Day 53: Sweet Sweet Bulbs

Over the past year, Miles started to listen to a lot of Captain Beefheart. I’m glad he liked Captain Beefheart.

Trout Mask Replica is one of my favorite albums, but it took me a while to enjoy it. For many years, I heard from so many people that Trout Mask Replica is a great album, a great psychedelic record from the 60s.  You have to hear it, they would always say.  I remember in 1989 when Rolling Stone came out with a list of the top 100 albums of the past 20 years. I pored over it and studied the descriptions. I had not heard of most of the records and I was really intrigued by albums from the Velvet Underground, the Sex Pistols, and Beefheart.

When I finally found the Beefheart CD at a mall record store, I eagerly listened to it. I hated it. It was impossible, impenetrable. It sat on my shelf for years. I would pick it up every once in a while and try to listen but it never caught my ear right and it languished, unlistenable.

One day I gave it another shot. I randomly selected a track—“Sweet Sweet Bulbs.” It finally clicked. I realized that Trout Mask Replica was not just a psychedelic record. It’s a blues record. Yes, it is weird and bizarre and psychedelic, but there is a blues record at its core trying to get out. Once I realized what lay at the heart of the music, I could hear it with new ears and I could listen to it. I enjoyed it and I enjoy still.  I can listen to it all the way through.

Miles liked a lot of Captain Beefheart. Beefheart wrote some weird songs and some songs that are difficult to listen to, but he wrote some beautiful songs and some sweet songs and songs that are among my favorites.


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