Cult rocker Captain Beefheart didn't exactly inspire casual listening, so it's a safe bet that many, if not most, of the late musician's fans have heard "Bat Chain Puller", a never-released, frequently bootlegged album recorded in 1976. Those who haven't, however, are in luck, as Jan. 15 - what would have been the Captain's 71st birthday - will see the disc's first official release, Consequences Of Sound reports.
Produced by Frank Zappa, "Bat Chain" was never given proper mixing, though Beefheart - aka Don Van Vliet - submitted a rough version to Virgin Records. The tracks eventually went out to critics and radio stations, but Zappa's disputes with a business partner kept the collection from reaching store shelves. Zappa's estate now owns the recordings, and the album is set to drop on the family's Barkfo-Swill label.
Featuring the album's original 12 songs - some of which were rerecorded for subsequent Beefheart albums - and a trio of bonus cuts, the forthcoming "Bat Chain" was mixed by Denny Walley and John French, members of the Captain's famed Magic Band. Both sidemen also contributed liner notes, so even diehards may have a reason to check out the Barkfo-Swill site and plunk down $20 for a pre-order.
Watch Captain Beefheart perform "Bat Chain Puller":