Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band – Moonlight On Vermont

Just about every crooner you can think of has sang “Moonlight In Vermont,” but this song is “on” the state. And it mixes in the traditional gospel song, “(Give Me That) Old Time Religion” which goes back to the 1870s. Beefheart’s 1969 Trout Mask Replica record is probably rarely listened to, especially in full, but remains widely considered by music aficionados to be seminal. The record appears to have an overall ecology theme, early for its day. The copped gospel melody hints at environmentalism becoming a religion for many in the decades to come. But this is also Captain Beefheart! The song might just be nonsense, too, masquerading as insight. No doubt many politicians have occasionally had such counterfeit deep thoughts though never as boldly as Captain Beefheart. It’s typically best they keep such ruminations private.

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One thought on “Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band – Moonlight On Vermont

  1. “Moonlight On Vermont,” from the initial recording sessions, stands on the threshold of the full-blown Trout Mask style, though it still casts a backward glance towards Strictly Personal. Harkleroad’s guitar lines are razor sharp and it all locks together into a complicated, serpentine activity. Lyrically, it refers to the forties pop song “Moonlight In Vermont,” with the moon exerting a strange pull on the locals’ behaviour. As the song closes, Van Vliet sings a tongue-in-cheek version of the old gospel hymn “Old Time Religion,” mixed with the refrain ‘Come out to show dem’ from Steve Reich’s 1966 piece “Come Out” (on which he subjected a ‘found’ voice to tape loop phasing).

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