Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band: Don "Captain Beefheart" Van Vliet (vocals, harmonica); Zoot Horn Rollo (guitar, slide guitar); Alex Saint Claire (guitar); Mark Marcellino (keyboards); Rockette Morton (bass); Art Tripp (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Andy DiMartino (acoustic guitar); Del Simmons (tenor saxophone, flute).
After a two-year break from recording, Captain Beefheart signed with Mercury Records and released UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED in 1974. After the gradual shine that was brought to his music, culminating with the superbly produced CLEAR SPOT, this follow-up came as a bit of a surprise to the Captain's following. The album eschewed a good deal of the jagged and gritty qualities that had been a musical cornerstone of his work. Though the Magic Band (most of whom had been with Beefheart since TROUT MASK REPLICA) lend their musicianship to this project, they disbanded shortly after completing these recordings.
While this work occupies a very different sonic world than some of its landmark predecessors, it's by no means a weak album. Still far from sounding like a Top Forty contender, it is a fairly straightforward set of blues-tinged pop songs filtered through the good Captain's inimitable style.