Bluejeans & Moonbeams is the ninth LP by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, originally released in 1974. Despite its uncharacteristically mainstream sound the album failed to chart. Most observers consider it to be one of the Captain's weakest works, leading some fans of the more abstract work to christen the line-up of the period the 'Tragic Band'.
The album does, however, have its influence: an early White StripesEP entitled Party of Special Things to Do (2001) contains three Beefheart covers, including this album's opening track. Kate Bush in a Smash Hits interview considered this one of her top ten albums.Mercury Rev covered "Observatory Crest" for a BBC session in 1999, which was released as B-side on their "Little Rhymes" single in 2002.
Having no musical training or instrumental experience, throughout his career Van Vliet had relied on a musical director within the band who could translate his often unorthodox ideas into a form that was musically playable. This role had been successively filled by Alex St. Clair, John French, and Bill Harkleroad on his previous albums. With the entire Magic Band having quit after the recording of his previous album he no longer had such an intermediary. As a result, the album is generally considered the nadir of Van Vliet's musical career. One of the musicians, Micheal Smotherman, said "Don was just as confused as he could be throughout the whole process... I would push his face up to the microphone and he would start singing. And when it was time to stop I would pull him back gently."
The personnel for "Captain's Holiday" is not known. The track was reportedly found on a discarded reel in the studio. The harmonica on the track is not played by Captain Beefheart (by his own admission).