Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970)

Lick My Decals Off, Baby is a record by Captain Beefheart released in 1970 on Frank Zappa's Straight label. The followup to his Trout Mask Replica, it is regarded by some critics and listeners as superior to the famous 1969 recording. Beefheart himself allegedly regards it as his best album, and due to John Peel's championing of the work on BBC radio, Decals spent eleven weeks in the British Top 50 and reached #20 on the charts. It remains his highest-charting album in the UK.

Decals contains some of Captain Beefheart's most experimental music and remains memorable for both the marimba playing of Art Tripp and for its concise instrumental work. An early promotional music video was made of its title song, and a bizarre television commercial (with excerpts from "Woe-Is-uh-Me-Bop," silent footage of masked Magic Band members using kitchen utensils as musical instruments, and Beefheart overturning a bowl of what appears to be porridge onto a dividing stripe in the middle of a road with his foot) was also filmed.

In his collection of record reviews Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide, rock critic Robert Christgau reviewed Decals this way: "Beefheart's famous five-octave range and covert totalitarian structures have taken on a playful undertone, repulsive and engrossing and slapstick funny."

Like many releases on Zappa's Bizarre and Straight labels, Decals has been out of print for years on CD. Enigma Retro released a CD edition in 1989 which now goes for high prices among record collectors. Decals is still available as a 180g vinyl reissue. In 2006, rumors of a CD reissue along with other Beefheart albums circulated but were not confirmed and no reissue of Decals has appeared thus far.


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