Title: Bat Chain Puller

Artist:Captain Beefheart

Album:Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)

Year Released: 1978

What It Is: A deep groove underpins the song, with accenting typical Beefheartian guitar parts (which are complicated rhythmically and sonically) and the Captain’s own odd poetry. It’s quite a listen.

Riffage / Hookage: The groove is the riff and the hook. It propels the song and allows the guitarists space on which to cast their interesting spells. Oh, and allows a bedrock for the Captain to do his thing, too.

Cowbell?:No, the drums are very basic. Beefheart was over his marimba phase, too. (Basically, since Art (Ed Marimba)Tripp left the group.)

Words Of Wisdom: “It whistles like a root snatched from dry earth
Sodbustin’ rakes with grey dust claws
Announces its coming in the morning
This train with grey tubes
That houses people’s very thoughts and belongings.”

I don’t think I could add anything else…

Mixology Report: Careful scouting of your mix target will determine if they are Beefheart-ready. It takes a while to ‘get it’, but once they do, then Beefheart away!

For The Good Of The Order: He recorded this earlier as part of the “Bat Chain Puller” album, which for many tangled legal reasons involving Frank Zappa, never saw the light of day except on bootlegs. I have heard that bootleg, and the versions aren’t remarkably different. He had this thing worked out.

Here’s Beefheart on French TV in the early 80’s. As you can see, the musicians are tight but they have to know what they’re doing in order to get it right. And it still doesn’t sound ‘right’ but it’s right. Trust me.

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