August 24, 2011 – 4:28 pm

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Best Batch Yet (30th Anniversary Edition)
Reseda 1981 [JWB Production, 2CD]

Live at The Country Club, Reseda, CA; January 29, 1981. Very good mono soundboard.

Captain Beefheart fans might have come across tracks from the Reseda 1981 show on the Railroadism: Live In The USA 1972-1981 album. And now… on with the rest of the show.

Mark Leviton wrote in the February 27, 1981 issue of BAM:

From the moment Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) walked onstage with Eric Feldman’s roaring bass solo as fanfare and stuck the bell of his soprano sax completely over the microphone, an adder consuming a peach, Beefheart commanded respect. With drummer Robert Williams hitting a groove and the guitarists blasting off-balance riffs at each other, lurching around Don’s stationary figure, the effect is somehow intimate, an invasion of your mind.

When Don caught fire, he pushed the band into some other region of music. Denny Walley came on to handle the guitar part on China Pig; a straight blues number from Trout Mask Replica that Don sang with heart, blowing his harmonica with fervor as well. During Sue Egypt, Don read the lyrics off huge cards, but growled and pushed until Jeff Moris Tepper and Feldman were ricocheting around like metal pinballs… The band also sparingly used a technique I’d not seen them employ before, a long, slow fade-out on several tunes that added a bitter-sweet flavor and a touch of irony.

Click here for the full review.

Thanks to JWB who shared the tracks on the net. JWB noted: “Source is the amazing 1st Gen reel transferred by Mike Martin. Speed, EQ and balance were tweaked to achieve the ultimate version!”

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 101. Hair Pie (6.1MB)
Track 102. Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (6.9MB)
Track 103. I Wanna Find A Woman That’ll Hold My Big Toe ‘Til I Have To Go (3.5MB)
Track 104. Hot Head (6.2MB)
105. Ashtray Heart - Omitted*
106. Dirty Blue Gene - Omitted*
107. The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or The Big Dig) - Omitted*
Track 108. Best Batch Yet (8.4MB)
Track 109. Safe As Milk (6.9MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
110. One Red Rose That I Mean - Omitted*
Track 111. China Pig (9.0MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
Track 112. Sue Egypt (3.3MB)

Disc 2
Track 201. Doctor Dark (4.9MB)
Track 202. Bat Chain Puller (10.1MB)
Track 203. My Human Gets Me Blues (5.5MB)
Track 204. Sugar N’ Spikes (4.6MB)
Track 205. Sheriff Of Hong Kong (10.7MB)
Track 206. Kandy Korn (8.6MB)
207. Veteran’s Day Poppy - Omitted*
208. Big Eyed Beans From Venus - Omitted*

* Available on Railroadism: Live In The USA 1972-1981 (Viper).

Captain Beefheart - vocals/harmonica/saxophone
Jeff Moris Tepper - guitar
Richard Midnight Hatsize Snyder - guitar/bass
Eric Drew Feldman - bass/keyboards
Robert Arthur Williams - drums/percussion
Denny Walley - guitar on China Pig

Click here to order Railroadism: Live In The USA 1972-1981.

  1. 33 Responses to “CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - BEST BATCH YET 1981”

  2. I don`t have any live Captain..Is there a live version of Orange Claw Hammer out there ? ..that is without a doubt my favourite Beef tune..

    By sluggo on Aug 24, 2011

  3. A live version of “Orange Claw Hammer” can be found on Revenant Records’ boxed set GROW FINS (

    Thanks for posting this — pity though that you omitted a few tracks due to their inclusion on an Ozit records CD. They are bottom-feeding bootleg purveyors who have no legal rights to the recordings they release. Anyway thanks for making the rest of it available.


    By Pober Saltine on Aug 25, 2011

  4. Wow!, BigO….Just….Wow!

    By Walter on Aug 25, 2011

  5. Hello Pober Saltine

    Thanks for your comment. The omitted tracks are on the Railroadism CD (Viper, from Liverpool), not on an Ozit records CD. If anyone can confirm that Railroadism is a bootleg release, we can then re-instate the omitted tracks. Cheers.

    By bigozine2 on Aug 25, 2011

  6. yes, Bootleg release. Same people even, I think.

    By Clark Gwent on Aug 25, 2011

  7. hey bigo, e-mail, if you reinstate these tracks. i will get it. i have one blue back beefheart bootleg a friend gave me 5 years ago. it’s bluesy.


    By Ed Saad on Aug 26, 2011

  8. I noticed the comment above; ‘During Sue Egypt, Don read the lyrics off huge cards,’

    I recently re-read Barry Miles book, Zappa.

    When talking about the (1974-75) Bongo Fury tour Zappa said of Don-
    “His memory causes him trouble. He won’t be separated from his sheets of paper that have his words written on. He clings to them for dear life. He also has a literacy problem. He can hardly read.”

    Don sat on stage drawing when he was not singing; he could not learn the words and read them from pieces of paper…
    Jimmy Carl Black said- “By the time Frank and Don got to El Paso, they weren’t even speaking to each other anymore. Seems that Don was drawing too many pictures of Frank in his drawing book and Frank didn’t like it. I saw some of the pictures and I thought they were pretty funny. Frank didn’t.”

    If anybody is interested this is the best book I’ve read about Zappa. It came out in 2004.

    By Sking on Aug 26, 2011

  9. On the lighter side-
    does anybody remember those Helm’s Bakery trucks? They were yellow panel trucks that delivered bread and baked goods to housewives by driving down the residential streets of southern California. The driver would open the back door and pull out these long drawers that ran all the way to the cab.

    Don Vliet’s dad had a route in the Lancaster/Mojave area. If Frank and Don wanted to go to Denny’s for coffee they would put Don’s girlfriend in the drawer and she could get into the cab and take a couple dollars from his change-maker. Then they would pull her back out by the ankles.

    Later when Don’s dad suffered a heart attack, Don dropped out of school to take over his bread route.

    Can you imagine buying donuts from Captain Beefheart right outside your house on the street where you live?

    By Sking on Aug 26, 2011

  10. Sking,

    I remember the Helmsman. Bought my Astroboy theme 45 rpm record through them in 1964. Full color cover, even tho the cartoon was B & W. Wish it was in better shape…

    By 3yrsnojob on Aug 26, 2011

  11. Hi 3years,
    Do you still have the 45? I think I still have a couple of old promo 45s.I was never sure if Astroboy was black & white or if it was just that our TV was.

    I remember that Helm’s changed to Holm’s then went out of business. They then sold all their trucks to every plumber and hippie in So Cal.

    By Sking on Aug 26, 2011

  12. I had the great good fortune to be front row center when Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band played the Bottom Line in NYC (now NYU offices. Flash forward (a few decades….) to the Beacon Theater, where Dweezil Zappa shocked the house during a Zappa Plays Zappa concert by informing us of Don’s death that day. Very sad. Brilliant man. R.I.P., Don.

    By Walter on Aug 26, 2011

  13. Most likely Railroadism is an unauthorized release - there are many live Beefheart CDs out now that were never authorized by Beefheart or his record label. You might want to consider posting Railroadism here if you can confirm this.

    By Belmo on Aug 26, 2011

  14. It may not have been clear in our above posting but here are links to Viper Records

    If anyone has info that their version of Railroadism is a bootleg, please contact us.

    By Admin on Aug 26, 2011

  15. Always a pleasure to find more Beefheart - thanks!

    Does anyone know if there are any Magic Band boots available - I know they’ve released at least a couple albums, one that’s live.
    With limited funds available to me for live shows these days, that’s one band I’d make a supreme effort to see live. No cover band, they are the real thing… and Drumbo’s vocals are excellent!

    By xavieronassis on Aug 31, 2011

  16. xavieronassis -

    I bookmarked this page for my future use. I’ve gotten a couple of these so far but some are in Flac and I count my megabit usage and ration myself. But there are at least two here of just the Magic Band. One from 1974 & one from 2004. Also more with the Captain. Hope this helps you.(and anyone else)

    By Sking on Sep 1, 2011

  17. I remember Helm’s Bakery trucks. I remember Don Van Vliet. I remember The Country Club. THANX. This is beyond excellence.

    By Timmy on Sep 2, 2011

  18. The Captain Beefheart discography on Wikipedia ( does NOT include ‘Railroadism’.
    The Captain Beefheart Radar Stations lists it under “live Albums” and calls it “nothing official”.
    His official albums were released on Buddah, Pye, Blue Thumb, Liberty, Warner (US), and most of them on Straight, Reprise, Mercury, Virgin.

    By Walter on Sep 2, 2011

  19. by the way: I’m not the same Walter as the one with the first two postings here under my name.

    By Walter on Sep 2, 2011

  20. Hi Sking. Still have it. The 60’s Astroboy was all in B&W, the 1980’s version only shown in Canada and Australia was in color and is the best of the three sets to get, and the last which was cancelled in the US mid series started in 2003. I have all three sets. The Color 80’s version (along with Gigantor) wasn’t shown in US because both series were banned in 1968 for being too violent. I liked the recent movie for the most part that starred Freddie Hightower. If that girl really fit in the drawer used for the donuts and pastries, she must have been one thin chick. All of those were bought when money wasn’t a theory or imaginary item other people have.

    By 3yrsnojob on Sep 2, 2011

  21. @Sking

    Thanks for the link looks like some good stuff.

    By xavieronassis on Sep 4, 2011

  22. Thanks to JWB for the added work and the nice cover. I don’t understand how any of this could be considered official. I got this tape from the soundman and shared it on line a couple years ago. I had been hesitant to share these because of the fear that someone would pirate this and now someone takes my tape releases parts of it and claims it to be official released material? That seems to be stretching things a bit.

    By Mike Martin on Sep 14, 2011

  23. It pisses me off to see a release that Mike and I worked hard on to get to the general public in best possible form, and you not only convert it to mp3, you delete tracks that appear on the BOOTLEG “Railroadism”. The European market is flooded with these bootleg releases and people are still treating them as though they’re official releases. Shameful.

    By JWB on Dec 22, 2011

  24. This is awesome!

    By Clark on Aug 2, 2013

  25. thank for the weirdness

    By Paul on Mar 26, 2014

  26. I’m also pretty sure Railroadism is a bootleg release or at the very least one considerably in the grey area (I think the only legit live album from this era is of a show at My Father’s Place that Rhino put out years ago).

    Either way, thanks for sharing the parts of this show that aren’t on that record!

    By Mark M. on Apr 5, 2015

  27. This is great! Thanks BigO

    By bing bongong on Apr 6, 2015

  28. I saw Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band at Winterland opening for the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1972? Someone dosed us before the show so I was very high but it was a nice drug. Beefheart and especially the Magic Band were incredible. I had seen Beefheart once before in Sacramento in 1968? and they were good, but this time they blew me and my friends away. Ferocious idiosyncratic blues rock. Opened with Mirror Man as I recall. Alice in Blunderland was stupendous. Unfortunately at the quiet parts of songs, assholes in the audience were cat calling - finally maybe an hour into his set Beefheart threw up his arms, cried out something like “I’ve had enough of this shit” and stalked off the stage - leaving the astonished band to finish that song as an instrumental then stop, look to make sure he was not coming back, and walk off stage. Evidence that the San Francisco audiences of the day included jerks who did not get the music.

    Mahavishnu played a wonderful show as well.

    By Stephen Clayton on Apr 7, 2015

  29. darth should pay attention to this type of review from mr stephen clayton.
    Not once does he pretend that the captain is his friend or is getting a photo taken with his arm around him.Nice tale mr Clayton, thank you for keeping it real.

    By the grim reaper on Apr 7, 2015

  30. It seems the full concert is here:

    By bernie on Feb 29, 2016

  31. Lived in Humboldt when Don and the Magic Band were There(Clear Spot)Then they split up and Mallard formed from the ashes of the Magic Band.Talked to him a few times at Recordworks…..great days.

    By russ on Apr 15, 2016

  32. Have a cassette of the show that I’ve had for 20-25 years; seem to recall that the copy I have was made from a vinyl bootleg, or so the trader said.

    By Jim on May 3, 2016

  33. Aaaaargh 4 broken links again !!!

    By mrbelette on Dec 4, 2016

  34. A bootleg it is. Found it under the title “Live at the Country Club”

    By mrbelette on Dec 5, 2016

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