As the story goes, in 1974 Captain Beefheart had signed to a new label (Mercury) and was literally weeks from embarking on a major world tour, starting in America. The band he’d been rehearsing suddenly up and quit, leaving Beefheart with no band. So, in a panic, he quickly put a band together consisting of, as the story goes, “guys who had little or no idea of who Beefheart was, or what his music was about”. The group consisted of former members of Rick Nelson‘s band, Bobbie Gentry‘s band and an assortment of musicians qualified to be good session players, but whether they could pull off Big Eyed Beans From Venus was another thing.
Since Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band was more or less a continuously rotating one, the inclusion of this new crop of musicians was no surprise to the audience. Only those close to Beefheart and some members of the Press were aware of the near-disaster that might have happened had lesser-qualified musicians got involved. In later interviews, when asked about the episode, Beefheart offered nothing but praise. And even those members of the press who knew what had happened were surprised at the results.
So to give you an idea of what this new Magic Band sounded like, here is one of the initial concerts from that 1974 world tour with Captain Beefheart, live at the Cowtown Ballroom in Kansas City, from April 22, 1974.