plenty of abstract rhythmic ideas going on--it all sounds rather stupid at first, but Beefheart actually intended it to sound this way, and the Magic Band practiced for nearly a year trying to hammer these compositions out. So, you can't call it "amateurish" or "incompetent." These guys knew what they were doing.
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By A Customer on October 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I first heard of Captain Beefheart somehow in reading about late 60's music. I saw his first album "Safe as Milk" in the cutout cassette tape section of my local music store for 3 or 4 bucks and brought it home. Upon listening, my reaction was that it was the most obnoxious obscene piece of crap I ever heard. I actually found it offensive! Rarely have I had such a forceful reaction to a piece of music. A few days later (a week? a month?), I thought, well, let me give it another shot before I sell it. Oh my God, it was brilliant. The only other time I had such a dramatic negative reaction to an album and then on second listen or refleciton realized it was a work of genius was with Last Exit's "Iron Path." Quickly I rounded up the rest of early Beefheart's work, and of course I fell in love with the deeply strange (and boy is it different from "Safe As Milk") "Trout Mask Replica." This is truly one of the most unique pieces of music ever recorded and I must admit it had to grow on me. It was quite some time before I could listen to the whole thing at one sitting, but time has been kind to me and to this album. It's still as freshly invigorating as it was 30 years ago. It doesn't fit the times now, but then again it didn't fit the times then. This album just doesn't fit, and thank God! Popular music would have been a little sadder than it is now if this bizarre piece of beauty never emerged. And I do admit it's not for everybody, God it just couldn't be, but if you're an adventurous heartly soul, you're gonna be amazed...
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