Clear Spot

Clear Spot is the seventh studio album by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. It was originally released on LP in 1972 in a clear plastic sleeve.

Clear Spot
Clear Spot.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1972
RecordedAutumn 1972
StudioAmigo Studios, Los Angeles
GenreBlues rock
Length37:11
LabelReprise
ProducerTed Templeman
Don Van Vliet
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band chronology
The Spotlight Kid
(1972)
Clear Spot
(1972)
Unconditionally Guaranteed
(1974)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[2]

ProductionEdit

Beefheart's third album Trout Mask Replica established him as a critically acclaimed artist, but it sold poorly. For this album Beefheart wanted more commercial success – hence his decision to work with the widely respected team of producer Ted Templeman and engineer Donn Landee, who previously created hits for artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Carly Simon and Van Morrison. Clear Spot gathers together much of the lyrical material that Beefheart had created or formulated at the beginning of The Spotlight Kid recordings.

Former Mothers of Invention and Little Feat bassist Roy Estrada joined the band on this album and is credited as "Oréjon" (big ears) on the album's sleeve while noted session percussionist Milt Holland also contributed percussion.

ReleasesEdit

The original United States release of the album was in a specially-produced clear plastic sleeve. The title Clear Spot was embossed on the front flap, with the record clearly visible inside without a liner. This reflected the title: a clear cover with the black vinyl disc as a visible spot. The original concept was for the disc to be of clear vinyl, but this was abandoned due to financial constraints.[3] The package also included a white card insert, with the band name and credits. For the UK this was a single weight card, but in the US issues this was back-to-back card with radius corners at the foot.

For U.S. reissues and initial release in other countries, a more traditional black-on-white printed sleeve was employed. The insert (or subsequent cover) shows a photo of Beefheart and band members in the control center of the Planetarium of Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, California. Griffith Park and the neighboring Los Angeles Zoo had inspired the young Beefheart (born Don Glen Vliet).[4]

On CD, the album is now available only as a "two for one" with its predecessor The Spotlight Kid, giving an overview of the work created when the band resided in Felton (near Santa Cruz, California) and Trinidad in Humboldt County. Separately, the two albums are only available as vinyl LP reissues.

In 2015, Rhino Records remastered and re-released this album, along with The Spotlight Kid and Lick My Decals Off, Baby in a box-set titled Sun Zoom Spark, rendering these albums available after being out-of-print for years.

Commercial performanceEdit

Clear Spot reached No. 191 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It did not chart in the U.K.

LegacyEdit

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Big Eyed Beans from Venus" at number 53 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[5] "Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles" was featured on the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Big Lebowski, and was later covered by the Black Keys and the Washington D.C.-based band Shortstack. The title track has been covered by Painted Willie and by Mark Lanegan. The Tubes released a faithful cover of "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains" on their 3rd LP "Now" in 1977. Everything but the Girl also recorded the same song.

It was voted number 126 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). [6]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Don Van Vliet.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Low Yo Yo Stuff"3:41
2."Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man"3:46
3."Too Much Time"2:50
4."Circumstances"3:14
5."My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains"2:55
6."Sun Zoom Spark"2:13
Side two
No.TitleLength
7."Clear Spot"3:40
8."Crazy Little Thing"2:38
9."Long Neck Bottles"3:18
10."Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles"2:57
11."Big Eyed Beans from Venus"4:23
12."Golden Birdies"1:36

PersonnelEdit

Additional personnel

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Harkelroad, Bill (1998). Lunar Notes. Wembley, Middx: SAF Publications. p. 100. ISBN 0-946719-21-7.
  4. ^ Splinters book by Artist Ink Editions (2003), ISBN 0-7379-0284-1 within Riding Some Kind Of Unusual Skull Sleigh Ltd. Ed. boxed work.
  5. ^ "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists." www.rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  6. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 82. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.