|Studio album by|
|Studio||Amigo Studios, Los Angeles|
|Producer||Ted Templeman |
Don Van Vliet
|Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band chronology|
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
Beefheart's third album Trout Mask Replica established him as a critically acclaimed artist, but it sold poorly. For this album Beefheart wanted more commercial success – hence his decision to work with the widely respected team of producer Ted Templeman and engineer Donn Landee, who previously created hits for artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Carly Simon and Van Morrison. Clear Spot gathers together much of the lyrical material that Beefheart had created or formulated at the beginning of The Spotlight Kid recordings.
Former Mothers of Invention and Little Feat bassist Roy Estrada joined the band on this album and is credited as "Oréjon" (big ears) on the album's sleeve while noted session percussionist Milt Holland also contributed percussion.
The original United States release of the album was in a specially-produced clear plastic sleeve. The title Clear Spot was embossed on the front flap, with the record clearly visible inside without a liner. This reflected the title: a clear cover with the black vinyl disc as a visible spot. The original concept was for the disc to be of clear vinyl, but this was abandoned due to financial constraints. The package also included a white card insert, with the band name and credits. For the UK this was a single weight card, but in the US issues this was back-to-back card with radius corners at the foot.
For U.S. reissues and initial release in other countries, a more traditional black on white printed sleeve was employed. The insert (or subsequent cover) shows a photo of Beefheart and band members in the control center of the Planetarium of Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, California. Griffith Park and the neighboring Los Angeles Zoo had inspired the young Beefheart (born Don Glen Vliet).
On CD, the album is now available only as a "two for one" with its predecessor The Spotlight Kid, giving an overview of the work created when the band resided in Felton (near Santa Cruz, California) and Trinidad in Humboldt County. Separately, the two albums are only available as vinyl LP reissues.
In 2015, Rhino Records remastered and re-released this album, along with The Spotlight Kid and Lick My Decals Off, Baby in a box-set titled Sun Zoom Spark, rendering these albums available after being out-of-print for years.
Clear Spot reached No. 191 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It did not chart in the U.K.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Big Eyed Beans from Venus" at number 53 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. "Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles" was featured on the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Big Lebowski, and was later covered by the Black Keys and the Washington D.C.-based band Shortstack. The title track has been covered by Painted Willie and by Mark Lanegan. The Tubes released a faithful cover of "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains" on their 3rd LP "Now" in 1977. Everything but the Girl also recorded the same song.
All tracks are written by Don Van Vliet.
|1.||"Low Yo Yo Stuff"||3:41|
|2.||"Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man"||3:46|
|3.||"Too Much Time"||2:50|
|5.||"My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains"||2:55|
|6.||"Sun Zoom Spark"||2:13|
|8.||"Crazy Little Thing"||2:38|
|9.||"Long Neck Bottles"||3:18|
|10.||"Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles"||2:57|
|11.||"Big Eyed Beans from Venus"||4:23|
- Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) – vocals, harmonica, "wings on Singabus" (apparently referring to the flapping noise heard when he says the word Singabus, in "Golden Birdies")
- Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) – guitar, slide guitar, mandolin
- Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) – guitar, bass
- Ed Marimba (Art Tripp) – drums, percussion
- Oréjon (Roy Estrada) – bass
- Allmusic review
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Harkelroad, Bill (1998). Lunar Notes. Wembley, Middx: SAF Publications. p. 100. ISBN 0-946719-21-7.
- Splinters book by Artist Ink Editions (2003), ISBN 0-7379-0284-1 within Riding Some Kind Of Unusual Skull Sleigh Ltd. Ed. boxed work.
- "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists." www.rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
- Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 82. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.