Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Ice Cream for Crow


4.0
excellent

Review

by StonesDoorsSabbath USER (4 Reviews)
December 19th, 2018 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist


The title of Captain Beefheart’s final studio album, Ice Cream For Crow, is a euphemism for “black and white” (black crow and vanilla ice cream). Captain Beefheart (Don Vliet*) was already in the early stages of multiple sclerosis, which is probably why he does more speaking than actual singing on the album, and the ultimate reason for his retirement from music. The cover of Ice Cream For Crow depicts an old man, even though Vliet was just 41 at the time. According to John French’s book “Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic,” Don was already walking with a cane, and sometimes needed help getting off stage. French does not drum on Ice Cream For Crow, though he did coach new drummer, Cliff Martinez, who later played on the first two Red Hot Chili Peppers albums.

According to French, some of the Ice Cream For Crow songs date back to older ideas from the Trout Mask Replica and Spotlight Kid albums. “Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat” was a poem from the Trout Mask era, hence the reference to “Pena." On bootleg recordings of The Spotlight Kid rehearsals, the riffs for “Ice Cream For Crow,” “Semi-Multicolored Caucasian,” and “The Witch Doctor Life” can be heard. "81 Poop Hatch" and “The Thousand And Tenth Day Of The Human Totem Pole” appeared on the original 1975 Bat Chain Puller album, which was shelved due to a legal dispute with Frank Zappa’s manager, Herb Cohen. French believes that Beefheart's older musicians should have been credited for helping with these songs, which is fair enough, though it's reasonable that Beefheart would revisit some unfinished songs before retiring.

Despite Beefheart’s ailing health, Ice Cream For Crow is probably his funnest (or funniest) album, which makes it a good note to end his career on. Unlike the previous (though probably better) album, Doc At The Radar Station, where Beefheart takes aim at New Wave and punk acts who he thinks ripped him off, Beefheart sounds resigned on Ice Cream For Crow - just interested in having fun while he still can. “The Host, The Ghost, The Most Holy-O” and “Ink Mathematics” practically come across as a grown-up Dr. Seuss poems. Beefheart gets very colorful with his imagery on the spoken word “81 Poop Hatch,” and likewise on “Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat,” a stream-of-consciousness spew atop manic, atonal guitars.

Perhaps the standout track is “Cardboard Cutout Sundown,” which contains an actual laugh out loud moment (“longhorns sawed the buggy grass, and a cowboy blew a harp sitting on his chapped ass”), plus a brilliant, ominous guitar riff overlaying a sputtering drum beat. The "new" Magic Band, consisting of Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard “Midnight Hatsize” Snyder, Gary Lucas, and Eric Drew Feldman was not as good as the older lineups that recorded Safe As Milk and Trout Mask Replica, but still did justice to Beefheart's angular composition style, whereas “The Tragic Band” of 1974 did not. Lucas, in particular, shows his guitar chops on the complex “Evening Bell,” which was originally composed by Beefheart on piano.

Since Beefheart was such an abstruse lyric-writer, it’s hard to discern the meaning of his lyrics, if and when there is any. However, “The Past Sure Is Tense” seems like another one of his trademark ecological songs, railing against the incursion of industry into nature. “The Thousand And Tenth Day Of The Human Totem Pole,” which plunks along with a slow, mesmerizing groove, is ostensibly a metaphor for human hierarchy. Captain Beefheart’s 16 year music career, which revolutionized avant-garde music, comes to an abrupt end with the fiery 2 minute, 18 second cacophony of “Skeleton Makes Good.”

* Though Don always provided his surname as “Van Vliet,” the “Van” was added later in life because he thought it sounded more artistic.


user ratings (84)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zig
December 20th 2018


1366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Finally this got a review :D

Digging: Neptune Towers - Caravans To Empire Algol

wham49
December 20th 2018


4342 Comments


have not heard this, will do

J() Alexander
December 24th 2018


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Fantastic album until '81' Poop Hatch comes and starts shitting all over the place.

Digging: BUKKAKEXRANCH - The Sound of 28 SFW Photos of Japanese Schoolgirls

GhandhiLion
December 25th 2018


3190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^70+% of album is fantastic, gives it a 2

Plis explain



... also Skeleton Makes Good is best thing here

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DoofDoof
December 25th 2018


1710 Comments


Ice cream for crow

Sorbet for Sheryl?

Digging: Bobbie Gentry - The Delta Sweete

J() Alexander
December 25th 2018


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Ghandi

Pretty sure that 2:37 aren't 30% of 37:29. Anyway, the reason is simple, everything in this album is fantastic except for '81' Poop Hatch, that one is fucking garbage with no musical value and a waste of time, and I think that maybe I should raise my standards more and give this an even lower rating even more, but I really, really like the rest of the album, so I just give it a 2.0.

GhandhiLion
December 26th 2018


3190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I presumed you meant everything after 81 was bad. I dont get how you can think most of the album is fantastic but 2 it due to a 2minute stinker

J() Alexander
December 26th 2018


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's like watching an amazing film and then it is interrupted by pictures five minutes or something of the default Windows XP wallpaper for no reason. The negatives in a work have more value than the positives, for me, at least. Or maybe I'm just an asshole, idk.



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