The CD kicks off with “Hair Pie: Bake III,” which begins nearly in full force. No introductions, no stage banter, just right into it. Of course, it’s possible that there was something before this, and whoever was recording the show started his tape a bit late. Who knows? “Hair Pie: Bake III” is a loud, odd instrumental track, a bass solo. A strange way to begin a show, no? Well, this is Captain Beefheart, so you can just forget normality. It leads straight into “Suction Prints,” a thumping and unrestrained instrumental. They then go into “Low Yo Yo Stuff,” the lead-off track from the band’s 1972 release Clear Spot, and finally we can hear that familiar bluesy rough voice of Captain Beefheart. They follow that with another tune from Clear Spot, “Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man.” One thing about Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band, they sure came up with some great, memorable titles. (Hey, who else would write a song titled “I Wanna Find A Woman That’ll Hold My Big Toe ‘Til I Have To Go”?) It’s a shame the sound quality is so poor, because it’s hard to make out the lyrics at times, and the lyrics to this tune are pretty awesome. Check out these lines: “You gotta wait for your woman/Let her know you’re there/I knew I had to go out and tell all of the women/That I knew they were there/Now everywhere I go the women all know that I know/There ain’t no, there ain’t no other place to go but there/Yeah, I’m talkin’ about women, man/They don’t have to hit me/To make me know it’s there.”
“Abba Zaba” is a very cool track from the band’s debut album, 1967’s Safe As Milk. This is a good version, but of course I wish the sound quality were better. There are band introductions before the band goes into “Sugar ‘N’ Spikes,” an instrumental. And there is a bit of stage banter between that track and “Peon,” another instrumental tune, this one from the 1970 album Lick My Decals Off, Baby.
Most of this material is obviously original, but the band does play a few covers. The first is “Old Black Snake,” a John Lee Hooker song (which was originally titled “Black Snake”). Before that song, you can distinctly hear audience members talking. And this one is all Captain Beefheart – some harmonica at the beginning, and then the vocals performed a cappella. It’s a short version. The band also does “I’m A King Bee,” written by Slim Harpo, and “Sugar Mama,” the blues standard adapted by Howlin’ Wolf. Though these two songs are listed as separate tracks on the CD case, they are in fact on one track, done as a medley.
The band does a ten-minute version of “Mirror Man,” which is actually quite a bit shorter than the original album version (which is approximately fifteen minutes). The CD concludes with “Big Eyed Beans From Venus” and “Golden Birdies,” the closing tracks from Clear Spot.
CD Track List
- Hair Pie: Bake III
- Suction Prints
- Low Yo Yo Stuff
- Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man
- Abba Zaba
- Band Intro
- Sugar ‘N’ Spikes
- I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby
- Old Black Snake
- Alice In Blunderland
- I’m A King Bee/Sugar Mama
- Mirror Man
- Big Eyed Beans From Venus
- Golden Birdies
Live From Vancouver 1973 was released on February 17, 2015 through Gonzo Multimedia.