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Trout Mask Replica is the third studio album by the American band Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, released as a double album on June 16, 1969, by Straight Records. The music was composed by Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) and arranged by drummer John "Drumbo" French. Combining elements of R&B, garage rock, and blues with free jazz and avant-garde composition, the album is regarded as an important work of experimental music and art rock.
The album was produced by Frank Zappa and recorded in March 1969 at Whitney Studios in Glendale, California, following eight months of intense rehearsals at a small rented communal house in Los Angeles. The lineup of the Magic Band at this time consisted of Bill "Zoot Horn Rollo" Harkleroad and Jeff "Antennae Jimmy Semens" Cotton on guitar, Mark "Rockette Morton" Boston on bass guitar, Victor "The Mascara Snake" Hayden on bass clarinet, and John "Drumbo" French on drums and percussion. Beefheart played several brass and woodwind instruments, including saxophone, musette, and natural horn, and contributed most of the vocal parts, while Zappa and members of the band provided occasional vocals and narration. The well-rehearsed Magic Band recorded all instrumental tracks[a 1] for the album in a single six-hour recording session; Beefheart's vocal and horn tracks were laid down over the next few days.
Trout Mask Replica sold poorly upon its initial release in the United States, where it failed to appear in any charts. It was more successful in the United Kingdom, where it spent a week at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart. In recent years, however, Trout Mask Replica has been widely regarded as the masterpiece of Beefheart's musical career, as well as an important influence on many subsequent artists. Its highly unconventional musical style, which includes polyrhythm, multi-octave vocals, and polytonality, continues to polarize audiences and has given the album a reputation as one of the most challenging recordings in the 20th century musical canon. It was ranked number 60 on Rolling Stone's 2012 edition of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, and has appeared on the "best of" lists of many other publications.
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.