Full performer name: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.
The tracks on DUST SUCKER were originally intended for a mid-'70s release to be titled BAT CHAIN PULLER. The album was never officially released but rather, many of these tunes were re-recorded for release on SHINY BEAST (1978), DOC AT THE RADAR STATION (1980) and ICE CREAM FOR CROW (1982).
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: Don Van Vliet (vocals, reeds); John "Drumbo" French (guitar, drums, percussion); Denny Walley, Jeff Morris Tepper (guitar, slide guitar); John Thomas (keyboard).
Recorded in 1976.
Although every effort is made to convince consumers that Dust Sucker is the authorized release of Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band's "lost" version of Bat Chain Puller, it is not. Likewise, the remaining seven tracks can be traced from various spurious (read: bootleg) releases. The official story regards "master" tapes given to British concert promoter Roger Eagle by Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) in 1976 -- the premise being that Van Vliet had asked Eagle to "hold" the tapes of these mostly unfinished recordings in England. Well, if eager enthusiasts can buy into that, then presumably the poor fidelity that identifies these so-called "masters" would most likely be considered inconsequential. Eventually, 11 of the dozen tracks intended for Bat Chain Puller would be issued on subsequent Captain Beefheart releases. Dust Sucker also includes the spoken word piece "Seam Crooked Sam," which may have similar origins as "Sam with a Showing Scalp Flat-Top" -- which surfaced around the same time and can be heard on the Frank Zappa collaboration Bongo Fury. This version of the Magic Band rips and snorts its way through the title track, "Brickbats," and a definitive "Floppy Boot Stomp." The latter features one of Van Vliet's most inspired and frenetic vocals as it jumps between a spoken growl and his trademark gut-wrenching falsetto. Indeed, this is a very magic band, running with inspiration as its fuel. By the time the legit Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) was issued some three years later and after several multi-million dollar lawsuits were settled, the songs had become notably tempered. The bonus tracks were lifted from a variety of sources, most notably the New York Hot Dog Night CD -- conspicuous for its incorrect speed. The entire My Father's Place performance from November 18, 1978, was legitimately released on I'm Going to Do What I Wanna Do. Likewise, a sonically superior version of these recordings is available on another unauthorized collection, titled Original Bat Chain Puller + Safe as Milk [Mono Mix]. ~ Lindsay Planer