Beefheart & Peel coyright Kevyn Gammond
Captain Beefheart live at Frank's
The legendary Captain Beefheart brought his Magic band to Kidderminster as the first date of his first UK tour. The recording of the cult musician's gig at Frank Freeman's became a bootleg classic.
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band are the archetypal cult band - beloved by their devotees (including John Peel) and almost wilfully un-commercial - and the recording of their gig at Frank Freeman's Dance Club in Kidderminster, captures the band at a crucial early point in their career.
Beefheart in Kiddi copyright Colin Hill
The band rolled up at the Kidderminster club for the first date of their first tour of the UK, on Sunday 19 May 1968 - with John Peel coming along to record their performance.
The band had recorded their first album - Safe As Milk - and the following year would record their seminal work Trout Mask Replica.
This probably explains why the bootleg of the Kidderminster gig became such an underground hit.
The recording even turns up on an official five CD retrospective of Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band, called The Grow Fins Box Set.
The track listing for the night on that compilation is listed as:
Local music historian, John Combe, writes about the gig in his book "Get Your Kicks on the A456."
Beefheart & Peel copyright Colin Hill
He records that: "The band were pleased with their reception although their amplification gave them some trouble. 'Very nice.' said John Peel. Both he and Captain Beefheart were impressed by the club in such a small town."
It's hard to imagine what the famously eccentric Captain (real name Don Glen Vliet) made of the old-world charms of the Kidderminster dance club, where Frank and his wife Wyn made sandwiches for the bands who played there.
John Peel loved the venue - returning to it many times - and even, if urban legend is to be believed, using his radio show to appeal for lifts from London to Kidderminster.
If you were at this famous gig, share your memories:
last updated: 23/09/2009 at 16:14