Album review

Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands - Railroadism: Live In The USA 72-81

Dispelling once and for all the myth that Van Vliet was appreciated less in his native land than elsewhere, this excellent trawl through nearly a decade of US truck-stops is as much an opportunity to compare Magic Bands as it is to marvel at the Don. Plenty of high points (the Delta growl of "Old Black Snake" from '72; a swampy "Grow Fins" from NYC's Bottom Line in '77; a strangely tender "Harry Irene" a year later), but on this evidence, the newly semi-reformed '81 line-up—six cuts from Reseda Country Club, California—takes some serious shifting.

Rating: 4 / 10


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Introducing… Elvis Costello: The Ultimate Music Guide


In June 1977, Allan Jones of the Melody Maker took a familiar route to the offices of Stiff Records in West London. His appointment, that day, was with a notably irascible young singer-songwriter from Hounslow. In the course of a frequently startling interview, the man who had chosen to call...