This is my favourite Captain beefheart record. It is his most commercial. The best Avant Garde record by Captain Beefheart, in my opinion is; 'Shiney Beast Bat Chain Puller' also highly recommended is 'Lick my decals off baby' which deserves a mention, for extending the boundries of contempory music. There has been nothing quite like it.
There was a lot of controversy, with the release of, 'Unconditionally Guarenteed', Fans, accused Captain Beefheart of 'selling out', and pilloried him for it. I think they were totally wrong. Every Artist needs to eat.
You wouldn't want a composer to be remembered for writing just bizarre music. Ater all, Frank Zappa moved between both genre. The complex and wierd one moment. Then straight pop music next. Nothing was said about that.
So it is; with this release, Captain Beefheart; alias Don Van Viet, is showing a wider audiance, his phenominal music talents.
The opening track; 'Upon the my o my'. Has Don Van Viet singing and growling. Like a Hurricane at full force. Zoot Horn Rollo's urgent, excellent guitar playing, tries to out-do the singing. DV hits back , with a short Sax solo. Its amazing stuff. The Magic Band, really are magic on this record. Brilliant bass from Rocket Morton. Perfect drumming from Art Tripp, makes for fabulous music.
The next track 'Sugar Bowl' starts off with a slow 'I come frome Alabama', intro, then is played fast. In the middle, there is a slight pause, as Zoot leads a syncopated beat, as though he was stamping hes foot, saying 'Come on, you are not keeping up'. Then they are off again. So thrilling.
'Happy Love Song', is catchy Pop music.Complete with a brass section. Which would have been destined for the charts. Given any kind of Radio air-play.
Lots of amazing slide guitar throughout. Or as Don Viet would say, 'Winged-Eel fingerling guitar'.
There are love songs such as; 'Magic be', and 'Love on my mind'. Captain Beefheart gave us a hint that he could write great love songs. On the album 'Clear Spot', tracks such as; 'Blue Million Miles', and 'Crazy love song'.
What pleases me so much about 'Conditionally' is; The range and variety of singing. 'This is the day'. Is a lovely melancholy blues. Don Viet sings so sincerely. In almost hushed tones. I have never heard him sing like that before, but it sounds great.
The rousing upbeat, 'Peaches', is a great finale. As it follows the slowed down relaxing, 'Lazy Music', which has a repeated melody. Like a Tap slowly dripping. Capturing that lazy feeling. Which strangely, makes it even more enjoyable.
'Peaches' is played fast. The Captain growling at hes best again. The Magic band playing for all their worth. As if they already know this is their last recording together.
On Unconditionally Guarenteed. I defy Anyone to play better guitar than Zoot Horn Rollo. Don Van Viet's singing has never been so good. All the songs, are beautiful compositions.
I am proud to own this record, and I will always love playing it.