Ozit-Morpheus OZIT CD 9003

Goldmine, June 2005

A true boon for Captain Beefheart collectors materializes in the form of Live & Rare (Ozit, U.K.), a sumptuous two-CD set that rounds up 26 live performances recorded around the U.K. between 1972-80, including the Captain's legendary appearances at the Bickershaw and Knebworth festivals in 1972 and 1975 respectively, together with shows in Leicester (1973), London (1974) and Manchester (1980).

Various Magic Band line-ups are caught in full flight, and the only drawback to the beautifully packaged set (in addition to the disc, you get a slipcase and postcards) is the occasionally patchy sound, particularly on the hiss-laden Knebworth tracks. There's no problem with the performances, careening from "Bass Solo" (which, indeed, is precisely that), to the brief but pretty picked guitar solo that is "Flavor Bud Living" and on to the skittering "My Human Gets Me Blues." Anybody just starting out in the heady world of Beefheart probably won't want to begin with this set. But anyone looking for a new take on an old friend will be delighted.

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