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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.
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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.

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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.

Tracklist

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)

Personnel

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

Woe-is-uh-me-Trope

  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • "I Wanna Find Me A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go"
    Cause them yams have all them eyes that yawn
    yearn down yonder below the ground
    • "The Clouds Are Full Of Wine (Not Whiskey Or Rye)"
    Bluebrains, bluejays, bluebirds, mermaids
    Bluejays, bluebirds, rainbows
    (...) And the sky is full of bluebrains
    Baboons, rhinos, fools 'n' buffoons
    And my eyes are full of bloodbones
    Snowcones, serenaders 'n' senoritas
    • "Bellerin' Plain"
    The bayou boy bums with sunken gums
  • Alliterative Title: "Doctor Dark", "The Buggy Boogie Woogie".
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: "The Buggie Boogie Woogie"
    One day I was sweepin' down by the wall
    I bumped a mama spider 'n' the babies begin to fall off my broom
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The paintings on the back cover are by Beefheart himself.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: In "The Buggy Boogie Woogie" John French and Art Tripp rhythmically move a broom around.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: "Flash Gordon's Ape". In "The Clouds Are Full Of Wine (Not Whiskey or Rye)" baboons are in the sky.
  • Face on the Cover: A group shot of Beefheart and the Magic band in a chique house.
  • Le Film Artistique: A promotional video was made as a TV advertisement. It was all shot in black-and-white and showed very surreal imagery. First we see a man flicking away a cigarette, then Beefheart striking a pose and masked Magic Band members using kitchen utensils as musical instruments, while Beefheart kicks over a bowl of porridge.
  • Fossil Revival:
    • "The Smithsonian Institute Blues"
    The way it’s goin’ La Brea tar pits
    I know you just can’t lose
    The new dinosaur is walkin’ in the old one’s shoes
    • "Pertrified Forest"
    Breathe life into the dead dinosaurs
    (...) If the dinosaur cries with blood in his eyes and eats our babies for our lies
    Belches fire in our skies
    Maybe I'll die, but he'll be rumbling through your pertrified forest
  • Heavy Meta: "The Smithsonian Institute Blues"
    Singin' the Smithsonian Institute Blues
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: "Doctor Dark"
    Black lady, black leather lady
  • Hurricane of Puns: "The Smithsonian Institute Blues"
    Dinah Shore's shoes
    Dinosaur shoes
  • Instrumentals: "Peon", "Japan In A Dishpan" and "One Red Rose That I Mean".
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: As lewd as the title sounds Beefheart actually meant it as an encouragement to evaluate things according to their merits rather than the superficial labels, aka "decals".
  • Intercourse with You: Despite Beefheart's explanation for "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" (see Intentionally Awkward Title above) the song still has some very suggestive erotic lyrics.
    Rather than I want to hold your hand,
    I wanna swallow you whole
    'n I wanna lick you everywhere it's pink
    'n everywhere you think
    (...) And this song ain't no sing-song
    It's all about the birds 'n' the bees
    And where it all went wrong
    And where it all belongs
    And the Earth all go down on their knees
    Lookin' for a little ease
    She stuck out her tongue and the fun begun
  • Long Title: "I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go", "The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or the Big Dig)" and "The Clouds Are Full Of Wine (Not Whiskey or Rye)".
  • Love Makes You Dumb: "I Love You, You Big Dummy" is a very literal example of this trope, Beefheart even Corpsing a few times over the fact.
  • Man on Fire: "Bellerin' Pain"
    By the ol' scarecrow
    'n' pots 'n' pans burn the fireman's hands
    'till the kettle leaped fire round the belly 'o'
  • Miniscule Rocking: "I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go", "Pertrified Forest" and "One Red Rose That I Mean" are all under two minutes long.
  • Mundane Made Awesome; "The Buggy Boogie Woogie" is a song where Beefheart sings about sweeping the room clean from a bunch of spiders, complete with the sound of brooms in the background and it's catchy as hell!
  • One-Man Song: "Doctor Dark".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Woe-is-uh-Me-Bop" is an elaborate pun on "bebop".
  • Shout-Out:
    Everybody knows Japan is a dishpan.
  • Something Blues: "The Smithsonian Institute Blues".
  • Surreal Music Video: The TV advertisement for this album can be seen as an early forerunner. See Le Film Artistique above.
  • Title Track: "Lick My Decals Off, Baby"
    Well, now you may think I'm crazy, but I want you to lick my decals off, baby
  • Weather Dissonance: "The Clouds Are Full Of Wine, Not Whiskey Or Rye", where Beefheart describes the clouds being full of wine and the sky filled with rhinestones, pinecones and telephones, not to mention bluebrains, baboons, rhinos, fools and buffoons. Though perhaps Beefheart is just seeing things, for he mentions:
    My eyes are full of bloodbones
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Like most of this artist's songs.
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