To promote the only album they ever made together – Bongo Fury – Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa put together a promotional documentary of their musical lives and times. It contained some obscure material, early collaborations, demos, proto and live versions, as well as official releases. It was broadcast by KWST and other radio stations in the US, on October 1st, 1975 (the day before the official release of their album), and quickly became fodder for bootlegs.
Before ‘The Mystery Disc‘, and long before ‘The Lost Episodes‘, there was ‘An Evening With Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart‘. It provided such a rarity as “Orange Claw Hammer“, my favourite track. Instead of the well-known a capella rap, Don Van Vliet sings the words of this classic ‘Trout Mask Replica’ song backed by Zappa’s driving folk-blues 12-string (Live in the studio). Van Vliet gives an impassioned reading of the song, the result being pure magic. His story of Victorian melodrama and Depression emptiness cuts through to the core much more than the TMR version (The ‘Grow Fins‘ box set is the only release I’ve found it on, though).
Listening to this broadcast, it makes me wonder, perhaps, if there are any other Zappa/Beefheart gems like it lurking about in a vault somewhere?
To listen to the other parts of the Zappa/Beeheart 1975 promotional show: