Captain Beefheart - Strictly Personal (1968)

Recorded six months after the raucous Mirror Man sessions, Strictly Personal is marred only by odd phase-shifting effects and the insertion of backwards tapes allegedly added by Beefheart's manager to make him sound closer to the "acid rock" trend then prevailing. Still, Beefheart's playful nature comes shining through. His stream-of-consciousness leads him to the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" during "Beatle Bones 'n' Smokin' Stones." "Ah Feel Like Ahcid" is Beefheart's trademark over-the-top Howlin' Wolf blues set three steps ahead. Drummer John French, in particular, gives Beefheart's music its listener-challenging edge, jumpcutting as the rhythm becomes familiar. That he gets weirder and fully realized from here is a testament to Beefheart's lifelong obsession with uncovering something new underneath the same old rock.

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