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Album Review

Producer Ted Templeman was a bit of a surprising choice given his firmly mainstream production credits, with the Doobie Brothers already under his belt and Van Halen lurking in the near future. As it turned out, such a combination led to a better-working fusion than might be expected, making one wonder why in the world Clear Spot wasn't more of a commercial success than it was. The sound is great throughout, and the feeling is of the coolest bar-band in town, not to mention one that could eat all the patrons for breakfast if it felt like it. Consequently, fans of the fully all-out side of Beefheart might find the end result not up to snuff, but those less concerned with pushing back all borders all the time will enjoy his unexpected blend of everything tempered with a new accessibility. "Nowadays a Woman's Got to Hit a Man," besides having a brilliant title, shows the balance perfectly — Van Vliet serves up his rough asides with all his expected wit and sass, while the Magic Band trade off notes here and there just so. At the same time, the track is strong blues-rock that doesn't pander, with a particularly fierce solo thanks to Zoot Horn Rollo. "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains" is a great love song, the softer arrangement saved from being too off by Beefheart's delivery. Other winners include the title track, a sharp combination of an off-kilter arrangement for a straightforward melody, the great shaggy-dog story of "Golden Birdies," and "Big Eyed Beans from Venus," a fantastically strange piece of aggression.

Customer Reviews


This really is very, very good.

Fond memories

I've listened to this album now and again over 35 years and I'm yet to get tired of it. Great music with a great band. So good to have the Magic Band still touring and playing this music in 2012!

Clear Spot

Clear Spot comes from Beefheart's so-called "commercial" period of the mid-1970s, and certainly some of those albums were disappointing (by Beefheart's standards), for those of us who had grown accustomed to the Captain's unique approach to melody, rhythm and art in general.

HOWEVER this album is the exception.

Melodically simpler, lyrically direct and with a greater emotional scope than his previous "out there" records: the Captain and his Magic Band get soulful (Too Much Time, Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles), funky (Low Yo Yo Stuff, Sun Zoom Spark) and rock out with the best of them (Circumstances, Big Eyed Beans from Venus), plus there is still the distinctive Beefheart fractured beats and cryptic poetry on Golden Birdies. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

A good introductory album for new Beefheart listeners.


Genre: Rock

Born Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart was one of modern music's true innovators. The owner of a remarkable four-and-one-half octave vocal range, he employed idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist lyrics and an unholy alliance of free jazz, Delta blues, latter-day classical music and rock & roll to create a singular body of work virtually unrivalled in its daring and fluid creativity. While he never came even remotely close to mainstream success, Beefheart's impact was incalculable, and his fingerprints...
Full bio
Clear Spot, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
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Customer Ratings