Had this powerful concert been issued somewhat more concurrent to its performance, the appreciation of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band as an active recording and touring unit might have been radically altered. As it stands, the mid- to late ‘70s were not kind to Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) who became mired in litigation and ultimately forced to surrender the master tapes to a project titled Bat Chain Puller recorded at Frank Zappa's Utility Research Muffin Kitchen studios. After reassembling a new version of the Magic Band, Beefheart emerged with his compromise to the preceding project -- now re-titled Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). In support, the Magic Band were booked into small clubs throughout the States. On Saturday, November 19, 1978, the venue was the intimate confines of the 200-seat My Father's Place in Roslyn, New York. I'm Gonna Do What I Wanna Do documents the entire show from the only professional recording made of this tour. As fate would have it, a local FM station, WLIR, was running an open-reel, two-track machine in order to re-broadcast the show on December 11, 1978. This tape is the source for I'm Gonna Do What I Wanna Do. Performing at what one can only surmise as the height of their powers is an enthusiastically frenetic Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. They rip into every track with perpetual energy and restless verve. It is no surprise that the meat of the set is derived from Bat Chain Puller. However, there are several additional inclusions of note: "Abba Zabba," the proto-punk "Dropout Boogie," as well as the title track, all from Safe As Milk. From the indispensable Trout Mask Replica are "Old Fart at Play," "Veteran's Day Poppy," as well as an intense and highly interactive "Well." Equally as incendiary are the readings of "Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man" and the surrealistic love song "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles" from the Clear Spot album. This incarnation of the Magic Band performs with the vital and instinctual precision needed when attempting the multiple time signatures and highly improvisational nature of the Beefheart-led jams. The set is replete with examples, one of which is the searing interaction displayed during the waning moments of "Owed T' Alex." In addition, several notable Magic Band members appeared in this touring unit, including former Zappa sidemen Bruce Fowler on trombone, and eclectic percussionist Robert Williams. Kudos to Rhino HandMade for not only realizing the importance of preserving and presenting this show, but also for delivering the goods in a most unusual and apt fashion. As the complete performance is over 83 minutes in length, producers were faced with over three minutes of audio beyond the capacity of a standard CD. Instead of editing (gasp! horrors!), they wisely chose to make the package a double-disc set. Taking that decision a step further, instead of using a full-length disc for less than a quarter-hour's worth of audio, both encores were designated to the second CD, which is made to look like a three inch golf ball. That motif continues elsewhere within the packaging -- on the inner spine of the rear tray card, to be exact -- with the words "Captain Beefheart Calls It God's Golfball." That quote is in reference to the graphics on the first CD, which is designed to look like planet earth from space (aka "God's Golfball"). Brilliant!! It is this great attention to the minutiae and mindset of its'target audience which place Rhino HandMade releases in a class of their own.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2