This past Saturday (December 17) was the one-year anniversary of the death of Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), and to mark the occasion, it's been revealed that the bluesy, art rock Dadaist's lost album, Bat Chain Puller, will get its first official release early next year.
Recorded in 1976 with longtime pal Frank Zappa serving as producer, the album got wrapped up in legal red tape due to a dispute between Zappa and his DiscReet Records business partner Herb Cohen, leaving the LP unmixed and shelved. The sessions were, however, heavily bootlegged, while alternate versions of some of the songs popped up on Beefheart's 1978 offering, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).
The Wire now points to the Barfko-Swill website, run by the Zappa Family Trust, taking pre-orders for the long-lost set, which will arrive sometime around Van Vliet's birthday, January 15. Not much info has been delivered on the release, but the label included a brief tribute to the experimental music icon: "Here's to the Good Captain. We rest our case."
A full tracklisting for Bat Chain Puller has yet to appear, but the record will allegedly feature the album's 12 original tracks, as well as three bonus cuts. The set was mixed by Beefheart Magic Band members Denny Walley and John French, who also provide liner notes.Wire writer and Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes said in a statement that "although Don didn't want it released they've been true to the work."