Captain Beefheart’s 1967 debut album Safe As Milk introduced the world to a one-of-a-kind visionary whose unique output had no precedent in contemporary music.
Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, filtered the raw influence of the blues and R&B through his own singular musical sensibility and left-field lyrical wordplay, and surrounded himself with some of the most talented and inventive young musicians around. The result was an album that, even in the heady year in which it was released, sounded like nothing else, and the stage for one of rock’s most iconoclastic and idiosyncratic careers. With backup from the first, and perhaps finest, incarnation of Beefheart’s legendary Magic Band (including future solo star Ry Cooder on guitar and teenage drum prodigy John “Drumbo” French), and production from future studio superstar Richard Perry, Beefheart unveils his fully-formed sound and vision on such landmark tracks as “Zig Zag Wanderer,” “Abba Zaba,” “Dropout Boogie,” “I’m Glad” and “Electricity” (covered two decades later by Sonic Youth). Now released on LP and CD by Sundazed Music, this landmark album now sounds the way it was meant to sound, thanks to the restoration of Perry’s rare original—and, to most fans, superior—mono mix, which was later altered by Beefheart’s label without the artist’s involvement. Both the LP and CD version of this definitive edition feature authoritative new liner notes by Rolling Stone editor and longtime Beefheart enthusiast David Fricke. “In mono, Safe As Milk is a powerful, concentrated revelation,” Fricke writes, further noting, “Safe As Milk promised comfort, exotic nourishment and rude health—and delivered. Created in a year rich in historic debuts and transformative statements about rock’s dynamic and expressive possibilities, Safe As Milk was so far in it was out.” Also available on LP!