Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fingerlinging Good!

Elliot Ingber, aka Winged Eel Fingerling, was so liked by Captain Beefheart he gave him a whole track to himself on his at the time under-rated but now much appreciated The Spotlight Kid album.

It wasn't the first time the Captain had done this, despite Ingber informing the audience of the Beefheart doc Under Review that it was - mind you he is speaking from the front seat of a stationary car; stationary in a darkened garage, I might add.

Really, two tracks from Lick My Decals Off, Baby could be said to have been given over to Bill Harkelroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), although Ingber may have had something to do with both of those pieces ('Peon' and One Red Rose That I mean'); but more of that in a moment.

Often associated with both Beefheart and Zappa, despite his credit as guitarist on the Mothers' debut Freak Out!, he became peripheral; popping up ever so occasionally, and then after some releases with other psyche bands, most notably Fraternity of Man, he appeared slightly more conspicuously as The Magic Band's Winged Eel Fingerling.
And how his hair had grown.

(Roy Estrada is real funny on this clip; bopping about like a right Geezer Butler.
Also with Art Tripp on percussion and Ingber (he's the hirsute one) playing guitar. HD quality)

Because of much claimed uncrediting a whole mythopoeia has evolved around Ingber: he played a lot more guitar than Zappa gave him credit for; he featured as second guitarist during Magic Band recordings, again uncredited (Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby); he came up with the storyboard for the gloriously absurd Lick My Decals Off, Baby commercial

and he was a brilliant blues guitarist but is completely shot away due to taking far too many drugs.

Surely not.

O yeah...

Anyway, he apparently released an album several years ago called The The The The.
Now this album is a bit of a legend to me; as I've tried since I've had a PC to track down a copy but goose chases all.

So I put my own Fingerling album together; featuring what I think are the most essential of his tracks: including 1969's 'Alley Cat', a raw blues, cut alongside Beefheart, Zappa and John French (Dream Team!), some Fraternity of Man (including Zappa's 'Oh No I Don't Believe It', predating Zappa's release (Weasels) by two years), some Juicy Groove (garage psyche) and some solo material recorded during the 70s later released on Grandmothers' albums.

(I could have included some Factory or Little Feat, but again due to lack of verification it's hard to know how involved Ingber actually was)

The order of the tracks are complementary rather than chronological.

Elliot Ingber & Others - The Winged Eel Fingerling

In the Morning
Alley Cat
Spread Love
I'm Gonna Booglarize you Baby
Blue Guitar
Oh No I Don't Believe It
A Bit Blue
Cat's Squirrel
Two Shy
Alice in Blunderland
We Don't Feed No Livestock Here

Track 1: Looking Up Granny's Dress, Grandmothers, 1982.
Tracks 2,6,7: Fraternity of Man, 1968.
Track 3: The Lost Episodes, Frank Zappa, 1996.
Tracks 4, 10: First Taste, Juicy Groove, 1978.
Tracks 5,11: The Spotlight Kid, Captain Beefheart, 1972.
Tracks 8,12: Grandmothers, 1980.
Track 9: Get It On, Fraternity of Man, 1969.

Ripped from various sources to 192kbs
Fingerlings here

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Knebworth Don

Since my last Captain Beefheart post I've been hit with all manner of suggestions as to which Beefheart boots are worth hearing.
There are some links in the comments to the post, kindly provided by Zigzagwanderer, the best being BBC sessions, 1968, which is both good quality and a good listen (here's a direct D/L link if you can't be bothered to click your way back to the original post, but are maybe half-heartedly interested enough and will give it a listen seeing as it's just a few words back).

What I've got here came to me as a CDR, merely titled Knebworth Magic Band, 1975.
It suffers the Beefheart curse, I'm afraid, that being pretty poor quality; but this is interesting enough to put up despite its dodgy sound as it truly is a great set, and captures the more accessible Captain; the one who after Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby (his best!) suddenly became accessibly hip, producing The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot; albums that expanded his audience somewhat.

The quality varies during the recording; I'm not sure if the taper was moving around or whether it was a particular windy day - from my own experience of The Knebworth Festival (1978) I distinctly remember sounds emanating from the PA were very prone to being blown about; of course them were the days before dynamic and drilling outdoor sound systems; them were the days when the stacks were four times the size but half the oomph.

The instrumentation comes across pretty well, and the a capella 'Orange Claw Hammer' I think is if anything enhanced by it's distance and breeze effected delivery.

I guess by looking at the line-up, this set no doubt took place in the afternoon.
Floyd were headlining, and I assume in 75, Floyd fans probably wouldn't have been that up for the Magic Band's's curious syncopations or the Captain's growling delivery (and he really does growl, the opening 'Moonlight On Vermont' sounds like he's loaded on methadrine.
Perhaps he was...).

Beefheart does indicate an odd reception at one point, suggesting the audience could at least act drunk, to at least pretend they're beatniks (can't imagine that going down too well with a 75 Floyd audience), but he backs down and reveals that he's 'only teasing'.

I couldn't find out too much about this performance, except John French (Drumbo) who was mysteriously absent from the recording of Clear Spot, was back in the band, but playing guitar, no longer drums (Guitaro?); lead slide duties were taken up by Elliot Ingber; which is another reason for posting this, as The Winged Eel Fingerling, as he was known, is someone who's going to make an appearance in my next post.

So not the best recording, but if you're hard enough, well worth a listen.
With a bit of fiddling of the bass and treble, my CDR through the hi-fi doesn't sound too bad; although it makes Cem cringe something rotten; but then women often have a problem with Beefheart.
I can't for the life of me work out why that is....

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Live, Knebworth Festival, 1975.

Moonlight On Vermont
Abba Zabba
Orange Claw Hammer
Dali's Car
When it Blows it Stacks
My Human Gets Me Blues
Alice in Blunderland
Beatle Bones 'n' Smokin' Stones
Gimme Dat Harp Boy
I'm Gonna Booglarize You
Sam With the Showing Scalp Flat Top
Big Eyed Beans From Venus

CD rip to mp3s
Breezy Blues here

(As the set makes no reference to Unconditionally Guaranteed or Bluejeans & Moonbeams I haven't either.
Nuff said!)