Zappa & Beefheart – The Torture Never Stops (Bongo Fury Tour 1975)

In his 1975 Bongo Fury Tour with Frank Zappa‘s band, Captain Beefheart delivers his blues-infused vocals in what I feel is the quintessential version of “The Torture Never Stops” (part one, above; part two, below). I’ve heard other vocalists sing this song, but besides the Zappa sung version, only Don Van Vliet ever truly made this song his own. I’ve always wondered why this version wasn’t released on ‘Bongo Fury‘ and then released so late (almost like an afterthought) on ‘You Can Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 4‘ and ‘Cheap Thrills‘?

Bongo Fury Tour Band:

Frank Zappa – vocals, guitar
Denny Walley – vocals, slide guitar
Captain Beefheart – vocals, harmonica
Napoleon Murphy Brock – saxophone, vocals
George Duke – keyboards, vocals
Bruce Fowler – trombone, dancer
Tom Fowler – bass, dancer
Terry Bozzio – drums

The Torture Never Stops“, (Music Hall, Boston, MA, 27 Apr 1975, Late Show)

9 Responses to “Zappa & Beefheart – The Torture Never Stops (Bongo Fury Tour 1975)”

  1. Chuck says:

    I dunno, I always thought it was kind of boring this way… though this version is better than the really rote version on YCDTOSAVolIV. Though I think only the early ’78 versions of the song really cook… the others vary from dull to very good.

    Makes me think of how Gary Lucas asked FZ for the unreleased tracks from Bat Chain Puller so they could use them for the second side of Ice Cream for Crow and FZ was going to let them then changed his mind at the last minute and suggested they use the Beefheart Torture instead as Bat Chain Puller was more valuable as a whole. (Bit unfair of FZ and sad considering nearly 30 years later it still isn’t released!)

  2. Jamez says:

    A quote from Chuck:

    I dunno, I always thought it was kind of boring this way… though this version is better than the really rote version on YCDTOSAVolIV. Though I think only the early ’78 versions of the song really cook… the others vary from dull to very good.

    Makes me think of how Gary Lucas asked FZ for the unreleased tracks from Bat Chain Puller so they could use them for the second side of Ice Cream for Crow and FZ was going to let them then changed his mind at the last minute and suggested they use the Beefheart Torture instead as Bat Chain Puller was more valuable as a whole. (Bit unfair of FZ and sad considering nearly 30 years later it still isn’t released!)

    As well as the Roxy DVD, the ZFT should release ‘Bat Chain Puller’!

  3. Disciple of "Bob" says:

    If I live a million years I will probably still never understand the appeal of Captain Beefheart.

    Blasphemy, I know.

  4. Paul Sempschi says:

    A quote from Disciple of “Bob”:

    If I live a million years I will probably still never understand the appeal of Captain Beefheart.

    Blasphemy, I know.

    well you can just listen to Trout Mask over and over until you start to enjoy it… but have you heard Safe as Milk or Clear Spot? they’re not as hard driving and there are some beautiful, almost radio-friendly tracks worth investigating.

  5. Birdman! says:

    “Bat Chain Puller (Shiny Beast)” is the ultimate instrument of Beefheart conversion. “Tropical Hotdog Night”, “Ice Rose”, and “Owed T’Alex” all have cool riffs, cool synth sounds, and Bruce Fowler’s trombone. Live versions of these songs are great, too, because it’s amazing that something that sounds like shambling chaos can be recreated so faithfully (not that these specific songs are as close as Beefheart gets to shambling chaos).
    This version of Torture does have a lot more life and slop in it than the YCDTOSA version.

  6. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Disciple of “Bob”:

    If I live a million years I will probably still never understand the appeal of Captain Beefheart.

    Funny, I’ve heard the very same phrase used to describe the appeal of Frank Zappa’s music. Both Zappa and Beefheart compositions, characterized by odd mixtures of shifting time signatures, have appealed to me from early on in their careers. As a writer, I was drawn to Don Van Vliet’s surreal lyrics (every current performance poet today owes a debt to Beefheart in my opinion). Though, at times non-sensical, his lyrics are just as musical as creative as the music, itself.

    That said, it’s all a matter of personal taste. Some people really like Abba…Fernando…

  7. Mark says:

    I love this version. Better than the conventional one. I also like the guitar better. I like Thing-Fish singin’ it also but nothing beats this one.

  8. urbangraffito says:

    I think it can be agreed upon that certain Zappa compositions – “The Torture Never Stops”, “Find Her Finer”, “Willie the Pimp”, “Wonderful Wino”, and “Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up” are built upon basic rhythm and blues structures – and the addition of Don Van Vliet’s vocals to some of them makes them really quite extraordinary.

  9. Mondolunch says:

    I am not a big fan of CB but I am not under any delusion to his genius. I enjoy WATCHING him more than hearing him at some points… he really had a presence about him… and there is a clear connection to THAT and why I think FZ enjoyed him around (although FZ stated touring with him was a pain in the ass)… Anyway, this version of TTNS is pretty darn good.

    Mondo

Comments for this entry have been closed.