Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band ‎– Safe As Milk

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The making of Safe As Milk, the debut album of Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, is a long and convoluted story, revealed at length elsewhere upon the Web and in written accounts. However, some rudimentary details are worth having here for those wishing to submit.

Early US issues had red labels, followed by 'kaleidoscope' labels, then later black labels (under Arista). For some stereo issues a foil 'stereo' sticker was applied to mono sleeves. First inner liners had a photo-montage & loose sticker.

The band recorded in the Spring of 1967 at Sunset Sound Studios, later for the finished work at RCA Studios, Hollywood, C.A., USA.
The band members were:
Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, publishing in his real name and performing by his alias. (Vocals, Harmonica & Bass Marimba).
Alex Snouffer, aka Alex St. Clair, also known as Alexis St. Clare Snouffer. (Guitar).
Jerry Handley (Bass Guitar).
John French, aka John 'Drumbo' French or simply Drumbo. (Drums & Percussion).
Ry Cooder (Guitar, Slide Guitar & Bass Guitar) [A subsequently disaffected member & not appearing in photos].
Session or Guest Musicians [that are known. Others were present]:
Taj Mahal (Percussion), Russ Titelman (Guitar), Milt Holland (Log Drums & Percussion), Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman aka Sam Hoffman (Theremin).

Vliet wrote all of the songs, with the exception of Grown So Ugly, by Robert Pete Williams. Herb Bermann (Lancaster resident & soul-mate at the time) co-wrote the lyrics with Vliet on all songs - with the exception of the aforesaid and; Call On Me, I'm Glad and Abba Zaba. Jerry Handley co-wrote Plastic Factory with Vliet & Bermann. Cooder arranged Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do & Ugly, Vliet arranged the remainder.

At this time, in 1967, 'Kama Sutra' records had a distribution deal with MGM. Meanwhile a Verve 3000 series catalog was allocated for Beefheart (FTS 3054), but not used because Vliet had signed with Kama Sutra after failing to be picked up by A&M. To extricate from MGM, Kama Sutra had created Buddah Records late in 1967, headed by Neil Bogart. Thus, Vliet & the band were recording for Buddah, although signed to Kama Sutra and Kama Sutra is shown on international releases. Bob Krasnow and Richard Perry produced the sessions. Some engineering was done by future TMR bassist Gary Marker*, then Hank Cicalo at RCA. This is the first mono & stereo album on the Buddah label, later celebrated by the reissue on BMG's new-look & retitled Buddha in 1999.

After "Safe As Milk" the band line-up was in flux. When they re-entered a recording studio in October 1967, for what was to be a double album "It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper", the project met various problems. Tracks from sessions surfaced on Beefheart's 2nd "Strictly Personal" & 5th "Mirror Man" albums, among other releases. Consequently, some of the recordings from these sessions appear later, issued as 'bonus' tracks on "Safe As Milk" releases**.

The album's working title was "Abba Zaba", after the American candy bar of Cardinet Candy Co., in a yellow/black checkered wrapper (hence the back cover design). See; Abba Zaba. However, the company vetoed use of the name and a title that was as 'safe as milk' was used. (A track titled "Safe As Milk" can be found on "Strictly Personal").

*Marker engineered at Sunset Sound, as he describes in the 'Grow Fins' set.
**These are technically 'Compilation' releases, as indicated thereon by reissue distributors BMG [for example]. Being compiled by 3rd parties from 2 different recording sources and significantly remastered without control by the artists.

Versions (95)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Promo, Whi) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
F-1-5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(4-Trk, Album) Buddah Records F-1-5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
L-1-5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(8-Trk, Album) Buddah Records L-1-5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDM 1001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, Promo) Buddah Records BDM 1001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDM 1001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, Red) Buddah Records BDM 1001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDM 1001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, Red) Buddah Records BDM 1001 US 1967 Sell This Version
LP 5460 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Promo, Whi) Buddah Records LP 5460 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Red) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Red) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Red) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, TP) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 1967 Sell This Version
SPLP 1249 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Astor SPLP 1249 Australia 1968 Sell This Version
HBDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records HBDS 5001 Netherlands 1968 Sell This Version
HBDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records HBDS 5001 Netherlands 1968 Sell This Version
203 009 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records 203 009 Germany 1968 Sell This Version
PLP 1249 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono) Astor PLP 1249 Australia 1968 Sell This Version
NPL 28110 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono) PYE International NPL 28110 UK 1968 Sell This Version
PLP 1249, SPLP 1249 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, MP) Astor, Astor PLP 1249, SPLP 1249 Australia 1968 Sell This Version
203 009 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Promo) Buddah Records 203 009 Germany 1968 Sell This Version
921024, BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Majic Band* Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records, Buddah Records 921024, BDS 5001 France 1969 Sell This Version
623171 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records 623171 UK 1969 Sell This Version
MAL 1117 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono) Marble Arch Records, Pye International MAL 1117 UK 1969 Sell This Version
2349 002 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Dropout Boogie(LP, Album, MP, RE) Buddah Records 2349 002 UK 1970 Sell This Version
2349 002 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Dropout Boogie(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records 2349 002 UK 1970 Sell This Version
2318 014 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Plastic Factory(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records 2318 014 Germany 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Promo, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Promo, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1970 Sell This Version
60017 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, Kal) Buddah Records 60017 France 1970 Sell This Version
21007, 2322 003 Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band* Plastic Factory(LP, Album, Gat) Buddah Records, Buddah Records 21007, 2322 003 Mexico 1972 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1973 Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RP) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US 1974 Sell This Version
BD 60017 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Ltd, Yel) Buddah Records BD 60017 France 1975 Sell This Version
201.719 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Gold Rock(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records 201.719 Germany 1976 Sell This Version
BD 60017 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Ltd, Red) Buddah Records BD 60017 France 1976 Sell This Version
6.23171 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records 6.23171 Germany 1978 Sell This Version
6.23171 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records 6.23171 Germany 1978 Sell This Version
NCP 1004 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) PRT NCP 1004 UK 1981 Sell This Version
NCP 1004 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) PRT NCP 1004 UK 1984 Sell This Version
BDSC 69005 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(Cass, Album) Buddah Records BDSC 69005 US 1985 Sell This Version
252 260-4 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(Cass, Album, RE) WEA, Buddah Records 252 260-4 Europe 1985 Sell This Version
252 260-1 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) WEA, Buddah Records 252 260-1 Europe 1985 Sell This Version
BDS 69005 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, RM) Buddah Records BDS 69005 US 1985 Sell This Version
BDS 69005 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(Vinyl, Album, Promo, RM) Buddah Records BDS 69005 US 1985 Sell This Version
28CP-36 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album) Buddah Records 28CP-36 Japan 1988 Sell This Version
LTCD02 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, MP, RE) Castle Communications LTCD02 Sweden 1988 Sell This Version
CLACD 234 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Mono, RE) Castle Classics CLACD 234 UK 1988 Sell This Version
LTCD02 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE) Castle Communications PLC LTCD02 Sweden 1988 Sell This Version
SCD-4922 Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart At His Best(CD, Album) Special Music Company SCD-4922 UK, Europe & US 1989 Sell This Version
SMC-4922 Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart At His Best(Cass, Album, Bla) Special Music Company SMC-4922 UK, Europe & US 1989 Sell This Version
SMC 4922 Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart At His Best(Cass, Album, Tan) Special Music Company SMC 4922 US 1989 Sell This Version
RR 4035-C Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE) Repertoire Records RR 4035-C Germany 1990 Sell This Version
OR0146 Captain Beefheart Zig Zag Wanderer(CD, Album, Mono, RE) Object Enterprises OR0146 UK 1991 Sell This Version
OR0146 Captain Beefheart Zig Zag Wanderer(CD, Album, Mono, RE) Object Enterprises OR0146 UK 1991 Sell This Version
BKS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE) Unidisc BKS 5001 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
BDK-5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RP) Buddah Records, Inc. BDK-5001 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
BDT 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(Cass, Album, RE) Unidisc BDT 5001 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
OW 29088 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE) One Way Records (6) OW 29088 US 1993 Sell This Version
CLALP 234 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Castle Classics CLALP 234 UK 1997 Sell This Version
SVLP 122 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(2xLP, Album, Ltd, RM, 180) Buddha Records, Simply Vinyl SVLP 122 UK 1999 Sell This Version
SVLP 122 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(2xLP, Album, Promo, RM, 180) Simply Vinyl SVLP 122 UK 1999 Sell This Version
7446599605-2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Comp, RE, RM) Buddha Records, BMG Distribution 7446599605-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
7446599605-2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Comp, RE, RM) Buddha Records 7446599605-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
74465-99605-2, BUADV99605-2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Promo, RM, Bon) Buddah Records, BMG Distribution 74465-99605-2, BUADV99605-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
BVCM-35051, 74465-99605-2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RM) Buddha Records, Buddah Records, BMG BVCM-35051, 74465-99605-2 Japan 1999 Sell This Version
74321 69175 2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RM) Buddha Records, Buddah Records, RCA, BMG 74321 69175 2 Europe 1999 Sell This Version
S125009 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(2xLP, Album, RE, 125) Buddah Records, Simply Vinyl S125009 UK & Europe 2001 Sell This Version
BDS 5001, BDS-5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Ltd, RE, Whi) Buddah Records, Buddah Records BDS 5001, BDS-5001 US 2003 Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, 180) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US 2003 Sell This Version
FRCD 040223 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CDr, Album, Ltd, RM, Unofficial) 2000 FruitGum Corp. FRCD 040223 Russia 2008 Sell This Version
BVCM-35626 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Ltd, RM, Min) BMG BVCM-35626 Japan 2009 Sell This Version
CR REV 271 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RM) Rev-Ola CR REV 271 UK 2009 Sell This Version
MOVLP343 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, 180 + LP, 180) Buddah Records, Music On Vinyl MOVLP343 Europe 2011 Sell This Version
SC 11232 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, Mono) Sundazed Music SC 11232 US 2013 Sell This Version
LP 5460, none, 88883701761 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, RE) Sundazed Music, Buddah Records, Sony Music Commercial Music Group LP 5460, none, 88883701761 US 2013 Sell This Version
MOVLP343 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(2xLP, Album, Ltd, Num, RE, Whi) Buddah Records, Music On Vinyl MOVLP343 Europe 2017 Sell This Version
LP 5460, 090771404114 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, Mono, RE, Whi) Sundazed Music, Buddah Records, Sony Music Commercial Music Group LP 5460, 090771404114 US 2018 Sell This Version
74321691751 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(2xLP, Album, Unofficial) Buddah Records (2), Simply Vinyl (2) 74321691751 UK Unknown Sell This Version
7446599605-2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, Comp, RE, RM, RP) Buddha Records 7446599605-2 US Unknown Sell This Version
74321 69175 2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RM, RP) Buddha Records, Buddah Records, RCA, BMG 74321 69175 2 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
74321 69175 2 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(CD, Album, RE, RM, RP) Buddha Records, Buddah Records, RCA, BMG 74321 69175 2 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
BDS 5001 , BDM 1001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records, Buddah Records BDS 5001 , BDM 1001 US Unknown Sell This Version
2318 056 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records 2318 056 New Zealand Unknown Sell This Version
BDS 5063 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BDS 5063 US Unknown Sell This Version
BD 60017 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records BD 60017 France Unknown Sell This Version
MED 51706, MED 51.706 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records, Buddah Records MED 51706, MED 51.706 Germany Unknown Sell This Version
BDS 5001, BDS-5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE) Buddah Records, Buddah Records BDS 5001, BDS-5001 US Unknown Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, Mar) Buddah Records BDS 5001 US Unknown Sell This Version
BDS 5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk(LP, Album, RE, Unofficial) Kama Sutra Music, Inc. BDS 5001 Unknown Sell This Version
5001 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe as Milk(LP, Album) Buddah Records 5001 Unknown Sell This Version

Recommendations

Reviews Show All 56 Reviews

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rockyhorror

rockyhorror

March 2, 2019
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, RE, 180, BDS 5001
Agree with all the others below, very bad sound quality, sounds like a bootleg.
leonthepro

leonthepro

February 11, 2019
edited 2 months ago
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Mono, RE, Whi, LP 5460, 090771404114

A worthy reissue to have, bringing out the best this rather low par recording has to offer.
Kevins cut is lively with good instrument separation and spectrum extension.
From low to high end it makes it all enjoyable, especially the low end which I think many will come to appreciate with this release.
Bass wise this might be the best you can get this album with mega drive and punch on those tracks that are recorded to allow it like Where There's Woman. But I do wish there was some tighter selected bottom end on tracks like Zig Zag Wanderer.
It might also be hindered somewhat by the shrill and distorted guitars, not allowing the listener to crank the volume enough before they become too loud.
Nothing will probably ever remove the distortion in some tracks and this is no exception. But Im not sure I can critisize it for that fact. I also use a Stereo cart which might increase it in the separate channels so I digress for now.
The vinyl too is quiet and lacks nearly any crackles and pops despite the color. And it does make for a rather fitting looking disc wouldnt you say?

Equipment Used:
Rega RP1 with Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
Cyrus 2 Amplifier
System Fidelity SF-3050 Tower Speakers
Custom made HQ Speaker Cables
max_samhain

max_samhain

November 4, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Mono, RE, LP 5460, none, 88883701761

AVOID!
Most likely a hybrid between mono-mix and stereo-folddown sourced from vinyl-copies
http://www.beefheart.com/the-sound-of-safe-as-milk/
MrShocktime

MrShocktime

October 6, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Mono, RE, Whi, LP 5460, 090771404114

Can anyone chime in on how this pressing sounds? White vinyl tends to be noisier than other colors.
markpetz88

markpetz88

October 1, 2018
edited 6 months ago
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Mono, RE, LP 5460, none, 88883701761
Were all copies of this Sundazed reissue mono on white vinyl, like mine? Not sure why that detail is not included in the format specs. Really nice pressing, either way!
Imaxandco

Imaxandco

September 20, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Mono, NPL 28110
This pressing is apparently a fold-down of the stereo mix. Can someone confirm ?
Laservampire

Laservampire

September 16, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, CD, Album, RE, Mono, SC 11232

Do NOT waste your money on any of the mono Sundazed Beefheart releases, they're not from the mono master tape at all, but actually from a frankenstein'd edit of a poor mono vinyl transfer and a fold-down of the stereo mix (to cover up surface noise)

Deceitful marketing bullshit.
mr.datsun

mr.datsun

September 16, 2018
edited 7 months ago
referencing Zig Zag Wanderer, CD, Album, Mono, RE, OR0146
Object Enterprises ‎– OR0146
Apparently, this is not the mono mix but a stereo fold-down.
Janissen

Janissen

August 27, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Red, BDS 5001
My copy has:
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side One, hand-etched, @ 12 o'clock): o BDS - 5001 - A 1 1B
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side Two, hand-etched, @ 12 o'clock): o BDS - 5001 - B 1 1B
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side One, hand-etched, @ 6 o'clock): ∴ 3
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side Two, hand-etched, @ 6 o'clock): ∴ 1
mrlimbo

mrlimbo

August 11, 2018
referencing Safe As Milk, LP, Album, Ltd, RE, Whi, BDS 5001, BDS-5001
Anyone got feedback on this white vinyl pressing ? Im a little wary of coloured vinyl !
Thank you :-)