Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
Unconditionally Guaranteed Backing Tracks
Not as bad as most people think.
Advice: Hear the instrumentals at least twice. You will miss Don's vocals wondering about the music without any! edges. Then switch to the original album and enjoy the songs with some overdubbed gimmicks and Don singing about love and gold. Afterwards you will sing the melodies for the rest of the day.
If that doesn't help, delete the whole thing. Thanks.
Hollywood Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California
Lineage: Studio->tape unknown gen->Wavelab->WAV->sound edits->Trader's Little Helper->FLAC Level 8
01. Magic Be (2:53)
02. Full Moon, Hot Sun (2:19)
03. Sugar Bowl (2:06)
04. Peaches (3:21)
05. I Got Love On My Mind (3:06)
06. New Electric Ride (3:01)
07. This Is The Day (4:46)
08. Upon The My-O-My (2:39)
09. Happy Love Song (3:35)
10. Lazy Music (2:48)
Total length: 30:38.09
Sound quality: lots of hiss.
Don Van Vliet: vocals, harmonica
Mark Boston: bass guitar, guitar
Bill Harkleroad: guitar, slide guitar
Alex Snouffer: guitar, slide guitar
Art Tripp: drums, percussion
Mark Marcellino: keyboards
Andy DiMartino: acoustic guitar (studio guest)
Del Simmons: tenor sax, flute (studio guest)
Producer: Andy DiMartino
Engineers: John Guess, Jim Callon
Barry Alfonso: Parting company with Reprise, Beefheart entered an odd phase of his career that linked him with some unlikely company. By some chain of events, he began working with manager Andy DiMartino, a Hollywood music biz veteran best known for producing Rhythm Of The Rain, a 1965 Top 5 hit by The Cascades.
Several band members remember Andy and his attorney-brother Augie less than favorably. Tripp, however, felt encouraged by their involvement at first: "When I met Andy, he seemed like a no-nonsense kind of a guy, a scrappy little Italian. To me, he was a breath of fresh air. He told the band, "I'll handle Don; you guys just do the music." Don would actually sing with us at rehearsals sometimes, but in general we tried to keep him out of things - it was a new situation now." Part of this 'new situation' was the addition of keyboardist Mark Marcellino to The Magic Band at DiMartino's suggestion.
Beefheart secured a new record deal in the U.S. on Mercury (and signed with Virgin in Europe), then went into Hollywood Sound with DiMartino to make Unconditionally Guaranteed. At first, The Magic Band was excited about how the tracks were turning out. As Tripp remembers it, "We were practically backslapping each other - the tracks were tight, and we were delighted. Everything went great, we finished up, and we all left to go back to up north. But when we finally heard the album, it was a tremendous disappointment. There (was) all this sweetening, and it was just terrible."
(The Dust Blows Forward booklet)
Roger Ames: The DiMartino influence is obvious, and though the drums sound as if they were recorded underwater, the album still kicks and invites you to hum along. And that is different for a Beefheart album. DiMartino worked Don hard - sometimes recording from seven in the evening till the next morning and Don says he loved it.
Don Van Vliet: DiMartino demands tremendous energy. He's the right producer, the cosmic mitt. Get it the way it really is and get it down, is what I've always wanted to do, no fooling around and we can do that now. He got my voice better than anyone before. I'm happy with the elpee. The other was the other and this is this. I like the other but I like this too.
(Roger Ames: Captain Beefheart. People Weekly. September 1974)
Bill Harkleroad: The recording sessions for Unconditionally Guaranteed were at Hollywood Sound, LA and were actually pretty easy. Go in there - one or two takes - done - good enough. I wasn't there for the vocals and some of the overdubs. I didn't give a shit - I didn't want to be part of it. By the time we were actually recording the album it was "Fuck you, I'm out of here!!! I'm not going to put up with any shit. Maybe if you give me a big check I'll stay." But after realizing that I was never going to get any credit for the tunes, the break up was already in progress.
(Bill Harkleroad: Lunar Notes)
Bill Harkleroad: Personally, I didn't really care about the direction the music was taking so long as I didn't have to put up with anymore bullshit. I'm not sure that the tunes were necessarily non-Beefheartish, but they certainly weren't like Trout Mask. I think they had that 'Beefheart' element, but during the recording process it changed a lot. However, unlike other people, if you just listen to the tunes, I really don't see this album as being that big a radical change in musical direction. As the songs were put together, they ended up being real 'verse-chorus' orientated and I really don't like admitting this, but a lot of the guitar parts came from me.
(Bill Harkleroad: Lunar Notes)
Art Tripp: We truly had fun working up the songs on [Unconditionally Guarateed]. Alex St. Clair had joined us since the recent tour, and he was delightful to work with. Because most of the cuts were pretty simple, I doubt whether the fans would have really got behind us doing more commercial music. However, we'll never know. The voice was pumped up to the point of obliterating the band. When we left the Hollywood studio after laying down the tracks, I recall thinking that those tracks were just about the best thing we'd ever done-- in terms of both time and feel. I especially enjoyed a song called "Peaches". However, when the band finally got our album copies, we were horrified. As we listened, it was as though each song was worse than the one which preceded it. The mixing was terrible, and all you could hear was the voice. We were speechless. I think at that point we started realizing that we'd either have to get a lot more dough to continue on, or get ourselves another singer. Soon after, we started work on what would become "Mallard".
(Art Tripp: Art Tripp is Ed Marimba is Ted Cactus. Radar Station)