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Music / Lick My Decals Off, Baby

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Woe-is-a-me-bop, om-drop-a-re-bop-om, everybody's doin' it. Please don't let them ruin it om.

Lick My Decals Off, Baby is a 1970 album by Captain Beefheart. It appeared right after Trout Mask Replica had given the artist a strong underground reputation and many fans consider it one of his best albums, along with Safe as Milk, Trout Mask Replica, Clear Spot and Doc at the Radar Station. Some even argue it being better than "Trout Mask Replica" because it has less Album Filler. Thanks to British radio DJ John Peel's frequent airplay the album sold exceptionally well in the United Kingdom, even peaking at number 20 in the UK Albums chart.

Yet despite the positive reviews the album has been out of print for many decades, only having a minimal release on CD and thus, as a result, it is highly sought after by fans. In a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes old LP's, CD's and bootlegs have been sold and re-sold by fans until, finally, in 2014 the album was made available again, albeit as part of the box set "Sun Zoom Spark", which also forces fans to rebuy "The Spotlight Kid" and "Clear Spot" again if they already owned that one. Though, as a special collector's item, the box set also features a fourth disc with outtakes and alternate versions.

The album is also known for a surreal Le Film Artistique promotional video which didn't get much airplay, but is nowadays put on display in the Museum of Modern Art.


Side One

  1. "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" (2:38)
  2. "Doctor Dark" (2:46)
  3. "I Love You, You Big Dummy" (2:54)
  4. "Peon" (2:24)
  5. "Bellerin' Plain" (3:35)
  6. "Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop" (2:06)
  7. "Japan In A Dishpan" (3:00)

Side Two

  1. "I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go" (1:53)
  2. "Pertrified Forest" (1:40)
  3. "One Red Rose That I Mean" (1:52)
  4. "The Buggy Boogie Woogie" (2:19)
  5. "The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or the Big Dig)" (2:11)
  6. "Space-Age Couple" (2:32)
  7. "The Clouds Are Full Of Wine (not Whiskey or Rye)" (2:50)
  8. "Flash Gordon's Ape" (4:15)


  • Captain Beefheart: vocals, bass clarinet, tenor and soprano sax, harmonica
  • John "Drumbo" French: percussion, broom.
  • Bill "Zoot Horn Rollo" Harkleroad: guitar, glass finger guitar
  • Mark "Rockette Morton" Boston: bass
  • Art "Ed Marimba" Tripp: marimba, percussion, broom

Mr. Zoot Horn Rollo, Hit that long lunar trope and let it float.

  • Double Meaning: "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" is sort of a reverse case; the lyrics are pretty suggestive (and probably intentionally so), but the main message of the song is to evaluate things according to their merits rather than to the superficial labels (i.e., "decals") attached to them.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The first three tracks on Side Two are all under two minutes long.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The music for "The Smithsonian Institute Blues" was originally written in 1966 for "Sugar Baby Sugar", an unreleased song with lyrics from a Herb Bermann poem. The original recording featured a different bassline from then bass player Jerry Handley and would have lacked the marimba of the Decals recording. This recording has never been released and is seemingly lost, but is mentioned by John French in Herb Bermann's book The Mystery Man from the Magic Band in which the poem "Sugar Baby Sugar" appears.
  • Title Track: The opening track.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: In true Captain Beefheart fashion, the lyrics are completely nonsensical.