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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. Fans of the fully all-out side of Beefheart might find the end result not fully up to snuff as a result, 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

Clear Spot

Not a sellout by any measure.

Everything on this album is in keeping with Don's love of blues/R&B/avant-garde jazz.

Ultimately, this is a great blues-rock album which was his best effort at reaching a wide audience.

If he had followed this with Shiny Beast, he would have been making great (and successful) records well into the 80's/

Great Favorite.

I don't think it sold so well, but this was Beefheart's one great shot at selling out. This thing really rocks, without sacrificing an ounce of integrity. From the itchy seduction of Lo Yo Yo to the outright beauty of Blue Million Miles and climaxing with the mind melting Big Eyed Beans from Venus, this is exhilarating fun. A total joy!

Classic

Classic Beefheart all the way.

Clear Spot, Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
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Customer Ratings